by Lizzie Duszynski | Banner Photo by karen.tkr
As we inch deeper into April, the urge to lighten things up seems to grow stronger every day. With the sun shining longer, we’re readier than ever to push our winter coats to the back of the closet, throw open the windows, and say so long to last season’s heavy wools and tweed. If the warm weather on the horizon has you in the mood to purge, give some thought to how you’ll let it all go. Instead of packing up trash bags and hauling them out to the dumpster, give them new life by either donating them to a worthy cause or selling them for extra dough. We’ve rounded up nine ways to unload without sending your things to the landfill.


Set to launch this May, The Social Closet is a new online fashion marketplace. Dealing in pre-owned designer duds, the French duo behind this newest online shop scrutinizes each seller’s items, authenticates its labels, and prices, photographs, and ships garments and accessories across the globe. Buyers and sellers are invited to create a virtual closet before the site even launches next month. The pair is even available for pick-ups and consultations and won’t collect their 15% commission fee until your item has sold.

1543 N. Milwaukee Ave
(773) 698-8345

Second Time Around offers upscale clothing, shoes, and accessories at budget-friendly prices. It’s a nice place to shop when you’re not in the mood to shell out the big bucks for big names like J.Crew and Kate Spade. But the shop also offers consignment, accepting nearly new and in-season garments for high-end resale.

1478 N. Milwaukee
(773) 227-9558

When you’re looking for a new home for cast-off designer labels and vintage wear alike, Buffalo Exchange will take them in for trade or cash on the spot. This shop boasts a fairly large assortment of labels, from no-name to Cynthia Rowley and Marc Jacobs. It’s a fun place to browse, especially if you can knock off a few dollars from your total bill by bringing in a few items for trade. Any items the shop doesn’t pick up, they will return to you or donate to charity.

1658 N. Wells
(312) 291-9126

Luxury Garage Sale does all the legwork for sellers of big-ticket items. The staff authenticates labels, researches, prices, and photographs inventory for you. They decide how best to sell your luxury items, whether that’s on eBay, in their brick and mortar store, or in one of their infamous pop-up shopping events. They are also available to help you clean out your closet, sorting through your potential merchandise, and collecting a fee only when your item has sold.

2117 N. Halsted
(773) 525-7467

Much like Luxury Garage Sale, eDrop-Off specializes in consigning high-end items. The staff offers free pickups, closet consultations, and personal shopping—all in addition to listing, marketing, and auctioning your designer clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories through eBay.


(312) 841-1688

Think of Zealous Good as a big-hearted intermediary. With connections to non-profits all across the city, this team of do-gooders is dedicated to finding a good home for the stuff you no longer need. Here’s how it works: You log on to the company’s website and share information about what you’re looking to unload. Whether it’s a piano or a set of cross-country skis, Zealous Good matches your donation to charities in need. You pick the organization from a list the Zealous team provides, and voila! Your load is lighter and your karma stronger.

(847) 475-3800

For millions of teenagers the country over spring means one thing and one thing only: prom. Help an underprivileged Chicago youth take part in this quintessential teenage experience by donating gently used formal dresses, shoes, jewelry, and bags to Dreams Delivered. This organization, sponsored by the Women’s Club of Evanston, hosts a pop-up prom boutique in the first few days of May.

(312) 733-9742

Take your gently used and in-season business attire to Bridge to Success. This organization helps outfit low and no-income men and women with the resources—and the professional clothing—they need to prepare for the job hunt.

(773) 549-5943

The Brown Elephant is one of our favorite spots to shop for unusual and vintage furniture at a decent price. It’s also a good bet when you’re looking to lighten up and unload anything from clothing to furniture and household appliances. The proceeds from items sold at the shop go toward helping uninsured medical patients cover the costs of their healthcare bills.