If you’ve been following my financial journey, you may have noticed that I have been making extra money by selling stuff at consignment shops. In both my January and February financial updates I shared that I had money from consignment sales to send to my debt.
One thing I really love about consignment is the convenience – I drop things off, wait for them to sell, and collect my earnings! Much less effort than traditional yard sales, or selling online through apps, Craigslist or Facebook yard sale groups.
I have sold everything from baby and maternity clothes, baby gear, toys and books to household goods and kitchen items. If you haven’t tried consignment shops yet, I hope you will!
Here are my best consignment selling success tips!
Know the store policies
When you open an account as a seller at a consignment shop you will likely sign a contract. Read before you sign and get to know the store’s policies!
Here are some things to take note of:
- Will you be paid up front for your items or share the profits with the owner?
- What percentage of the sale do you receive? (40% is common in my area)
- Are there any fees? (one shop I frequent takes a one time $5 seller fee)
- How long will your items be on the sales floor? (60 days is common in my area)
- What happens to your unsold merchandise? (I gave permission for mine to be donated to local charities)
- Are there items/brands they do NOT accept?
- How often are items marked down? Are there big sales frequently? (One of my shops holds a big sale the last Saturday of the month – I like to drop off my new items the Monday after this sale so they have time on the sales floor before being marked down)
Take good care of your stuff
This should go without saying, but – only drop off clean, neat items. Ask yourself, “would I buy this item, in this condition?”
Don’t limit yourself to one shop
It can be a pain to drive around to multiple stores and keep track of what is where, but it can be worthwhile to use different shops for different items. Don’t drop everything off to one store out of convenience if your items would do better elsewhere (see my next two points below to understand why).
Specialty shops are better than general
A “we take everything” consignment shop is okay if it’s your only option. I prefer to find shops with a niche though! All of my baby and maternity stuff goes to one shop, while my old work clothes go to a shop that has a customer base of professional women in their 20’s – 40’s. I have seen consignment shops just for sports equiptment and for trendy clothes for teens.
Know what sells
Before dropping items off to a consignment shop for the first time, take a few minutes and browse the store. What brands and types of things are on the racks and on display? What didn’t do well quickly enough and got sent to the clearance rack? Talk to the store owners or employees about what sells best. They will tell you who their customers are and what brands are the most popular.
When I drop off a big load of clothes, I’m already calculating the potential earnings in my head! I’ve learned to calm down, and not check my account balance too often. Give your items a chance to be put out on the sales floor and sold. It takes time.
Pay attention to the seasons
Most consignment shops take items for the current season and next season. Some may have stricter rules and cut off dates than others. Pay attention to the seasons and when your shop is ready to take your next group of seasonal items.
Now as my kids grow out of clothes, I automatically sort them into seasonal boxes for later consigning.
Support the business
Consignment shops are small businesses, and I love supporting small businesses in my community. My favorite way to show them support is through social media. I follow each shop’s Facebook page, and like all of their posts. This helps the posts to be seen by more people, hopefully leading to them getting more customers (and selling more of my stuff!).
Another perk of following consignment shops on social media is they will let you know when they have requests for certain items. My local kid/baby shop recently requested baby bathtubs and I had one I wasn’t using but had forgotten about!
Consider store credit
I’m using consignment as a way to earn more income/pay off debt but you don’t have to if those aren’t your current goals. Store credit is a great alternative, and let’s you shop for new (to you) clothes after dropping off your old ones! This would be a great way to save on clothes for the whole family.
Look into other services
Some of my local shops offer pickup – they come to you to get your items. Doesn’t get much more convenient than that! Another cool service I have seen is closet clean out. The shop owner (who is a fashionista) comes over to help you weed out unnecessary items from your closet, and show you how to make the most of the clothes you do keep by creating new outfits for you!
Consider online options
If your community doesn’t have consignment shops, don’t worry! There are online options! I have not tried it personally yet, but my mom has had a really good experience using ThredUp.