Tuesday, 30 October 2018

How to Offload Your Preloved Clothing | FAQ

One of the things I'm asked the most is how to offload the pieces in your wardrobe that you don't wear anymore. So as part of a (hopefully) regular FAQ series, I want to share with you the 5 ways you can make space in your wardrobe and possibly make some money from your unworn clothes and shoes.

1. Ebay
The easiest, most popular marketplace for selling clothes and the one I use the most for well known brands that people search for - Boden, Next etc. You'll get a sufficient market interested in good quality well priced items from these brands and will therefore usually get a fair price to make it with the effort.

Top Tops:
  • First up, check what other similar items are on eBay already and how much they're selling for. Remember to check sold listings to see what price items actually sold for.
  • On eBay, it's all about photos so make sure you take good ones in bright light. Only sell freshly laundered or dry cleaned items and iron them before taking photos. It sounds obvious but you'd be amazed at how many people don't bother and those few minutes will make your item look more appealing and attract more interest.
  • I always take flat lay photos for eBay - items on a hanger don't look as good unless it's a very fluid fabric. Make sure to stand right over the item (use a chair if necessary!) and find a part of your house where there's a neutral floor so that all you're seeing on the photo is the item you're selling - no kids toys or random shoes. Make sure the floor is clean/hoovered!
  • Take a photo of the label of the item showing the size and/or composition. 
  • Do close ups of the sleeves/buttons.
  • Write a detailed description. How long you've had the item, condition, any faults, size, colour description. The more you write, the more the buyer engages. Suggest how to wear it, e.g. 'looks good with a breton top and jeans', 'perfect on a night out with black skinny jeans'. This allows people to visualise how they will wear the item.
  • List your items for sale in the evening - between 6pm and 10pm ideally to attract the most interest and hopefully get some last minute bidding going!
  • Be reasonable with postage prices. I hate paying for postage so I don't charge anything above what I know Royal Mail will charge me. I keep all my packaging from online orders and recycle when I can to save on envelope costs. If you don't have any envelopes to reuse, recycle a carrier bag by turning it inside out. Though not a Tesco bag. True story - I once had a well known and quite high end blogger send me one of her preloved coats wrapped in 2 old Tesco bags. The parcel arrived looking pretty dishevelled and miserable - definitely spoiled the transaction for me and I never really loved the coat for it.
To make eBay super easy, use the app on your phone. It will automatically populate lots of the fields for you if you chose to copy a similar item already on the site. It will also lift your photos easily off your camera roll. 

2. Tictail
Tictail is more like an online shop in that you create your own space with a dedicated template and URL but you also get access to all users of the Tictail website who may find your item on a search. However, the audience on Tictail is substantially lower than eBay and you pay an extra fee to Tictail if someone finds your item via their search, rather than via your dedicated URL. For that reason, Tictail is a good option if you have an audience of your own - either a following on social media or a blog but not if you don't. 

The benefits include a slick packing slip to post with every item and the ability to easily send order progress messages to your customers - much like an online business.

As per eBay, use the Tictail app to add items to your shop - it's much faster and easier.
3. Consignment
Wherever you live, search out your local consignment shop. If nothing else, it's a great place to shop for amazing one off pieces at a fraction of full price. But if you have good quality recent items, you may be able to hand it all over in one go to this local shop and get some cash in your hand when it sells.

Must consignment stores work on a 50/50 split of the proceeds but the benefit of using them is that the item will generally sell for more in the first place and you've no fees to pay, packaging to buy or trips to the post office. So the difference in what you walk away with might not be that much less than selling online and sometimes may be more. Additionally you've no hassle from buyers, no returns and no time spent adding items online and monitoring/answering questions. 

The downside is that if the items don't sell, you get them back! Additionally, if you don't keep in touch with the shop, you might miss the cut off time and your item could get donated to charity. Make sure you find out the policy in your local store and add a reminder on your phone for the time limit for your item to sell.

4. Clothes Swap
A great way  to offload clothing you're no longer wearing is a clothes swap - not selling them per se, though I've attended a few clothes swaps where there's a sale table too.

I organised my first clothes swap myself in my home. I invited about 10 friends to the house and placed a rail in the hallway where everyone hung their stuff on arrival. After a glass of wine (and a bit of re-arrangement of the front room), we descended on the rails and helped ourselves. It was so much fun and everyone went away with something they loved. It was a really good night for catching up too and anything that was left was donated to the local charity shop - a real win/win. I've a VERY old blog post on this link about my night...cringe alert but it's got a bit more detail on how to run one yourself.

5. Charity
If all else fails, just bring what you're not wearing to your local charity shop. I worked in a Cancer Research shop in Belfast a few years back and all good items sold fast for a fair price, generating much needed funds for an amazing charity. Staff in the shop won't take your items - a common concern of people leaving higher quality items into the shop where I worked. We had to buy anything we wanted at the same price that customers would pay. Any items we couldn't sell were passed onto other charities who might have more success selling them and anything that wasn't saleable was recycled. Nothing went to waste!

The benefit for you is that you instantly clear out space in your wardrobe and remove any guilt you   are carrying for not wearing something. Add that to that warm fuzzy feeling you get knowing you're helping a charity as well as giving someone else the chance to pick up a fab piece from your wardrobe that you no longer wear.

No excuses - pack a bag this week and make some space for the winter woolies!

Do fire any other FAQ requests to me....I've a 'how to start a blog' post in the pipeline...number 2 in my most asked questions! 

Hope you're having a great week...

Ax
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4 comments

  1. Worth mentioning that clothes not fit to sell can be bagged by the charity and sold by weight to the rag man. So the clothes that are even too far gone for gardening can still help! Do the charity a favour by bagging the 'rags' together and letting them know when you drop them off.

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    1. That's a great point - thanks Victoria....and yes, I opened many a bag full of items only fit for ragging and it would have been SO helpful to have had a label on it, Avril x

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  2. how the other half live! When my clothes are not fit to sell, or give to charity, yours truly still has to keep wearing them whether I like them or not. My total annual budget on clothes has been around 100.00 for the last 20 yrs while I bring children up and now put through Uni.

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    1. What an amazing mum you are - I hope your kids appreciate all your hard work and sacrifice. Hopefully once they're all away and working, you'll be able to treat yourself now and again, Avril x

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I love reading your comments and will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question. If for any reason, you are unable to leave a comment, just drop me an email at avril@alifetostyle.com or leave a comment on the A Life to Style Facebook Page! Thank you xx

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