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A guide to getting cash for clothes while social distancing

A guide to getting cash for clothes while social distancing

By: Anne East | 22nd May 2020

There’s nothing like a good old spring clean, and now more than ever is the perfect time to do a bit of wardrobe de-cluttering. Not only might it take your mind off you-know-what, but you could even earn a few quid in the process.

The first (and only) rule of de-cluttering

Before you start, remember that when it comes to sorting out your clothes, there’s only one rule: be brutal.

If you haven’t worn something for more than 12 months, then chances are you won’t in the future. If something doesn’t fit, ask yourself whether it realistically will again (remember, being brutal also means being honest). Don’t kid yourself that bootcut jeans, gypsy tops and suedette fringing will ever suit you again (midlife crisis is never a good look).

So, with that in mind, what to do with your unwanted clothes at a time when we’re all supposed to be socially distant? Well, if your town has a second-hand designer exchange store that you’re determined to support, it’s probably best to set your goodies aside until life returns to the high street. Needless to say, the same goes for car boot sales and other face-to-face selling opportunities.

Cyber selling

In the meantime, there are still online options. Royal Mail is currently following advice from Public Health England, saying there is minimal risk of contamination from parcels, so you may still have an audience willing to buy. Some of the best online selling platforms include:

eBay – a good all-rounder for high street brands. If you’re a private (amateur) seller listing 1,000 or fewer items a month, you won’t pay to list them. However, you will pay 10% commission on sales. Higher fees apply to other listing options – for example, if you want to put on a reserve price (a minimum sale value). Auction prices kick off at a very modest 99p – but, as you’d expect, desirable, designer or high-end brands usually start (and finish) much higher. Competition can be fierce for both buyers and sellers, so if you’re hoping to make a reasonable sum of money, aim to end auctions on a Sunday evening, eBay’s busiest time for bargain hunters.

HEWI (Hardly Ever Worn It) – best for designer clothes and accessories. It’s a simple buy-and-sell site, so no auction bids although buyers can make you an offer. Listings are vetted by HEWI staff to check authenticity and the accuracy of descriptions. You’ll pay 18% commission for every item sold or 35% if you opt for the VIP service where HEWI will do all the work for you – collecting items from you and managing the whole sale process. HEWI is London based but there are other established European alternatives such as and Vestiaire Collective which work on similar principles.

Depop – aimed primarily at the Instagram generation, this definitely has a younger, hipper vibe compared to, say, old kid on the block eBay. Images are crucial on Depop, and as a seller you’ll also be encouraged to post a video of your garments. The site promotes itself as a community, so buyers can comment on your photos and follow you. You’ll pay 10% commission on the sale price in addition to PayPal fees, but there is no charge to list.

Etsy – if you’ve got anything vintage, quirky or unique, Etsy is the perfect platform for you. While it’s primarily a site for independent sellers, there’s nothing to stop you listing a handful of retro items so long as they’re more than 20 years old. It costs 17p to list an item and there’s a 5% fee when it sells.

Facebook Marketplace – another good all-rounder but particularly so for kids’ clothes, as you can sell locally through community groups. It’s common for buyers to collect items from you, but you can post items too – which is probably best in the current climate. And the greatest thing about Facebook Marketplace: it’s absolutely free to list, and there are no seller fees.

Tough times might be ahead, but at least you’ll be able to face them with a leaner, more streamlined wardrobe and few bob in your back pocket ready for when the pubs reopen.

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