Last Friday afternoon, I had a little time to kill between dropping BB off at choir and passing BG off to Husband so I could help with Bunco setup, so I stopped by my local consignment shop/thrift store for a quick browse. (There’s a “slash” there because one part of the store is for consignment, and the other part is a thrift store.) While there, I stopped by the desk to see if I had any money in my account.
Hey, hey! The last time I checked a few months ago, it was about $12, so this felt like an awesome win! (And just in time to buy raffle tickets at Bunco – I could win House Painter for a Day, an overnight in Napa, even a week’s stay in Hawaii!)
Today, since I’m feeling pretty accomplished, I thought it might be fun to share some of my tips for selling clothes on consignment.
1. Shop the store first. Walk around the store to see what kind of pieces they carry. Do they sell items you would buy? Maybe you’re a vintage maven, but there’s not a piece in the shop that’s not a classic or on trend. This shop might not be the best match for your style. Keep searching!
2. Read up on store policies. Each shop is different. For example, my store keeps items in consignment for 30 days. You can come pick up items that haven’t sold before that time, but once they hit that mark, they are considered a donation and are moved over to the thrift store side. That means you won’t get any money for them. It’s important to know exactly what you are agreeing to when you drop your pieces off with them.
3. Take in-season pieces only. They will toss out-of-season items without even looking. This can be hard to manage, especially when you get to the end of winter and clean out your sweaters. To help, I keep bags labeled by season in my hall closet, so I know when to take certain items in. (The above piecesI took in just before Valentine’s day – red and sequins seemed very appropriate.)
4. Be very picky. Go over your clothes meticulously. No sweater pilling, no holes, no stains, very minimal wear. No tank tops or t-shirts unless they are brand new. (These are the items that are the workhorses in your closet – you know you wear them into the ground, so they will not make the cut for consigning.) And be a label snob. You know I am NOT a label snob, but certain brands do better at consignment shops than others. Again, when you shop your store, you will get an idea of what brands are on the floor. Ann Taylor, LOFT, Banana Republic (Gymboree, Carter’s, and Mini Boden for kids) always do better than Old Navy and Target store brands.
5. Wash or dry clean. This is obvious, but make sure the clothes you take in are clean.
6. Iron, iron, iron! Nothing makes clothes look as polished as a good ironing job. Pieces should look their absolute best when you take them – to increase the chances of being sold and to get the highest value.
7. Transport on hangers. You went to all that work to make them pretty and crisply ironed, so keep them that way. Once I was in line behind a woman who brought a jumble of clothes from her trunk. The woman who was processing clothes said she wouldn’t take them. The other woman insisted she ironed her clothes but they got wrinkled on the drive over. The store clerk refused to accept them.
One final thing I always keep in mind is that the proceeds the store makes from the sales go to support local non-profit agencies. I don’t get too upset over how much (or little) I make because I know that it is for a good cause. To me, making a little extra cash after I clean out my closets is just icing on the cake.
PS – If you’re curious like BB, who woke up Saturday morning and immediately asked what “we” won at Bunco, I didn’t take home any of the big prizes. BB was disappointed, but he felt better when I told him I did win a free hamburger. “So, do I get it for myself, or will we have to share it?” Bless his heart.
So, do you consign your clothes? What tips do you have? And have you tried selling online (eBay, Etsy for vintage, or thredUP)? I’d love to hear.