Since I posted last week about it being consignment sale season I’ve gotten more than a couple questions from friends/readers/random stalkers (okay, no stalkers … I’m not that important, lol) about how exactly, one jumps into consigning gently used baby and children’s items. So I thought I would devote a post to how I go about getting my items (and myself) ready for for our local Divine Consign sale.
If you’ve never done it before, the whole thing can be kinda of daunting. I’m not going to lie, there is a LOT of work that goes into it. This is not as simple and throwing your old clothes into a box, dropping them off at Once Upon a Child (or the likes) and collecting some cash. In a situation like that, they do all the hard work, so you get a much smaller cut of the money. With a consignment sale, YOU are doing all (most) of the hard work, so you get a much bigger cut of the profits. So, if you’re willing to put the work in, it’s worth it financially.
I’m going to walk you through how I handle prepping my items for sale … please know that I can only speak to how MY consignment sale works, so if you will always want to check with the organization that you’re selling with on what their procedures for selling are … and then will address specific questions I’ve received from others wanting to dip their toes into consigning!
First off, my sale has 4 sales annually in 2 locations (so a sale in each location, one in the Spring, one in the Fall). During the Fall sale, consignors may only sell Fall/Winter clothing and in the Spring consignors may only sell Spring/Summer clothes. Because of this, I keep my kid’s clothing separated into two different tubs in the garage … so when it comes time to prep, I don’t have to weed through ALL of the clothes to figure out what I can sell and when. Within those separate tubs, I try to keep things grouped by size as well.
Last week, I pulled out the Fall/Winter tubs and went through everything I had and decided what I could keep for the Froggy to grow into (some things won’t work for his size/season obviously) and what I wanted to sell. I then threw everything into the wash. Once it came out, I took everything into the backyard (in the stifling heat I might add … but daylight is the best way to see stains IMO) to check for stains. My sale is VERY strict about items being clean, and not worn out. If a consignor has to have too many items pulled because of these issues, they’re given ‘strikes’. Too many strikes and you’re out. It’s sewious business, but as a shopper I absolutely appreciate their condition policies so I don’t have to worry about them once I get in there and am digging through clothes.
Once everything is washed and checked and double checked, I then grouped those items by size, and then I regroup the sizes into what item(s) I’ll put on each hanger. I decide what goes on each hanger based on several different things:
a) Sizing. Items should be the same size.
b) Pricing. My sale has a rule that each hanger of clothing must be sold for at LEAST $3. Recommended pricing for MOST items is 75% off of retail … but maybe more for the smaller clothing sizes (anything smaller than 12 mo. … especially if it’s girls clothing, which always has more items and therefore more competition). So when grouping things on to hangers the price of items will determine how many items I put together to sell.
c) Brands. I try to keep brands together … especially if I’m selling multiples of one type of clothing (pajamas, onesies, teeshirts etc.). Even if I’m putting an ‘outfit’ together (jeans and a shirt) I try to keep them together with like brands, but sometimes this obviously won’t be a reality.
Once I have everything grouped to hangers, I go through and list everything by hand in a notebook. I list the size, the brand(s), a brief item description, and the price. So I’ll have something that looks like this:
6 Month – Carters – 3 pairs footed pajamas – $4.00
Writing it all out like this makes it REALLY easy for me to then quickly enter everything into the computer tagging system my consignment sale offers. Quick = good. I should also note here that my sale also offers it’s consignors the option of letting items go half price for the last shopping day of the sale, and also whether or not we want to donate the item, or retrieve it if it doesn’t sell for some reason. Everything of mine gets discounted, and everything gets marked for donation as well. Again, this is key ESPECIALLY if you’re selling smaller sized clothing.
Once everything is entered, I sit back, and wait for the sale to get closer on the calendar. I find that if I prep things too early, I have no where to put them and then they get stacked somewhere where little boys get into them, and I end up having to do it all over, lol. Usually the week before the sale, I then iron/hang/pin/tag everything.
And then I squeal with delight when I drop everything off, and stalk the computer for the next couple of days, watching things sell and my $ amount growing steadily in the ‘total’ box.
Some specific questions:
1 – Do I sell shoes? Non-name brand items? Smaller toys?
Yes, yes, and yes. I sell EVERYTHING that my sale will take. As long as it’s in season and in good condition, I sell it. I don’t care if it’s Janie & Jack or Circo brand … if it’s PRICED CORRECTLY it WILL sell. Grouping lower priced items together is a great way to get it sold and out of your house.
2 – How do you decide on pricing?
My biggest advice for pricing techniques is to shop the sales before you sell, if you can. You’re a shopper too, you know what you will and won’t pay for used items. Use that knowledge when you price your own items! A good rule of thumb is to look at the item, think of what it would have sold for at 75% off, and then think to yourself, ‘would I pay that much for this?’ If the answer is no, then mark the price down again … and bonus if you can group it with other like items. I am all about finding two great items on a hanger for a decent price!
Also, I can’t stress enough the pricing based on size/gender. My experience with consignment sales tells me there is ALWAYS a plethora of girls items. So if I had girls items to sell, I would be taking that into consideration. Boys items are a little better, but again, when it’s anything under 12 months, there is a MOUNTAIN of competition … so slice your prices, or group group group your items. Once they hit anything 18 mo or above (and especially when boys sizes start into the 2T/3T age) you can start being a little less conservative on your pricing.
3 – How much money do you make off of selling your items?
This will obviously vary depending on how much of a % your sale let’s it’s consignors walk away with, if they have any fees, and obviously, how much you sell. My sale charges a $10 consignor fee, and then you walk away with 70% of your sales. To me, this is a fair situation. I usually walk away with enough money to cover what I buy for my kids for the season, and sometimes a little left over for Christmas shopping.
1 – Baggies are your friend. If you’re selling matchbox cars, puzzles, tiny behbeh shoes, newborn hats etc. … put them in a baggy and sell them that way. You won’t sell something if half of the contents go missing because a herd of women the size of Texas just trampled the section your item is in.
2 – The appearance of your items is what sells them. Make sure they’re clean, they’re pressed, they have working batteries. The last thing I want to see when I look at a used stroller is mud caked onto the wheels.
3 – Don’t price your items with your heart. Yeah, you REALLY loved your little one in that absolutely adorable first Christmas outfit. That does not mean you should try to sell it for more because it was so cute on your kiddo. If you loved it so much that you think you should raise the price on it? You probably shouldn’t sell it at all. And yes, I totally have a box in my closet of sweet baby things I absolutely will NEVER part with … no one could afford my price
That’s it folks! Have some more questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer everything that I can!