Resale Shops-Why Won’t You Buy My Stuff?

img_20160905_172259It’s that time of year! It’s time to buy school uniforms, tennis shoes, jackets, coats and sweaters for fall. I rifled through my daughter’s closet- pulling out things for the children’s resale shop. Each year, I sell her old clothing and put the money towards new clothing.

This time around, I decided to include gently used clothing from my wardrobe too. I got to work sorting, mending, washing, drying, and ironing 2 bags of clothing. It took all morning, but I finally stepped back and admired my hard work. ‘I’m going to make a lot of money!’- I thought.

I recieved $75.oo for my daughter’s clothing at the children’s resale shop. Overjoyed with glee I drove to the women’s resale store. After 30 minutes of waiting around they finally went through my bag of clothing. “Thank you for coming in today, but we cannot make an offer for your clothing.” I was surprised. I’m sure my eyebrows reached my hairline. I had nice stuff in that bag: tops from Loft, dresses from The Limited, shoes from Nine West, and jeans from Express.

I took the bag of clothing and decided to try another resale shop 10 minutes away.  Another half hour passed and once again the sale’s associate mumbled the same thing as she gently pushed my bag of clothing across the countertop, “We’re sorry, but we are unable to purchase your items.” What!? I have great items. Everything is from quality name brands. Why won’t they buy my stuff? I did the walk of shame back to my car dragging my bag. However, I’m pretty tenacious and I knew one more resale shop just down the highway. The third time’s the charm.

“I’m so sorry, but we’re unable to purchase from you today,” the third sales associate said. It was like a slap in the face. “Why?” I moaned, realizing that I had just wasted my entire afternoon.  The lady took pity on me and proceeded to educate me about resale shops.  I left the store less irritated but well informed. I’d like to pass that education onto you.


Tips for Selling Clothing at Resale Shops

  • Resale shops use consignment software/matrix to determine price.  This keeps the resale value consistent from one store to the next.  (So driving all over town will not help you.)
  • Many name brands place a manufactured date tag inside their clothing.  This tells the month and year the clothing was made.
  • Most resale shops will not purchase items older than 18 months from the manufactured date. (If only I’d known beforehand.)
  • Resale shops may make an exception for an item that is on trend or still has tags if it less than 24 months from the manufactured date- but that expectation is rare.
  •  Items must be freshly laundered and brought in off of hangers and in baskets or bins. All items should be in good condition and free from any excessive wear, stains, fading, holes, broken zippers, missing buttons, etc.
  • Most resale shops price items about 1/3 of the original retail price, and then pay you approximately 1/3 of that. (In other words, a $50 Loft dress will be sold for approximately $16 at a resell shop. However, they will only pay me $6-7 for bringing it in.)
  • Resell shops typically buy current styles that are still in the mall/stores.
  • You’ll need to bring an ID with you.
  • If you’re selling a designer handbag, they require proof of purchase.  (I need to file my handbag receipts.)
  • Know before you go! Check the store’s website to see which brands they favor.
  • The buying policy can also vary from store to store.  Do your research.
  • Take no more than 15-20 items at a time. This keeps item evaluation time short.

Alternatives to Resell Shops

  • Consignment Shops (you pay them a commission to sell the clothing for you.
  • Take photos and post your clothing online. Some app examples are: Ebay, Poshmark, ThreadUp, and Varage Sale. Your blog website, Instagram, Facebook, and other forms of social media are excellent places to post items for sell too.
  • Host a garage sale at your home.
  • Get your girlfriends together for a clothes swap.
  • Donate your items to charity.

I took some time to think. Everything in my bag was well over 3 years old. No resale shop was going to buy it. I was too annoyed to take photos and post my clothing on Poshmark, Varage Sale, ThreadUp, or other forms of social media. Additionally, I wasn’t about to host a garage sale in our 100 degree Texas heat.  I was done with with the whole process. I just wanted the stuff gone at this point!!

It was time to look on the bright side. I’d made space in my closet, earned $75 for Jocelyn’s clothing, and gained an eye opening education. It made me realize a simple truth: If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.  Clothing doesn’t hold it resell value for very long. After moment’s thought, I set aside a few items for my younger sister and then drove to Goodwill. I happily donated my bagged items and received my tax receipt. Adios unwanted clothing! Hopefully, by reading this post you can save time and determine the best way to sell (or donate) your unwanted clothing.



    • September 9, 2016 / 2:34 pm

      Thank you so much! Thanks for reading.

  1. September 9, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    Such a helpful post! I’ve never had the energy to take my clothing to consignment shops and end up donating everything to charity. At least I get the tax write-off. By the way, your outfit is adorable!

    • September 9, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Thank you so much! Resell and consignment stores can be a very good resource when used within their guidelines. However, as you read it takes a lot of work. I think I will stick to selling children’s clothing, and donate the rest. Thank you so much for reading!

    • September 16, 2016 / 9:50 pm

      Thank you so much Rachel!

  2. Christine
    September 16, 2016 / 9:27 am

    Have you tried Thredup instead? Its an online store that does the same thing. By the way what size are you. I would like to see what you have for sale. I would be interested in purchasing.

    • September 16, 2016 / 9:50 pm

      Hi Christine!

      I have heard of ThreadUp. I havent’ tried it personally, but a good friend of mine loves it. Currently, I have created a Poshmark Account. I will have my items available on October 1st.

  3. Sarah
    July 18, 2017 / 6:45 am

    That was really helpful! I had no idea about the manufacture date. I’ve been so annoyed going to consignment stores with nice, brand items that they wouldn’t buy. But now I know why.

    • July 21, 2017 / 2:41 pm

      Me too! I hate it when I’ve worked so hard to sort, clean, and haul my items up to the store only to be told that they cannot be purchased. I’m glad you find the blog post helpful! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Buyer Bae
    February 16, 2018 / 9:42 am

    Thank you for posting this. From the point of view as a buyer at one of these resale stores, I appreciate that you did not tear apart the people working at their job. Customers often forget we are people, too, and are working at a business that is designed to make money (not a charity). Buyers are strenuously trained to purchase things into the store that CUSTOMERS demand, and too often sellers take this personally. The market for a particular style (what customers repeatedly buy) dictates what the buyer will purchase into a store.

    • February 17, 2018 / 7:04 pm

      You are very welcome! I am so glad to understand how the buying/selling system works. Maybe when others understand it too they will not be so harsh toward workers.

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