Is cash hidden in your closet? By Nicole Anzia | SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON POST OCTOBER 19, 2014
We had such a glorious summer that the transition to fall feels seamless this year. But it won't be long until the weather turns frigid. Are you ready?
Now is the perfect time to do a thorough closet cleaning so you're prepared for cooler temperatures. For many people, making decisions about what to keep and discard is difficult. Harder still can be figuring out what to do with the unwanted items.
Fortunately, the burgeoning online clothing-consignment industry is making it even easier to find a second home for your unwanted clothes, shoes, and handbags, and to make money while you're at it.
Each company operates a little differently, but they all have one goal: to make online consignment easy. Yes, you still have to sort through your closets, but they do the rest by offering complimentary packaging, free shipping, and access to a lot of potential buyers.
? ThredUP (www.thredup.com)
What it accepts: ThredUP buys and sells name-brand women's (and kids') clothing, including shoes, handbags, plus-size, and maternity items in like-new condition.
How to consign: Order a free ''Clean Out Bag'' from the website, fill it with clothes, and send it back via the US Postal Service or Federal Express using the prepaid shipping label. Merchandisers screen the clothes for quality, photograph and list the accepted items, then send you an e-mail with your payout details. For a fee of $12.99, the company will send back everything it cannot accept.
Terms of consignment: ThredUP has two payout methods -- upfront and consignment. You earn up to 35 percent of the selling price upfront for clothing listed under $20. You earn between 50 percent and 80 percent of the selling price for each item listed over $20, when it sells. Sellers are paid in either ThredUP shopping credit or via PayPal. Consignment items are listed for 90 days. If a piece has been listed and does not sell, it can be sent back to you for $2.99.
? The RealReal (www.therealreal.com)
What it accepts: The RealReal sells authenticated luxury clothes at up to 90 percent off retail price. It accepts women's and men's luxury fashion, fine jewelry and watches, and fine art.
How to consign: Schedule a full-service consignment pickup (in 16 cities), or request a free direct-shipping kit. An authentication team inspects, photographs, and lists the items.
Terms of consignment: You initially earn 60 percent then up to 70 percent once a sales threshold has been reached. Payments are made monthly by check, direct deposit, or with site credit.
? Poshmark (www.poshmark.com)
What it accepts: Poshmark sells women's clothing and accessories in good condition -- any brand.
How to consign: Create an account with a size profile. Take a picture of your item and list it for sale with the free iPhone, iPad, or Android app.
Terms of consignment: Poshmark provides prepaid, preaddressed labels. Once an item is sold, pack it and drop it off at a post office mailbox or have it picked up at home. For all sales under $15, Poshmark takes a commission of $2.95. For sales of $15 or more, Poshmark's take is 20 percent. Earnings can be kept as site credit or withdrawn as cash.
? Twice (www.liketwice.com) What it accepts: Twice sells lightly used women's clothes, handbags, and shoes. The brands it accepts are listed on its site.
How to consign: Request a prepaid shipping bag or print a label. Twice will make you an offer within a week of receiving the items. If you accept it, the company will make the payment to you and list the items. Any items that do not sell are donated.
Terms of consignment: Items are purchased from you upfront once the offer is accepted.
? Threadflip (www.threadflip.com)
What it accepts: Threadflip sells new or lightly worn women's clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry, and accessories.
How to consign: Request a free shipping kit or print a prepaid shipping label. Approved items will be professionally photographed and listed. You also have the option to list the items yourself.
Terms of consignment: A tiered commission rate is offered based on the list price.
? Snobswap (www.snobswap.com)
What it accepts: Snobswap sells and swaps new and gently used luxury designer clothes, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children.
How to consign: You take photos and list the items yourself on the website. You can also just hand your clothes off to someone who takes care of the listing details.
Terms of consignment: Listing is free, but Snobswap will take a 15 percent seller's fee once the item is sold.
Nicole Anzia is a freelance writer and owner of Neatnik. She can be reached at email@example.com via