How to Consign

In this guide, we’ll go through the steps to consigning clothing, shoes, furniture, and appliances, including how to identify the right consignment shop to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure.

Consigning items is a great way to rid your home of clutter and may earn you a little cash for your trouble. It works like this: you bring gently used items into the shop, and a staff member will assess the quality of the item, research how much it’s worth, and compare it against similar items in the store. They offer you a price, add it to their stock, sell it, and then split the sale with you (typically 50-50 or 60-40).

Stores have a time limit on clothing, so if it’s on their floor for more than the limit (average: 6 weeks to 3 months), they will begin dropping the price.

Here are some tips on How to Consign:

What you can consign.

Consignment shops vary in the merchandise they will accept, but the following are pretty standard:

  • Accessories
  • Books*
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Handbags
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Shoes

* Bookstores are separate entities, meaning that used book stores typically only sell books, while consignment stores sell all of the items in all of the categories listed above.

Ready your items for consignment.

Wash and press any garments, empty handbags, clean appliances, and shine shoes. You want everything to look as close-to-new as possible, so you are given as high a price as possible for your items.

I’ve often considered dry cleaning clothes before consigning, but because this is a money-saving exercise, it really makes more sense to launder and then steam or iron everything yourself. But keep in mind time is money, and the dry cleaning bill may be worth it to you if these are very high-price items.

Include user manuals with appliances and gadgets if you still have them on hand.

Note: If you don’t want to put the time into spiffing up your items to get a good price for them, that is a sure sign you should donate them instead!

Do your research.

You need to research both the store and your items. Do a quick search on eBay to get a sense of how much your furniture, clothes, shoes, and accessories are worth. This way, when the store offers a price, you can instantly decide if it’s worth consigning or if you rather invest the time in selling it yourself on eBay or Craigslist.

Also, research the store.

Ask around for places friends and neighbors have gotten good deals, and research online via Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Choose one whose clothing matches your age and income range, so your items have a better chance of selling.

Also, ask around at your favorite department store. Sales clerks typically have a great insight into local tailors, cobblers, and good places to buy and sell used clothing.

Sell in season.

Whether you’re selling something online yourself or using a consignment store, sell clothing during the right season. This means spring and summer clothes in spring and summer, and fall and winter in fall and winter. Most stores won’t even accept items that are not in the right season.

If you’re doing some spring cleaning and find a bunch of boots and scarves you want to consign, store them until fall in a labeled, clear plastic container, and plan to make another trip to the consignment store in the fall.

Check the hours.

For some really strange reason, most consignment stores will not accept consignments on Sundays. This makes no sense to me, as most people organize their closets on weekends. Check to make sure they are accepting consignments before you fill your car with clothing. Once you fill the car, you don’t want to have to repeat the process again!

Get your check.

I saved the best part for last! Eventually, your clothes will sell, and you will have to either claim a check from the store or they will send you one unprompted. Many stores also offer the ability to check your sales online, so put this on your To-Do list + Calendar to check in after a few months and claim your sale.

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