Old Leather Handbags: Transform, Donate, or Sell for Cash?

Got an old leather handbag collecting dust in your closet? You’re not alone. Many of us hang onto these treasures long after they’ve served their purpose. But there’s good news! Your beloved bag can get a second wind.

bag vanity featured image

Before you consider tossing it out, think about the endless possibilities. Whether it’s a DIY project, a charitable donation, or even a sale, your old handbag has plenty of life left. Let’s explore some creative and practical ways to give your leather companion a new lease on life.

Repair and Restore Your Old Handbags

Breathing new life into a classic leather handbag isn’t just a cost-effective choice; it’s a nod to sustainable fashion. Restoration can be transformative, and you’d be surprised at how minor repairs can make your bag look as good as new.

Start by assessing the damage. Check for scuffed edges, torn linings, or worn-out handles. Local shoe repair shops often offer handbag repairs too. They can reattach handles, replace zippers, or re-dye leather to its original luster. Professional leather conditioner and soft cloths are your friends when it comes to maintaining that sumptuous leather texture.

For a DIY approach, gather the necessary tools and supplies: leather cleaner, conditioner, and dye. Tutorials are abundant online. Remember, test any product on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Consider hardware as well. Scratched buckles and clasps can often be polished or replaced. Local hardware stores have suitable polishes or consider specialty retailers for replacements.

Doing the work yourself can be satisfying, but if DIY isn’t your thing, don’t hesitate to invest in professional restoration. Experts can handle complex issues like stain removal, shaping, and stitching repairs.

Remember, frequency of care can keep your bag in prime condition. Clean and condition it every few months. Store it properly – stuffed to maintain shape and covered to protect from dust.

Before you dive in, set a budget. Costs can add up, so weigh the repair costs against the sentimental or monetary value of your bag. If it’s a cherished piece or a designer classic, restoration makes sense. For a bag with less personal value, balance the investment against your attachment to the item.

Repurpose Your Old Handbags

Sometimes a handbag is beyond repair, or you might just be ready for a change. Don’t throw it away yet! Repurposing is a fantastic way to give your old leather handbags new life. Your creativity’s the limit, and here are some ways to get started.

  • Upcycle into a New Fashion Accessory: Transform parts of your bag into keychains, bracelets, or even a stylish belt. Leather is durable and can easily be fashioned into new accessories with some cutting tools and embellishments.
  • Turn It into Home Decor: A leather bag can become a unique vase cover, a chic storage container, or a decorative piece on your bookshelf. It’s a conversation starter and adds a vintage feel to your space.
  • Create Tech Sleeves and Cases: Cut your old handbag to size and sew it into a protective sleeve for your laptop, tablet, or phone. Leather offers a classic look and natural padding for your devices.

For those of you who are not DIY-inclined, there are professionals who specialize in repurposing leather goods. Find a local artisan who can help turn your ideas into reality. It’s not just about saving money but also about creating something one-of-a-kind.

Remember to check the quality of the leather before you start. Old leather that’s still in good condition can handle more alteration than leather that’s cracked or brittle. Test on a small section first if you’re unsure about the material’s integrity.

Consider the originality of your handbag. Designer bags can be repurposed in a way that preserves their brand elements, making your new item not just unique but also a tribute to the design it once was.

For vintage bags with a history, consider ways to keep the story alive. Whether it’s turning it into a piece of art or integrating it into a piece of furniture, your repurposed bag can serve as a keepsake of times past.

Maintaining the essence of the handbag while giving it a new function is a fulfilling project. It’s respecting the craftsmanship and extending the legacy of the leather handbag.

One of the most impactful ways to repurpose your old leather handbags is by donating them to charity. Not only do you declutter your space, but you also contribute to a worthy cause.

Many organizations welcome gently used handbags. These donations can be sold in charity shops, raising funds for various initiatives. Alternatively, they’re given directly to people in need, such as those re-entering the workforce or facing financial hardships.

Before you donate, consider these steps:

  • Clean your handbag thoroughly. A well-presented bag makes a better donation.
  • Check that all compartments are empty. It’s easy to leave personal items behind.
  • Repair any minor damages. While charities accept used items, they should be in a state fit for immediate use.
  • Research local charities. Find out which organizations accept secondhand leather goods.

Places to consider include:

  • Women’s shelters: Your handbag can be a valuable asset for someone starting anew.
  • Dress for Success: This international organization helps women by providing professional attire for job interviews.
  • Homeless shelters: Practical items like handbags are often needed here.
  • Thrift stores: Proceeds from your donated handbag can support various local community projects.

By donating your old handbags, you’re not just clearing out space in your closet. You’re passing on the stylish and practical benefits to someone who can truly appreciate them. Remember, the impact of your donation often extends beyond the physical item—it could be a stepping stone for someone’s new beginning.

Sell Your Old Handbags

If your old handbags are gathering dust, consider selling them for some extra cash. Platforms like eBay, Poshmark, and The RealReal specialize in secondhand fashion. Getting started is easy.

First, take high-quality photos of your handbags. Clear images showing the condition of the bag are crucial for a successful sale. Next, write honest, detailed descriptions. Mention the brand, model, age, and any wear and tear.

Research the current market to set a competitive price. Check what similar handbags are selling for and price yours accordingly. Be realistic about the value—designer brands tend to fetch higher prices than unbranded items.

Here’s a quick checklist before listing your handbag:

  • Clean and condition the leather
  • Repair minor damages, if possible
  • Take multiple photos from different angles
  • Compile all necessary details for the listing
  • Determine shipping costs and options

Consider offering international shipping to reach a wider audience. However, ensure you’re aware of the extra costs and logistics involved.

Be prepared for negotiation. Buyers often try to get a better deal, so set your lowest acceptable price beforehand. Once you’ve made the sale, ship promptly and provide the buyer with tracking details.

Selling handbags is a fantastic way to earn back part of your investment. Plus, it’s sustainability in action. Your pre-loved fashion finds a new home, reducing waste and the need for new production.


So there you have it! You’ve got a couple of great options to breathe new life into your old leather handbags. Whether you choose to donate them to someone in need or sell them for a little extra cash, you’re making a positive impact. Remember to prep your bags before parting with them and consider the joy they’ll bring to their new owner. It’s a win-win—you declutter your space and contribute to a more sustainable fashion cycle. Now go ahead, make that difference with your once-loved treasures!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some good uses for an old handbag?

Repurposing your old handbag for different uses, donating it to charity, or selling it online are great ways to give it a new life. Consider using it for creative storage, as an emergency kit for your car, or as a donation to local charities.

How can I prepare my handbag for donation?

Clean the handbag thoroughly and fix any minor damages before donating. Ensure it’s in a condition that will be useful and appreciated by the next owner.

What are some reputable places to donate old handbags?

Women’s shelters, Dress for Success, homeless shelters, and thrift stores are reputable places that often accept donated handbags. Research local organizations to find the best fit for your donation.

Can I sell my old handbag instead of donating it?

Yes, you can sell your old handbag on platforms such as eBay, Poshmark, and The RealReal. Make sure to present it well with high-quality photos and a detailed description to attract buyers.

What are the benefits of donating or selling old handbags?

By donating or selling your old handbags, you help declutter your space, contribute to charitable causes or earn back some of your investment, and support environmental sustainability by reducing waste and the need for new production.

Scroll to Top