7 Reasons I Don’t Sell Our Clothes

posted by Andrea | 04/18/2016
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sell clothes

Due to my frugal nature, my love of buying and selling on Craigslist, and the fact that I purge regularly, I’m often asked how and where I sell my clothing and our kid’s clothing.

My short answer: I don’t sell it.

Of course, that generates many more questions — like Why not? What do you do with the clothes? etc.

I don’t have a short answer for those questions — but I do have 7 reasons why I currently choose to donate all our clothing instead of trying to sell it.

1. I want it out of our house ASAP!

First and foremost, the top reason I have chosen not to sell any of our clothing is because I want it out of my house ASAP.

I have sold hundreds of items on Craigslist and made thousands of dollars — so I know exactly how much time and effort that whole process takes. It’s not bad when I’m selling $50 or $200 furniture pieces — but in my opinion, it’s not worth it when I’m selling $1 clothing items.

I don’t want to take pictures of every item, describe every item, post every item, answer emails and questions about every item, and deal with no-shows who say they are interested but then flake at the last minute — all to make $1 or $5 or even $20.

I also have no interest in pricing every single item or tagging it for a second hand sale.

And the consignment stores I know of in our area are quite far away and VERY picky about what they take — so it’s not worth the drive for me.

I’d rather bag up what we have and drop it off at the local donation center that’s just down the road. We go past it EVERY Monday morning so it’s extremely simple and convenient to drop off a bag (or 10) when we drive past.

2. We don’t have a good location for a garage sale.

Aside from the fact that I don’t think I’m capable of hanging onto enough stuff to actually have a decent garage sale, our house is set back off the road and our garage is behind our house — you can’t even see it from the road.

We also live on a fairly busy road with no on-street parking — so, like I said, not an ideal location for a garage sale.

3. Our clothes are almost all used to begin with.

As I mentioned last week, we buy almost all our clothing used (or accept free used clothing from friends and family).

The number of brand new items I have purchased my children is VERY small… in fact, the number clothing items I have actually PURCHASED (new or used) is relatively low, considering I have 3 children.

We have been fortunate to borrow LOTS of clothing from friends and relatives, and we’ve gotten some great hand-me-downs as well.  Plus, most of the used clothing I get for our kids is from ThredUp (using referral credit I’ve accumulated over the years).

So, considering almost all our clothing is used — and most of it is free or extremely cheap, I really don’t feel like I need to “get my money back” by selling it when we’re finished with it.

Even for myself, I’ve purchased so much from ThredUp (and Twice when it was still available) that I really don’t feel the need to sell anything. I’d rather just donate it and pass the deal along to someone else.

4. We don’t take particularly awesome care of our clothes.

Now, I don’t want you to think we are needlessly rough on our clothing or picture my kids ripping their clothes to shreds. However, I will be the first to admit that I am NOT careful when I do the laundry and I’m NOT concerned about what my kids wear outside to play.

While we do have a couple nice “church outfits”, my kids don’t really have “play clothes”. They can wear whatever they want, wherever they want and (for the most part) I truly don’t care.

If it gets dirty, we wash it with Oxiclean. If the stains don’t come out, we wear it with stains.

If Nora’s leggings get a hole in the knee, we cut them off and wear them as shorts under skirts until they are too small. If the boys’ pants get a hole or a really bad rip, we just toss them.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t sort colors, I don’t pre-treat stains, I don’t scrub, and I rarely worry about fading or shrinking. I wash everything with either warm or hot water and dry it in the dryer. I don’t iron EVER.

Most consignment stores I know only want top-of-the-line items that look like they’ve never been worn… and 99% of our clothing looks worn 🙂

5. We really WEAR our clothes!

My kids don’t have tons of clothing (at least not compared to many people we know) so they frequently wear the same things over and over and OVER again.

They are totally fine with this — in fact, both Nora and Simon have very strong opinions about what they wear, and they choose to wear the same few shirts and pants ALL the time.

Since we are always wearing and washing the same things week after week, our clothes get worn out much faster — so by the time the clothes are too small, they aren’t in good enough condition to sell anyway (especially after both Simon and James are through with the boy clothes).

6. I don’t buy brand names.

I have nothing against brand-name clothing, but for the most part, I just don’t buy it. Even when I’m shopping ThredUp, I usually stick with Old Navy and Carter’s as those are the less-expensive options.

Since most of our clothing is more basic brands (Target, Meijer, Kohl’s, etc.) it’s almost impossible to resell at consignment stores or via ThredUp.

Plus, Nora hates tags, so I often cut the tags out of her shirts — which makes them really hard to sell again.

7. I just don’t care.

Maybe this sounds lazy… but I can assure you that I am NOT lazy. 

I have done a great job at finding amazing deals on almost everything for my children (used toys, books, games, outdoor items, strollers, clothing, etc.) I have also resold many of the pricier items on Craigslist and gotten much of my money back (sometimes I even MAKE money on the deal!)

However, when it comes to clothing, I just honestly don’t care about getting my money back. I have done the calculations in my head and it is nog worth the time I would spend for the amount of money I could potentially make back.

Of course, if we had nicer clothing in better condition, it might be worth my time — but since I don’t foresee that happening any time soon, I’ll continue to go the donation route!

My current system for purging my clothing is to give the castoffs to my sister who lives down the road. She can pick anything out that she likes, and then donate the rest.

As for kids clothing, we have a few friends and relatives who we give certain items and sizes to — the rest goest to the local thrift store down the road.

Oh, and since I get asked this question ALL the time, I should mention that I don’t record anything we donate for tax purposes. I used to do this, and my accountant told me it hardly made any difference on our tax refund. So it’s one less thing I feel I need to do — and a few less papers to store!

While I have certainly benefited from the many people who buy cute, brand name clothes and decide to sell them on Craigslist, via ThredUP, and at garage sales; I am happy to donate our unneeded clothing… at least at this point in my life.

My thoughts on this matter might change in future years — or maybe not!

I know there are many people who feel bad about the fact that they don’t try to “get their money back” out of their used clothing… even though they would rather just donate it.

If that sounds like you, I hope this post will alleviate some of the guilt and give you the freedom to just donate it — if that’s what you’d rather do!

If you like doing the garage sale and consignment thing — then keep doing it!

If you don’t, please just donate the items and be done with it. You won’t regret it 🙂

How do you handle your clothing cast-offs?

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37 comments

  1. Carrie

    04/24/2016

    Oh My Goodness!
    I just read this post and all I could think was “Me too!” “Yup, Me too” and “Wow! Not just me!”
    I don’t save clothes – I don’t pre-sort or pre-treat laundry (not even whites) – and our family wears mostly thrifted and hand me downs – which we donate or pass onto friends and family. Good to know I’m not alone!

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  2. Laura

    04/21/2016

    I have kept nearly all my usable kids clothes for the next in line. However, after initially alternating between girls and boys, God has blessed us with several boys in a row. With another boy on the way and my youngest daughter now 8, I’ve wondered if I should sell some of my bins of girl clothes. Not only would the money be nice but gaining the space in the storage room would be great, my daughters don’t quite want me to give up on another girl but it seems strange to hang on to these clothes indefinitely.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Laura, If it were me, I would definitely get rid of the girl clothing. Just because you are getting rid of it, doesn’t mean you are “giving up on another girl”. If another girl ever came along, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find some reasonably priced items for her — that are newer and more “in style” than all the clothing you have been saving for 8+ years.

    I’d say take the extra cash and extra storage space and worry about finding new clothing if that time comes!
    Also, congrats on the soon-to-be new baby 🙂

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  3. Katie

    04/20/2016

    Check out Kidizen- it’s a free app for buying and/or selling kids’ clothing. I love it! It’s introduced me to so many new brands and styles, I save money buying used, and I can make money to go toward those purchases (or just to have in my bank account). Shipping is really pretty simple, too. Highly recommend

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    Andrea Reply:

    Ok thanks for that tip! I’ve never heard of it before so I’ll have to check out!

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  4. Debbie

    04/19/2016

    I’m the same way with not going the route of selling our used clothing. I don’t have the patience to do a yard or garage sale and don’t have an interest in getting my money back. I figure I already got my money back during the many times I enjoyed wearing the clothes/shoes. I do, however, record what we donate because it does make a difference in our tax return. So in that sense I can say I still get some money back from them, one way or another.

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  5. Emily

    04/18/2016

    I’m with you! I attempt to sell some items at Once Upon a Child, but only if I’m going there to shop in the first place. When a child grows out of a size, I save my favorites (or some of the nicer items) for the next kid in line and donate the rest to another family. We attend a church with many large families and we can bless each other by passing things on. Plus it’s fun to see little ones running around in clothes my kids used to wear. The Lord is faithful to provide for all of our needs!

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    Andrea Reply:

    The other day, I was just thinking about how we might need a few summer things for James because he and Simon are opposite seasons for Summer and Winter — and then a neighbor gave us a little bag of shorts and cute romper outfits that should fit perfectly. I had given her a bunch of Nora’s stuff last Fall — so now we could both enjoy cleaner closets and free clothing. We’ve also joked about how I remember Nora wearing her little girl’s clothing and how she remembers seeing her boy in James’ clothes. It’s fun, and we are both benefiting! Glad you have enjoyed trading clothes with friends too!

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  6. Chris

    04/18/2016

    I saved my son’s clothing at first, for a second child, which I never was able to have. I stored it in a shed and mice got into it. So then I started giving clothing away to friends. When he got older and was more into name brand things, I did sell a few things. I do sell some of mine now but, you are right, you do not get much for them. I usually end up buying something else from the resale shop, so I don’t get the cash. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Don’t feel too bad Chris, you’re not the first person who has ended up with ruined baby clothes. I know many people who saved EVERYTHING from their babies — then they had a fire, a flood, mice, moths, etc. and everything was ruined. I’m glad you are now able to bless your friends with your son’s clothing!

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  7. Melissa

    04/18/2016

    I don’t typically sell old clothes either. Most are well loved before they are outgrown.

    We moved recently and I had been saving a lot of my daughter’s clothes for a then hypothetical future child, but I decided it was not worth hauling all of them to the new house. So after picking out a few favorites, I sold the rest off in lots on a local FB for dirt cheap. I didn’t really care about making a lot of money, but thought I could maybe make a few bucks. Since I was on a time crunch, whatever didn’t sell got donated. I sold about 75% of the clothes. There was only one flaky buyer who would take forever to respond and asked numerous questions about the dirt cheap clothes. I eventually flaked on her because I was tired of it.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes yes yes! Definieily not worth moving with too small kids clothing. I know SOOOO many people who have hung onto kids clothing hoping that it would work for another child but they don’t have the right gender or the right season etc. Glad you could sell your stuff!

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  8. Wilma

    04/18/2016

    I have three boys, but I still find clothes to purge! Anything that I think is in good condition, I take to a store called Once Upon a Child. They buy the clothes (no consignment) for a pittance, but one rubbermaid container will usually earn me about $25-$35 dollars. The rest goes straight to the charity bins. I don’t really have anyone to pass my kids’ clothes to, which is why I do this.

    I also try to have fewer clothes for my kids–less to clean, less to manage, less to store. They will wear the same pjs over and over again, so I just take them straight out of the dryer and put them on their beds. And I’ll admit that in the summer they basically wear two outfits–washed each day, worn the next day, because I’m too lazy to deal with making sure they’re wearing different things every day (I try a bit harder for school, but not too hard there, either). And in the summer, they just get so dirty that I’d rather totally ruin a couple of outfits than have all their summer clothes be slightly ruined, haha. And they don’t really care about what they wear. That said, when we go out, and for church, I try to make sure they look respectable.

    Interesting post!

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    Andrea Reply:

    I was JUST telling Dave that I think Nora could get by with only 4 outfits and just rotate them inbetween wash days! She definitely has her favorite items (the grubbiest, mismatched things too) and wears them ALLLLLLLLLLL the time!

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    Wilma Reply:

    i think four outfits plus one or two “nice” outfits would easily work–of course, i do laundry every. single. day. honestly, i do so because then the jammies and underwear and socks, towels, etc., can be mostly reused the next day and i then i don’t have to put stuff away! and i hate the idea of laundry mountain 🙂 if my kids weren’t in school, they’d be wearing the same two outfits all the time. and who cares, really. it’s just clothes. as long as they’re presentable when necessary, they can run around grubby all day long. they get so dirty from playing outside it’s basically a losing battle, anyway. summer is best, because they strip outside and sometimes i even bathe them outside in the play pool. if they weren’t so fair skinned, i’d let them run around with just shorts on all summer long 🙂

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  9. Alicia

    04/18/2016

    I have tried to sell things like this but have THE WORST luck at it. I would try to sell a whole season at a time on a local FB group and I thought it was still too much work. I would get stood up by the buyer, drive to the meeting place and be texted they were running 30 minutes late, asked to save items for 3+ weeks for someone who had agreed to buy, etc. I am just so over all the negotiations & extra time this was taking, so I now donate and just feel relieved to get them out of the house.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah… I always make the buyers come to my house to buy anything. I know some people think it’s unsafe, but I’ve never had any issues and it’s much more convenient for me. But yes, I totally know where you are coming from!

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  10. Susie

    04/18/2016

    Have you every thought about selling a bin of clothing, for example, a bin of all 9 month fall/wither boys clothes, or 4T girls summer clothes? That’s how I would LOVE to buy it on a garage sale FB group, or Craigslist.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I did actually did this once with Nora’s 0-6 month clothing. I took a picture of it in piles and then in one big tub and it sold pretty quickly. However, those were probably the cutest clothes we’ve ever had since she was my first baby and everyone bought us new stuff. Since then, we have basically transitioned into all hand-me-downs, less brand names, less quality, etc. I don’t think it would be as appealing to others 🙂

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  11. Bonnie'sMama

    04/18/2016

    Also, giving things away is a good way to keep us from being controlled by Stuff.

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  12. Bonnie'sMama

    04/18/2016

    Donating my stuff is one more way to give. My motivational spiritual gift is Giver, so I love connecting other people with resources, including stuff that I don’t need anymore.

    We don’t make a lot of money, so it feels luxurious and extravagant to give away an extra blender or dresses my daughter outgrew or dishes I never use. To me it is very freeing to quit worrying about getting back every penny for something I no longer need.

    Also, I have seen it happen over and over in my life and for others, that when we give things away, God is ALWAYS faithful to provide what we do need. I gave away some of my daughter’s outgrown clothes to a friend with a whole row of little girls. Within a few weeks, I got three packages in the mail on the same day–handmade dresses from Grandma, several outfits from ThredUp, and several outfits from a friend who has time to shop. All of it was stuff for my little girl; all of it was free. And I didn’t have to go shopping anywhere!

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    Kim Reply:

    Love this perspective! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    I LOVE your way of thinking! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  13. ShellyL

    04/18/2016

    I really needed to read this one. This is a battle I have in my head all the time. With three kids, my house is overrun with clothing of various sizes. The thing is, I do enjoy selling it and i make a little money off it. I don’t have as much time as I need to devote to it, so most stuff is just stuff I plan to sell. If only I could find some happy medium, I think that would be best for me, but right now, the clothing is winning. I am in the South, also, so a lot of ours is smocked, monogrammed, name brand, and comes with bows. 🙂 We Southern mamas do enjoy consigning and swapping those types of clothes. I’m going to read and reread this article and try to persuade myself to donate some since my dh says we are done having kids. Thanks for the reality check. 🙂

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    Heidi Reply:

    Oh the smocked clothes….they’re addictive… 🙂 I was telling somebody the other day that every Southern mama has a “monogram person”. I do limit myself with the monograms, though, since they can’t be passed on from one kid to the younger one.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Don’t beat yourself up over this Shelly! So many people have huge issues getting rid of clothing (especially kids and baby clothing). One thing to consider is that the longer you wait, the more “outdated” the clothing will be — so maybe pick out one bin’s worth of clothing to try and sell soon, and then donate the rest. Think of all the other happy moms and little girls you’ll make by donating your cute things. Not to mention all the extra time (and lack of stress) you’ll have as a result!

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  14. Katie

    04/18/2016

    One thing I have found to be beneficial recently is selling kids clothes on a local facebook trading site. I can take one picture of 10-20 items all at once and sell them as a lot, usually for $20-$25. We meet up at a public place (often the buyer ends up being someone I know at least a little bit since I live in a small town) and I don’t have to bother with shipping anything. Other than that I give the rest away.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, this would be a more time-efficient way of selling clothing — both for the seller and the buyer!

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  15. Julia

    04/18/2016

    I do the same thing you do, Andrea. I give away everything, and donate what’s left. By the time my three boys have worn clothes, they often end up as rags in my house anyway. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    I use most of Dave’s old t-shirts as rags. I cut them up into small squares and can get so many rags from one shirt!

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  16. Heidi

    04/18/2016

    I sold my girls’ everyday clothes until they started school and now it’s just not worth it. I’ve got too much other stuff to worry about whether or not they get dirty, so I give anything that’s still in decent condition to a friend. I do live in the south (where everything for little girls is smocked, monogrammed, or comes with a big bow), so I still do consign stuff like that- even though most was used to start with. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    This makes me laugh. I guess I never realized that people down south were big into smocked and monogrammed clothing — but so many have already mentioned it in this comment thread. Maybe we’re missing out up here in Michigan!

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  17. Edie

    04/18/2016

    I’m with you. I sold a mass amount of baby clothes at a consignment sell once, and while I made a lot of money, it was so time consuming hanging and tagging everything! And I’ve never had an amount worthwhile enough to try it again. We pass little girl clothes down to a cousin that’s a size or two behind my daughter, and anything else goes to a local charity thrift store. Besides, except for church and seasonal clothing, or a few things my very particular children never liked wearing, most of their things are too stained and faded anyway. Good quality clothing my husband and I no longer want gets sent straight to the thrift store, too. Purging clothing is one of the few areas of maintaining my home that I feel I have under control!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha, well at least you have the clothing thing down! Honestly, clothes are really overwhelming for so many people, so it’s great that you have a system that works well for you!

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  18. Lee Cockrum

    04/18/2016

    I donate so many things for similar reasons. It just isn’t worth my time and energy to sell it. I do keep donation receipts… My husband uses a tax program, and he says we get about 1/3 of the donation amount back, so it seems worth it to me. I do love to know that things will be used, rather than trashed, so if I think it might not have thrift store appeal, I Freecycle or offer for free on Craigs list.

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  19. Leigh

    04/18/2016

    Yes.
    Most of my kids clothes are use, or go through two kids, or both, and very very little ends up in top selling condition. My boys are seven years apart so I don’t keep most of what the older one outgrows.
    We usually hand a giant bag off to a friend with instructions to take what they want, donate the rest, and tell them it is free as long as they don’t even think about giving it back. I love seeing the clothes that were cute on my kids on friends kids.
    The best stuff (tea, mini boden) i make sure to find a special home for with a dear friend.
    Occasionally I have sold stuff on a local FB moms garage sale group. But that group does porch pick up so it was easy to deal with.
    Then donations to the group that will pick it up off the porch. And I do itemize so I enter the totals into Its Deductible to import into TurboTax.

    My fourth (one month old) is my last and I am so happy sending his outgrown stuff out the door

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    Andrea Reply:

    I know SO many people who are overjoyed to purge their last baby’s things! Also, I love the idea of a porch pickup for the Facebook sale — I’ll have to keep that in mind!

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