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That Time I Tried to Resell My Clothes

Ugh, we’ve all been there.

A very cool and hard-to-please buyer at Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn.
Photo: Comedy Central

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Last week, Jaya Saxena told us about trying to resell some unwanted clothes to a thrift store, only to have nearly all of them rejected — a universal story that shouldn’t feel as embarrassing as it so often does. So we asked you all to tell us your tales, either about trying (and failing) to sell some used clothing, or, if you've somehow mastered the elusive resale exchange, to please, for the love of god, tell us how to walk away with a handful of cash. Here's what you said:

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I once tried to sell three bags of clothing to Buffalo Exchange only to have it rejected. My ever-so-much-cooler friend asked if she could try for me. She brought the same three bags in about a week later and sold about two bags of my clothes. From then on, she sold my clothing for me. —Kay

I am a senior, which DOES NOT mean I don’t have “style.” In fact I have so much of it, I try to (occasionally) go through my closets and reduce the number of items so I can go out and buy more. I piled two bags of these items, which included shirts, blouses, jeans, etc. into two large bags and carted them off to the local “vintage” resale shop, where I’d seen many people (granted, they were young) walk off with cash. What an embarrassing situation for me: Somehow, my clothes, which I thought were definitely going to fit in with this store’s motif, were all rejected, out of hand and very quickly. I felt like a fool. I still have no idea why: I guess it’s a case of one man’s treasures are seen by others as “junk.” Sigh. —Ruth

Every place has different standards and age groups they appeal to.

After some hiccups, now before I sell something, I just go there first and ask: what brands do you sell, what types of clothes do you sell, what season are you taking right now? I just ask what sells best for them, then I know what to bring.

Resale is a business, and they will buy what sells for their clients. Don't take it personally! —Feoshia

Nugget of wisdom: I have gotten a check from a resale store every month for most of my adult life. Not a big check, but something. Buy less, but buy better quality clothing and you will not suffer the embarrassment if you try to resell it.

I have been successfully reselling since college, but I am aware of what has or does not have value.

Price and quality aren’t always the same... but you do need a bit of knowledge. “Fast” fashion is exactly that... poor quality, of-the-moment clothing. It serves a purpose... but it is not going to reimburse you.

I would suggest that almost as important as “brands” would be cleaning your closet in a timely fashion. Twice a year is great. Remember, reselling and “vintage” are two different things.

Another tip: Presentation! Hanging or neatly folding the clothes you want to resell makes a big difference. A shopping bag of balled-up clothing, no matter the quality, is an instant turn-off. —Lissa-Debra

That article was exactly my story, except it was Day 3 of retirement. I hauled two big shopping bags six or so blocks, suffered while two guys held up each piece of my formerly reasonably impressive work wardrobe. I walked out with most of the stuff and $18 for the only thing they wanted, an ugly Christmas sweater! —Joan

I used to try and sell my unwanted clothing at Plato’s Closet. I felt much like you in that they were laughing on the inside at everything I presented to them. Then they wanted to give me basically a few bucks for maybe a couple of pieces and then suggested I take the rest to Goodwill (conveniently in the same parking lot/shopping center).

Then I finally discovered Poshmark. It’s taken a while, but I've now earned $622 over the course of about three years and am considered a “top 10% seller.” So I’m not making a ton of money, but it’s stuff that would otherwise just be sitting in my closet or be a donation. —Becky

*These responses have been condensed and edited for clarity.