How to clean out your closet (and make a little cash, too)

It's really a win-win.

how to clean out your closet and sell or consign your clothes

Do you clean out your closet regularly? Have you ever tried to sell or consign your clothes? I’d never done it just because listing stuff on a place like eBay always seemed like it would be more trouble than it’s worth. Historically, I would just dump all my donation items into a big bag and drop them off at a donation center. But I recently came across the service ThredUP, which has made closet cleanouts a lot easier, and profitable. Let me explain…

In case you haven’t heard, the rumors are true: space in New York can be pretty limited, and my own closet is no exception. While I just barely have enough room to fit my things, there’s a delicate balance that has to be kept — too many more items, and the closet becomes overstuffed and I can’t find anything in it. This has been good incentive for cleaning it out regularly. But even that has had its difficulties.

When we first moved to the city and I did a massive clean out (inclusive of clothes, shoes, accessories, and Joe’s stuff too), it was enough to fill two huge trash bags, both of which were far heavier than I could carry to the nearest Goodwill or haul on the subway. I started calling around to local shelters and donation centers, but could only find one non-profit thrift shop that would come to my apartment and pick the stuff up. Convenient, except that I was put on a “pick up waiting list” and they didn’t come for another two months. Only in New York is it this difficult to donate. (Yeah, I could’ve thrown that stuff into a cab and driven it somewhere, but I didn’t. Probably out of principle due to my “annoyed with how inconvenient New York is” phase — which still comes and goes, to be honest. But that’s another post.)

So, when someone told me about ThredUP, I was really intrigued. The concept is this: you sign up and are sent a big bag, free of charge. It already comes with a shipping label attached, and you can give it to a USPS mail person or drop it off at a FedEx store. You fill it with stuff you want to get rid of, and ship it back. ThredUP processes your bag, lists the items they think will sell on their website, and you immediately are paid out on those items. It’s pretty sweet.

how to clean out your closet and sell or consign your clothes

Sometimes certain items they won’t pay you out on immediately, and instead list them on consignment. You’re able to adjust the consignment price if you wish, which I like. Other items that they don’t accept to sell on the site, they’ll either donate or recycle on your behalf, or you can pay to have them returned to you. Easy.

However, unlike dumping all your unused items in a trash bag and sending them off to Salvation Army or Goodwill, ThredUP requires a little more strategizing. You can’t send old vintage stuff from your great aunt’s closet. And jeans that have even a little fraying at the hem probably won’t be accepted. They have a list of things they’re interested (and not interested) in selling, for your reference. Their clothing quality standards are pretty high, but if you’re strategic about what you send — in that you should just think about your stuff in terms of, “Would ThredUP actually be able to sell this, and would someone buy it?” — you might be surprised by how much money they’ll pay you! And, I like that the items that don’t make the cut are donated. Out of sight, out of mind, which in this apartment is all that matters.

You can opt to have your money paid out to you via PayPal, or use it as store credit on ThredUP if you find something you want to buy. Overall, I’ve been really pleased with how easy the process was, and will definitely order another donation bag in the future. Give it a try and let me know if you do!

And, just so there’s no confusion — nope, this is not a sponsored post in any way, shape, or form. I found out about ThredUP, decided to order a cleanout bag, and liked it so much I knew I had to share with you!


Image Credits: Jenny Brandt for Lonny, March 2013  |  Patrick Cline for Lonny, August 2012


  1. 9.24.14
    Natasha said:

    Just in time for my fall clean out! It’s definitely worth trying out!

  2. 9.24.14

    Wow, this is AWESOME. I need to try it!!

  3. 9.24.14

    Thanks for the advice! I have always wondered if there was a better and easier way to clean out my closet and make a little moolah doing it. I am going to try this out :)

  4. 9.24.14

    I do not do this as much as I should, but with the change of seasons I need to reorganize spring summer items. I can rely on you for the coolest new companies, thank you for that:)

  5. 9.24.14

    Wow, this is such a great idea to get rid of some summer/winter clothes I no longer want! I’m definitely going to look into this.

  6. 9.24.14
    PJ said:

    I clean out my closet at the start of every new season. It is therapeutic to me — I LOVE throwing stuff away, haha. I’ll have to look into this!

  7. 9.24.14

    This is amazing. But what if I need like ten clean out bags? ;)

  8. 9.24.14

    I’ve actually heard of ThreadUp, but for some reason or another, I’ve never used them. I’ve always taken my clothes to places like Plato’s Closet, but they are picky these days! But, the downfall is that I always have to drag out whatever they didn’t buy and take it to Goodwill. I love that they will do that for you!

    • 9.27.14
      Stacy said:

      No thredup doesn’t donate to non-profit. they don’t tell you where the unaccepted clothing goes. and if you say you want the clothing back make sure you have the fee already in your account before you send your clothing. there are a lot of complaints on this site. be careful what you send and be prepared to get nothing for it even if it is NWT. I tried it with kids clothing and they took 3 things maybe and it didn’t make sense. like NWT items that I had multiples of in different colors they would list one and “not accept” the other. they also don’t itemize why they don’t accept clothing. The other sites I am going to try are moxiejean for kids and liketwice for women. not sure if they are better or not.

      • 9.28.14

        Sorry to hear about your poor experience, Stacy! I saw your other comment below too; not to diminish your bad experience, but I noticed a lot of the reviews on that one site were from last year? Maybe they cleaned up their act since then…my own experience was totally different!

        • 9.29.14
          Stacy said:

          Victoria – are you able to give us more details about your experience? which items were accepted, which were not? i know they don’t itemize what they don’t take, unless that has changed. also I find if they know the sender is a blogger, youtuber, the experience is different. the few experiences i have seen that have been good have had no real details. unless i missed them?

          • 9.29.14

            Hi Stacy – They didn’t know I was a blogger, as I found them independently and ordered a bag like anyone else would. I would say about 80% of my bag was accepted. The items that weren’t, as I mentioned in the post, were jeans. All of the shoes and other clothing I sent in was accepted (boots, sneakers, flats, a few dresses, skirts, a jacket, and some sweaters and blouses). I only sent in one item that still had tags on it, and that was sold under a consignment price. It really didn’t matter to me not knowing what items they wouldn’t accept, because in the end, I would’ve donated all the clothing anyway.

            I think if you’re interested in controlling how much money you get and truly re-selling your stuff, it’s definitely not the appropriate service, and dictating prices for things on a place like eBay is the better route. For me, since I usually donate stuff anyway and just want it out of my house, the money they paid was an extra bonus.

          • 9.29.14
            Stacy said:

            I get what you are saying, Victoria. But somehow the fact that they don’t donate to non-profits and that the experience is very random I hear (one bag you get back a lot, the next nothing), and they can’t tell you why they didn’t accept items, just rubs me the wrong way. I guess I don’t have faith that it is getting to people that need the items if they don’t accept them.

  9. 9.24.14
    Jenn said:

    This is amazing. I have nine bags set to go this coming Monday. Perfect timing! Thank you!

  10. 9.24.14

    I’m trying this right now! I am in need of a good closet clean-out and this sounds super easy. Thanks for the recco!

  11. 9.24.14

    Thank you so much for sharing! I have been wanting to clean out my closet for months!

  12. 9.24.14

    I’m SO happy you posted this! I’m constantly cleaning out my apartment, and clothing…like to the point that I have a pile of stuff that sits in the corner waiting to go to various places (Goodwill, Ebay, etc)…and as soon as the pile is FINALLY gone (it generally takes forever, because like you, I for some reason refuse to cab it to Goodwill), it immediately starts piling up again. It drives me insane! I actually have made decent money on Ebay but some things just won’t sell, and it is a big pain in the butt. I’m so reluctant to drag the stuff to Goodwill that I actually considered hiring someone for Task Rabbit to do it for me (which is ridiculous, I admit). This is clearly the better option. Really excited to try this!

  13. 9.25.14
    Agoprime said:
  14. 9.25.14
    Sarah said:

    Last 5 minutes: read this post, jumped over to thredUP, ordered a bag, jumped with excitement over the ease of this! I am in the process of moving apartments and a closet clean out was definitely necessary. Your recommendation could not have come at a better time!

  15. 9.25.14

    I like this concept but they seem to be a little too picky about the brands they accept. I’ve never been one to only buy name brands so for now I’ll stick to ebay until thredup expands the brands they’re willing to accept.

    • 9.25.14

      Really? I found that from their FAQs, they had a very short list of brands they didn’t want to accept (it seemed like in-house brands from WalMart, though ironically, they accepted in-house Target brands). I understand why they wouldn’t accept clothing from a tiny brand no one’s heard of — again, their ultimate goal is to re-sell the clothes, which they can’t do if no one knows anything about the brand they’re trying to sell. Even with that though, when I went through their brands directory when I first discovered the site, I hadn’t heard of most of the companies they listed. Like, if you randomly click on a letter in the brand directory (like ‘I’) — that’s A LOT of brands I’ve never heard of!

  16. 9.25.14

    I actually just sold a bunch of clothes through Twice (their website is, which sounds extremely similar. You don’t have to send in-season stuff for them, though, which is good.
    But this looks really good, too — I’ll have to try it!

  17. 9.26.14
    Henriette said:

    That’s a nice service.

  18. 9.27.14
    Manpreet said:

    I wish there was a service like this in India! Great idea… isn’t it?

  19. 9.28.14
    Alissa said:

    ThredUp sounds amazing! I wish something like that was available in Australia!

  20. 9.28.14
    Karla said:

    Ooooh – thanks for putting me in touch with an excellent source of consignment maternity clothes. My daughter and most of her friends are pregnant, and yes, we ARE concerned about the drinking water in our area….

  21. 9.28.14
    Natalia said:

    The second photo is so cute :)

  22. 9.28.14
    Sharon said:

    WARNING! Please don’t use thredup! The first time I sent them a bag of clothing, I received about half of what I thought I should receive for it. But I gave them another chance by sending more high end items with high class brand names. They told me that my bag was worth only $12.00. I was shocked when they told me this! After not being able to negotiate anything with them, I reported them to the BBB, but they are ignoring it. Take my advice, please. Go to their FB page and read the posts that people have made on their page before you send them anything. Also, they don’t donate the clothing that they sell. They either resell it on their own ebay page or they sell it to individuals who then resell it on their private ebay pages. I know, because I have found some of my very own items for sale on ebay.

  23. 9.28.14
    sabrina said:

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  24. 9.28.14
    janet said:

    ive had success selling items on they have a great newsletter that features new items that may interest me. you can make the choice of trading or getting cash for your gently used items.

  25. 9.28.14

    Sounds awesome! I’m definitely gonna give it a try!

  26. 9.28.14
    Jillian said:

    Thanks for the introduction, going to have to try that out!

  27. 9.29.14
    pamb said:

    Luckily, I have several consignment stores in my suburb, and nearby suburbs. Frankly, I find it works best for kids’ clothes and barely worn adult shoes and accessories. I bring my ‘good’ items to my local consignment store, what they reject of my kids’ clothes go to Once Upon a Child (there are three within driving distance) and whatever is rejected by those stores get given to Goodwill. It’s not a lot of trouble, but then again I’ve got space to hold the clothes until my next trip.

  28. 9.29.14
    Charlotte said:

    What a great idea! My boyfriend and I have been grappling with whether or not to have a garage sale and are wondering if anyone would even buy our clothes (our closet space is also limited, too, even though we moved to the suburbs to get just a little more room). Anyway, I love this and am going to look into it. Thanks for sharing :)

  29. 9.30.14
    thefolia said:

    What an interesting concept and works beautifully in New York City. If I bring something new into my closet, most often an item comes out. A simple rule to keep things in check with your closet. Happy Nesting.

  30. 9.30.14

    What a fabulous idea! I will love to share this blog post with my followers. Thank you for posting

    • 9.30.14
      thefolia said:

      Of course I tell my clients this all the time. I guarantee you will find something to purge in the back corner somewhere.

  31. 10.7.14
    Kelsey said:

    I have to do this. Like, yesterday.

  32. 10.11.14

    I also had a great experience with ThredUp! I got much more than I expected for the items I sent. Thanks for sharing, Victoria!

  33. 1.24.16

    I love this post, I have the book, but haven’t started reading it yet. I’m looking forward to cleaning my closet, though!

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