Now that spring is here and you’ve done the seasonal switchout of your closet contents, chances are, you have items you’ve never worn or won’t wear again. So what do you do with these perfectly good, slightly worn clothes? And what do you do with the stuff that’s stained and torn?
If your items are new or gently used and high-end, try to sell them. Use Google or Yelp to find a nearby consignment store. If there are no physical stores nearby, or if you don’t want to take your items in, try consigning online. Online resale options range from do-it-yourself Ebay.com to places that purchase your items outright, like cashinmybag.com. Sites like therealreal.com sell on traditional consignment.
Keep in mind, consignment stores list your items at about half of their retail price and take 20 to 40 percent of that price after the sale. In short, expect to take home between 60 and 80 percent of the consignment store list price. For example, if the retail price is $200, the list price is $100, and you take home $60 to $80. These terms vary from store to store. If you decide to sell your items on Ebay, compare similar items AND what they sell for, in order to determine your magic price. An item is only worth the price people will pay for it.
If your items are not designer pieces or are more than gently used, donate them to charity. You will not only help the needy, but you will also get a tax deduction. Places such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Purple Heart Foundation, and United War Veterans are just a handful of worthy places to donate. Find a charity that speaks to you, and ask if they accept donations. Some places will even pick up your donations. Call ahead or check the website to see what each place needs or accepts and when they accept donations, and schedule a pickup.
No matter which avenue you take, keep in mind the seasonality of the clothing that you’re donating or consigning. While donation places are less picky, consignment places are strict about when they accept certain types of clothing. Don’t plan on consigning your wool coat in the spring or your designer spring handbag in the fall.
If the items are torn, stained, or excessively worn, there is still hope to give them a new life. Fabric recycling is growing in popularity and accessibility. You may have some clothing donation metal boxes around your neighborhood. Those receptacles are used to recycle fabric. Organizations such as Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles, Planet Aid, your local animal shelter, and Goodwill gladly accept these donations.
- Clean Out Your Closet. Purge your closets of all the unwanted and unused clothing and linens you’ve been holding onto. Animal shelters particularly love to receive old towels.
- Decide Whether to Sell or Donate. If you have a designer piece that’s in good shape, try to sell it. Otherwise, donate it for reuse or recycling.
- Keep Records for Taxes Write-offs. If you itemize your taxes, you can deduct the donations you’re making. Request a receipt, and check with your accountant to learn what notes are needed about the donations. Use IRS Form 8283 for your donations.