Marie Kondo's KonMari organization and life-changing method is all the rage right now (wait, is all the rage still all the rage? Not sure).
As an organization and decluttering aficionado, I have a copy of her book on my dust-free nightstand at the moment. Each evening after the little one drifts off to dreamland finally getting the little one to go to sleep, I get to read a page or two before dozing off myself.
For this container-store-oogler, it's deeply satisfying to know there are others like me.
Not that I can exactly put Ms. Kondo and I into the same category. That's because she's got my love of clutter-free living times a hundred. Still, we share a sisterhood.
But there's One Thing Missing from the KonMari Method…
Always with a money-cap on, one of the things that rubbed me the wrong way was the release of items as quickly as possible without the thought of getting further value out of them first.
Now, I'm all about decluttering, organizing, and running a tight ship. However, I'm also all about the Benjamins. And you better believe I expect to reap some sort of something (even if it's donating to a great cause) out of my belongings to help fund my/someone else's present and future needs.I'm all about decluttering, organizing, & running a tight ship. But, I'm also all about the Benjamins. Click To Tweet
So I decided to figure out how to extract the most amount of money from the first category that Ms. Kondo suggests you start with: clothes.
(Spoiler alert: the three pieces of clothing used for this experiment are still sitting in my closet. Well that's not exactly true. One is in my closet, and two are just hanging listlessly about on a random hook in my bathroom. You'll understand how anti-KonMari this is if you read the book).
My Experiment Inside of an Experiment
For this experiment, I actually did not use my own clothes per se.
Because it's kinda an experiment within an experiment: could I make a profit off of low-cost clothing I was able to score somewhere (so becoming a middle woman of sorts), as well as figure out a way to bank the most amount of money in the future when I finally sit down to free my life of unneeded clothing?
Before diving KonMari-first into my own wardrobe, I figured I'd find the most lucrative place to liquidate clothing and see if I could turn a profit at the same time. I wanted to get some top-notch clothing at a low-cost to use, so I started scanning the posts of a Facebook Mom selling group.
It didn't take long before I scored a brand new Ann Taylor jean jacket for $6, a beautiful White House Black Market cocktail dress for $8, and a Limited halter top for $5.
So, my total investment for some pretty nice brand-name clothing was $19 (and yes, note taken that so far I've managed to increase the size of my wardrobe, not decrease it. All in the name of conducting an experiment, I swear!).
Liquidation Idea #1: Plato's Closet
Have you ever heard of Plato's Closet? I was told about it from a friend years ago but never actually stepped foot into one. They're sort of the Play it Again Sports of the clothing world (and in fact, they are part of the same company). The idea is that you can rid yourself of gently used, brand name clothing and reap some cash in the process. Or, (sometimes and) you can shop for gently used brand name clothing.
I few weeks ago Conner and I took my three pieces of clothing into our nearest store, waited about fifteen minutes, and received the offer. I should mention this was after an unsuccessful attempt the Friday before when the wait time to receive an offer was over an hour long (fyi: you can drop off clothes and come back for them later, but only on certain days of the week. Friday is not one of those days for our store's location; I suspect there were so many people there on a Friday because they were looking to fund their weekend shenanigans).
Here's what they offered me:
- Halter top: $2.80
- Jean Jacket: $10
- Cocktail Dress: $0
I must admit…I was surprised with how low the offers were, especially since my clothing was name brand and very gently used.
Total payout would be $12.80, a $6.20 loss to me.
I thanked them for their time, picked up my bag, and took it with me (successfully leaving without taking several other pieces I had been eyeing up during the process).
Liquidation Idea #2: Donate for a Tax Deduction
Donating is wonderful in its own right. If you're looking to get a monetary bonus from it, then it becomes a win-win in a different way.Donating is wonderful in its own right. If you're looking to get a monetary bonus from it, then it becomes a win-win in a different way. Click To Tweet
First of all, you will need to be able to itemize your tax deductions in order to take this tax deduction. This means if your deductions − such as student loan interest paid, mortgage interest paid, value of donations made, etc. − do not add up to more than the standard deduction set by the IRS for your household's makeup ($6,300 for singles and married persons filing separate returns, and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly for 2016), then the standard deduction will be worth more to you and therefore donations will not add to your bottom line.
Assuming I can itemize deductions, I decided to check out the donation value my three items would fetch using ItsDeductible.com.
Here's what my donation value was:
- Strapless Shirt (the halter top): $12.00
- Jean Jacket: $30.00
- Evening Dress: $11.00
In order to find out how much money would be deducted from my taxes owed, I would then multiply the value of these donations ($53) by my estimated tax rate (this year will probably be 15%).
So the value to me in cold hard cash would be $7.95.
Hmmm…still not a profit. In fact, that would be a loss of $11.05.
Liquidation Idea #3: Sell on a Facebook Mom Group
So the problem I have with actually doing this is I don't want to resell the items I just purchased from several people back to them at a higher cost.
Because I don't want to be that person, I'm not going to actually relist these items and see what I could get for them.
Still, this option is definitely a good one, and could be the most profitable of all in terms of reaping any money for your gently used clothing.
Let me show you some examples of things that sold in this Facebook group:
- Express Women's Blouse: Sold for $15
- LuLuLemon Tank: Sold for $20
- Laura Ashley Dress: Sold for $10
Bonus: you're helping out your neighbors, just like they help you out by buying items from you.
Tips: Post seasonally. So for example, here in Houston we have the Rodeo each early March. Smart Moms waited to list their adorable cowboy and girl boots until a few weeks leading up to the rodeo and they undoubtedly got more money and more interest than if they had posted in the dead of our humid summer.
Liquidation Idea #4: Sell to ThredUp
Have you ever heard of ThredUp? It's basically an online boutique thrift store. You send away for a bag, you get the bag and fill it with all of the items you'd like a cash offer for, then you send it back. It's free shipping both ways.
If you don't like the cash offer you're given, you can pay for return assurance for a $12.99 fee. Otherwise, any items not accepted will be “recycled responsibly”.
There is an offer a payout estimator (thank goodness), and here's an estimate of what I would be offered for my three pieces:
- Halter top (best I could match to was a Limited sleeveless blouse): $0.80
- Jean Jacket (best I could match to was an Ann Taylor blazer): $7.38
- Cocktail Dress (best I could match to was a White House Black Market silk dress): $5.13
That is a payout of approximately $13.31.
And remember the three pieces I shared above to show as examples for how much you could potentially sell them for on a Facebook selling group? Here's what the payout estimator says they'd give for those same pieces:
- Express Women's Blouse: $0.95 to $1.30 (seriously)
- LuLuLemon Tank: $5.75 – $20.40
- Laura Ashley Dress: $0.85 – $1.40
Here's the thing though, while this site is awesome to purchase clothing from (like the beautiful rose-petaled tank top I purchased and wore on our anniversary date for just $6.49), you might be very disappointed with what you're offered on selling your clothing. (Pssst: I definitely recommend shopping from this site, and here's a $10 credit to get you started).
Overall, the winner depends on whether or not you're more into donating usable items to others, or whether or not you're looking to get the most amount in wardrobe liquidation. No judgment from me. In my case, it looks like my best option would be to sell my gently used, brand-name clothing on Facebook Mom Selling groups, followed up by selling them on ThredUp.
Have you ever used any of these places to sell your clothing? How did it go? Where else have you had luck selling clothing?