If I said to you that you could make money from clothing and clean closets for cash, would you think you already knew what I was going to say after that? For instance, would you think I was about to tell you how to sell unwanted items? Maybe you think I am leading up to a detailed explanation about yard sales and other DIY methods of selling unused clothing? Well, you’d be both right and wrong.
In this article, I want to look at ways you can spring clean closets for cash, make money from clothing and accessories, and even how to sell unwanted items. Yet, I’ll be considering options that you may not have considered yourself before. To cut to the chase, we’ll look at:
- Emptying closet, attic, garage and other storage spaces where you keep clothing and wearable and converting those spaces into money earning storage space
- Taking discards and donating them, but not without also making a habit of exploring the donation and charity sites for “opportunities” (Don’t worry, I’ll outline that below)
- Selling clothing that has been “styled” to get highest prices and even create a legit side gig
Okay, so let’s begin at point one – beginning to clean closets for cash paid to you are rental space.
Monetize Your Newly Emptied Closets
In my article Super Monetize Your Home and Office , I looked at the many ways you can use your property for passive income. That included everything from creating a home office and leasing or renting parking spaces to also renting out unused storage.
I looked at the ways that websites and apps like Spacer, Stowit.com, Spacefinity and SimplyStow allow the non-hoarders among us to start to earn income by offering up closets, attics, garages and other secure, dry and clean areas of the home for discount storage spaces. These sites tout their spaces as the more affordable alternative to traditional rental storage units and some even work as a peer to peer program (cutting out greedy middlemen).
The apps might just connect someone with a dozen or so boxes in need of long or short term storage with the person who owns the empty closet ideal for them. Using the apps does come with some privileges – such as insurance on items worth up to $5k. If you also have larger spaces, you can make a lot more. For instance, if you have kept seasonal garments in an empty garage bay, you could make a lot of cash by allowing someone to store a boat, or other vehicle.
So, before we even start to consider how to sell unwanted items and make money from clothing you no longer wear or want, you’ll need to sort through it all and empty closet space. It is pretty liberating for most of us to start to narrow down our belongings in this way. But if you struggle, just use the classic model applied by many who are going through all of their belongings and create piles, boxes or bags labeled:
When you clean closets for cash, this simple four-prong approach is going to be the most effective. Yet, I always advise people who want to learn how to sell unwanted items to do it twice. What I mean is this – go through everything once and put them in the piles you feel they belong.
Then, do it again. Are you really going to wear everything tucked into the keep pile? Maybe you’ll make money from clothing that you have a sentimental hold on but which you won’t ever really wear? A lot of us fall into that category. In fact, when we clean closets for cash we might end up making a lot less because we hold on to garments for flawed reasons:
- I want this because it will force me to lose weight and get back down to that size
- I will keep this because I might find an event to wear it to
- I want this because everything comes back into fashion
- I want this because someone special gave it to me
If you are sincere in your desire to learn how to sell unwanted items for the most money, you’ll need to apply that now famous Kondo approach. She is the creator of the famous KonMari de-cluttering technique and say that is something does not serve a purpose or bring joy, it should not be kept.
Now, you might say, “Hold on, if I can squeeze into those skinny jeans again it will bring me joy” or “This old moth eaten scarf was given to me by my friend, and I feel happy looking at it”. Those are not good arguments for keeping clothing or accessories you do not wear. Instead, find a new pair of favorite jeans and use the money you make selling old clothing to buy them. That scarf might be turned into something more useful such as a small pillow you keep on your bed or if it is made of yarn, unwoven and knit or crocheted into something useful.
Don’t rationalize holding on to anything if it means making life changes to keep! If you want to make money from clothing, then make money from it by opting to sell it or donate it.
And how can you make money by giving something away, well, that’s the next part of the system.
Make Money from Clothing When You Give Clothing Away
Where do you give away clothing? In my area, I often head to the GoodWill donation center, but we have several other charity shops where I find wonderful treasures whenever I visit.
So, what I suggest you do if you are eager to empty your closets for cash and make money from clothing, is to always pay a visit inside whenever you give away garments or other goods. Go in with a strategy though, and by that I mean, go in with a few “visions” in mind.
Your visions should include looking for affordable items you can use to accessorize and doll up the items you are hoping to sell for top dollar. You see, when you sell online, it is not only about having what it is that someone wants, and at a price they want, but that you market the goods well too.
If you look on eBay and see the people reselling everything from antique plates to collectibles, you’ll see that the people who take the time to photograph the goods nicely, using good lighting, props and esthetics, also ask the highest amounts (and get them).
You should be doing the same because it also enables you to do another thing – upsell. This is a technique in which you sell whatever it is you aim to sell, but pair it with something equally appealing. It works in almost every imaginable industry, and particularly with clothing.
Here’s an example: Go to your favorite online clothing retailer. Chances are they have some outfits you like. Now, they may just sell a top or bottom depicted in an image, but it is also likely that they give you links or explanations of the other pieces available and shown in the image. That is a simple upsell. It also happens at checkout or when you add something to an online bag.
If you want to achieve something similar, just keep a few of the pieces you have in your mind’s eye and look for discounted items in good condition to market with them – consider the upsell.
As an illustration of this, I had a great pair of boots that I wanted to sell, and they would have gone okay on their own. However, I also found a good pair of skinny jeans and a belt that coordinated for about $9 total at the local charity store. I also had a pair of boot toppers and photographed them together for the images used to market the boots.
I put links to “jeans” and “belt” in the description, and sold the belt for $15 along with the boots. The jeans got a lot of mileage and sold with a top a few weeks later. The point is, for minimal investment, you can empty the closet, give away what you don’t want and probably find low priced items that can be upsold at a profit with the other items.
So, you empty the closet, give away what won’t sell or be worn, and use charity sites to scout out some nice add-ons that boost the look and value of your online listings. And just where do you sell? My favorite sites for listing my best garments for sale include:
Each is a bit different and has different terms, but they are home to lots of fashionistas and others looking to always update their looks. They are the ideal people to go to when you are eager to clean out closets for cash and make money with unwanted clothing and accessories.
And is that where it ends? Actually, no, there is a lot more you can do to make money from clothing.
Taking It Farther
In my article Think Small Earn Big, I outlined a very simple method for making income through clothing. It was not just a single method, though, but involved taking my outdated or unworn garments and using resale channels online to make a profit from them. In other words, becoming a reseller as I just outlined above, but more than that. We also looked at the importance of styling things up, photographing them nicely and looking at the upsell.
In that same article, also noted that I could increase profit margins by becoming an authority in the area of fashion. I would do that by blogging about clothing, trends and style. This is in line with my affinity for affiliate marketing, in which you create content such as blogs, Pinterest boards, infographics, vlogs and videos, podcasts and even eBooks or workbooks about fashion. You then use them as platforms to direct people to your sales channels (such as your seller page at eBay or one of the fashion resale sites).
You would also be able to use affiliate relationships that would have you earning directly from sales of new garments, accessories or other fashion-related items. By writing about and emphasizing fashion, you have positioned yourself as an expert – even if all you do is take a single item you no longer wear and show how you can use add-ons to give it new life. In fact, you could easily develop an entire audience around repurposing or regenerating items taken out of the closet as you emptied it!
Yet, all of your content can also become a wonderful way to promote yourself as a “virtual stylist”. This is someone who has customers who pay them to do shopping, help them choose their wardrobes or just put together individual outfits. My favorite sites for that include Bombfell, Dia&Co, StitchFix, JustFab, Keaton Row, RueLaLa, and Trunk Club, but you don’t have to limit yourself to those and can scout around for other, similar sites.
As you can see, what might start as a spring cleaning venture meant to empty a closet or storage space could turn into a new side gig or career. You could emphasize selling garments, writing and blogging about fashion and leading people to your resale channels or even offering up professional services as a stylist. Never forget to look at affiliate options, too.
However, don’t get too far from the basis of this article – spring cleaning the closet. Just emptying space and making it available for rental could actually help you earn income. After all, you can blog about de-cluttering, look at clever ways to use space and even get referral and affiliate income in that way too! Spring is around the corner, be sure you are ready!