10 ways to turn unwanted clothes into cash

10 ways to turn unwanted clothes into cash

Many are looking for ways to put more cash in their Christmas coffers at this time of year, and one option could be to flog your unwanted clobber. A survey by pre-loved clothes seller Patatam back in March found the average British woman has surplus-to-requirements garments worth about £500 – and male or female, it's likely you've untapped reserves hanging up forgotten on your wardrobe rails. 

The default option used to be 'just bung it on eBay'. Yet other specialist sites are now becoming increasingly popular, especially if you're selling vintage or designer clothing, while others prefer to sell locally instead. 

Knowing how and where to sell can substantially boost your takings, so to help we've compiled the top 10 ways to offer up your cast-offs. (Though of course, many prefer to recycle, give old clothes to friends and family or donate to charity instead.)

Have we missed your favourite way to sell? We'd love to hear which sites or apps you rate, and why. Please pop your thoughts in the comments below or post in the Clothes Selling forum thread.

The 'before you sell' clobber-flogging checklist

Before we get on to the best ways to sell your clothes, here are a few general tips:

  • Fallen out of love with something? List it for sale as soon as possible, especially if it's a trend or brand that might become less popular. With the exception of rare or popular vintage items, the value of clothes usually goes down with time, not up.

  • Prioritise items depending on the time of year. For example, right now is a great time to shift sweaters, leather jackets and ankle boots. (Though you can always try listing items at any time – right now, someone in Florida might want your summer dress.)

  • Wash and iron garments before photographing them for sale (or taking them to a boot sale etc). Tackling stains can boost items' value.

    When photographing, find a spot with natural light and use your poshest coat hanger (you're selling the dream here). It's worth including pics of the sizing and brand labels. Finally, unless you've a super-swanky camera on your phone, consider using a digital camera instead which can show up detail better.

  • If you're listing online, include the size, dimensions and fabric details from the label. Study clothes for flaws and include these in the description, so you don't get an email from your annoyed buyer later. You never know when a moth might have sneaked in.

  • To slash Royal Mail postage costs, buy envelopes that fit within its 'large-letter size' (35cm x 25cm x 2.5cm). While jeans and jumpers often won't squash into this size, it's perfect for tops and thin dresses.

    To show the saving, a 200g skirt costs £1.50 to send first-class recorded if it's large-letter size. If the same package is even 1cm over, it'll cost £3.55 to send as a 'small parcel'. Paying extra in postage can really eat into your profits.

  • Keep your closet in good order and items will be worth more later. For example, stow clothes away when not using them. Also store sweaters folded, as hangers stretch the shoulders. Consider cedar balls or hangers to ward off moths – dust attracts the pesky insects, so you could even vacuum the inside of your closet every so often.

  • Listing items on multiple platforms – eg, eBay and Vestiaire Collective – can help you sell quickly by maximising exposure. However, the danger is the same item sells on two sites simultaneously, so keep a close eye and delete goods from other sites as soon as you sell to avoid bad feedback. 

10 ways to sell your clothes

Now without further ado (and in no particular order), here are our top 10 ways to shift your clobber:

1) eBay – great for popular brands, especially with its 'sell for £1 max' promos

With more than 180 million users, the megalith-marketplace's mass audience is its main selling point, as you've access to buyers across the UK and worldwide. It's a doddle to use and great for selling mainstream fashion brands. 

eBay's known for its auctions, but it also lets you sell for a fixed price (with an option to receive best offers). So if you're flogging a popular this-season item, for example, consider going in with a confident buy-it-now price and ticking 'accept offers', so people can send offers. If something's old and you just want it to sell, stick it on at auction for 99p. For heaps more tips, see our eBay Tricks guide.

eBay has many loyal fans – Rosie told us:

I only list on £1 listing weekends now – it's probably saved me £100s. Last week, I sold a French Connection coat for £68. Fees should have been £7ish, but were a quid – bam!

What are the fees? Many complain about eBay's fees: when your item sells, you pay 10% of the final value, including postage. However, while it's not official, the site routinely runs 'sell for £1 max' promos every other weekend – the final value fee for items listed during these promos is capped at £1. Take advantage of these promos and eBay beats many other platforms on fees. 

Anything to watch out for? As with selling anything by post, always used a tracked postal service. eBay often sides with buyers in disputes, especially if an item's not received and you can't provide tracking details. I once lost my post office receipt and had to refund £40 on a top I'd posted – I've kept my receipts in a file ever since.

2) Vestiaire Collective – best for designer clothes worth £70ish to £130 

Specialising in pre-owned designer pieces, Vestiaire Collective is a French-owned resale site. Fees are pricey, but anecdotally clothes sometimes fetch more than on eBay. (Vestiaire authenticates items, so people feel more confident buying designer goods.) Garments must be from one of the 5,000 labels on its list, which include Gucci and Victoria Beckham but also some more upmarket high street brands, such as Zara.

Its app is slick and easy to list on. You list items for a set price, which must be at least £20. Buyers can also make offers, though you're not obliged to accept. Rather than post items to the buyer directly, you send your items to Vestiaire, which authenticates them, then forwards them on. 

Here's one of my wins:

I listed some Sézane boots on eBay (buy-it-now) and Vestiaire Collective at the same time. A month later they sold for £82 on Vestiaire – the highest offer I'd had on eBay was £65.

What are the fees? Vestiaire has an odd fee structure. It's a flat £13 for all items up to and including £130. However, after that it's 25% of the sale price. Bizarrely, this means you can sell something for £130 and keep £117, but sell the same thing for £131 and you'll only keep £98. This is why it's probably worth sticking to items worth less than £130. 

While you can sell items for as low as £20, paying £13 on a £20 transaction doesn't make much sense. So as a rule of thumb, we reckon Vestiaire's best for items worth £70ish to £130. 

Anything to watch out for? One downside is you're not paid immediately. Once a buyer has paid, you post the item to Vestiaire. It then confirms the item is genuine and ships it to the buyer. You are only paid the Thursday after it ships the item to the buyer, which can mean over a week with no item but no cash either. 

Also try... Hardly Ever Worn It is another option for shifting designer gear. Fees are a steep 18% (though this can beat Vestiaire in some cases, eg, on items worth £130+). We haven't fully checked it out though – please feed back if you've tried it. 

3) Depop – great for turning a profit on vintage clothes 

Vintage clothes are trendy right now and pre-loved fashion marketplace Depop is a great place to sell them. While it doesn't deal exclusively in vintage clothes, there's a brisk trade in items from the 1990s or early 2000s. 

A cross between eBay and Instagram, Depop often features people modelling their own wares to attract buyers (though it's not compulsory). If you're clever you might be able to spot boot sale goodies and flip them for profit.

The site claims one in three 15-24-year-olds in the UK is registered on the site, and 90% of its users are under 26. Clothes sell faster if you 'tag' listings with keywords – popular terms include 90s, rave, Y2K and festival.

We've seen rare 1990s Blur T-shirts with asking prices of £100, 1990s Kappa shell-suit jackets listed at £40 and 1980s Laura Ashley dresses for £50. (We've no proof they will sell for this, but having looked at eBay's sold prices, it's definitely possible.)

Emmaaar22 posted in this site's forum last week:

I have great success on Depop. I have at least two sales a week most weeks – it contributes towards my hols. However, it's not for everyone. It caters more for the younger demographic. Lots of handmade and vintage items get sold on it.

Posting a listing is really easy, and their newest feature is you can post a video too.

Selling by bundle is popular. Sellers often offer free shipping to encourage a buyer to purchase two or more items from them. To set up free shipping for bundles, go to Settings > Preferences > Bundle Discounts.

What are the fees? Depop takes its 10% cut directly from your PayPal account or card before paying the remainder of the money to you. You then post items directly to buyers.

Anything to watch out for? Some sellers get frustrated by how many Depop buyers try to haggle. But, of course, there's no need to accept a lowball offer if you don't want to.

Also try... most of the marketplaces in this list accept vintage clothes, and Etsy's another option.

4) Patatam – if you're bulk-selling women's and kids' items in perfect condition

While selling separately usually gets max cash, if you want to sell in bulk quickly and easily, try specialist trade-in site Patatam. You need to send at least 20 items though, and it only accepts women's and kids' gear (not men's).

On its site, enter details of brand, size and type of item, eg, skirt, dress etc. Patatam generates a value for all items, then sends you a free-to-post bag. Once it’s happy with your togs, it pays you by PayPal, bank transfer or Patatam voucher (it also sells second-hand gear). 

  • Here's how you sell on the site:

    - Step 1. Get a quote. Enter item details and request a prepaid bag. (Check on eBay to see what similar items have sold for, as Patatam pays the same whether it's dated or a popular this-season item.)

    - Step 2. Post items. Before sending, note that items need to be ironed, and in perfect condition, with no spots, holes, pilling or fading. See a full list of terms (click 'purchase conditions'). You can include any items in the bag – they don't need to be the ones you've had quoted – though obviously what you end up getting paid may vary accordingly.

    - Step 3.
     Get paid. Patatam says bags are processed about three weeks after you post, then it sends an email with the final amount. Payment by voucher's instant – other payments are on the 1st or 15th of the month.

    What if Patatam rejects your clothing? Patatam says as long as items meet the stated conditions you will get the price quoted. However, if you want rejected clothing returned, it charges £7.90 (no matter how many items).

What are the fees? No fees as such, but Patatam pays a set price based on the brand, clothing type and size. When we searched, a women's Gap jacket got £7.15, an Oasis dress £3.66 and a kid's M&S skirt 49p.

Anything to watch out for? If you want rejected clothing returned, it charges £7.90 (no matter how many items). This sum is taken off the cash it pays you for the clothes that it wants to keep. If you earn less than £7.90, it won't return rejected garments. For this reason, it's probably not worth sending anything you'd be unhappy to give away. Read its terms carefully before posting.     

This is a new site and we've not tested it ourselves. If you've tried it, we'd love to see your feedback in the comments below or on the Clothes Selling forum thread.

5) Shpock – good for selling popular items locally, NO fees

Short for Shop In Your Pocket, the Shpock app and website lets you sell fee-free. Similar to Facebook Marketplace (see more on this below), it's focused on local selling – you post ads for unwanted goods, and buyers pop round and pay cash in hand. Unlike Facebook, buyers don't see your personal Facebook profile, which some prefer.

The app's great for selling the types of items that people will pick up locally – think kids' coats, wellies or bundles of baby clothes. However, more specific items (eg, purple trainers in a size 6.5) can take longer to sell – here, eBay's huge audience is likely to be an advantage.

To start selling, snap a photo of your item and enter a few details such as a title, price and category. MoneySavers report you get a lot of hagglers. While there is an option to accept PayPal and post items, this is not as popular as cash in hand. (Shpock does not get involved in transactions, so you may feel more comfortable keeping it for simple, cash-in-hand transactions.)

Forumite Soolin is a fan:

I use Shpock a lot and have several sales a month. The free version doesn't cost anything to use. You can pay for extra photos etc, but so far I haven't bothered.

What are the fees? It's free. You can pay extra for upgrades such as your listing appearing at the top of search results, but most MoneySavers don't use these.

Anything to watch out for? As with Facebook and any other kind of local selling, some buyers may not turn up or may cheekily ask you to deliver small items. 

6) Facebook – also good for flogging collection-only items for free

Local Facebook selling groups and Facebook Marketplace are a great way to earn cash flogging unwanted stuff in your area. 

The idea's simple: as with Shpock (and old-school free classified sites), sellers post ads for unwanted goods, and buyers collect, paying cash in hand.

As most Facebook sales are local, you won't have access to the wider audience you get with a site such as eBay. Our research has found baby and kids' items are often a hit, but it's possible to shift anything from tents to running trainers. See our Facebook Selling crash course for full details. 

Forumite Chocolatelover93 says it helps her declutter:

House was overflowing with kids' clothes – managed to sell a whole bundle on FB for £25. Such a positive experience.

What are the fees? As with Shpock, there are NO fees, so the profit's all yours.

Anything to watch out for?
 We don't recommend posting items to strangers from Facebook – get paid cash in hand to avoid disputes.

7) Sell clothes by the kilo – great for togs that have seen better days

If you've clothes in good condition you'll get a better price flogging separately on the sites above, yet if they've some wear, 'cash for clothes' companies will still pay decent sums to take them away.

Usually these firms only accept garments in reasonably good nick (ie, not bobbled or stained). It varies by company, but they usually ask for items to be in "clean, wearable condition". Forumites tell us they typically pay about 40p a kilo but we've heard of 60p a kilo paid. To find a company, use a search engine to find 'cash for clothes' in your area. They can be found in most towns and cities, eg, we found Bob's Cash for Clothes in London which pays up to 40p a kilo. The amount you're paid and items accepted will vary though.

Forumite PoppyOscar netted a decent wad:

We got a total of £64 for the clothes we took... they gave us 60p per kilo and took most of the stuff. 

What are the fees? There aren't usually separate fees, but firms' costs will be factored into the price they offer. 

Anything to watch out for? There have been reports of dodgy companies that ask you to post clothing to them for 'inspection' – don't. Some forumites say they've had quality clothing rejected and were even asked to pay £20 for items to be returned. We don't recommend you send off clothing before receiving payment – it's better to visit the company yourself or use one that collects and pays at your door. See our full sell old clothes by the kilo tips.

8) Flog your wedding dress – it can fetch £500+ via specialist sites

If you've an old bridal gown boxed up in the loft, dig it out and turn it into cash. You could get £500+ for a sought-after dress by a well-known designer.

A host of wedding dress selling sites promise help. Here, you upload a description and some photos. The buyer usually comes round in person to try it on. 

As you set the price, first find your frock's true worth. Check eBay to see how much similar dresses have sold for – search for dresses like yours, then tick 'completed listings' under 'Show only' in the grey bar on the left. 

A few sites will let you sell for free. MoneySavers rate classifieds site Preloved* for selling wedding frocks. Also worth adding is The Dressmarket, where a basic advert with one photo is free (it makes money from selling optional upgrades, eg, extra photos). 

This can be big money, as forumite fran-o found:

I put my dress on Preloved and had interest from someone who had tried it on in a bridal shop. She came to try on and bought it for £550. Very happy!

What are the fees? The sites above are free (some charge for listing upgrades, which you don't need to take). See our guide to the top wedding dress selling sites

9) Car boot sales – best for speedy clear-outs

Car boot sales are a good way to clear out your closet quickly and raise a bit of extra cash. You're unlikely to get top dollar compared with, say, eBay, as your audience is far smaller and folk will be looking for a bargain. However, it's your best bet for clearing out a ton of less-valuable items in one morning.

If you fancy making some dough at a car boot, we've tips on when to go, what to take, how to haggle and more in 10 car boot sale tricks.

Forumite clumsycupcake made a tidy profit:

I did my first car boot – was selling good high street clothing for 50p/£1 which sold really, really well. If I was a regular car-booter, I would have priced some items slightly higher, but as I wanted rid quickly I was happy. I made £130 for six hours' work.

What are the fees? Typically £7-£15, so make sure you have enough wares to sell that you can make a profit. 

Anything to watch out for? 
Often people start rifling through your boot for bargains before you've had chance to set up. Make sure you get there as early as possible, so you have time to organise everything.

10) Local dress agencies – a faff-free way to sell clothes in good nick

It's old school, but another option is a local dress agency if there's one near you. These shops flog items on behalf of customers, taking a commission from each item they sell. They often specialise in different types of attire, for example, formal frocks or kids' clothing.

You'll never get top dollar this way, but it's a speedy way to declutter without dealing with buyers yourself. Clothes are usually carefully vetted and must be pristine.

Forumite Sambamama says:

I got £32 from a local second-hand dress agency (clothes weren't designer) – not bad for stuff that would have gone to the charity shop. I don't really like eBaying normal used clothes, too much hassle. It gets the toot out of the house.

What are the fees? You'll receive payment when the item sells. The agency takes commission, which is usually high – typically 50%.

Anything to watch out for?
 Agencies often only take clothes when they're in season. It's worth confirming a shop's rules before handing clothes over, eg, what happens to unsold items.

And finally... consider donating to charity shops too

It's not all about selling. Donating your clobber to charity shops is a fab way to declutter – and helps good causes at the same time. Clothing is often number one on charity shops' donation wish lists, from jackets to shoes.

What charity shops accept varies. Oxfam, for example, says it accepts quality, clean clothing and shoes (including vintage and retro items). It even accepts bras – these often end up getting sorted and sold in Senegal at Frip Ethique, Oxfam's social enterprise. Most of the workers are women, who sort and sell them to market traders. See more info on donating to charity shops.