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How to Get the Most Money Selling Your Stuff Online

Five tips for getting the most cash back.

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A woman holding a purse Photo: Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

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There are a handful of great resale sites out there that make selling your no-longer-loved clothing and accessories online pretty easy. But while anyone can load up a bag of unwanted H&M tops, send it out, and hope for the best, it’s another thing to actually make money doing it. That can actually be pretty damn difficult.

But difficult does not mean impossible! The key is getting into a good system, being diligent, knowing what to send where, and staying on top of your listings. Here, reps from the top resale sites and successful consignors alike share their tips and tricks for getting the most amount of money possible.

Condition Is Key

This one’s obvious, but the condition of clothing and accessories will dramatically affect how much your items will sell for, if at all. Rati Levesque, the chief merchant at The RealReal, says this is particularly true for accessories: “It’s important to take great care of all your items, but specifically shoes and handbags, as these tend to get the most wear but can also retain a high resale value if kept in excellent condition.”

The RealReal suggests getting shoes resoled as necessary and doing a thorough check of the interior of your handbag. Unfortunately, Levesque says, “Pen marks never bode well.”

Know Where to Sell

Sending your stuff off to the right place is also super important. The easiest way to figure this out is to head to the “Sell” section on any of the sites listed here and scope out their accepted brands lists. Resale sites also often call out specific brands they’re looking for at the moment on their FAQ pages, and some even have payout calculators to help you determine how much you’ll get for a particular item or brand.

“I intentionally think about where to post certain items. I’ve had a lot of luck with Lululemon and J.Crew on Poshmark, and more luck with higher-end designer brands on Tradesy,” says Pauline, a New York City-based seller who says she’s had good luck unloading her things online.

ThredUp’s vice president of merchandising, Kathleen Weng, points out that there are certain categories that are particularly sought after. “Maternity and plus-size clothing are always in high demand,” she says, “so if you have these items in your closet, send them in!”

Note that being smart about where you sell also applies to the seasons, too. While local consignment shops will almost always prefer to get items that are in season, you have a little more leeway with online retailers that have more of a national, or even international, reach. If you’re looking to sell summer stuff in the fall and vice-versa, just make sure you’re sending your clothes to a place that will accept them.

List (and Price) It Right

“I always research the style name or number of [the items I’m selling] so that I can include this in the listing. This makes it easy for people to Google and see additional info about the item,” says Pauline. “Certain sites are very brand-focused, so I make sure the brand name is included at the very beginning of the listing.”

“Including all the details about your item in its description is key,” confirms Poshmark co-founder Tracy Sun. “You want your listing to come up in a search, so you need to have a solid description. Putting thought into your listing descriptions will increase visibility and sales.”

But what you write is only half of it; your photography matters just as much — if not more. “A beautiful cover shot makes all the difference,” says Sun. “Take time to style your images, focusing on clarity, composition, and lighting. Finding a unique aesthetic that makes your images pop is a great way to draw more shoppers to your closet.”

Sarah, a seller from D.C. who’s had notable success on sites like Poshmark, adds another tip: “If something doesn’t show its shape or fit well on a hanger, you’ve got to put it on and model it,” she says. “On lazier days I’ve tried to sell dresses and pants without pictures of me wearing them (it takes too much effort to clean up my room to get a clean mirror shot), and I almost always get comments from people asking for photos of what the item looks like on.”

She adds that being realistic about price is also particularly important. “I accept that people aren’t going to pay $40 for a $70 J. Crew sweater. They’re on Poshmark because they want to find a good deal on normal mall stuff, so if I’m selling normal mall stuff, I know I have to price it at Forever 21 prices (around $20 or $25). Still, the $18 to $20 I’d make off the sweater on the app is more than what I’d make if I brought it to my local Buffalo Exchange, so I go with it.”

And finally, “Don’t rush through the process of posting a listing,” says Sun. “Putting even just a few more minutes into your listing to make sure the lighting and composition are on point will be totally worth it. The better quality and more authentic the images are, the quicker they’ll sell.”

Use Social Media

“The key to Poshmark success,” says Sun, “is all about being social. Your items will sell more quickly when you participate by liking, commenting, sharing, and following other Poshers — just like any social platform. The more you engage, the more you sell.”

Racked’s own Tanisha Pina — who says she tends to impulse buy-trendy things and get tired of them fast — has had the most success on Depop largely because of how social the app is. “The whole vibe of Depop is really reminiscent of Instagram, from the actual interface to the use of hashtags and the fact that #clout matters,” she says. “If you have a lot of followers on your account, selling your items is almost guaranteed. I have a significant following on Tumblr, where I’ll post any new items to my shop. Whatever I post is usually sold within the next few hours.”

She adds, “If you don’t have a following willing and able to flock to your Depop account, hashtags are key — especially if you’re selling an item that’s particularly trendy and of-the-moment. Unlike on Instagram, on Depop they’re more useful than annoying or corny. With enough descriptive tags and some clear, minimal photos (put your stuff against a white wall or bedsheets!), your stuff will sell for sure.”

Think About Selling Before You’re Ready to Sell

The best habit to get into — both in general, but also if you think you might one day want to sell some of your stuff — is to treat it well from the beginning. That means laundering clothing properly, being mindful of how things are stored, cleaning up spills when they happen instead of letting them sit, weather-protecting your shoes and bags, and so on.