This is part of my Swift Decluttering For Clothes.

One reader asked:

I have eight garbage bags full of clothes to get rid of. Many of them are name brands and still have tags on them. Is it worth selling them online?

I have some bad news: None of your clothes are worth selling. You’d be better off donating/recycling the lot of them.

Here’s why: You’ll only make a few bucks an hour selling clothes online. Think about how long it takes to take and upload good photos, write a good listing, check that the price point is competitive, answer questions from potential buyers, process transactions, and ship the item to its new owner. All of these activities add up to about an hour per listing.

So if you earn $4 per listing, you’re earning $4 per hour. Do you really want to work for such a meager wage on top of everything else you’re responsible for? (I don’t!)

Selling clothes online isn’t worth it unless you can make $15 per hour, which is $15 per listing. Toss everything that doesn’t meet this criterion in the donate/recycle pile. This is a good baseline.

But let’s go a step further. Half of the stuff you list online will never sell. So for two shirts, you’ll spend close to two hours on photos, listings, talking with potential buyers, etc. In the end, you’ll want $30 in your pocket. This means you need to list your shirts for $30 each.

How many of your shirts will realistically sell for $30? If you’re like me, the answer is a big fat zero.

This is why selling clothes online is a massive waste of time. You’ll only earn a few dollars per hour, and you wouldn’t accept a part-time gig that pays less than minimum wage.

Worse yet, you’re stuck storing clothes want to be rid of. You’re stuck with clutter. This goes against the whole point of swift decluttering!

I mean, just imagine that I’d pay you $50 to store a dozen bags of my old clothes. Would you do it? No way! So don’t sacrifice having a decluttered home today for mountains of unwanted clothes and a ton of low-wage work.

Anyway, that’s why selling clothes is a colossal waste of time.

But Stewie, what about bundling items together?

Sure, that’s an option. Bundle 10 T-shirts together and sell them for $30, right?

But who’s itching to buy this unique lot of 10 used ninja turtles T-shirts? And how will they even find this particular listing? Odds are, your bundle won’t sell. Besides, buyers are notoriously picky and have near-limitless options. In a few weeks, you’ll be trapped with loads of bundles of clothes.

To make it worthwhile, you probably need to sell bundles for $90. But who wants a $90 bundle of clothing? Seriously, this is a losing battle.

But Stewie, this name-brand shirt has tags on it. Ross sells it for $14, so surely I can be like Ross and quickly sell it for $7, right?

Not likely.

Here’s why: A typical Ross location has 29,000 square feet and has hundreds of people walk in every day. And yet, this shirt might sit on their racks for weeks or months before selling.

Can you persuade hundreds of people to view your listing every single day? Do you want this shirt cluttering your closet for months until it sells for a few bucks? Or do you want a clutter-free home today?

I know you want to sell your clothes, but you’re not a clothing store.


More Decluttering Questions:

I need a plan

Dealing with guilt

Which clothes to keep

Selling clothes

Decluttering Principles & Practices