Do you have a hundred hangers full of attire you no longer wear? Or maybe you’ve accepted you’ll never fit back in to your formerly favorite jeans.
Styles, sizes, and needs change, especially recently. If you’re looking to unload unwanted clothing, shoes, and accessories, or refresh your wardrobe for less, know that the secondhand clothing market has evolved significantly from the days when musty, dusty church thrift shops and Goodwill storefronts were the main options for selling off duds that were duds and hunting for hidden treasures.
The secondhand apparel market is in the middle of a growth spurt. In 2019, it generated $28 billion in revenue; by 2024, it’s predicted to hit $64 billion, according to thredUP and GlobalData’s “2020 Resale Report.” Now it’s not only cool and eco-friendly to buy previously owned clothing, but you can also earn a bit of cash by unloading your gently used apparel via brick-and-mortar shops, easy-to-use apps, or online consignment stores.
Major retailers have joined the movement. Patagonia has a “Worn Wear” program that buys back your old stuff, cleans and refurbishes it, and resells it at a fraction of what you paid. Boutique athletic apparel giant Lululemon has launched a pilot program called “Like New”—shoppers in select areas can trade gently used Lululemon items for gift cards; the retailer will sell traded-in products in stores and online. Clothing reseller thredUP.com has partnered with Macy’s to create secondhand sections in select locations. Several other companies, including Nike and Levi’s, have launched similar re-commerce programs.
Even though the secondhand market is hot and getting hotter, let’s keep it real: You probably won’t make a bundle selling your old sweaters and silk frocks, even if you’re a designer-fiend clotheshorse. Like most consumer goods—cars, jewelry, electronics, etc.—apparel and accessories rarely hold their value. But you can make money, and it’s better to earn even a small amount of cash than to have unwanted items clogging your closet.
Ready to sell your past fashions? Here’s how to get the most for your stuff, your time, and your effort.
For more advice and help on selling or shuttling your clutter, check out our sections on how to get rid of your unwanted stuff and estate sales.