Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Friday, November 2, 2007

Options for Unwanted Clothing

When doing all the purging and regular organizing of your closets that I know you do, you may wonder what to do with all the stuff you don’t want. Specifically, what do you do with all the clothes that are out of style, don’t fit, or are no longer needed? Here are some options for getting unwanted clothing items out of your home:

  • Give to friends/family/co-workers. This may or may not be a viable option for you. Some of the drawbacks include them returning the clothes back to you, not wanting them and thus being stuck getting rid of them, and the delay it may take you to get the items to them. Certainly it is a thoughtful gesture, but you may want to think about dumping your unwanted items on friends or family.
  • Donate to charity. You either bring your unwanted (but clean and resalable) clothing to a donation drop-off center or a company truck will pick up your donations. You get rid of the clothing and receive a tax deduction. Be sure to save the receipt and write down or keep accurate information for documentation purposes. Examples of charities that collect clothing are Salvation Army, Big Brother Big Sister, Goodwill and Veterans. You can also deposit them at stand-alone receptacles on the side of the road but since they are unmanned bins, you don’t get a receipt back.

  • Have a garage sale. This option involves some time and work on your part. If you have a lot of other items that you’ve set aside to get rid of, like appliances, household goods, and toys, you have the opportunity to make some money. Clothing doesn’t show as well as other yard sale items, however, so this may not prove the most reliable method. Whatever doesn’t sell can be given to a charity.

  • Bring to resale stores. Your clothing is bought outright, and you receive cash on the spot. Most resale shops don’t wash the clothes they sell, so bring yours in clean and saleable condition for that current season. Once the store buys your clothing and hands over the cash, you’re done. Some locations will give you the option of store credit in lieu of cash. If your clothing is not the type that resells well or is not in season, then this is not an option.
  • Bring to a consignment store. At most consignment stores, you need to make an appointment to bring in your clothes. The buyer will decide what’s acceptable and how much it should sell for. Normally you need to bring in clothes that are for that current season. If one of your pieces sells, you’ll usually receive 40 to 60 percent of the selling price. Obviously this can be a hit-or-miss option.

  • List on eBay or do online selling. This method has its pros and cons depending on the types of clothing, brand, style, etc. Some clothing does well with online selling. It helps to do some research first to see what sells and what doesn’t. Often the sale price is hardly worth what you paid to list the item and ship it. Generally “lots” of items sell well. Again, this is not a sure source of money or for getting rid of your unwanted clothing. At the end of the process, you could have paid fees and the clothes are still at your house.

Ultimately you have got to be realistic with yourself -- what will you be most likely to actually do and complete within a reasonable timeframe? If none of the options listed above seems like something you'll accomplish, better to toss the clothes into a trashbag and get them out of the house. You can donate or make money another day.