11 Tips For Getting Your Clothes To Sell At A Secondhand Store, According To Store Employees

When it comes to selling your clothes in secondhand shops and having your style judged, the experience can be pretty anxiety inducing. But if you follow employee tips on selling clothes at resale shops, you will be able to swap your wardrobe all while still keeping your dignity in tact.

It’s not the greatest feeling coming into the store with two giant trash bags, only to exit 30 minutes later with both bags in hand. But there’s a science to the haggle! Especially with Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, chances are you’re pretty motivated to clean up and downsize. But there are certain rules you should keep in mind if you want your tidying up to yield some extra spending money.

Even if your wardrobe is on-point, employee buyers can’t just snap up everything. If you keep hauling out just as much clothes as you brought in, then you might not be aware of just what the employees are looking for. Even if your clothes are cute and in good condition, it might not be enough for the store to snap up your pieces. We talked to resale shop employees across the U.S. to figure out just what you’re doing wrong. From bringing in stained clothes to trying to sell too many striped tops, some of the tips might surprise you. Get ready for all of that extra rent money after taking these warnings into account.

1. Your Fast-Fashion Pieces Aren’t A Draw

When you think about what might get bought at a resale store, you probably think that your Forever 21, Target, and H&M pieces will be a goldmine. They’re on-trend, people love buying them, and you thought it was cute enough to buy. But as it turns out, their resale value isn’t that high.

"Often trying to resell ‘fast fashion’ pieces is less of a deal to our customer, since it is already a deal to begin with buying new," Kelly Heintz, a buyer at L.A.’s Crossroads Trading, shares with Bustle.

2. Focus On Fancier Mall Labels

Forever 21 might not be a massive draw for an employee buyer, but the pricier mall labels are. "We are going to generally buy less of the budget fast fashion labels and more of the better mall brand items that retail for more than $60, for example," Heintz explains.

Another reason your high-end mall labels sell better is because resale stores have a lot of style duplicates. The more high-end brands sell better. "If we have ample inventory in say, long sleeve shirts, we might not buy the Zara polyester version of a desirable style, but would buy the J.Crew style of said blouse," Heintz says.

3. Your Vintage Is Cool, But Won’t Sell

Resale stores are looking for trendy pieces, and your vintage pinafore might fit into what’s stylish this season. But it still won’t sell because these shops are looking for contemporary versions.

"While we may buy some vintage Levi’s jeans in the right cut and fit, which are currently trending ‘as new’, we do not buy that amazing ’60s embroidered dress, no matter how great the condition it is," Heintz confirms.

4. Wash Your Items First

You probably have some great pieces that buyers truly want to take off of your hands. What might stop them, though, are items that are in off-putting conditions.

"Sometimes a lot of wrinkles in a great silk blouse may be a reason we pass on the item, as well as a small stain on a great white shirt," Heintz says. "Freshly laundered clothing is always best! Remember; once we buy the item from our customer it immediately makes it’s way to the sales floor so we are taking that into consideration when we buy."

5. Items With Tags Help

When you bought a dress that haven’t worn and want to resell it, don’t rip off the tag before you bring it in. According to Henitz, pieces with tags have a higher retail cost.

6. Your Budget-Blowing Items Sell The Best

Not surprisingly, your luxury goods sell the best in resale shops. Everyone wants a real leather jacket or a Chanel purse, but no one wants to pay full price. "Often the items with the highest resale value have one or more of the following: new with tags, designer labels like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Celine, or Givenchy, and desirable pieces like a leather jacket or leather handbag," Heintz says.

Don’t worry, though. You won’t get $20 for your Coach bag. "Typically we will consign these types of pieces at higher price points, and that means the customer is able to gain more payout for it. Consignment payout is 50 percent or more depending on the price!" Heintz explains.

7. Don’t Give Up With A Piece That Didn’t Sell

Just because your faux-leather jacket didn’t sell doesn’t mean it won’t bring in money. The shop you went to just might be overstocked with that particular style. "We always base our buying decisions on what our customers are currently shopping for and what we currently have on our racks. If we’re overstocked on a certain style or it’s just not selling that quickly in our store, we may hold off on it," Aarian, a buyer at Buffalo Exchange, tells Bustle. "Our inventory needs change on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, so we always encourage sellers to bring in any clothing and accessories they’re cleaning out!"

8. Don’t Worry About The Five Garbage Bags You Brought In

Sometimes it might feel like bringing in half of your closet spoils the buyer. You might think that the employee won’t buy as much because there is more to get through and they can be pickier. But that’s not the case.

"If we see an item we want to buy, we’ll buy it — regardless of whether it’s five items or 50," Aarian shares. "In my time as a buyer, I’ve gone through cleanouts that were 12 storage bins high and bought 80 percent of it. If you’ve got great stuff, we want to see it!"

9. Recycle More Often

Rather than waiting until a trend is completely over, get rid of the clothes you no longer wear, faster. That way the items will still have a high resale value. "Wear things less, trade often, revolve and evolve your closet often," Lia Finkelstein, Crossroads Trading’s Senior District Manager of Southern California, tells Bustle. "Once you try this trick, you’ll find that you’re trading items that are still in fashion versus attempting to finally sell things that you’ve been holding on to for five plus years."

10. Look For What’s Trending On Instagram

A great way to get more clothes purchased is to see what’s trending on Instagram. Say that cow print is in, and you have an old cow print mini you never thought would sell. Now it will. "The labels and styles that are all over social media, the hottest new trends and styles are what we can sell at a high price point," Emma Blue, Crossroads Trading’s store manager in Portland, OR, tells Bustle. Take a look around Instagram and see what kind of styles are in.

11. Do Some Recon

Have you ever wondered why one resale shop passes up on your floral grunge dress, but another snaps it up? It’s because shoppers purchase different things at different locations. A good way to see what one store will buy from you is to do a little recon. "I always encourage sellers to shop around my store so that they can see what we like to stock," Blue says. "My biggest tip is to shop first! See what we like, how we price items, what we don’t have. Then go through your own closet at home!"

Follow these tips and you will walk away from secondhand shops with a lot more cash in your pocket.

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