I recently grabbed a bag of old clothes that don’t fit my daughters anymore and headed out to try to sell them at a resale shop nearby. I’d seen their sign that they buy kids’ clothes and figured it might be worth a try before delivering them straight to donation.
When I got to the store, the in Encinitas, and watched Bob Abeyta of go through them, I wished I had been more careful with what I’d put in the bag. The sweater with year-old stains on the sleeve were one thing, but what on earth was that old bra I’d meant to toss doing in there?!
Abeyta was kind, selecting only two items for cash or trade, my choice, and then offering some careful words. “We’d love to have you as a customer,” he smiled,” but can I give you some advice?”
Trying to hide my embarassment, I said I’d be grateful. “You should have the clothes looking as good as possible,” he said, “in the same condition you would want them to be if you were going to buy them right off the rack.” As obvious as this now seemed, it hadn’t been something I’d considered before rushing in.
I may have left his place almost empty handed the first time, but the tips Abeyta gave me did seem pretty valuable, so I thought I’d pass them on. Here’s what he said:
- In choosing a store to sell to, consider their pricing. If they tend to sell nice things at a discount, they may not give you very much for your higher end pieces.
- Before you go, call the store you’re considering to ask what their policies are. Do you need an appointment to sell, do they only buy on certain days? Giving them a warning you’ll be coming in will help your visit go more quickly.
- Also ask the store what season they’re buying for before choosing your clothes, it’s usually at least a couple of months ahead.
- Make sure the clothes are in good condition to start with. There should not be too much wear, frayed stitching, or other signs of age. Also, make sure they aren’t more than a couple of years old because trends do change.
- Wash any clothes that need it, being careful to specially treat stains.
- For extra tough, old stains, make a paste out of Oxyclean powder, or buy their new liquid formula, and let it sit on the stain for ten minutes or so. Then soak the load in a washer full of Oxyclean diluted in water for 24 hours before washing. Oxyclean is especially effective on old whites that have yellowed with age.
- Fold clothes right out of the dryer and neatly place them in a bag, you can even hang certain items that really need it.
- Once everything is as presentable as possible, ready to sell, as Abeyta says, you’re ready to go. You’ll always get more in trade than cash, so if there’s anything you need for your kids or others, look around while you wait.
So far I haven’t found selling clothes to be a huge windfall, but I always get too sentimental to let the super special stuff go. If you don’t have the same attachments, you may be able to make back some of what you spent initially on the clothes. If you do, remember Abeyta's words of advice and maybe go through the bag just one more time before heading out, just to check for stains, out of date styles, and—you know—old bras meant for the trash. You won’t be sorry you did. Happy selling!