How I Made Over $750 Selling Used Clothes Online
In April of this year, I hosted a Closet to Cash online listing challenge. My goal was to motivate myself and fellow sellers to list more items for sale over the seven days of the challenge. I had a growing pile of thrifted clothing taking over my lounge chair. I knew that if I could push myself to get them listed, I would see more sales and increased profits.
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If you don’t have a Poshmark account, you can receive a free $5 bonus when you sign up with my referral code SFGIRL2015. On Mercari, you can currently get $10 when you sign up with the code JENMHM. The amount varies by promotion.
Since it’s been almost 7 weeks since I started the challenge, it’s about time to post an update on how I’ve done. Seven weeks is a good amount of time to see results. That said, I’m still happily riding the wave of more sales coming in nearly every day. The items I posted during the listing challenge are still continuing to sell. I expect more sales will come as I relist items, share them, or post them on other platforms.
So how did I do? Here are the numbers:
I started the challenge with 55-60 items available for sale in my Poshmark closet. That’s a small closet for sure!
I listed 80 items to Poshmark during the Closet to Cash challenge.
I listed about 110 items total to Poshmark from the start of the challenge to the end of May.
I listed about 60 items on eBay.
I sold 68 items equaling roughly $1300 in sales.
I made $756.73 in profit!
Now some people might look at those numbers be thrilled earn to that much selling old clothes. Others might think it’s too little. I’m happy with my profits over the past 1.5 months. You know why?
I’m a part-time seller. I averaged about 10 hours a week of work towards selling during these past 6-7 weeks. The most time-consuming part was listing the initial 80 items during the challenge. It doesn’t take nearly as long for me to shop, clean items, share my listings, and package sold items. I saved time by copying and pasting my PM listings into eBay and using USPS pickup instead of going to the post office.
I listed and shared in my free time. I wish I could spend hours every day shopping and selling clothes online. It’s not realistic for me and likely for most people. In the past several weeks, I’ve shared 30 minutes per day at the maximum. I didn’t share every day either, only when I had the free time to do it. I also took a 5-day vacation earlier this month and put my closet in vacation mode. There’s a lot of work involved in selling, but it’s doable.
I didn’t list to Mercari. I’ve been a fan of Mercari since their pre-commission days. Nothing beats a 0% selling fee, and even now a 10% selling fee. Mercari recently updated their shipping structure. I’m personally not a fan of it because anything over 1 lb costs the same or more than shipping on PM. I don’t want to weigh each item under 1 lb either to see if it’s worth using their label ($4.25) or to ship on my own for a lower commercial rate. So far I’ve been avoiding dealing with the extra work created by this change, so I’ve stopped selling on Mercari for the time being. I accept that this might mean less sales and less profit for now.
I still have profitable items left to sell. I rarely sell high-end designer items like LV bags, so I don’t expect to see huge profits you would expect from those kinds of sales. But I did list some nice higher-end items that haven’t sold yet. Higher-priced items generally take longer to sell. Even though I may get an offer or two early on after listing, sometimes I wait to see if better offers come along. That requires patience, and I’m okay with waiting for the sale and resulting profits.
What can you do with $750? Profit equals more opportunity. I’m dreaming of taking a weekend getaway to Napa or Carmel and $750 would cover the whole trip nicely. Honestly though, the profits will go right back into building From Pennies to Plenty and thrifting.
Nanette Lepore Girls Only dress
Cabi print blouse
Lilly Pulitzer Seagate coverup
James Perse Pacific striped maxi dress
Maaji swim dress
J. Crew Midnight floral cocoon silk top
Rebecca Taylor lace tank
Bea & Dot by ModCloth skirt
After completing the Closet to Cash listing challenge and selling over these past several weeks, I have a few takeaways that might help you too.
List on several platforms. The more people that see your items, the more likely they are to sell.
Make the most of your time, but don’t overstretch yourself. Selling is great because you can do it whenever you want however much you want. If you want to take a week off and go on vacation like I did, you can do it. Pick back up where you left off when you return.
Grow your closet. More of the right items listed will result in more sales. If you have 1,000 items up for sale, you might be running at your maximum. I knew my closet of 50-60 items was small and I wanted more sales. I made it my goal to have 100-plus listings available at all times. I’ve kept up with that so far and sales have been great.
Try selling new brands and items. While I say above that more items means more sales, equally as important is that they be the right items. Because I wanted to grow my closet, I took a chance on selling a number of brands that I don’t usually sell such as ModCloth, Torrid, Onzie, Anne Fontaine, Levi’s, JOA Los Angeles, ASOS, and Everlane. I’ve been happily surprised at how well some of these brands have sold.
More expensive items generally take longer to sell. I’ve noticed this more as I’ve put up more listings. Some of my nicest items that are worth the most have not sold. I may relist them, test out lower prices, and change up my pictures to see if any of that makes a difference. I like to have a variety of items in my closet for this reason. Lower cost items tend to sell quicker. I can still bring in sales as I wait for pricier items to sell.
Prepare for negative side effects. One side effect of increasing my sales was an increase in cases opened by buyers. It may not have been much different percentage-wise, but I surely felt like it was when I got notice of cases opening. I’ve had very few in my years of selling. Shortly after finishing the listing challenge, I had three open. Two were ruled in my favor (buyers didn’t read the listings) and in the last one, I received PM credit. Thankfully I haven’t had any other issues pop up since then, but this was a disappointing consequence of growing my closet. I wasn’t expecting it.
Overall, I had a great April and May when it comes to sales. Although the Closet to Cash challenge was tiring, I’m glad I did it because it’s really paid off in sales and profit. I’m even thinking of doing it again to grow my closet even more. Next up, 200 listings!
Note: If you want to start thrift shopping or become even better at it, check out my ebook How to Thrift Shop Like a Pro: A Guide to Finding Thrifting Gold for tips and tricks to make it happen. This guide is packed with information to help you navigate the thrift store and walk out with your arms full of quality finds. You may even find yourself selling your finds like I do here.
How have sales been for you this spring? Have you ever quickly increased the number of listings in your store/closet? What were some of the results and side effects of that? How many listings do you like to have available for sale at once?
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