Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tips for Selling at Consignment Sales

If you read my post yesterday you know that September around here means football season, but it also means consignment sale season.  Woot, woot!!!  I LOVE me a good consignment sale.  The majority of my kids' clothes come from consignment sales and last year I shared my tips for shopping at these sales HERE.  While shopping is WAY more fun than selling, it's still a nice way to clean out closets, weed through some of the toys, and make room for new things.

I'm always amazed when friends tell me that they just donate all of their kids' old clothes to Goodwill or some place else.  Nothing against donating (because I do my fare share of that, too), but selling at consignment sales can be so easy and really make you a lot of money, too!  I can't tell you how many times I've had friends say that they could just never sell at consignment sales because it's a lot of work to get everything ready and tag it all.  If you are organized and have a little system before you begin, it really isn't that bad.  I use the money I make to buy new things for my kids, so it's like a big cycle that in my head cancels out my spending.  If that's not girl math, I don't know what is. ;-)

So, next time you are ready to get rid of some of the clothes and toys your kids have outgrown, be sure to follow these simple steps to be successful at selling at a consignment sale. 

1.  Collect Items to Sell - This is obvious, but I want to share how I do this. I have always kept a plastic bin in each of my kids closets.  As soon as I realize they have outgrown something or at the end of each season when I'm ready to switch their closest over, I put the clothes they will no longer be able to wear in the bins.

I don't do anything with them at this time, but when consignment sale time comes around, I already know what I'd like to sell and I don't have to go searching through their clothes.  I also put shoes in these bins.  Basically, if the kids are done with it, it goes in there.  I also keep a bin in one of our downstairs closets for toys, books, etc. that they tire of and outgrow.  Again, when it is consignment sale time, I already have everything collected that I'm wanting to sell.  

2.  Register Early - Find the sales you want to try to sell at and register early.  Often times you will have to register 6 weeks before the sale and some sales limit the number of sellers so if you don't do it early, you will miss out on your chance to sell. Most sales require a small fee to be part of their sale (usually $5) just to hold our spot and make sure you are serious about doing it.  During this time you will also select a drop-off time to be on the schedule to drop off your things to the sale.  

3. Sort - When you are ready to start prepping for the sale I aways start by sorting through the bins.  I find it easiest to set up a consignment spot and just be able to leave it all out for a week or so.  I use our guest bedroom, but in the past I have also used our dinning room table. It's just nice to be able to lay everything out while you are working and leave it out.  I sort through things in the bins and decide what I want to sell, what I will keep, and what I will pass on to friends or family.  Most sales are season specific, so for fall sales they won't accept summer clothes and vice versa.  

4. Inspect - Most sales are pretty picky.  They will look at every piece of clothing for stains, holes or excessive wear when you drop it off, so it's better for you to do this ahead of time.

If you think it is stained or too worn, most likely they won't accept it so it's best to just put in your donate pile.  Same thing goes for toys, books, and games. Make sure everything is in working order, has all pieces, working batteries, etc. 

5. Gather Supplies - Make sure you have everything you need before you begin.  
  • Card Stock - Your tags will have to be printed on this heavy duty paper.
  • Safety Pins (Lots of them!!!) - These will be used for pinning tags on and pinning clothes to hangers.
  • Wire Hangers - Most sales only accept wire hangers. You can collect them from your dry cleaning, purchase them from your dry cleaners or order HERE
  • Large Baggies - For shoes, puzzles, or toys with lots of pieces you can put them in large baggies. I usually get 1 and 2 gallon sizes, but THESE really big ones can be good for bedding and other large toys you might want to sell.  
  • Clear Packing Tape - This will be used to tape those baggies closed so you don't loose pieces during the sale, and also to tape tags onto books, toys, games, etc. 
6. Hang/Bag - Once you have all of your supplies, start hanging all of the clothes.  Be sure to pin pants to tops of hangers and also pin things that might easily slip off hangers.  If your items fall of hangers and are on the floor, no one will buy them.  Bag items like shoes, toys with lots of pieces, puzzles, and groups of things you want to sell like tights, accessories, etc.  

7. Sort by gender/size - To make item entry for tags faster, go ahead and sort by gender and then by size, smallest to biggest. 

8. Item Entry/Pricing - Each sale will use a different tagging system, but they are all pretty much the same. You'll be able to enter a description of your item, size, gender, and set the price.  I usually bring my laptop to where I'm working and just go through each piece to move quickly.  I've learned through the years that people come to these sales looking for a great deal.  You can ask any price you would like, but if you want your things to sell, cheaper is better.  Try to separate yourself from the memories of your kids in that adorable outfit and think about what someone would really pay for it.  You can also select to have things be discounted on the last day of the sale. This will also help things move off the racks.  I generally don't do discount day because I know that if my things don't sell I will pass them on to family and friends, but for some things I am of the philosophy that I'd rather have something for it than nothing.  When all items are printed you simply print and cut out your tags.

9. Tag - Your tags will print 8-10 to a page, so I cut one sheet at a time as I begin to tag my items.  That way you aren't looking through tons of little tags and it is easier to find the item or tag you are looking for.  For clothing, pin tags to the top right side.

For all other items, use clear packing tape to attach the tags. Just be sure the bar codes are clearly visible and be sure the tags are secure.  The sales can get crazy and if your tag falls of, your item can't be purchased.  

10. Drop-off - Remember those bins you used to collect all of you stuff?  Use them again for packing your things for drop-off.  This will make it easier to get things loaded in your car and to drop-off.  Arrive at your scheduled time to drop-off your things.  Each sale has a different system for drop-off.  Some you can just drive up to and there are people there to help you unload, some you have to stand in line with all of your things (there are always volunteers to help with big loads) and some you have to just walk in and rack your clothing.  

11.  Shop EARLY!!!  - One of the best parts about selling is that you can go shop the sale early!  

12. Pick-up - When tagging you can select to donate your things after the sale so you don't have to go back and pick them up.  If you don't choose to do this you will need to be there at the correct time to pick up your things that did not sell. If you miss that time they will not hold your things for you and they will be donated, so be sure to be on time!

I hope these tips help if you decide to sell and if any of you are expert sellers and have any other tips, be sure to share them in the comments!  
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  1. This post is wonderful for me today. I'm participating in my first sale next wknd. I have collected Cate's old clothes since she was born and have been saving for the potential next girl. With two boys on the way, it's time to start purging. I'm typically a Goodwill person too, but have decided with her nicer dresses and things, I'd like to try and sell them. I love your storage bin idea for as soon as they've outgrown them. I have done that too, but with the idea of storing in the attic. It will feel so good to finally start purging as soon as we are finished (and hopefully making some money too!)

    1. Oh good! I'm so happy this post will help you get ready for the sale. It can seem overwhelming...especially if you have SO many things, but just think about all of the $$$ you can get to buy more adorable things. :-)

  2. I need you to come over Carrie Beth!!! Out guest room closet is full of all of Abby's outgrown clothes that were too good to give away!!!


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