After almost a year in COVID-19 lockdown, Melanie Dicker's home is filled with clothing and toys she doesn't know what to do with.
Her dining room is cluttered with the relics of months of at-home learning for her two young boys. Like many moms, she is ready for spring cleaning to clear out unwanted clothing, toys and games.
"They need to go because I don’t know what I am going to do with them," she said.
But it's not just parents feeling cramped after a long pandemic winter.
Tiffini Carole is a professional woman who is embarrassed to admit she has several years' worth of clothing that no longer fits.
"I have three closets' worth of clothes, and I still don’t have enough room," she told us. "I have no excuses, no excuses whatsoever."
Admit it: You probably have a closet somewhere in your home that is stuffed to bursting with clothing, shoes and old Halloween costumes, and you’d probably like to get rid of some of it.
So we wanted to know where you can get the most money with the least amount of effort.
Sell at consignment shops, get top dollar
One of the most time-tested ways to unload your unwanted clothes and furniture is through consignment shops.
Donna Speigel, owner of a midwestern chain, The Snooty Fox, says nothing is easier. You bring your clothing, shoes, purses or even furniture, and they put it on display and sell it.
"Bring your things in; we select what we think will sell," Speigel said.
Consignment shops typically do a 50-50 split on the proceeds, and you get paid only when your item sells.
You may have to wait a few weeks, but Speigel says it is worth it because you will make more money than selling at a garage sale or on local social media.
"With a yard sale, people are going to want to pay you a dollar or just 50 cents," Speigel said.
But here, she says, a purse can bring in $75. A nice pair of women's desk shoes can sell for $25.
The one downside of consignment shops is that they can be fussy about what they accept: Most don't want to sell worn-out clothing and items.
It must be in good condition, and designer names like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Vineyard Vines and Coach are a real plus when you are trying to sell.
Sell at resale shops, get cash immediately
Resale shops differ from consignment shops in that you walk in with clothing, shoes, or toys.....and walk out with cash on the spot.
That can be a real advantage, though you may not earn as much as a consignment shop pays. That's because many offer you just one-third of what they will list it for on their shelves.
Some of the most popular resale chains are:
- Clothes Mentor for adults.
- Plato's Closet for younger peoples.
- Once Upon a Child for kids.
Laura Lewis is manager of a Once Upon a Child location.
"What are we looking for most? Spring and summer clothing right now, outdoor toys, walkers, cribs, and always strollers," Lewis told us on a walk through the store.
One hint? She says to make the most money, bring in items other kids will want.
"Nike, Super Heroes, Under Armor. Those are the big brands," she said.
Sell via apps, and stay at home
The pandemic has seen an explosion in the use of selling apps that work like consignment shops in some cases or like a classified ad in other cases.
Your best bet is to check several of them and see what works best for you. Some will connect you with buyers and send you a box to fill and ship. With others, you are a bit more on your own.
Some of the most popular are:
- LetGo, the largest marketplace app in the US, with the most potential buyers for your stuff
- ThredUP, an online consignment shop.
- Offer Up, where you can remain anonymous, unlike Facebook
- Mercari, where you can set up an online store.
- Poshmark, for designer labels and other high-end items.
Sell locally via social media
If you want to just sell clothing, toys or furniture locally, and keep all the proceeds for yourself, two of the best local social media sites are:
With NextDoor, you can set up a virtual yard sale, where no one comes into your garage. That's a great way to keep people out of your home during this pandemic.
Of course, Craigslist is also an easy way to sell locally, but you don't know who you are dealing with. Craigslist also has a reputation of being an easy place for scammers to prowl, with fake ads or fake offers. So just be careful.
Springtime yard sale
The easiest way to unload household goods is to set them out on your driveway on a warm spring Saturday, but it can be a lot of work, and you shouldn't expect to get top dollar for anything.
Melanie and Tiffini are going to give local consignment and resale shops a try this spring to see if they can get some cash for all that stuff in their closets.
Laura Lewis says she will be ready for them.
"You just come in, drop it off, shop around. It's perfect!" she said.
So clean out those closets, and don't waste your money.
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