Online resale sites have skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years and it’s easy to see why. Sellers get to offload their scarcely worn clothing, make room in their closets for the items they truly want, and get a little cash while they’re at it. Trendy minimalist movement? Making intentional wardrobe choices? Working that side hustle? Check, check, and check. For the shoppers among us, consignment shopping is a huge bonus for closets (and consciences). As the memes say, there’s no ethical consumption under late-stage capitalism. Plus when you’re on a budget, trying to shop for clothing that won’t fall apart after three washes can feel impossible. When you thrift, though, you’re not (directly) contributing money to a potentially shady clothing corporation and you’ve got the opportunity to get on-trend pieces on the cheap. The new age of thrifting is taking place online, on apps that serve as part personal resale shops (where members can sell and buy new and gently used clothing and accessories) and part community platforms (where members can haggle over price points, make trades, and show off their wares). Like brick-and-mortar consignment stores, each site takes a small percentage of each sale, but unlike typical consignment, sellers are typically empowered to upload their own photos and set prices for items. Put away your sensible shopping shoes, friends. Now is the time to join the online resale revolution.
What’s in it for me?
I’m so glad you asked, ma petite chou. As noted, using an online resale app is an easy way to free up closet space. But did you know that the average person throws out 81 pounds of textiles, including clothing and accessories each year? That’s roughly 26 billion pounds of clothing that ends up in landfills annually. Yikes. Using online resale sites helps keep textiles out of the trash, which is much better for the environment. After all, that vintage jean jacket you’re throwing out could be another woman’s gently used treasure. Plus, did we mention online resale sites are a great way to earn extra income? According to thredUP’s 2017 Fashion Resale and Trend Report, the online resale industry generated $18 billion this year! That’s a lot of sweet moolah that could be in your pocket.
So which online resale site should I use?
Online resale sites have popped up like crazy in recent years, and it can be hard to figure out which site you should use to sell your goods. The good news: We did the research so you don’t have to!
Pros: Easy to list and ship items
Cons: High volume of goods means your items may not sell quickly
Poshmark is the OG online resale site. Using the app is super fast; after downloading and creating your profile, most items can be listed on the site in about a minute. Poshmark users who follow the brands you’re selling can shop your closet and purchase items. Once an item is selected, Poshmark sends you a shipping label, and all you have to do is drop the item at your local post office.
Pros: Hassle-free way to get rid of your stuff
Cons: Depending on the brand, you may not get top dollar for your items.
Unlike Poshmark, thredUP doesn’t allow users to sell their goods directly on the website. Instead, thredUp will send you a bag and a preprinted shipping label. They set the prices for you, so while you won’t have the hassle of going back and forth with someone who wants to pay you $5 for a pair of Lulu yoga leggings that didn’t quite fit, you also won’t be able to pass on those offers you find downright offensive. You’ll ship the items you want to consign to thredUp, and once they receive them, they’ll send you money for your stuff. Pro tip: Use thredUp’s payout estimator to tally up your potential earnings before you ship items in.
Pros: Selective about the items they accept, so you’re guaranteed to purchase a legitimate designer item in like-new condition
Cons: Selective about the items they accept, meaning your items may not make the consignment cut
TheRealReal is a luxury resale site, meaning it’s a bit more selective in the goods it will accept. It’s the perfect place to sell expensive, out-of-season handbags, or that designer dress you only wore once. If you live in one of 21 cities, you can drop your items off in-person or you can just request a consignment kit online. If TheRealReal accepts your items, you’ll receive up to 70 percent of the retail sales price.
What should I be selling in 2018?
Poshmark did their sellers a solid and released a report sharing the best-selling items across the United States. However, the best-selling brands differ based on where you live. In the South, the most-listed brands are Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer; try to sell those in the Northeast, though, where Zara and Michael Kors are popular, and you might be out of luck. This year, Poshmark says that the hottest brands with the best resale value include Hunter, Ray-Ban, and David Yurman. These must-have brands will probably go quickly, but how do you know if your other stuff is worth trying to sell? thredUp and TheRealReal only take clothing that is less than 10 years old and in gently used, but preferably like-new condition, so if you have those items, try using an online resale site to list them.
When re-selling just isn’t for you…
If your items aren’t selling—or you just don’t feel ready to give online resale a go—don’t throw them out. There’s still an option! Before you toss older clothes, consider donating them instead. Even if they’re too worn out to actually clothe a person, recycling is still the best choice you can make. According to the Secondary Marketing and Recycled Textiles Association, “The used clothing industry provides lower income people around the world with affordable clothing. Clothing that is damaged is recycled into wiping rags or ground up into fiber to create new products like, paper, yarn, insulation and carpet padding.” Check out their tips on where to recycle textiles here. Turns out whether you end up selling your long-loved (but still gorgeous) clothing online or donating your shabbier pieces for a good cause, it’s a win either way!