Are cash for clothes worth the effort?

Cash For Clothes


Even if you are not a particular fashionista, you will likely find that you own a lot of clothes. From impulse purchases to good deals found online through to seasonal wear and gifts, we can build up a whopping amount of clothes. If you are someone who finds their drawers are full of clothes they don’t often wear, though, you might be wondering what you could do about it. Especially in these lockdown-driven times, we all have a lot more thinking time than we probably expected (or wanted)!

You have several options for getting rid of old clothing that you don’t want. For example, you could look to hand them to friends and family. But this poses several questions, such as:

  • Are you handing them a gift that they bought you a few years ago? A social faux pas indeed!
  • Are they going to really wear it, or are they just taking it to be polite?
  • Does the style suit them? Does it look like the kind of clothing you expect them to wear?
  • What did you pay for the product? Is handing it away to someone else to (not?) wear wise?

These considerations aside, you might be looking for another option. You could go the altruistic route and hand them into a charity shop, but many charity shops are actually loaded up with clothes and may not need more. This means you might find it hard to get the maximum out of your decision. One option that you should focus on, then, is cash for clothes.

What is cash for clothes?

As the name implies, these are companies that are happy to pay you some kind of agreed fee for your clothes. In essence, most of these companies work by simply weighing the clothes up in bags and then giving you a flat rate per kilogram of clothing. That might seem like a smart, profitable way to make some money and to make sure your clothes can then be used by another person or sold on to someone else.

However, the problem with systems like this is the fact that it does not value the clothes individually. This means that you could be looking to hand in bags worth of athletic wear and football shirts which individually cost as much as £20+ each. However, hand these lightweight bags over to the Cash for Clothes company you are talking to and they are likely to give you a pittance back relative to the value inside the bag.

And if they then go through it all and sell each item individually or in bunches, you would find they get a far better profit back than you get. That is why many people worry about the use of systems like this; is it actually a good system? Are you getting anything out of it for yourself, really?

Is using a Cash for Clothes system good value for money?

In truth, not really. Cash for Clothes tend to weigh up on the system that we mentioned above. This means they are not inspecting the garments. You basically give them a big bag of who knows what, they pay you a flat rate on the weight, and sift through it themselves to see what they have bought.

It’s a decent enough choice for those who want something back in return for their clothing. However, unless you happen to exclusively wear extremely heavy clothing you are quite unlikely to get much value for your money if you go to a system like this. As such, many avoid them.

Is the system even ethical?

It really depends on who you are selling to, in truth. The larger bodies tend to use the clothes they get for more humanitarian causes. Some will then donate what they get to certain charities, others will look to make the clothes affordable for free to those in poverty. Others will look to sell them on cheaply to thrift stores and other places that might want to sell second hand and marked down items.

However, it is fair to say that some Cash for Clothes programs are a touch less ethical in their mannerism and their workings. You will find that many of these groups simply take the clothes and look for a bit of a gold mine among the clothing. You might have handed them a rare band t-shirt or a tracksuit that was in surprisingly good condition.

If they keep the clothing to do with as they wish, don’t be shocked to see your ‘old’ tracksuit that got you pennies back in weight on sale for not far off the price you paid for it. Many of these organisations are quite ethical, but others will simply use it as a means to get bargains, cheap deals, and high value sales.

Should I just give to charity, then?

That is not for us to say – it comes down entirely to the issue you feel you are addressing. For many of us, the use of a Cash for Clothes system is simply to try and fill out our coffers once again after making some splurges. You might use it to try and make up room for a new wardrobe that you are filling, and simply want some spending money to go towards a new garment or two.

Others will want to make sure that they essentially give to charity whilst getting a little kickback on their own. Cash for Clothes companies with a more ethical approach to how they manage their clothing post-purchase are the kind of groups which you could broadly trust to do a good deed with the items that you give them.

The choice, though, is a personal one. Many feel like their clothing simply sit in boxes in charity stores, never to be seen. They might instead wish to give it to a more proactive company, or even try and find a home for the garments on their own themselves instead.

Should you sell your clothes on your own?

Of course, the main option for most people would be to just sell their clothing on their own through websites like eBay and Gumtree. You can find that this delivers far higher value for you per product. In fact, unless you turn up with bags of the thickest clothing, you will find one good quality garment can fetch you more than the entirety of the bags that you were to put into a Cash for Clothes deposit.

The main thing to remember is that profitability is not the main aim of using a Cash for Clothes system. This is not to make sure that you see a maximum return on your removal of old clothing. The aim is much more simplistic: to help you get something, no matter how little, back from the clothing that you wish to be rid of.

Since they take bulks of clothing off you and thus give you space and peace of mind at home, the little bit of money on top can feel like a decent enough little extra. You could, though, be missing out on a chance to make some big money.

Is your clothing worth money?

The main thing to remember, then, is that clothing in bags is still worth something to someone. Let us say that you have a bag of classic band t-shirts that are still in good to fine condition. You might see the listing fees per item on eBay as quite expensive. You might see the time spent snapping photos, uploading listings, detailing them etc. as a waste of your time.

But this is the only way to make money, decent money, if you are selling your old clothing. Cash for Clothes companies are offering you a choice: do you want to spend time and make more, or spend less time and make less?

If you are short on money, we recommend that you do not use a Cash for Clothes venue. Your clothes are worth something to someone. Even in average condition, they could still fetch you more than it costs you to sell them – that is still a profit. Do that for each garment that was to go into a bag and be shipped off, and you could soon find that you have made a pretty impressive profit!

However, if you are someone who is short on space then we recommend that you do use a Cash for Clothes venue. Perhaps try and find the best clothing and give them into a charity shop instead. Remember, most clothes from a Cash for Clothes company will wind up on sale or given out as donations to charities and the like anyway.

By choosing to give in the best items to charities and then take the bulk items to a Cash for Clothes deposit point, you can enjoy a small financial top-up and the ethical boon of helping someone else out of a tight spot. Either way, you are sure to feel good about the situation. Cash for Clothes is an ethical, easy choice for quick removal with a small pay-off; you just need to decide if you would rather more for your clothing.

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