Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How to Get the Most out of your Local Consignment Sale, Part I: Selling

It’s getting chilly outside. There’s a certain smell in the air. Starbucks is releasing their limited-time-only Pumpkin Spice Latte.  All signs of the upcoming season.
I’m talking about Autumn, right?
Consignment Sale Season. The time of year when normally responsible mothers wait in ridiculous lines that make black Friday look like a leisurely stroll in the park. 
This year, you’ll be ready. I’ve compiled a list of tips and hints that should help you save money and your sanity.  First we’ll discuss selling items at consignment sales.
Selling your outgrown and un-played with items is a great way to make money while de-cluttering the house.  But it’s not exactly “easy” money.  Here are a few tips to help you maximize your earnings while minimizing stress and effort. 
1. Pay attention to the Rules
Most sales have stringent rules and restrictions for sellers regarding what can be sold and how it needs to be presented.  Be sure to carefully read the particular requirements that govern the sale in which you are participating.   Failing to follow the rules can result in your items being rejected, which means that the effort you put into tagging them is wasted, and you have to bring them back home with you. 
2. Volunteer
Many times, if you choose to work a volunteer shift (anywhere from 3 to 8 hours), you will get an increased commission rate. It is generally pretty easy work, and if you get 10% more in commissions, it may be worth it. I always do this at the sale I participate in, and I like to volunteer the day before the sale.  That way, I get a free preview of what is in store!
3. Pricing
Know your prices, know your customers.  The general rule for clothing is to price it between 20% - 50% off retail price, depending on condition. Larger items such as strollers or a co-sleeper might go for closer to 50-60% off retail. For each item you sell, keep in mind the retail price, sale price, consignment price, and garage sale price.  I know I can purchase nice t-shirts for my children at garage sales for $.50-$1, so there is no way I would purchase a shirt priced $5 at a consignment sale.  

Think about NEW discount store prices. If you can buy a pair of jeans at Target for $3.60, don’t price those same jeans at a consignment sale for $4.  It’s sort of like when you buy a brand new car. The minute you drive it off the lot, it loses value. Don’t insult the customers. You are selling a USED item.  You presumably would rather get cash than bring the items home with you. Price to sell.
4. Reduce
Unless you can do better on an item on eBay or Craigslist, it is smart to let the item go for half price on the last day, if your sale offers that. It’s better to make some money than none plus have to store the item indefinitely.
5. Merchandising
Even though consignment sale customers know they are purchasing used items, everyone loves getting a deal. Make your items shine.  Paying $10 for a like new pair of Stride Rite toddler shoes (with the scuffs buffed off with a soft cloth) is much more palatable for a customer than $10 for a scuffed pair of Stride Rites. 
For furniture and toys, a combination of vinegar, hot water, and a tbsp of Dr. Bronner’s can work wonders. If that doesn’t work, I haven’t seen many scuffs that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can’t get rid of. 
For clothes, make sure your items are ironed, clean, pet-hair free, and hanging neatly.  I’ve had good luck with OxiClean for removing stains.
Retail companies spend MILLIONS of dollars showcasing their items attractively. If your item is on a rack with several other similar items, make yours look the best.
6. Sell as a Set
You can charge $5 for a cute onesie and cotton pants, but it would be much more difficult to get $2.50 per item if you priced the items separately.  Also, if an outfit has a matching hat or socks, add those extras. 
Finally, keep in mind the Golden Rule: Don’t attempt to sell anything you wouldn’t buy yourself!
This is by no means a comprehensive list. I’d love to hear ideas from my readers about your successes with consignment sale selling!



At September 13, 2011 at 9:25 AM , Blogger Frugal in WV said...

They don't have the large consignment sales around here as often, I only know of one. There are a ton of flea markets and garage sales, but that's about it. New follower on GFC from MBC, have a great week! You can find me at

At September 13, 2011 at 11:00 AM , Anonymous Genny said...

Following you from MBC. Looks like you have a lot of great resources here!

At September 13, 2011 at 2:38 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

Thanks for the follow, Ladies! I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

At September 13, 2011 at 4:20 PM , Blogger Easy-2-Save said...

This is a great post thanks for the tips. I am following you back from my blog.

At September 14, 2011 at 12:28 AM , Blogger Beauty and the Green said...

Wow! I love this post, am all about saving money and selling things I don't need or no longer use. Great post, chuck fill of great useful info. Thanks do much for sharing and visiting my blog too!


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