I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rags to Riches Challenge: 3-Month Recap Part II

In yesterday’s Challenge Recap-Part I, I shared how selling pre-owned clothing has boosted my sales and finances.  In Part II, I’ll share my experiences and what I’ve learned about reselling clothes during these past 3 months.

Before I go on, I want to share a couple of current auction listings that end today.  Check these out!





I bought each of these shirts for $2.50.  The Ratatouille shirt received a $79 bid within 24 hours! The Cars shirt also has several bids and is at $64+.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all my sales were this profitable?!

1. Brands: After reading the My Dear Trash blog, I made a list of the brands they mentioned.  I also went to eBay’s list of Popular Brands.  Some were familiar; but many were unfamiliar to me such as Anthropologie brands, which are highly popular and high sellers.  Top sellers for me have been:
  • St. John Couture & Collection
  • Tommy Bahama men’s shirts (larger sizes are best)
  • Reyn Spooner
  • CAbi
  • Chico’s (all)
  • Jam’s World
  • Fresh Produce
  • J. Jill
  • Eileen Fisher
  • Coldwater Creek
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Motherhood dresses
  • Anthropologie brands
  • Ski pants

Other brands that may not be high sellers but are consistent sellers.  These are my bread-and-butter:
  • Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft
  • Avenue
  • Lane Bryant
  • Hot Cotton
  • Studio I dresses (this is a surprise)
  • Motherhood blouses
  • Banana Republic
  • J. Crew
  • Talbots
  • White House Black Market
  • Izod
  • Bill Blass
  • Gloria Vanderbilt
  • Gap
This list is not all-inclusive; there are many other brands not on this list that I’ve sold 1 or 2.  But these are the ones that have been consistent sellers for me.

Brands that I do not buy are those sold at Wal-mart, K-mart, Target, etc.  I have had a little luck selling certain brands from JC Penney and Kohl’s, usually brand new with tags.  The BEST brands are those sold at Anthropologie. 

2. Style:  I have found that spring/summer dresses sell well.  Long sleeveless shifts have sold as well as maternity dresses.  Pants have been hit-or-miss.  Cargo pants and capris/crop pants are selling, but not all.  Corduroy pants are not selling right now.  A lot has to do with brand name.  When I buy pants, I look for quality and good condition.  At fifty cents a piece, I will take a chance on a brand I’m not familiar with.

3. Condition: I always try to find clothing in good to excellent condition.  Since I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores, I have to be REALLY careful about condition.  Although most clothes end up at the thrift store because someone got tired of it, many more end up because there is something wrong with it.  Many times I have come home with what I think is a great item, just to discover it has a hole or rip that I didn’t notice.  Sometimes I’ve missed a light stain because of the poor lighting in the store.  Hopefully, I’ll notice this damage before listing it and definitely before mailing.  These items end up in the “discard” pile and go right back to the thrift store.

4. Pricing: When I first started, I listed most items between $6.99 and $7.99, depending on brand and condition.  Certain brands would be listed at $9-$10.  Now I start most items at $7.50 and will go as high as $14.99. 

5. Auctions vs. Fixed Price: Listing clothes at auction is a good way to see which items would sell for more.  Good thing for me, too.  One of my first listings was for a Basil & Maude skirt, a brand I was totally unfamiliar with but now know sold at Anthropologie.  It was a “wild card” purchase that paid off.  The skirt sold for $46.00!

6. Listing Process: When I started, I followed Kelly’s listing process.  I have since changed my strategy.  First 2 weeks, items are full price and listed as auctions.  Week #3 I list as fixed price in my store for 30-days, still at full price.  I have sold many items from my store.  If an item hasn’t sold after 30 days in my store, then I relist as auction item, first at $5.99 then at $3.99.  A few times, these last-chance items will sell for full price when they are relisted at auction.  Go figure!  I sell about 75%-80% of my inventory this way.

My listing process for non-clothing items is different since I keep those items in my store for at least 6 months.  Clothing is not something I want to hang on to for more than 6 weeks.

7. Store Inventory: Auctions cost 25 cents to list vs. 5 cents for store listings.  Listing 400 items a month as auctions costs $100.  Take those same 400 listings, and it costs only $20 to list for 30 days plus $50 for the store … that’s only $70.  So why not just list clothes in your store?  Because sometimes I just don’t know what an item will sell for.  But another good reason is that I do get more sales with auctions than I do with fixed price.  We’ll see over the next 3 months how using both types of listings works.

 7. When to List:  The MOST important thing to know about listing is LIST, LIST, LIST.  Listing something at any time or day is better than not.  Having said that, eBay data shows that certain days and times are better than others to end an auction:

Monday Good Many folks surf eBay at work
Tuesday Worst Receives the lowest # of bids
Wednesday Fair Not as bad as Tuesday. I’ve had better sales than on Thursday
Thursday Poor Better during spring or summer.  Folks may bid before going away on weekend.  Has not worked for me.
Friday Fair Ending before 6 pm may work, but most folks go out Fri evenings
Saturday Good Weekend days are best. 
Sunday Excellent
Sunday evening is the period of highest bidding.  Ending your listing between 8-11 p.m. eastern time (5-8 p.m. pacific) is best.

I prefer – and do my best – to start/end my auctions on Sunday evenings between 6-8 p.m. (PST).  That means it is 9-11:00 p.m. on the East coast; folks can still bid before ending their day.  My next best day is Monday evenings, followed by Saturday evenings.  I’ve also ended listings on Wednesdays with some luck.  I’ve never tried Tuesday, but Thursday did not work out at all for me.

I know this is a long post with lots of info, but I hope I've helped you in sharing this information if you are just starting out or thinking of selling clothes.  If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.  


  1. Thanks so much for your post! I have a couple of favorite thrift stores I go to, but the lighting in them is TERRIBLE! I am thinking of bring a good led flashlight with me to illuminate those stains before I bring them home.

    You answered alot of my questions! Thanks!

    P.S. May I add a link to your blog on my blog?


  2. Wow-what an informative post! And I'm amazed at those Pixar shirts!!! How the heck did you find those? Did you know that they were so valuable? I wouldn't have had a clue!
    I'm surprised I haven't heard a lot of those brand names. I'll have to memorize those so I know what to look for.
    I remember reading that Sunday nights were the best times to post, just didn't realize that some of the other days were so bad. I'll have to try changing the times I post and see if that increases sales. I've usually tried posting a few things every day and have wondered if they weren't selling because nobody was interested in them, or if it was just the wrong time.
    Ok, off to read your post again-so much info in there I know I didn't catch everything the first go-around!

  3. Adrienne: Thank you for your visit! Yes, you may definitely add a link on your blog. I hope this helps as many folks as possible. And taking a flashlight shopping is a great idea!

    Jennifer: Hi ... thanks for visiting! I was SO surprised at the Pixar shirts. I had no clue how valuable they were. I am going to do a separate post on these. Definitely be on the LOOK OUT for these!!

  4. I am really enjoying your blog - what a wealth of information. I have dabbled in Ebay throughout the years and had %100 success. Now I am interested in starting up again, but will focus on clothing and accessories only. Do you have suggestions (or a previous post) for listing garment measurements?

  5. Hi Rita,

    I just wanted to congratulate you on your great Reyn Spooner finds! This post has really motivated me. I live in Hawaii so I find a lot of Reyn Spooner aloha shirts, but I never find the novelty disney shirts. I just gotta keep looking I guess.

    Congrats again and good luck with your treasure hunts!


  6. Holy Smokes! What a great flip on that Disney shirt! Iam going to try to lock "Reyn Spooner" into my brain when I am at the Goodwill stores-Thanks for the tip...Dude @ MoneyintheGarage

  7. I just stopped by to see how the auctions finally turned out. Here's hoping all us ebayers find bags and bags of Reyn Spooner Disney shirts in the future!

    Holy cow!! (Picks jaw up off floor!)

    What a great find!


  8. I have a question for you. I really, REALLY like your return policy. I spend extra time on my descriptions (extra measurements, describing anything wrong, taking extra pictures, etc) and I would like to do a return policy like yours, where it is only allowed if I was grossly off in my description. I see in your listings that it says for more information, see the About Me page. I can't find the About Me page to read more of what your policy entails. Where is it located?