This is tool #33 in Stewie’s 10X Decluttering Toolbox.
tl;dr: You’ll only earn a few bucks per hour selling your clothes, and you have better things to do with your life. Don’t sacrifice having a decluttered home today for mountains of unwanted clothes and a ton of low-wage work.
Today I’ll explain why selling your clothes is a waste of time when you want to declutter your home.
So let’s assume you went through your bins, drawers, and closets and made a few enormous piles of unwanted clothes. Or maybe you have two dozen garbage bags of clothes you’re itching to ditch. Either way, you’re ready to get rid of these items for good!
But are any of these clothes worth selling? Could you earn some quick cash with minimal effort?
The short answer is: No. None of your clothes are worth selling.
If you already agree, then skip the rest of this post. Instead, watch this video of adorable puppies.
But if you believe some of your clothes must be worth selling, keep reading.
So the question is: Which clothes are worth selling?
The easiest way to answer this is with a thought experiment: Imagine I run a business selling clothes online, and I’ll hire you for $15 per hour. You ready to work for me?
Now each item sold consumes about an hour of your time. A smart employee will 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.
(Exciting, right? You’ll love having an extra job selling clothes!)
So if you can earn $15 from an item, then sell it. Otherwise, toss it into 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 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 you want to be rid of. You’re stuck with clutter. This goes against the whole point of 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.
Next, let’s walk through some common objections.
But Stewie, what about consignment stores?
By now, you can probably guess my response: Can you earn $15 an hour with consignment stores? If so, then go for it!
Personally, none of my clothes are nice enough to make it worthwhile.
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 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?
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.
But Stewie, what about a garage sale?
That’s an option. But not a great one.
Here’s why: A successful garage sale will gobble 15 hours of your time. Think about how long it takes to make signs, put signs up, price everything, put everything outside, have the actual sale, bring unsold items inside, take signs down and dispose of them.
Will you earn at least $225 ($15/hr x 15 hours) from a garage sale? Or will it be a low-wage gig on top of everything else you have to do?
Do you have the emotional energy to haggle with strangers who think $1 is way too much for a shirt with tags still on it?
Worse yet, do you really want to hoard bags and bags of unwanted clothing for months beforehand? Do you want to be stuck with all the clothes that never sell? You shouldn’t. Your home is not a storage unit for crap that other people might not even want!