Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Consignment 101

I have been consigning my clothes, along with my kids' clothes - for over 5 years now. Bags & bags of clothing have resulted in cleaner closets & a whole lot of extra spending cash.

If you don't know what consignment means, it's basically like selling something on E-Bay, except you drop the stuff off at a store & receive cash on the spot. I've been doing this for over 5 years now, and it's a great way to clean out your closet & get the cash to restock it at the same time! I've learned a lot about the process over the years, so I thought I'd share with you a few helpful tips. 

1 - Find a Store

Consignment is catching on (hello, Mackelmore even wrote a song about it) - so you have options. Get online & check out what stores are in your area. In Rochester, we have quite a few locally owned places, as well as franchise options like Once Upon a Child, Clothes Mentor, and Plato's Closet. I typically frequent the three I just mentioned, as they have a quick turn around time for sorting your items. They're pretty strict with their policies, but you learn what to expect. When I first started selling though, I went to a locally owned store in Eric's hometown. She was more lenient with her buys & you could usually talk her into taking a few more things that she'd originally planned. 

There are also a ton of online options to choose from now. My favorites include Tradesy, Poshmark, & Mercari. The nice thing about online consignment is that you can set your own prices. The bad part - shipping. So while I love these sites, I've also gotten away from them when I have larger hauls to part with. My BFF Jackquelyn is the exact opposite though & totally prefers these sites over hauling bags to the store. So it's definitely personal preference! 

2 - Know the Policies 

Like I just said, most store have strict policies. These policies dictate what they will and will not take. For instance, many store limit the brands that they accept. Many also limit what types of items they will accept. Some of it is common sense - no one wants your dirty underwear. Others might surprise you, especially if you think you're going to fetch top dollar for a Coach purse - many stores won't accept designer items because of authenticity issues. I recommend visiting the store's website ahead of time & familiarizing yourself with their policies, that way you don't waste your time lugging items back and forth to the store. 

If the store has a brand policy, stick to it. I know that Clothes Mentor will accept Ann Taylor, but Plato's Closet won't. It all has to do with the clientele that the store caters to. Plato's Closet is for teens/young adults. Clothes Mentor is for grown women with professional jobs. Don't take your mini skirts to Clothes Mentor and don't take your pinstripe slacks to Plato's Closet. If you stick to the stores brand policy, you'll save yourself time & rejection. When I sorted this week, I made two piles and categorized my clothes according to where they best fit. I have to say, I was pretty successful too and only had a few items rejected. It may have taken a bit more time to drop off at two stores, but it made me a few extra bucks. 

When selling Ella & Olivia's clothes, I've found that brand is definitely important. Expensive boutique items might be appealing to you, but many stores will give you next to nothing - if they even take them in the first place. I totally suggest selling those online where you have an informed audience. In store, I've been most successful with GapKids, Gymboree, Janie & Jack, and Old Navy. 

3 - Quality Matters

Consignment is not the Salvo - they have high standards. Because of this, I recommend taking your time sorting your items. You want to check for stains, rips and pilling. The employees are thorough when they check the items, so don't think that you'll slip something by them. They always find something that I missed - and I am careful when I sort! 

4 - Accept That They Won't Take Everything 

Remember that you are getting rid of these items for a reason, so don't expect them to take everything that you're offering. I've never had a buy that didn't result in a trip to Salvo afterwards. The store knows what they can sell and will stick to their guns. Don't get offended, just be happy that you made some extra cash with items that you would've otherwise sent to Goodwill. I've seen some people get really angry with the workers and try to argue the worth of every single piece that was rejected - don't waste your time (or the people waiting behind you's time) - it won't work. 

5 - Do It Once a Season

Once you become familiar with consignment, it's worth going once a season. Not only does it help you clean out your closet, you'll also get the most for your money this way. The less outdated an item is, the more you get for it. If you're selling your children's clothing, I recommend going after every size is outgrown. 

6 - Don't Sell Everyting

Yes, cash is awesome. However, remember that some items will remain in style for years to come. Be sure to evaluate if you're really done with something, or if you're just itching for cash to buy something new. I can speak from experience that you might regret a thing or two if you act too hastily. 

When selling kid's clothing, make sure you won't need it again. I'm holding off on most of Ella's clothes because I know that Livy will be able to wear them in a couple years. I try to only sell things that she never wore or were impractical for her lifestyle. You get a lot of extra stuff at baby showers & as gifts. If it doesn't fit your style the first time around, it probably won't the second time either. Those are the things that I have gotten rid of. Now that Livy is outgrowing things, and I'm sure we aren't having any more kids, I let my sister go through the bags & take what she wants for Madigan, then try to sell everything else. Same goes for toys! 


  1. This is a great idea- I have a bag of things for goodwill but should head to a consignment shop first!

  2. I've actually never consigned anything in my life. I've always meant to do it, but just haven't. Hopefully this will be the year I get it together! Great tips. :)

    Fizz and Frosting

  3. Great tips!! I've actually done consignment a few times & had really good outcomes.

  4. Very good informative blog and all your tips are very important.keep it up,thanks for sharing. LLC