Declutter Your Closet and Make Money: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Clothes Online in 2023

Selling unused or gently worn clothing is a great way to declutter your closet while earning some extra cash. The clothing resale market has exploded in recent years, expected to reach $82 billion in 2028 according to ThredUp‘s 2022 Resale Report. With the rise of online resale platforms and mobile apps, selling clothes online has never been easier.

As a small business consultant who has helped dozens of entrepreneurs successfully sell clothing online, I‘ve seen firsthand how lucrative and rewarding it can be to convert clutter into cash. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share my best tips, drawing from my experience advising clients on choosing sales channels, creating compelling listings, pricing for profit, shipping items, and avoiding headaches.

Whether you‘re looking to sell high-end designer pieces or declutter your daily wardrobe, this guide will explore the pros and cons of the top 15 recommended apps and online marketplaces to match your specific needs and target audience. You‘ll also find actionable advice to create listings that sell, ship items professionally, and ultimately turn your closet into a revenue stream.

Choosing the Right Sales Channel for Your Clothing

With so many options for selling clothes online, it‘s important to select the right marketplace for your specific needs and target audience.

The resale market can be divided into several key segments:

  • Peer-to-peer marketplaces like Poshmark, Mercari, and Depop that allow anyone to sell clothing directly to other users. These are best for everyday, mall brand clothing.
  • Consignment marketplaces like ThredUp and TheRealReal that sell clothing on your behalf for a cut of the profit. Ideal for high-end luxury items.
  • Niche marketplaces like Kidizen, Grailed, Etsy that cater to specific categories such as kids, menswear, or handmade items. Perfect for specialized pieces.
  • Local marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for selling locally. Provides convenience of local pickup.

Make sure to choose an app or platform that aligns with the type of clothing you plan to sell. This ensures you match with the right buyers looking for those styles and brands.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Sales Channel

  • Target audience – Consider gender, age, income level, location, and interests of potential buyers.
  • Fees – Platforms charge varying fees so factor costs into projected profits. Read fee structures closely.
  • Ease of use – Pick a user-friendly platform that makes listing and selling straightforward. Check reviews.
  • Exposure – Larger marketplaces offer more visibility. Niche sites target specific demographics.
  • Authenticity – Some platforms authenticate items and handle shipping. Ideal for high-end goods.
  • Seller protections – Review purchase protection, fraud prevention, holding periods for payments.

Here are my top recommended platforms along with their key pros and cons:

1. Poshmark

With over 80 million users, Poshmark is one of the largest peer-to-peer marketplaces. It skews female with a heavy focus on women‘s fast fashion, mall brands, and accessories.

Pros

  • Large active user base in target demographic
  • Fun shopping experience with parties and events
  • Simple selling process with self-provided shipping label

Cons

  • 20% commission fee on sales over $15
  • Light seller protections compared to consignment platforms
  • Caters heavily toward women‘s clothing – less ideal for menswear

2. ThredUp

ThredUp is my top choice for a hands-off consignment approach. Simply send in a Clean Out Kit with your clothing and they‘ll photograph, list, sell and ship on your behalf.

Pros

  • Convenient hassle-free process with free prepaid shipping kit
  • Larger payout than P2P sites – they price competitively
  • Eco-friendly option to recycle clothing that doesn‘t sell

Cons

  • Processing fees deducted from earnings
  • No control over pricing or listings
  • Payouts can take 30-60 days after sale

3. Kidizen

For parents looking to sell gently used children‘s clothing, Kidizen is the leading mobile marketplace.

Pros

  • Target audience of moms seeking quality kids‘ clothes
  • Seamless experience with buyer protections
  • Local meetup and delivery options

Cons

  • Commission up to 20%
  • Limited exclusively to children‘s categories

4. Grailed

Catering to high-end menswear, Grailed is my top choice for male sellers with designer, vintage, or streetwear pieces.

Pros

  • Built specifically for men selling men‘s categories
  • Lower 8% commission capped at $75 per order
  • Verified sellers build reputation

Cons

  • Smaller niche audience than mass marketplaces
  • Less protections than consignment platforms

5. eBay

As one of the largest online marketplaces, eBay offers an enormous reach for clothing sellers. Expect lower prices for mall brands and higher prices for niche pieces.

Pros

  • Massive existing buyer base across demographics
  • Advanced seller tools and analytics
  • Option for auction-style competitive listings

Cons

  • Higher fees than other apps – up to 14%
  • Steep learning curve for new sellers

6. Local Facebook Groups

For simple local sales, Facebook Buy/Sell groups within your neighborhood or city allow you to avoid shipping.

Pros

  • Post for free directly to your local network
  • Arrange porch pickups or meetups
  • Cash payment upon delivery

Cons

  • Have to vet and negotiate with buyers
  • No protections or recourse

Crafting Listings That Convert Browsers Into Buyers

Creating effective listings is pivotal to selling your clothes online. Follow these tips to convert passive browsers into active buyers:

Compelling Photography

Great photos make all the difference. Use these photography tips for clothing:

  • Use clean, solid color backgrounds to avoid distractions
  • Incorporate natural lighting and avoid harsh camera flash
  • Capture multiple angles including front, back, detail shots
  • Model the clothing on yourself or a mannequin to demonstrate fit
  • Include close-ups of any fabric details, embroidery, buttons, etc
  • Edit images to optimize brightness, contrast, and quality

Detailed Descriptions

The more details the better. For descriptions highlight:

  • Fabric content, stretch, and feel (cotton, denim, knit, woven, etc)
  • Size and measurements if not standard sizing
  • Brand name and any distinctive labels
  • Color with any variations, prints or patterns
  • Condition including any flaws clearly described upfront
  • Style, silhouette, and fit (oversized, bodycon, babydoll, etc)
  • Era if vintage or retro item

Optimized Titles

Lead titles with important keywords buyers are searching for:

  • Brand name first
  • Style category second (t-shirt, gown, button down, etc)
  • Color, print, or pattern details (red gingham, leopard print)

Market-Based Pricing

Price competitively based on market data:

  • Research current and sold listings for comparable items
  • Consider original retailed price and discount based on condition
  • Higher price allows room to negotiate
  • Price higher with Best Offer option

Keyword Optimization

Strategically tag and describe listings to get discovered:

  • Include popular search terms in titles and descriptions based on analytics
  • Categorize listings carefully (size, style, brand, condition)
  • Add local pickup tags if selling locally

Promote New Listings

Get added exposure for new listings by:

  • Sharing across your social channels
  • Participating in relevant Facebook selling groups
  • Utilizing promotion features within selling platform

Shipping Sold Items Professionally

Follow these tips to ship sold clothing efficiently and affordably:

  • Source free shipping supplies like boxes and bubble wrap from USPS
  • Carefully fold, wrap and package clothes to prevent damage
  • Compare shipping rates across carriers – First Class is the most economical
  • Buy shipping labels online for convenience and discounts
  • Send tracking info and add insurance for expensive items

For bulk shipments:

  • Schedule USPS pickups from your home to avoid trips to the post office
  • Explore third party aggregation services like PirateShip for big volumes
  • Pass along discounts on shipping supplies when purchased in bulk

Turn Your Closet Into Cash

Selling pre-loved clothing and accessories is easier and more profitable than ever thanks to the wide range of online sales channels available. Clothing resale grew 15 times faster than apparel retail overall in 2021. With smart preparation and attractive listings, you can effectively declutter your closet while earning hundreds to thousands in extra income per month.

Choose the right sales platform for your specific clothing categories and target buyers. Develop excellent photography and descriptions that convert. Research optimal pricing based on current market data. And ship items promptly and professionally. Use this guide as a resource to start selling smart. Happy decluttering and profitable selling!