If you were around for last week’s decluttering post, hopefully you’ve managed to pluck a few pieces from your closet that will be going to a new home. This post is the “now what?” follow-up. Here are four possibilities for parting ways with your unloved goods.
1 | Donate it or gift it.
Of all the possible solutions, this one is the quickest and easiest. If you have a friend or family member who is a similar size to you, consider offering some of your unwanted gear to them. Likewise, you could post an ad to Craigslist or a local board offering your things up for free. I gave away a couple of older items in great shape to a local woman who was thrilled to receive them. I had been trying to sell them to no avail, and although maybe I could’ve eventually gotten a few bucks for them, seeing someone excited to have them was valuable in its own right. Giving things away always feels good, even to strangers. If there’s a women’s shelter in your area, they may accept donations as well.
The alternative to giving things away personally is to donate to a charity thrift store like Goodwill. That said, before you donate an item, be sure it’s in reasonable condition. Donating clothes that can’t be resold by that store just wastes the employee’s time and doesn’t help the charity after all. Make sure whatever you’re donating doesn’t have any damage such as holes or stains. Imagine you’re on the buying end, and try to honestly evaluate whether you’d consider buying it off the rack. A little bit of visible wear is usually ok, but if it’s totally wrecked, see #2 below for how you might be able to repurpose or donate it as rags.
2 | Dump it.
Ok, while I love getting rid of stuff, I really hate throwing things in the garbage, especially useful items like clothes. If an item you no longer want is absolutely trashed, that might be the best option. But before you do, consider the following.
Instead of literally throwing your clothes into the garbage bin, you can always try to repurpose them in some way. Some cities actually have bins where you can recycle clothing. Google it or ask around to see if there’s one in your area. If you’re crafty, you might be able to come up with a way to sew bits of your clothes into something else. (I’m most definitely not crafty, so I don’t really have suggestions there.)
The easiest way to repurpose is turning clothes into rags. You could use the rags yourself, or many thrift stores will accept bags of clothing labeled as rags that they then sell in bulk for really cheap. Call your local thrift store and ask if they accept rags before dropping off your damaged or old clothes.
As a quick aside, there IS actually a market for well-loved lululemon. Don’t expect good money from it, but even if what you have is damaged, there’s a good chance someone will probably still pay you for it if you want to give it a shot. Keep that in mind before any lulu makes its way to the trash.
3 | Consign it.
If you want to get more than zero dollars for your unwanted goods but don’t have a lot of time on your hands, consignment might be the best option for you.
If you choose to consign, you’re going to need to come to terms with this crappy consignment reality: the amount you will get paid back is going to be low. Really low. Consignment services have costs to cover, so they’re going to have to way undercut the value of an item. Not only that, many consignment companies aren’t necessarily getting top dollar when they do sell. So if a company appraises and sells a pair of crops for $40 when they really could’ve gotten $60, that’s less money back in your pocket. To put some solid numbers on it, I would guesstimate that you can expect something in the range of $5-$25 per item, depending on the brand, recency, signs of wear, specific consignment service, etc.
Consignment is best suited to those who have quite a few items to offload. If you only have 2 things to sell, it’s just not going to be worth the hassle of shipping and potential consignment rejects. Consigning is also best suited to popular, well-known brands. The resale market is strongest for Nike and Lululemon, so consignment acceptance and payouts will reflect that. I wouldn’t even bother sending brands in that most people haven’t heard of since they will likely be rejected, no matter how high-end they are.
I have never personally consigned because I prefer to take the time to sell things myself and get a better return. So, I can’t really speak to the quality of any of these options one way or another, but here are a handful of consigning services I’ve gathered for you to consider:
We Buy Lulu – Lululemon-specific consignment business. The items they receive are sold on their eBay shop.
ThredUp – You can send all kinds of clothes (not just activewear) in their Clean Out Bag.
Linda’s Stuff – Well-established luxury consignment service selling on eBay.
Your local consignment shop – almost definitely the lowest payout of all of these options (think <$5 per item), but probably the most convenient!
Be sure to read the fine print before you send your items in, such as payout structure and timing, how they deal with rejects, etc.
4 | Sell it.
Selling is without question my personal favorite way of dealing with clutter. I’ve routinely recouped 50-80% of what I paid (even after wearing it!) by reselling. Although the activewear resale market is not as strong as it once was (in terms of lululemon anyway), there’s still a lot of potential to cash in. Yes, it does take time, but at least you’re spending that time making money. :)
Since the selling process is pretty involved, I’m not really going to cover the details in this post. Instead, I’ll devote several more posts in this series to the nitty gritty details. I’ll braindump all of my strategies for getting top dollar, making fast sales, saving time during the whole process, and staying organized through the whole process.
Which route you decide to take for your closet rejects is entirely up to you. Most likely, you’ll want to use a mix of each of these strategies. Since a lot of that decision hinges on the condition of your clothes, my next post will be about evaluating the condition of what you’re selling. After that, I’ll talk about how to appraise your stuff so you can get a fair picture of what you can expect to make back, should you choose to sell. From there, you’ll be better equipped to make a decision on how to move forward.