Wondering what to do with those boxes of outgrown children’s clothing taking up way too much space in your house? Whether you want to sell them through social media, sales apps, consignment shops or resale events, we’re going to share a bunch of tips to help you get the most cash for your items. Our guide includes tips for preparing your items for sale, details on the avenues available for selling used clothing and more!
Google “how to make money as a stay-at-home mom” and one of the first few things that pops up will be selling your children’s gently used clothing and toys. In the age of eco-consciousness and thriftiness being hip, the fact that the whole process ends with you having money to show for it is icing on the cake.
How many of us have bought an item for our child, only to have them outgrow it while the tags are still on? It’s so frustrating, I know! The good news is, depending on what brand it is and what you paid for it, you may be able to make more for it than you paid in the first place!
Preparing your kid’s outgrown clothing to be sold
Regardless of how you plan to sell your items, it should start with the same process. First you must sort through your items, being critical and honest about the condition of items when giving them a thorough inspection.
Things like stains, rips, holes, damaged elastic, pulls, pilling and missing fasteners should automatically eliminate garments. Unless it looks practically new, the effort that will go into selling it yourself will not pay off, and if you’re trying to consign it, it will not be accepted.
The next step is trying to group any matching set pieces. This holds especially true for girls clothing. You will almost always get more for completed sets, for example three piece outfits or dresses with bloomers. If you have matching accessories keep them together with the outfits. Whether or not you plan on selling the accessories, they will come in handy if you plan to take photos.
Now it’s time to make sure everything is ironed and looking it’s best. I know, I know – you’re thinking “ohhh man, I have to iron stuff we’re never going to wear again?”
The simple answer is yes. Trust me. I’ve tried skipping this step once or twice and do you know where those items are? Still in a box, in my house. No one wanted to buy the super cute Ralph Lauren toddler dress shirt that was all wrinkled- and neither would you.
How to sell your kid’s outgrown clothing
After you’ve done sifting and sorting, you’ll have to decide which way you’d like to sell your items. We’re going to talk about several of the most popular ways.
The first few ways we’ll talk about are online listings. Here are some tips that apply to all kinds of online sales.
Take awesome photos
They can be the difference between an item being sold or getting donated. Well-lit photos on a plain white background allow the focus to be on the items. Everybody already has the best lighting at their disposal – the sun is usually my preferred light source.
I like to use a white board panel I purchased at the hardware store as a background, however a white poster board from Dollar Tree will work well also.
Carefully lay the items on the board and take photos making sure to include different angles. On shoes, always include photos of the soles and insoles. With pants, I always include closeup shots of the knees to show wear, or lack of it.
Including a photo of the garment tag will probably save you questions being asked later. It will also help you remember the info for that particular garment as you post the items.
Be sure if your accessorizing your items, you include whether or not the extras are included, listed separately or not for sale.
Abbreviations used when listing your clothing for sale
There are abbreviations and notations that are very commonly used. If you plan on listing things online you’ll need to know the following.
NWT – new with tags
NWOT – new without tags
EUC – excellent used condition (absolutely no signs of wear)
GUC – good used condition (well cared for, with slight signs of wear)
Play condition – means that it still has life in it but definitely shows signs of wear (think pants with worn knees)
BST – buy, sell & trade (Facebook groups)
NS – non smoking home
Pet free – listing if a pet is in the home and if pet hair is on the clothing
This can be tricky. Let’s say you paid $18 for a pair of jeans from The Children’s Place. However, if a brand new pair can be purchased during frequently run sales for $7.99 you’ll be lucky to get $5 for those jeans. And that’s if they are new with tags.
Online BST (Buy-Sell-Trade) group fan, Laurie Jansen has this pricing guidance to offer “ Don’t let sentiment cloud your pricing judgement. Just because an item holds special memories doesn’t mean you can charge more! Try to keep your pricing consistent. Decide ahead of time what you’ll charge for different types of clothing items and brands. It will speed things up, too, as you list them!”
Often times a little research can pay off. Those cute toddler Converse you got on clearance for $12, could easily sell for twice that if in excellent used condition and shined up with a magic eraser type sponge.
Some value brands of clothing would probably be better priced as a lot. The return on effort invested wouldn’t be worth it to list each item individually.
Selling Clothing on Facebook
There are a number of ways to list items on Facebook including Mom groups, local BST groups and brand specific BST groups just to name a few.
I have found Listing on Facebook to be tricky. Different groups have different listing formats they require and it can get very confusing. If you are a huge fan of a particular brand and have a ton of it to move, find the BST for that brand and start there. Focusing on one BST group is what I suggest.
Selling Clothing on Instagram
The trick to selling on Instagram is getting followers to see your posts. There are groups of moms who commit to sharing each other’s posts to maximize each other’s exposure. An Instagram listing is where the photos and presentation are the most important. Remember Instagram is all about the photos! Using a collage app can attract more attention to your post among a sea of listings.
Whether you are buying or selling through Facebook or Instagram – I can’t stress this enough – always use PayPal to send and receive payments. A browse of the horror stories on any number of buyer beware groups on Facebook will have you convinced. Also, make sure you have well documented the condition of the garment before you send it. This protects you, if the buyer files a claim. Also always ship items with tracking service, this protects you and the buyer in the event of loss or damage. I have seen some of the craziest tracking paths for items I’ve shipped. In fact, an item I recently purchased was delivered a few days ago to an address in North Carolina. I don’t know how or why, and without that tracking info I’d have never known.
eBay, Mercari and other online listing sites
If selling items through any method where shipping is involved, I suggest buying a postal or kitchen scale. It’s a lot easier to charge the correct amount for shipping if you know what an item weighs. It will also save you the headache of running back and forth to the post office. You can print shipping labels from your home printer and schedule pickup. Utilize the free priority mail shipping supplies that can be ordered and shipped straight to your home through the USPS website for larger orders. Poly bag mailers available for purchase through Amazon are better for smaller purchases. The amount these listing sites will charge varies. Depending on the item you are listing, you maybe able to site fees to your sales price. It might cost you more than the previously mentioned ways, however it will potentially be seen by more people.
Using local sales apps like Offerup, 5miles, and Let Go
Most of what has been mentioned already applies here. On the bright side, there are no costs associated with these sales methods. The only caveat is dealing with people who say they are interested and then you never hear from them again, or no-shows for pick up. Some people avoid these issues by arranging “front porch pickups.” This means the seller leaves the item on their front porch to be picked up by the buyer, usually with money being left in a designated location. For a number of reasons I can’t recommend this. Rather than giving strangers my home address, I prefer to meet a buyer in a well-lit and populated area.
Convention center resale events
Having only ever been a customer at these large consignment resale events I have reached out to local moms to help offer advice from their experiences. That said, I have this advice if you’re planning to do any shopping at these events.
Advice for shopping the big sales
Ladies, put on your game face. My first experience at one of these events caught me totally unprepared and off guard. After walking in and seeing racks and racks of clothing I was overwhelmed by the crowd and was on my way back out the door. Then I spotted a little mermaid costume and had to have it for my yet unborn daughter. I took a deep breath and decided to stay. I’m not going to lie, I was intimidated. There were dozens of moms scurrying around pulling wagons and other similar things piled high with children’s clothing. I can remember wondering “how many children do they have?!” Fast forward two hours and I’m waiting in a huge line with a mile high pile of my own.
Kidding Around reader Whitney, a longtime fan of Switcharoos, had these tips to share for getting the most out of your shopping trip. “I like to volunteer so then I get to have first dibs on shopping. I get in the door on shopping day and go straight for the shoes. I’ve found brand new name brand shoes for $5!
Also, I tell myself to only buy for $5 or less. Sometimes I budge on this a few dollars for a coat or shoes but generally I stick with this method. With three kids to shop for this helps me stay focused on my budget.”
Advice for selling at the big sales
Selling at these events requires a bit of prep work, local Mom Elana had lots of great advice to offer. “I take a load of laundry (to be sold). Wash it. When i get it out of the dryer I sort it by size, then kind. Hang items up as you are sorting. Then I have piles of all one size items, I sort all the shirts and pants together, I put to the top of the pile anything that needs a slightly higher price (Name brands). Then I enter the tags in the computer (4 4t shirts at $5 a piece).
When all the tags are put in the computer system I print, cut, tag. The tags come out in the order you make them, so I keep my piles in order till I get the tags on. Then I hang by size in the closet. (With the exception of coats and costumes for winter/swim in the summer because those are separated at the sale) It really only takes me 2 hours to sort, hang, and tag a load after washing.
I don’t think it’s too bad as a stay-at-home mom. I don’t know if I would have time as a working mom. About prices, use your best judgment. Most bargain hunters won’t pay more than they could pay on clearance for a similar item. Usually 75% of my pile will sell. Spartanburg readers might want to know that you can transfer items from the Greenville to the Spartanburg sale. It’s fairly simple, but you won’t get to transfer anything marked as ‘donate’ from the Greenville sale. That caught me off guard one year.”
Make sure you understand and follow all the instructions on the website. Remember you won’t be the one ringing up your item, so you need to make sure everything is clearly marked.
Selling outgrown kid’s clothing at consignment shops
When you just don’t have the time to sort, price, list and sell your items, this is the way to go. Before going in with your items, be prepared for two things to happen. Chances are they will not accept everything in that huge tote of clothes you brought in. Additionally, they will offer you less than you expected your items were worth. But here’s the thing, in all my previously mentioned methods you were doing all if not most of the work. In this situation you’re doing almost nothing. So you need to put a dollar value on your time and effort and subtract that from what you think you might have gotten from that article of clothing if sold by a different method. Plus, once you leave the store you won’t ever have to think about that item again.
I genuinely hope this helps parents that are looking to “rehome” some of your children’s clothing. It can be a daunting task but armed with these tips and a cup of your favorite coffee – I know you can do it!
Do you have any second hand clothing sales secrets to share? We’d love to hear them!