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Closet clean-out: What to do with your kid's old clothes

July 30, 2012 at 10:00 AM ET

what to do with kids old clothes
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It seems like just yesterday she was wearing that sweet pink onesie and now she's already too tall for the jeans you bought her in the spring. Kids outgrow clothing so fast, it’s hard to keep up. If you're getting ready to go back-to-school shopping, now is the perfect time to clean out your kiddo's closet and dresser—out with the old and in with the new. But what do you do with all those too-small outfits? Sure, you could donate to your local Goodwill or church, but there are lots of other, more fruitful, ways to unload. Here are five ideas—including easy, no-brainer options that don't require a big time commitment. (Yay!)

ThredUp: After every growth spurt, you can request a free bag from online clothing exchange service ThredUp. Fill it up with new or like new, freshly laundered, clothing for kids 12 months and up. They'll go through your bag and determine how much it's worth. Full bags typically earn parents $20 to $40 on average. Top name brands, clothing with the tags still on and items that are appropriate for the current season all help increase your bag's worth.

Moxie Jean: Like ThredUp, Moxie Jean (previously known as Good Karma) will send you a prepaid bag to fill with new and like-new outgrown clothing, they will not purchase duds that are in less than excellent condition. The plus here: Moxie Jean accepts sizes as small as preemie on up through size 8. Check out their site for pricing charts to see what you'll earn. Bigger sizes and better brands will earn you top dollar, but most items are worth anywhere from $0.40 to $8.00 each.

Zwaggle: Just by joining (registration is quick and painless, we swear!) you'll earn 'Zoints' points that let you buy used clothing for your kids. Post your gently used clothing items and you'll earn more Zoints for what's grabbed by other users. Like eBay, you'll need to list items and take photos, so this method isn't as easy as sending off a bag, but if you're in the market for used clothing as well, this is a good way to swap outgrown clothes for ones that fit.

Host or Attend a Swap in Person: Get together with parents in your neighborhood to trade your outgrown kids clothes for appropriately sized duds. Swap by the bag or by the item. Note: this will only work if the moms in your circle have multiple kids of various ages—don't just ask the parents in your child's preschool class for example since they'll all be growing out of the same sizes.

Organize and Save: Thinking of having a second child—or have a sibling waiting for hand-me-downs? The trick to managing outgrown clothes is to keep them organized. Sort through what doesn't fit anymore to determine what's worth saving for younger sibs and discard what's too tattered or stained to bother storing. Then sort the 'keep' pile into separate boxes or plastic bins labeled by size so the appropriate duds are easy to find when you need them next.

Sell: Thankfully, selling your old stuff doesn't have to translate into spending a day hosting a garage sale anymore. If you have lightly worn designer duds (brands like Ralph Lauren or Tea Collection for example) and a little extra time on your hands, you might have luck selling them on eBay for more than you could through other avenues. Don't want to photograph and post each item of clothing separately? Put together bags of clothing by size and gender and sell them on Craigslist or through a local parenting group. If you'd rather sell in person, locate your nearest consignment shop—they'll do the selling for you for a cut of the profits.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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