I’ve never been the kind of person to hold onto closets full of clothing that are past their prime. Whenever possible I would donate my clothes to charities or, in the case of worn out t-shirts, turn them into rags.
It wasn’t until 2007 when our family became suddenly frugal and I happened to be speaking with my friend Dee Dee about frugality tips–Dee Dee has been frugal since before it was in fashion–and she mentioned consigning her clothes. Turns out Dee Dee had been consigning her clothes for years.
While she never made back what she’d paid for the clothing, she was able to put extra bucks in her pocket from time to time. Given that Dee Dee is her family’s breadwinner, as a successful real estate agent, this extra money really came in handy.
Thanks to Dee Dee I looked into selling my clothes at a resale shop. I found a consignment boutique nearby that had pretty strict consignment rules–brands of clothing they accepted, when they accepted clothing, how they handled rejects, etc.–and gave it a go. Luckily, I tend to buy the brands that this shop favors, so they accepted dozens of pieces of my clothing (shirts, sweaters, dresses, shoes, accessories and more), and a few months later I had earned nearly $100 for clothing I no longer wore.
After I had success consigning my clothes, I decided to share this tip with my teenage daughters. While they make decent money babysitting, I figured it couldn’t hurt to show them how they could make extra money by getting rid of the clothes they no longer wanted to wear. When they were younger, I helped them “sell” their old toys on eBay as a way of making money. So this notion of taking something used and making money from it wasn’t as foreign as it might seem.
The only place near us that would consign teenage clothing is resale shop called Plato’s Closet. They give cash on the spot for clothing that teens and tweens covet–what I call the three As. That is, Aeropostale, Abercrombie, and American Eagle. They also want items from Forever 21, Charlotte Russ, Old Navy and many of the other stores where my daughters shopped or from which their friends had given them clothing birthday gifts over the year.
Soon enough my daughters were getting anywhere from $20 to $50 in cash for clothes they’d outgrown–either physically or in a fashion sense.
Now twice a year, all three of us consign our clothes. As I wrote in a long-ago blog post about consigning your clothes, timing is everything. You want to bring winter clothes in in early fall, and spring clothes in mid-winter. Of course, check to see if your local consignment shop has its own preferred calendar for accepting consignments.
If you’ve never considered consigning your clothing, take it as part of today’s frugality tips because it’s a great way to make money back on clothing you might otherwise get rid of. Just look at this $80 check I received last month from my fall consignment.
Of course, if you can’t consign something or the consignment shop rejects it–and the article of clothing is still in good shape–by all means donate it to a worthy cause. At least with that “in kind” donation, you can get a tax receipt to take that donation off on your taxes.