What I’ve Learned From Selling My Old Clothes

a pile of clothes to sell

You probably had that moment in your life, when after reading a book about discovering your personal style (or perhaps about advantages of decluttering) you decided to reorganize your wardrobe. Following the advice, you start to evaluate each piece of clothing and decide if you want to keep it or not. And suddenly you discover that there are so many clothes that you own but don’t actually wear. If you’re like me, you may find some of them lying completely forgotten for months (or even years) in your laundry basket.

Sometimes they turn out to be amazing; you find items that you can easily fall in love with again and breathe new life into. You may find out that you actually own that perfect summer dress you’ve been looking for recently. But most of the times, the things you come across during this wardrobe cleanup go straight to the “donate” or “sell” pile. I’ve been there and I know how painful such discovery can be – after all, when you add it all up, it quickly becomes clear that the money you spent on those items could be invested a lot better (in quality pieces that you’d wear all the time or in something completely different like a holiday trip abroad).

But the worst realization came when I went to a local market to try to sell those items. I mean, I was glad I was giving them a new life, but I was really surprised how little they were worth. I was happy if I could get 20% of the price I once paid. After all, there are so many options for people to buy new items on the cheap (either on the high street or in outlets) that they’re unwilling to pay a lot for second-hand pieces.

The conclusion is that, unfortunately, most used clothes do not have much value. Unless you have a designer thing or something truly unique, it’s nearly impossible to regain the money you once invested.

This made me a lot more aware when it comes to shopping. I try to consider carefully every item that I’m about to buy, because I can imagine it lying on a pile with “to sell” note. I recommend such experience to anyone who’s looking for reasons to shop less.

But I’ve learned something more. There are certain types of clothes that get resold more than the others (apart from unwanted gifts, of course). These include:

  • items bought on sale – as we all know, sometimes seeing this red tag it’s so irresistible that we can’t help but buy, and yet many of those items turn out to be completely unnecessary. They often lack in quality or aren’t our style and as a result they only take space in our closets.
  • items that aren’t exactly our size – it’s never a good idea to buy something if it doesn’t fit right from the beginning. You won’t feel good in it and therefore you’ll be less likely to wear it. I know what I’m talking about – I once bought Diesel jeans (on sale!) that were about 2-3 sizes bigger (I know…) and even with the efforts of my fitter they never looked good.
  • “trendy” items – we’ve all been there. Buying something that’s all the rage and looks so great on the runway or worn by celebrities can be so tempting. But unless the trend corresponds with your own sense of style, it’s a lost cause. I’m happy to say that every year I tend to make less and less fashion choices based on what’s trendy, but I used to be guilty of this in the past. I bought the dress with exaggeratedly wide shoulders that made me look like a casual copy of Lady Gaga or those strange, really wide sneakers in middle school, which made my feet look like flippers.
  • items that you’ve been told you should own – there are millions of articles around the web and in magazines that tell you what every woman needs to have in her closet. Some of them are wonderful and accurate, but remember that in the end of the day, you’re the one to wear those things. They may be the most beautiful and stylish pieces, but if they don’t suit your needs, they’ll turn out to be useless. I once bought a black pencil skirt and even if I actually like it, I have nothing to wear it with (as majority of my clothes are less formal) and, most importantly, I don’t have a corporate job or any other occasion to wear it to.

I hope my story will help you to rethink your shopping habits. Selling or donating your old clothes can be a great lesson and a big step on your way to becoming a smarter consumer.

Do you have similar experiences? Please share! As always, I appreciate all the comments :)


  • Clothes that aren’t exactly your size has been a lesson of mine. It is so rare that wish clothes eventually fit, they are usually forgotten about.

    • Joanna

      So true! I sometimes manage to pull off pieces that are slightly too loose (like tunics or dresses) but with certain things (like shoes) it won’t happen :D

  • I love that you reorganised your wardrobe. However I am petrified at the thought of selling my clothes, even if they are old! How did you do it?

    I’ve recently started a new blog. Give it a read if you can and let me know what you think of it!

    Deepti x

    • Joanna

      Hi Deepti, if you mean you’re too attached to them or tend to think that one day you’ll change your mind, try to get rid of such doubts! If you never wear the item and it’s not because it’s only for special occasions, think that by selling it you’ll gain the money to buy something you’ll truly love. Or you can donate it (I do it often, too) and it will serve someone instead of taking your closet space ;)

  • Oh I definitely learned a lot about my spending habits when I cleaned my closet too! It’s crazy how many things accumulate in there and how wasteful I actually am!

    be the plebeian

    • Joanna

      It’s a great lesson, isn’t it? I’m glad you’ve had a chance to realize it, too :)

  • These are such good reminders! Such a great post I needed to see :)

    • Joanna

      thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

  • I agree, I never buy clothes in hopes it would fit. Great post :)

    Jessica xo
    the way to my Hart

    • Joanna

      Thank you!

  • Oh Gosh. I can relate to this for sure. Cleaning out my closet is always such a challenge


    • Joanna

      I alway postpone it for as long as I can, until I face “nothing to wear” moment ;)

  • First off, I totally feel your pain when it comes to realizing that your clothes aren’t worth that much. It’s like selling back books at the end of the semester in college, LOL. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to stop buying things for “occasions” and only buy things that fit in with my wardrobe. Everything I get rid of ends up being something I bought FOR something that doesn’t work at all with everything else I own.

    • Joanna

      Haha what a great analogy with those books! You’re absolutely right – what’s the point of having a beautiful item if you have literally nothing to wear it with? And occasions can be pretty irresistible sometimes, I know that too well!

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts :)

  • And that’s exactly why I don’t have a “sell pile” anymore. I either put unwanted clothes in the stash to swap with my sisters or in the stash for local charities. Actually posted about those so called “must haves” two weeks ago because I totally agree, in my opinion there’s no such thing as a universal truth when it comes to personal style.

    Great post :) And congratulations on the feature!

    Alex – Funky Jungle

    • Joanna

      Thank you Alex! I must check out that post of yours :) Swap parties are something I haven’t mastered yet, but maybe I should! After all, like Macklemore sang “one man’s trash, that’s another man’s come-up” haha ;)

      Have a great day!

  • Keeping in mind the lessons you’ve shared are definitely great ideas when shopping and not over-consuming. After moving, I found the same things as I sold clothes to Twice. Clearing out my closet was great for me to see, so I know what I really need and not purchase things based on what I wanted in the moment or thought I should own. I find I hardly need anything now when I shop and it actually feels great!

    • Joanna

      Thank you for sharing your story, Brooke. I’m glad you’re more of an aware consumer now :)