Consignment Sale Shopping: Tips for Successful Consignment Selling

Date Posted: March 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

sale signMy very very very favorite time of year is upon us! Consignment sale season is such a wonderful time to stock up on quality clothing and kid/baby items on the cheap.

Today’s tips are for the consignment sale SELLER!

Are you interested in consigning items at a local sale? Being a consignor has some great advantages. Besides getting rid of kid-related clutter in your house, saving items from a landfill by recycling them and making some money off of them, you can shop at the sale early, before the public, to get some great deals. Here are some tips for being a consignor at a local sale:

  • Check out the consignor agreement or rules for the sale you are interested in participating. Sign up early for the sale, since many sales limit the number of consignors due to space constraints. Each sale has its own rules regarding what can be sold, how it should be tagged, how it should be hung on a hanger and so on. Read the Rules!! Not following them means your items will not sell. The rules will also cover what percentage of the sales you will make and what the consignor fees are, if any.
  • Consignors are usually assigned a number for selling. It helps to keep the same consignor number from sale to sale. When signing up to consign at a sale again, check to see if you can keep your number. That way, if you pick up and keep your unsold items at the end of the sale, you can easily relist them at the next sale without having to re-ticket them.
  • At the end of each season when you are sorting through your child’s clothing, sort the items into piles…one to keep, one to donate, one to sell. Be picky about the ones that you sell. Make sure they are in good condition, not torn or stained. Think, would you buy the item used?
  • Found some great items but they have stains? Try treating the stain and washing the items again. Many times this works. Also, iron or steam out the wrinkles of your clothes. Button the buttons, zipper the zippers. A nicer presentation will sell more easily. Clean up shoes and tie the laces. Selling used toys or baby goods? Wash them too. No one wants to buy a toy covered in juice or crayon. Often toys are easily cleaned up with a magic eraser sponge or soap and water. Keep in mind the condition of the items that you are willing to buy and be sure that your sale items are in just as good condition.
  • If selling a two piece outfit, it helps to make sure both pieces are attached well so they will not separate during the sale. Safety pin the pieces together and wrap a rubber band or twist tie around the two hangers to keep them attached. When selling toys with many parts, place the parts in a sealed plastic bag and tape it shut. Clear packing tape works great to keep toy parts together that do not fit in bags. Use plastic bags (such as Ziploc) to contain onesies, socks, underwear, shoes, or other small items. Tape the bags shut so that buyers are not tempted to take the contents apart, resulting in loss sometimes.
  • Price your items to sell. Set aside your emotions for a cute outfit, as the buyer will not know that the sweater your little one wore in his first photo was special to you. If an item is priced too high, it will not sell. Also, consider the brand. A Circo brand tee shirt that was $4 new will not sell for more than $1 usually. On the other hand, a higher end sweater that cost $25 will not sell for $20. A general guideline for pricing is 25-33% of the original selling price, depending upon brand and condition. Selling a new item with tags could fetch 50% or more of the original price. Always keep in mind when pricing, “would I pay that for this item?”
  • If you are unsure of how to price used toys, baby equipment, outdoor equipment, and so on, check out prices on Craig’s List or Ebay to see what used items are going for currently and use them as a guideline.
  • When packing up your items to take to the sale, it helps to have a hand truck and those stretchy jump cords. Use plastic totes or boxes and stack them. It makes it much easier on your back to bring in your items. Many sales also require that you distribute your items on the sales floor. Having your items sorted by size and sex ahead of time makes the distribution process much faster.

This list of tips is certainly not inclusive. Please feel free to leave your own tips for buying and selling at consignment sales in the comments section to help others out. Happy Shopping!

Diane is a contributing writer for Mama’s Little Helper. She chronicles her life on her personal blog, Knitting Zeal.

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