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Selling used apparel – buying bales of clothing

David, one of our blog readers emailed today asking about used apparel, more specifically bales of used apparel for resell. I really think David has a great idea brewing, in fact I am going to share my opinion and experience below his email:

Hi Robert,

I want to get your opinion about an idea I have for a new revenue stream.  My wife and I had a garage sale this weekend and I was surprised to see how fast our kids’ old clothing sold.  Our Garage Sales customers were snapping up those clothes quickly; most of them were buying several pieces each.  This got me thinking about selling used clothing in a flea market setting.  I did some internet research and found a lot of companies that are selling used clothing in bales.  The price ranges from 30 cents to $1 per pound depending on the type.  It looks like these companies buying this stuff are exporting to the third world.  I wasn’t able to find much info about people selling locally. 

My plan would be to purchase bales of children’s clothing, sort out the garbage, launder whats left, sort by type then neatly fold everything.  I would also think there would be a small percentage of expensive clothing in good condition that I could sell through other channels.  I might even send those to consignment stores.  I think the clothes would cost me about 25 cents per piece and I think I could sell them for $1-$3 each in the flea market.  Based on how my garage sale went and that we are talking about the same type of customer, I think I could sell a few hundred dollars worth of clothing in a day.  My whole strategy is to win customers based on my pricing.  Plus, the flea market I would use does not have anyone selling clothing near this price point and they have a lot of traffic.  If this all worked, I would hire someone to run the flea market booth(s) so I could concentrate on other areas of my business. 

The fact that I wasn’t able to find info on the internet about people selling used clothes domestically makes me think I am missing something.  Surely, I’m not the first person to come up with this idea.  There must be a reason people only export, other than the obvious, which is that these clothes are mostly junk.  However, it seems people will buy this junk for the right price.  Given your experience in the closeout/salvage industry, have you heard of anyone that has been successful with this type of business?  This is all in the early ideation phase so I am looking for validation that it is a good or bad idea.  Thanks Robert.


My Response: David, sounds like a great idea! Honestly, where can you a better markup? We have purchased used apparel by the bail and through a few methods described below. We re-wholesaled apparel to ebay sellers, specifically children’s apparel that we bought for a nickel per piece. We had no problem selling at .50-.70 in small lots of one hundred pieces at a time.

I really do not see how you can go wrong selling used apparel at your flea market. There are thousands of people selling used apparel at flea markets nationwide! Sourcing is a critical area, but I will tell you that most of the liquidation companies advertising used apparel are getting the clothing from one source….

BestUsedClothing.com and ABCloseouts.com (Same Company) is one of the largest distributors of used apparel by the bale and container. There are hundreds of Brokers and Liquidation websites selling clothing that comes directly from this company!

As you stated in your email, exporters are buying containers of used apparel especially summer weight clothing and shipping to impoverished third world countries where even Walmart brands command a high dollar. It is not uncommon for a well connected exporter to drop a container at its destination only to immediately resell to end retailers [local] eagerly awaiting stock.

Used apparel wholesalers usually advertise three grades including A, B and C. Grade A being the best quality, the lower grades will have more holes, tears, buttons missing, stains and imperfections.

Can you make money buying used apparel (with the intent to resell?) from Yard Sales, Garage Sales, Flea Markets and Thrift Shops?


In addition to selling new or shelf pull apparel apparel overstocks on ebay or at flea markets we know of several large ebay power sellers who buy apparel for pennies on the dollar by making regular visits in their own hometown to thrift stores, garage sales etc finding name brand apparel in “gently used” or often new condition. Often apparel can be purchased for ten to twenty-five cents which will give you the opportunity to realize huge mark-ups!

  1. Become a regular shopper at thrift stores in your local area. Inquire about
    large quantity discounts for purchasing. Often thrift stores are “at capacity” with apparel and your inquiry to purchase in larger quantities will be welcome.
  2. When buying from thrift stores or garage sales only purchase higher end
    brand names. Make sure to research which brands sell the best on ebay
    and keep a list with you when you shop.
  3. Focus your search for Jackets, Dresses and Jeans as these items have a higher perceived resell value on ebay or at flea markets
  4. Visually inspect each item purchasing to make sure there are no holes, rips or stains.
  5. If buying from Garage sales watch you local newspaper for specific sale
    times: If a garage sale advertises Saturday 8 Am – 3 PM show up at about
    30 minutes before they will be closing. At the end of the day bargains can
    be tremendous. Often people who hold garage sales are ready to almost
    give away merchandise at the end of the sale. Big bonus for you!
  6. After making your purchases go home to inspect the apparel again. You will need to (in most cases) wash the apparel and perform “Wrinkle Removal” prior to reselling on ebay or at your flea market
  7. Do not buy used apparel that is heavily worn or faded. Develop your own
    criteria for sourcing used apparel…If it is gently used you should have no
    problem reselling it.

Don’t have time to go out searching?

Advertise in your local newspaper stating you will buy gently used apparel. We have had great luck in running ads ongoing advertising to buy used clothing.  Specify clothing conditions and sizes. Include your phone number and prepare for a rush of people calling ready to deliver apparel to your door. Everyone can appreciate some extra money after cleaning out their closets!

Another great way to spread the word about buying gently used apparel is to run a free add on your local Craigslist.org website. We have attracted hundreds of people using this method…we love it because it does not cost a dime!
Be ready when people respond to your ad explaining your strict criteria for
apparel purchases. Be up front with people calling advising how much you are
willing to pay.

Remember that most people who respond to this type of offer were probably
going to donate the clothing. This is to your advantage obviously as people do
not make money donating…you are offering them cash!

The Liquidators Guide! - 121 pages of purchasing information & liquidation sources in a fact-filled guide that wholesalers and liquidation brokers do not want you to get your hands on! I have been buying and reselling wholesale liquidation merchandise for ten years...and I am going to share my knowledge with you!

NEW - How to Broker Liquidations – Start making money brokering liquidation merchandise! Our newest guide reveals all the steps needed to start a lucrative business brokering customer returns, shelf pulls, and salvage merchandise! Start this business right from home with our 168 Page Guide filled with industry secrets.


46 comments to Selling used apparel – buying bales of clothing

  • Karl

    I have large amounts of bailed clothing for sale

  • Mark VanderBloemen

    Hi. We bail about 20 tons of clothes every 2 or 3 months… Where is the best outlet for selling these bails, as we receive about 6 cents per pound right now…


    Mark VanderBloemen

  • Mark
    We have 3 thrift stores, I have found Ohio Mills to be a good source to sell bails. With them you don’t even have to have it in bail. We just put it in large heavy duty garbage bags. They drive to pick it up from us.

  • Annie

    I have hundreds of perfect condition blue jeans that I’d like to sell before we move.

  • Hi, i am lookin for new or slightly used clothing to sell at my used clothing store. I will be opening in Jan, 2009 in my already established cottage decor shop. I will be giving a percentage each month to a charity of our choice. is this something you can help me with as far as finding clothes? thank You so much!!!

  • Tom

    I am currently buying premium quality used clothing. I am located in Brooklyn, NY and ship the clothing to West Africa.

  • Tapuwa Nyamapfene


    I live in Zimbabwe and am looking for bales of second hand clothing to import, preferably ladies’tops or childrens’s wear.

  • Awwal Kako

    It’s our family business to buy and sell used clothing, mostly from United State to West Africa.
    Can you pls, help get another seller that’s ready to do business and who can offer me an affordable price. Cos my supplier is no longer in the business.Thank you.

  • ADONAI j. Bey

    I Own a vintage new & used clothing store.We have an abundance supply of clothing and we are ready to business with West Africa. Thank you.

  • Mrs. Business

    Interested in buying bales of clothing

    please contact

  • Sam Syed

    Send me your contact # so i can get in touch with you.

  • jypsye walker

    I am looking for reasonable priced bales of vintage clothing, not all 80′s but some nicer fabrics and pieces, accessories. Thanks. The west coast has all the connects.

  • max

    hi,our company will be more than happy to supply you with used clothes.Please send us an e-mail at somginc@gmail.com and we will be more than happy to talk to you.
    Thank you,
    max oppeng

  • Aaron

    Hi my name is Aaron I own a used clothing exporting company.I buy bailed “credential “grade clothing at .10 cents/lb. By credential i mean that the clothing has not been sorted thru if that is what u have for sale call me email me at platgoldplayer@yahoo.com

  • Aaron

    Hi my name is Aaron I own a used clothing collection company from door to door collections i have bail at 30cents/lb 6107624547

  • Mike

    I have new and used clothing and bedding for sale, cheap, all comes from large canadian retail stores. mens, ladies and some children, blankets, comforters, sheets also.

    E-mail if interested

  • ryan delagrange

    i was interested in the new and used clothing. i was wondering what the min. is and how much. i’m getting ready to open an consignment shop of new and used clothing. thanks

  • Brad

    I am trying to determine pricing structres. We are a thrift store with stores in several states and have XC, IR, B and D bales of clothing in 1000 lb bales. What is the going rate of these items?

  • Maple Seecharran


    I have a used clothing warehouse where we sort and grade the goods before making bales to ship to Africa.
    Please contact me at maple_seecharran@hotmail.com or by phone at
    416 742-2638


  • John

    Have clothing bales for sale. Contact me (John)at (843) 320-9935.

  • Alfredo

    I want to buy used clothes in small quantities of good quality(100lbs bail)to sell in Dominican Republic. Also shoes and sneakers.

  • Alfredo

    Hi Mike i am looking for 100lb bails
    call me 917 497 0889

  • Stephanie Mocilan

    Hi, I am interested in getting into selling/baling clothes. I am just doing my research on how to get started. I am in Illinois. Where are you located?

    Thank you.

  • Gita

    Hi…I would like to buy clothes in small bales and just couple of them. mosly A grade. please e-mail me with bales and shipping quote to Idaho.

  • Pat

    I have a thrift store and want to sell the contents. Not sure how I would price this for resale of complete store. What would be the going price for bales of clothing….Grade A.

  • Bob Hanan

    looking to strat a thrift -rummage sale retail store. Could you supply me with a list of charity wholesalers to for profit retailers? Also what is the going rate per pound? I was told 5 cents and under. Are there wholesalers who will work on a percentage of the retail sale?

  • Hi every one
    we are export of used clothing , packed in 100lbs , USA origin goods , from our 3 factories around the world ,
    we supply as per demand used clothing
    hope to supply your demand
    fax no 707 248 0964

  • marie

    i am looking to buy bail of mixed clothes for teen to woman good quality and shoes

  • pm

    looking for small bales of 100 pounds available 1,2 or 3 at a time for regular purchase and perhaps more later.

  • Tammy Banegas

    I am located in NEMS and i am also looking to buy small bales of clothing for a local store. Any help you could give me in making my ventures a success would be greatly appreciated – Thanks again for this sight and info!!

  • wilna

    hello if you have any websites that sell bales of used clothing and used shoes please e-mail me all the websites that you know that sell bales of used clothing and used shoes for under 16 cents a pound

    thank you

  • si

    i am looking to buy bails of mixed clothes for men,women, kids,shoes,toys,houseware.

  • Gloria

    I am looking to buy bails of high end clothes for women and children, shoes, handbags etc for my ebay store.
    Please let me know sites that i can buy from.
    Thank you

  • jane

    Hi, also looking to buy bails of decent, vintage etc. Am based in Los Angeles if anyone has any leads! Thanks jane

  • Kelly

    Hello all,

    I’m interested in starting this but I want to start small. Does anyone have 50lb bails or less? Please email me, thank you! I’m in New York state.

  • Emmanuel

    How many clothes are in a 100lb Bale?

  • Dale

    I have over 7o bails of clothing right now. And an on-going supply. I am looking for someone in Florida that can give me a good price for them.
    Emails only

  • japie

    hallo. i’m looking to buy clothing bales in south africa. want to start my own busnisse. can any one tell me where i can get it.

  • Vedi Gounder

    looking for bales of used clothes to use as cotton rags approxmately 5 to 6 tonnes every month.

  • anvar

    hi dear i want more infomation second hand clothing and shoes.icome from iran
    best regards
    anvar hamamian

  • siphiwe

    Anyone with information on where i can get bales of used clothing in south africa please help.

  • Leo Young

    I wanted to buy second hand clothing bales in Hawaii to send to Micronesia. Does anyone knows where I can buy cheaper in Hawaii?

  • Sales Isabell

    I have new wholesale young contemporary women’s clothing for sale! EMAIL IF INTERESTED sales@veryjusa.com

  • Wendy Smith

    I am looking to sell these items in bulk: I have approx.40-50 large bins full of new to barely worn clothes. Some still have tags. Each bin weighs approx. 40lbs. I also have brand new ladies shoes sz.7 and purses. If interested please email smith.family888@gmail.com.

  • Kevin Mitchell

    My name is Kevin Mitchell and I am the General Manager of DAV Thrift Stores in Louisville, KY. We have a dedicated system of selling used clothing bales from our Thrift Stores. They are filled with items that sat on the shelf too long, overstock, and out of season merchandise. Child & Adult sizes included. If you would like to discuss purchasing bales from us please contact me at K.Mitch002@gmail.com.

    Thank You.

  • Susan Parker

    My name is Susan and i live in spartan-burg s.c.I have been buying and re-selling clothes for a while now. I had got sick and was UN-able to anything for along time. I would like to start selling again but from my home.My husband built a small cabin with windows,air conditioner, carpet.It’s very nice. I have been reading this about buying clothes by the pound or bulk,it seems like something i would like. Most of my clothes are plus-size and being a bigger woman i know how hard clothes can be to find at a good price. Could someone please tell me more about these places where clothes can be bought in bulk? I would be so thankful. I live in a very small town so i have to sell extra nice clothes or the people here will go to the city. If you would like to write please do so,(howin674@yahoo.com)
    Thank You

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