I love consigning - it's so refreshing to clean out the closets, get rid of some of that stuff that's been weighing you down and get a little money back in return. Here I share the basics as well as my 5 top tips on making the most from your consigned items.
What is consigning?
Consigning is bringing your used or new items to a shop that will sell them for you and give you a cut of what it sells for. Yes, you could have a yard sale and keep all the money yourself but consigning is great because you don't need a yard full of stuff and a free Saturday to make a little extra money - and you also don't have to worry about meeting potentially creepy strangers from Craigslist or Facebook Yard Sale groups. With consigning, you can sell as little or as much as you want with no work involved - perfect for all those busy folks out there.
There are lots of different types of consignment shops - some only do clothes or kid items, others do antiques and decor items, and some do a combination. There are even really specific shops out there for things like bridal and formal wear, so no matter what you're looking to get rid of there's most likely a consignment shop for that.
The format for all these types of shops usually goes something like this: Items are generally consigned for 90 days. If the item sells you get a percentage of what it sells for, usually 40-60%, and some stores offer you a higher percentage if you take the amount in store credit rather than cash. Some consignment shops cut checks to you once a month, others keep tally using a computer system and you can even check in online to see how your items are doing. If the item doesn't sell within it's allotted time you often get the choice to donate it to charity or come and pick it up. We always do the charity option, that way we get the chance to make a little money back but if something doesn't sell it goes on to help someone else - it's just win-win.
My 5 top tips on making the most from your consigned items:
- Keep with the seasons.
Most consignment shops will only take what's in-season - if they don't, make sure to bring in only what's current or will be soon. Bringing in a snowsuit in May will get you no where - it likely won't sell in the allotted time and you will lose the sale and therefore the extra cash you were hoping to make.
- Make sure your items look their best.
This means making sure your clothes are clean, have no stains or heavy wear-and-tear, loose threads are cut off, and it's wrinkle-free. If you're consigning decor items, make sure they have no damage and are dust-free.
Consignment shops won't take anything that doesn't looked clean and ready to sell.
- Know your market (consignment shop + audience).
Some consignment shops are more "high-end" than others so it's important to know what kinds of items and brands they take and what they're looking for (there will be places that only take premium clothing brands like GAP, J-Crew, etc). Some shops will even post a list online of what they are looking for or no longer taking at this time.
Once you get to know your local consignment shops, you'll soon learn where your items do best and you can decide where to bring what and when.
- Always be ready to consign.
Always have a designated space (a plastic tote, box, or even a paper bag) to put items you'd like to consign. How many times have you passed over that sweater in your closet? (a million) Put it in the box. A well-meaning relative sent you an outfit for your little one that's already two sizes too small? Put it in the box. You don't have to do a big purge to consign (though that's always a good thing), you can consign as you go.
- Shop where you consign.
If your consignment shop offers you a higher percentage back if you take your cut as store credit, definitely consider doing that - your money will go further for you.
One of my favorite consignment shops is one of those "higher-end" boutique places where they sell a mix of consigned and new items. I love consigning and shopping there because they give me a higher percentage back as store credit and I can put it towards gently used premium-brand clothing or new clothes and gifts.
Where to start?
Ask around, Google around. See what's near you, then give those consignment shops a call or send them an e-mail to get more information. Make sure to find out what their policies are and if you need an appointment to drop off items.