Every year, I participate as a seller in one of the largest consignment sale events in our area. By selling items on consignment, I can make extra money for the holidays but careful preparation is the key to big profits.
If you are sitting behind a mountain of clothes and toys, trying to figure out what to do with what, check out my personal consigning tips:
This is funny coming from me, the Queen of Procrastination, but from my royal position, I have noticed that putting it off does not make it any easier to tackle.
The earlier you start, the better. Otherwise, you are still pricing items as you are waiting in line to drop-off. That’s too much stress!
Save your precious energy for other pursuits… like consignment SHOPPING… and give yourself plenty of time to prepare your items and work on cleaning and pricing a little each day.
Choosing what to consign
Clean out every closet and toy box.
Granted, it helps to keep a running box of clothes in the laundry room where you can place clothing that the children have outgrown and/or toys they no longer play with, but still check the closets and drawers for remnants.
I recommend sending the children to visit their grandparents and making this task a weekend project. Having the children at home while you are trying to sort creates meltdowns of “Mommy, please don’t sell my toys!” Even if the toys have not been touched in well over a year.
You can either make a pile of everything or start creating collections as you go. Me? I’m a pile maker.
Once my pile of potential items is high enough to make a professional mountain climber nervous, I sit and make some choices, placing them (or rather “CHUNKing” since I am tossing them with great force) into satellite boxes or piles.
- Box ONE – Classifieds
- Box TWO – Yard Sale
- Box THREE – Consignment
Now, how do I decide what goes where?
Classifieds: All of my large ticket baby items such as exersaucers, strollers and the like will be posted in the newspaper, on Facebook Marketplace, or on Craig’s List.
Many newspapers will let you list items are selling for less than $200 for free, keeping you from paying a percentage to the consignment shop. You keep 100%.
Yard Sale: Anything needing minor alterations or having stains that I am too lazy to scrub out. Anything I would price for $1 or less.
Consignment: They get everything else:
- complete outfits (shirt, pants, accessories) from name brands like Children’s Place, Gymboree, or Ralph Lauren
- smocked clothing and fancy dresses
- cloth diapers (in good condition)
- crib sets/nursery decorations
- maternity clothes/items
- family-friendly books and movies
- video games and tablets
- room decorations
- children’s furniture
- outdoor toys and bicycles
- umbrellas and jackets
- strollers and high chairs
- baby swings and cradles
- hair accessories
Do not attempt to sell anything that has been recalled. Also, check car seats for the expiration date. Didn’t know car seats expired? Flip it over and check the label.
Preparing the items for consignment
Make sure everything you consign is clean. Super clean.
Most consignment sales will not accept anything stained or damaged so check every item carefully in bright, natural light. I triple check and STILL some things slip through.
Also, only attempt to sell things that are seasonally appropriate. Toss other items in a storage bin for the next sale.
Prepping apparel for consignment
Children only wear clothing for a short time so it makes me feel better consigning their outfits. But I never sell anything I would not personally buy from a consignment sale. I also want to make sure every shirt, jacket, and skirt looks perfect.
- Have a sewing kit handy to reattach missing buttons and snip extra strings.
- Use a clothes shaver to remove pilling on knits.
- Remove stains from white clothing using diluted chlorine bleach or a Clorox Bleach Pen.
- Use cleaning wipes to shine shoes or a magic eraser to remove scuffs.
- Dissolve grease stains with Goop or Dawn dishwashing liquid.
- Soak dingy whites (like shoe laces and t-shirts) in Biz or Oxyclean.
- Shine shoes (even Crocs) with Armor All.
- Hang items on wire hangers since plastic hangers can break.
If you want to get top dollar, you need to iron the clothes… but I do not iron my clothes for consignment unless they are just TERRIBLE. I will, however, lightly mist them with fabric softener spray or water and leave them flat to dry. (To make your own fabric softener spray, add 1 tablespoon of liquid softener to a spray bottle of water. Shake well.)
Prepping toys and other items
- Wipe away a multitude of sins with a Magic Eraser and then a cleaning wipe.
- Use Goo Gone or a Magic Eraser to remove adhesive tags, marks, scrapes off plastic toys, etc.
- Blast dusty crevices with a compressed air keyboard cleaner.
- Remove crayon marks with WD-40.
After your items are pristine and ready, the pricing can begin. It helps to have a consignment pricing kit with everything you might need:
- 3×5 index card or cardstock
- Red marker (for marking tags on items you do not want to be discounted)
- Safety pins or clothes tagging gun
- Clothing hangers
- Writing pens
- Plastic freezer bags (in multiple sizes for grouping items)
- Clear packing tape
- Masking tape
Start by using masking tape to put your consignor number on every piece of clothing, especially if you are selling items in a set. If a piece of clothing gets separated from the tag, volunteers will know to whom the article belongs.
Next, start tagging your items by placing your item description (especially the size) and price on the index card. When completing the item description on your tag, be thorough. Yes, it takes longer to write the brand name and color but it keeps shoppers from swapping your tag with a less expensive item.
Choosing a Price
Be reasonable with your pricing. I often ask myself, “Would I pay this much for this item?”
The best starting place for a price is 20% to 25% of what you paid. If the item is a name brand or in perfect condition, you might be able to ask for 30% to 35% but be aware that consignment shoppers are price-savvy people and they will not pay more for a used item than they would at a really great clearance sale.
If you are tempted to charge more, check Ebay to see the average bid on similar items.
Another tip about pricing, write the price on the tag before placing the tag on the item to avoid accidentally marking your item or struggling with a permanent marker bleeding through the tag onto your clothing.
Other tips for consignors
- Put items with multiple pieces in a plastic freezer bag to keep the pieces together. Also, mark each individual item by placing your identification number on masking tape.
- Attach pants, shorts, and skirts to hangers using strong safety pins. Clothes get flipped through a lot during the sale and some people tug on the bottom of items inside of pushing on the hanger.
- Button, zip and snap as needed to make your items hang nicely and appear neater.
- Charge electronics or replace the batteries and remember to include any chargers or adapters to increase the value.
Have consignor tips for consignment sales?
Share your best tip/s for consigning in the comments. And, make sure to share this article with your other consignment-loving friends.