05/31/2012 06:39 pm ET Updated Jul 31, 2012

Want to Make Some Extra Cash? Clean Out Your Closet!

By Cassandra Paré, Marketing Manager, Women & Co.

When I first committed to my annual ritual of cleaning out my closet years ago, I experienced an instant pang of separation anxiety -- the feeling that I simply couldn't let go of these things in my closet, no matter how egregiously unfashionable they were. But when I stared long and hard at that pink corduroy skirt with the terrifying gold tassels, I realized it really wasn't about the clothes, but rather the guilt I felt for being wasteful. Wasteful not only because I was preparing to toss clothes that someone else could wear, but also because I'd spent money and gotten no return on my investment.

This realization led me to look into what I could do with those old clothes and I discovered that there were several options that offered a great financial upside and a solution for my guilt. Are you planning to organize your closet? Consider my closet-cleaning tips for the financially savvy:

• Host a swap party
Consider hosting a clothing swap. Show up with the clothes you no longer want and have your friends do the same. Don't feel like organizing a swap party on your own? Hop online and find one that's already taking place. Websites like allow you to search for clothing swaps in your area.

• Sell your clothes to a second-hand shop
There are plenty of shops in NYC and around the country that will buy your gently worn clothing for cash or store credit. The only caveat is that these shops are sometimes very picky about what they'll purchase, as they are often looking for a particular trend or designer. One option I use is Buffalo Exchange, which has stores all over the country.

• Sell your items on eBay
Another place to sell your clothes is eBay. It takes a little more work than stopping into a second-hand shop to drop off your clothes, but on the upside, you won't have to share any of your profit with a middleman.

• Donate your clothes
There are numerous non-profits that are willing to take those old clothes off your hands. Some that I frequently use are Housing Works and The Salvation Army, but you can use a quick Google search to find the most convenient places in your neighborhood. And if you drop off, don't forget to pick up a donation receipt which you can deduct from your taxable income when you prepare your taxes.

The next time Vogue announces a pair of neon jeans to be the "must-have item of the year," consider the words of Coco Chanel: "Fashion is made to become unfashionable." That might mean that your trendy neon jeans won't be trendy forever, but if you must have them, at least you'll know what to do with them once they've outworn their welcome.

About the Author:
As Women & Co.'s Marketing Manager, Cassandra brings professional experience working in marketing within the media industry. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from Fordham University. Cassandra seeks to understand the distinct financial needs of our members in order to help provide extensive financial resources. In addition to her role at Women & Co., Cassandra is an active member of Fordham Women in Business and is a regular volunteer with New York Cares.