Controlling clutter

Dejunking Your Home

Related Articles


How Clutter Stole My Life

Don't Get Bit by the Clutterbug!

Getting Rid of Clutter

Like most people, we have a ton of clutter. The kids have too many toys and games that they have outgrown, and my husband and I have a lot of clothes that we have "outgrown" (LOL), so we want to "de-clutter" the house. Also, my husband has been laid off and money is really tight. I'd like to make some money on this stuff, but how?

I packed up some of my teen daughter's clothes (some of which have never been worn and others are almost perfect) and took them to a chain consignment shop only to be turned down. Garage sales have gotten to be a joke. Everyone wants everything for free. I'm starting to hear of people who are listing on eBay, but are not having luck selling clothes. So do I just give up? What can I do with this stuff to help bring in some much-needed cash?
Cheryl R.

Get Rid of Clutter: Don't Give Up Just Yet

So you've tried selling new and used clothing on eBay without much success? Don't give up just yet! I've been buying and selling on eBay for just over three years, and I think you may just need a few "pointers" to help you sell your clothing better:

  1. Are you pricing your items too high? Some new eBayers start their listings at the price they'd like to receive for the item. This discourages buyers from participating in the fun of auction bidding. Starting at a lower price encourages bidding and keeps you competitive.
  2. Are you competitive with other eBay clothing sellers? It pays to do your homework. Browse eBay listings for clothing items similar to yours and see what their starting bid prices are. Then adjust yours accordingly.
  3. Is your eBay score too low? Your score is the total amount of eBay transactions you have completed, both as a buyer and as a seller. Some buyers are wary of doing business with eBayers who haven't sold many items. It's a good idea to start out on eBay as a buyer. You earn experience, and it helps build your score to a respectable level so buyers will have more trust in your experience. On eBay, as in life, your reputation counts!
  4. Are your shipping and handling charges reasonable? Sellers are allowed to charge a handling fee in addition to the actual cost of shipping an item to the buyer. However, this fee should only cover your business expenses (packaging materials, listing fees, etc.). It should not be a money grab just to line your pockets. If your fees are too high, you may be turning off buyers before they even place their bids.
  5. Consider "grouping." Selling used clothing items together as "lots" (groups or matching sets) works better than itemizing single pieces. Buyers feel they are getting "more bang for their buck"!
  6. Make your listings stand out! Get to know "eBay-speak." Using terms such as NWT (New With Tags), NWOT (New Without Tags), and "LN" (Like New) items sell better than used items. Many buyers browse only for new or like new items, using the eBay search engines with these keywords and phrases, so make sure your listing titles include them.

    Also, look into auction templates that will make your listings attractive. Seller Sourcebook ( offers thousands of easy-to-use templates in hundreds of categories for $8 per month.
  7. When in doubt, ask about! eBay offers its members several Community Boards at which members can ask questions about how to buy and sell on eBay. Other helpful members will respond with their personal experiences and advice.

Julie A. in Ontario, Canada

Sanity or a Few Bucks?

For us, it became an issue of what was more important. Was it our sanity, and a de-cluttered house, or making a few bucks? Our sanity won hands down. We used the following method to pare down our clothes, and even our 14-year-old daughter jumped on the bandwagon! If the item of clothing was something that we only wear when everything else we liked to wear was dirty, away it went! Now, my husband and I both fit into our closet (our clothes that is!), and we don't have as much laundry to do, because we don't wait until we're in our "ran out of the good stuff" clothes before we do it! Life is definitely much simpler! The clothes that can't be reused by younger siblings is off to our local favorite charity!
Nicole U.

Get Rid of Clutter: Find a Local Trading Post Website

I have just recently become a freecycler (, but some of my items are just too nice to give away. I also sell on eBay, and for the items that just don't make the cut on eBay, I sell on a local trading post website. Do a search for a local trading post website for your area. The best part about posting your stuff on these kind of websites is that you can post for free (my favorite price!). The buyer is obligated to pick up the items that are sold, so there is no shipping cost incurred by the seller or the buyer. At any rate, it's certainly worth a try!
Patti in Appleton, Wisconsin

Sell in Lots

There is money to be made on eBay through selling clothing and toys. I have found the best auctions to be "lots." Shipping is so expensive, so people don't want to just buy one sweater, but if it is a few sweaters or an entire outfit, someone will buy it! So use your marketing skills and put things together in lots. Another advantage to grouping your items is that buyers may become very attached to the outfit/grouping and bid and bid and bid again to win your items. I have found this to be especially true with toys and items for young children. Be sure to make a note of your shipping costs (you can download USPS information from their website) and maybe invest in a small scale, so you can weigh things at home and post exact shipping costs with the item.
Jennifer in Rio del Mar, California

Get Rid of Clutter: Look for One-Time Consignment Sales

Watch for one-time consignment sales (not consignment shops) in your area. They are usually held in spring and fall. They may be advertised as "kid's" sales but also handle teen and adult sizes, books, toys, and furniture. You get a packet of rules and regulation price tags and follow instructions to price your items. The one I'm using now gives me 70% of selling price. Volunteers and sellers get to shop a preview sale for best bargains. I've been supplementing my son's clothing budget this way for several years.
Janice in Bowling Green, KY

Sign Up for Craig's List

If you think some pieces might have cash value (and be ruthless with yourself on this), sign up for Craig's List ( if it's in your area. It's a free classified service that is now taking listings in a number of places around the country. You might also have a local classified weekly shopper, in which you could sell items in lots. I sold what I marketed as "Bin o' Barbies" in about three days this way. It uncluttered my daughter's room and got her a few bucks in the process.

Get Rid of Clutter: Hold a Clothing Exchange Party

I would suggest having a clothing exchange party with other families who have kids of the same gender and build. If you combine several families (usually at least five works for me), you can recirculate much of the clothing and come away with "new-to-you" items that will save you from purchasing more clothing. It's not the same as making money from the clothes, but you won't put out as much for new things. I've done this for years and saved myself a great deal of money. And I've not had to feel guilty about getting rid of something that had lots of wear left.

Two Options to Consider

For gently-used kids' clothes (up to size 10), toys, books, movies or puzzles, check out your local Once Upon A Child Store. Check out their website at Their motto for their store is "Kids' stuff with previous experience." Theses stores give you cash on the spot for the items you are selling. They won't buy everything because they have to think about what will sell in their store based on current styles. However, I have found this to be a good way to get rid of clutter from our son's room and make some cash without having to put in all the work of a garage sale. Even if they don't buy everything, it is a good place to start. To get the most for your money, make sure that everything has been freshly laundered. Also, if you have any maternity clothes, our local stores have started to sell these as well.

When it comes to teen or adult clothes, I cannot offer any other options besides If you aren't interested in selling the items yourself, they do have places where you can drop off your items and the items will be sold for you. Then you won't have to worry about setting up the auctions or sending out the items yourself. The website that I found was You drop off what you want to sell on to a store near you. This company places your item on eBay, handles the auction, and ships off the item to the winner of the auction when the auction closes. All you have to do is wait for the auction to close and receive your check in the mail.
Stephanie in Otsego, MN

Start with a Bare Room

One way to control clutter is to start with a bare room! We just moved into a new home and 2/3 of our stuff is still in the basement. We made a commitment that we would only bring up and furnish our rooms and closets with items we really need. We won't bring up home decor just to fill space. I was amazed at how much "stuff" was still in the basement! After being in the house for several months now, I can get a better handle on what can go to Goodwill or on eBay. We also have a child who will soon be going off to college and all of the old mismatched chairs and other furniture will help to stretch that first apartment budget or furnish a room for the kids to hang out in the basement. You may also find what used to work in one room, now works better in another. I also use color coded bins for seasonal decor. Orange for fall/Halloween, Red and Green for Christmas, Clear for spring and summer. Easy to find and pull out and easy to store. Now if I could just get an elevator to the basement!
Sharon in Loganville

Take the Tax Deduction

You didn't mention donating to the Salvation Army and taking a tax-deduction is usually worth more than you could make selling your clothes.

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