You know that old sweater you used to love? The one that still looks great, but just isn’t you anymore? You could let it sit in the back of your closet gathering dust, or you could give it (and your budget) a new life by selling it to someone else!
Let’s face it — whether living in a cramped dorm room, in a modest apartment or at home with your folks, most collegiettes have a thing or two they’d like to purge, and they’d also like to make some money doing it. But selling your things can be frustrating. Online venues like craigslist are popular but sometimes sketchy, and you probably aren’t selling enough items to host a full-blown garage sale. That’s why we’re here to fill you in on some other ways to sell your things, as recommended by deal-seeking collegiettes like you!
One great way to sell your things is to look up consignment stores (businesses that buy and sell secondhand clothing and other items) in your area. Becoming a seller at most consignment stores is pretty simple: Bring all the items you’d like sell to the store in person, and then an employee will look through your items and decide which pieces the store will purchase and for how much. It’s important to get a feel for the kind of items each consignment store generally buys and sells, otherwise you might leave with handfuls of unwanted stuff and empty pockets.
1. Plato’s Closet
With locations in the United States and Canada, Plato’s Closet is a popular choice among collegiettes who want to sell their pre-loved clothing and accessories.
Alyssa Opdyke, a junior at Fordham University, recommends Plato’s Closet but warns that the store can be picky. “Clothes … have to be super trendy usually, or they won't even take them,” Alyssa says. “But you can get decent money if you have good stuff.”
Specifically, Plato’s Closet asks for current, name-brand fashion pieces that have been gently used, so don’t bother taking a blouse here that you’ve been hoarding for the past few years. If you think your closet has what it takes, then give it a shot! You could walk away with some quick cash.
2. Buffalo Exchange
Take your gently used current and vintage styles to Buffalo Exchange, another consignment store that works a lot like Plato’s Closet. Buffalo Exchange takes retro styles, not just the latest fashions like Plato’s Closet does, but they do ask for quality clothing and accessories in great shape. They also ask that you call your local store ahead of time to see what they’re looking to buy. Although Buffalo Exchange can be a bit picky as well, you can make a great sale if you know what the store is looking for. Plus, Buffalo Exchange donates five cents to a charity of the customer’s choice for every bag refused by the customer, so you can become part of a worthy cause.
Hannah Rupp, thrifter and fashion blogger at An Old Story, a secondhand-style blog, says that ideally she sells at consignment stores like Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange as well as independent local sellers before heading online.
“You get to talk to a real person, know where your stuff is going, and, in most cases, you get payout on the spot,” Rupp says. “It’s a great option for someone who doesn’t have time to wait around on the Internet!”
3. Half Price Books
Don’t think that consignment stores only buy clothing and accessories. Some stores, like Half Price Books, buy pre-loved books, movies, music and other tech. Selling to Half Price Books works just like selling to other consignment stores: Show up at a store with your items, and the staff will make you a cash offer depending on the condition of and demand for the stuff you’re trying to sell. Plus, they donate thousands of books to nonprofits each year!
Websites and apps
You’re always hearing about craigslist and eBay, but there are so many more websites and apps dedicated to helping you sell your secondhand treasures. These venues make selling convenient (you can do it from home!) and virtually hassle-free.
Poshmark is a fabulous virtual alternative to a traditional consignment store if you’re looking to sell gently used clothing, shoes and accessories. This app, available for free for Apple and Android phones, lets you create an account, post items you’d like to sell and engage with buyers.
Although the app takes 20 percent commission from any sale of $15 or more and a flat fee of $2.95 from smaller sales, Poshmark sends you a prepaid shipping label whenever you sell an item, taking a lot of pain out of the shipping process.
Lindsay Wallman, a senior at The College of New Jersey, swears by Poshmark. “[It] is an awesome app that is 100 percent trustworthy and is perfect for selling your extra clothes, shoes and accessories,” she says. “I have had a great deal of success with it and have even found some awesome items for myself!”
Melissa Tierney, fashion blogger at MissyOnMadison.com and deal-seeker, says that she particularly likes Poshmark for its unique interactive features.
“Rather than eBay, where you are just buying and selling items, Poshmark has 'parties' daily that have specially curated style picks from users 'closets' based on the theme of that party,” Tierney says. “For example, a month ago I was asked to host a 'Fall Forward' party on the app, so I went around for two hours and shared fall pieces from my closet as well as fellow Poshers’, and usually that leads to sales because those pieces grab users’ attention!”
With its easy-to-use interface and fashionable community, it’s not hard to see how selling for Poshmark can feel like a fun game!
Twice is another website and app where you can sell your pre-loved clothes and accessories. Twice works like a long-distance consignment store: You send all the clothes you want to sell to them, and they give you an offer for the entire package, which you can choose to accept or reject.
But get this — Twice covers the shipping for you in one of two ways. You can print out your prepaid shipping label (think Poshmark), or you can request a free selling kit that will arrive at your address in under a week complete with a prepaid shipping label. Plus, if your package gets lost in transit, it’s insured for up to $100.
After you ship your package, Twice will make you an offer within the one week. Then, you can choose regular payment (check, PayPal or Venmo) or store credit. If you reject the offer, you owe Twice $4.95 to cover shipping your package back.
Rupp has had some serious success with Twice. “[It was] easy to use, paid for shipping both ways (and included a free mailing bag for my clothes!) and only took about two to four weeks to get a payout,” she says.
Twice is looking for stain-free, current items (less than five years old) from top brands. Send over clothes from brands like Gap, American Eagle and J.Crew, but don’t bother with anything from Forever 21 or H&M. If you have top-notch clothes in great condition, Twice is perfect fit for you.
Gazelle buys used smartphones, tablets, iPods, computers and more. The site gives you a free offer taking into account the type of device and its condition. For example, an iPhone 5 in good condition (with no significant cracks but not brand new) can earn you around $150 depending on its storage capacity and carrier.
Unlike Poshmark, Gazelle sellers don’t directly interact with their customers. An online community isn’t right for everyone, so if you’re looking for just a quick sale, Gazelle could be the venue for you.
“It is easy, gives you a fair price and allows you not to have to interact directly with a buyer like eBay or craigslist does,” says Kathryn Balben, a first-year at the University of Virginia who has had success selling her MacBook and iPhone with Gazelle.
Gazelle also covers shipping for items valued at over $1 and pays out relatively quickly after the team inspects your gadget: from three to five business days for an online payment through PayPal or up to 10 business days for a mailed check.
When you’re thinking of selling your things, don’t take for granted the community you interact with every day. If you’ve got a decent online following already, then you might not need to look any further than your favorite social networking sites.
If you’re active on Facebook, you probably belong to a few groups. These can be great tools for selling, especially groups for college students. Universities often have “Free and for Sale” or “Exchange” Facebook groups where you can buy and sell items from your classmates. This is a super convenient way to sell all kinds of things because you can easily meet up with your buyer on campus and you’re typically not limited to what you can sell.
But what if you college doesn’t have “Free and for Sale” group? No worries — you can always post on a common interest group (think clubs and organizations) or even your class group (for example, “Vanderbilt Class of 2015”).
Many collegiettes recommend selling on Facebook pages, including Georgia College junior Emily Ward. “[On Georgia College’s page] people post pictures and usually have really great luck,” Emily says. “You can buy anything from a rug to Lilly Pulitzer shorts to a taxidermy animal!”
This is an especially great option if you’re selling concert tickets, textbooks or anything else you know your peers will love.
If you don’t want to limit your customer base to just university students, you might want to try selling on Instagram. Post a picture and description of what you’d like to sell on your Instagram account and collect payments via PayPal. You can find more detailed instructions here.
If you use Instagram to sell items, be cautious. Make sure that you secure your payment before shipping your items, and don’t agree to meet anyone outside of a public space.
Social media, shopping apps and consignment stores have made it easier than ever to make some fast cash off of your used items. The options listed above are just a few of the many fantastic ways you can sell your things, so don’t settle for craigslist and eBay just because they get the most hype!
What could be better than getting rid of the clutter and making money doing it? Dust off that old sweater (or iPod, or textbook) and start selling! And, hey, odds are you’ll find a bargain purchase or two along the way.