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Top tips on how to donate clothing in sustainable fashion

Learn about popular myths around clothing donations, what charities to donate to, and how to prepare your gently used clothing for donations.

Reselling your clothing is one of the most rewarding ways to move towards sustainability. Not only can you find a new life for some great items but also you know with some level of certainty that they won’t end up in landfills. This is especially true because for many of us textile recycling and clothing donations might be out of our reach.

Here are some steps to cash in!


Tips for selling your clothing online


1. Do your research and evaluate clothing value


You don’t want to sell short. After all, you did make an effort and found all these great items that you later paid your hard earned money for. Research the value of your clothes on ThreadUpThe RealReal or Ebay. This will give you a rough idea what your clothes are worth, and if they are worth selling at all.

Second hand buyers will most likely take only gently worn items, so consider fixing up any defects. It’s common sense to pay $20 for a broken zipper on designer jeans that can help you sell them for $200 instead of $40.


Also be mindful of the clothing that usually does well for reselling.

Luxury and designer, especially luxury bags

Trendy stuff

Seasonal items

Denim, handbags, accessories


Items from your basic wardrobe like plain tank tops and pants won’t sell well, unless they are designer and new with tags. Ditto for menswear, especially mass market, kidswear and formal workwear.


2. Let’s sell!


There are a few leaders of the online fashion consignment market – ThreadUpThe RealRealTradesyGrailed (menswear), RebagPoshmarkFlypVinted, and Depop.


Decide what’s more important to you – spending less time on selling or get more money from selling.


If you want to spend as little time as possible and money is not the priority, use the services that do most of the work for you – taking pictures, describing items, pricing and shipping to the future owner. ThreadUp takes men, women and kids clothing and is probably the best option. It’s also the world’s largest fashion resale marketplace with over 35K brands ranging from H&M to Gucci.

Sparkpick features ThreadUp a platform for selling used clothing
threadUP is the world’s largest fashion resale marketplace with over 35K brands ranging from H&M to Gucci.

With Flyp, a newcomer in the second-hand fashion market, all you have to do is to take one picture of your item, and you’ll get paired with their Pro Seller. They will do additional photography, selling, negotiating, packaging, and shipping for you. If you have luxury designer items, go for The RealReal and Rebag. 

So, all you have to do is to create an account, pack your items in a prepaid box or in your own packaging, and wait for the money. Minuses? You will make less. ThreadUp, for example, pays 5-25% for an item listed below $50.

If your priority is to get cash and you have the time for it, then your best options are Ebay, Tradesy, Poshmark, Depop, and Grailed. The pro of this approach is that they take much smaller fees – listing your stuff is free, and you have more control. The con is that you are now a lone warrior and have to deal with customer service and shipping yourself.

Top tips on how to sell your gently used clothing online

Iron your items in advance and be honest about any defects to avoid returns and bad reviews. In general, treat people the way you want to be treated yourself. Use a simple background and pay attention to lighting (best light is natural daylight). You can flat lay your items or take pictures of yourself wearing them.


Tips for selling your clothing offline


You can also sell your unwanted clothing in person, in local consignment stores. There are also American consignment chains like Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading, as well as smaller locally owned stores. 

Keep in mind that they will be more selective that online stores because they have limited space. You’ll never go wrong with trendy or designer clothing in great condition. Make sure to remove all fuz from your items (dog hair is not very appealing), iron and steam, carefully shave sweaters using an eraser, use an old toothbrush to clean shoe soles, and neatly fold everything into a presentable state.


Good luck with selling and remember to praise yourself for being a sustainable fashionista!

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