BY SHELLY GABLE AUG 2014
A GUIDE TO CLEANING CLOSETS AND CONSIGNING ITEMS
Every few months, I find myself going through my daughter’s closet and collecting items that are too small or too worn for her use. The masses must be culled. She’s still in diapers, so I keep an empty diaper or wipes box in the bottom of her closet to collect the regular discards. If I notice something is too small when I put it on her, I make a mental note to add it to the box the next time it shows up in the clean laundry pile. Once a box is full, it is closed up and placed in my guest room where it will eventually be sorted into one of four piles: 1) keep, 2) donate, 3) sell, or 4) trash. There aren’t many in that last category, but as she grows my daughter is a lot rougher on clothing.
Don’t forget the toy box. Is your house cluttered with toys your child is no longer taking an interest in? Approach these in the same manner as the clothes. Collect all of the toys from the different rooms of the house. (Note: This is best done when your child is not at home.) Place everything in a big pile in an area where you can spread out. I then begin
sorting into types, matching pieces as I go. For example, everything that came with a toy picnic basket goes with that item. Once I have it all sorted, I get several boxes. I look at each item and ask these questions:
- Is it sentimental in some way?
- Does she still play with it?
- Is it broken?
- Is it missing pieces?
The answers to these questions determine how each toy ends up. If it’s not sentimental and is in good condition with all pieces, it goes into the consignment box. Broken toys go in the trash. A few missing but not necessary pieces may belong in the donate pile.
Exactly What Do You Want to Keep and Why?
Let’s start with the things you want to keep. It’s common to want to hang on to every little stitch of clothing because your child was adorable in it or wore it for a special occasion or was given it by someone important. Say this with me: Keep the memories, not the stuff. In one of my favorite movies, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,”
Grandpa George says to Charlie, “There’s plenty of money out there. They print
more every day. But this ticket, there’s only five of them in the whole world, and that’s all there’s ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?” For parents, the “ticket” is your sanity and the “money” is your child’s clothing. There is plenty of it out there. They make more of it every day. Even better, they sell it new or gently used at your local consignment sale or shop.
Benefits of Consigning
After you have chosen what you must keep or give away, put the rest up for consignment—providing it’s in excellent condition, of course. Advantages of
- You can take the money earned and put it toward new clothes for your child.
- You will be uncluttering your home to make your life a little easier.
- Recycling is good for the environment.
- You’re giving back if you consign with an organization such as a church or MOPS that donates its proceeds to charity. If it matters ask.
Consignors frequently receive perks at consignment sales or stores, including opportunities to shop before the public and receive up to 70% of the profit from consigned items.
Shopping at Consignments
While we’ve discussed the advantages of selling with consignments, shopping at them is a way to make sure your children are clothed in items that don’t break the bank account. Always ask about the commissions before consigning. Most consignment sales and stores sell shoes, children’s clothing for newborn and up, maternity clothing, toys, baby equipment, bedding, décor, games, dvd’s, strollers/baby gear, furniture, costumes, and loads more.
Candace Fry of Vineville Baptist Church (VBC) Children’s Consignment Sale Committee comments, “Remember you can find brand new items that make great gifts. Additionally, our sale is also a terrific place to buy Halloween costumes!” The bottom line is that the prices are so low at most consignment shops and sales that you’ll be amazed and delighted.
“We recommend that shoppers bring a list and something to carry all of the treasures you find! A basket or bag usually does the trick,” adds Amy Watson, MOPS Consignment Chair.
Consignment sales are short, but intense, events. They usually pop up for a weekend, two to four days.. They are intense because hundreds of people will be thumbing through the items throughout the weekend. The energy is high, and you can expect to see shoppers’ cars packed to the brim!
There isn’t a ton of inventory in shops, so your items have less competition than at a sale, but in many cases, there also isn’t loads of traffic coming through the door. It takes quite a while to see results from many of these shops, so it’s not a great idea if you
want fast cash.
If you choose to sell your items at a consignment store, a good tip to remember is that high-end brand names do best when it comes to apparel. People who shop consignment are looking for a great deal and love to gain access to items they would not be able to justify paying retail prices for.
Consignment Do’s and Don’ts
It’s a lot of work to prepare for your first consignment sale. You’ll want to make sure that it is a great success.
DON’T consign an item that you, yourself, would not consider buying based on its condition.
DON’T price your used items too high or you will risk having them unsold. Aim to price items at approximately 40% to 75% off the retail value, depending on the brand and age of the items.
DON’T begin planning to consign with a store or a specific consignment sale
until you have established the percentage you will earn on your items that
sell. There are huge variations.Weigh the pro’s and con’s.
DO keep in mind the size of the sale when pricing. There may be a number of items similar to yours, in which case the deciding factor may be the price. The cheapest will sell first.
DO keep in mind that you may enter items in multiple sales consecutively. Each sale will have slightly different rules. Make sure to follow the guidelines for each sale as it comes up.
DO consider signing up to volunteer in addition to consigning. Volunteers
get to shop even before consignors at some sales.
DO leave the original price tags on if it’s a new item. It will improve the likelihood of it selling at the price you are asking.
DO Shop on the last day of the sale—there may be fewer items, but the majority of them will be half-priced.
DO attend each sale on the first day it opens if you need specific items. That will get you the best picks.
DO before shopping at a consignment shop or event ask about payment policies.
Hopefully, you’ll have no unsold items at the end of the consignment period, but if you do, take a quick inventory of the items and then drop them off at your favorite thrift shop—such as Goodwill or Macon Rescue Mission—unless, of course, you think you can sell them on eBay or Craigslist. Save the inventory list with your donation receipt and put it with your tax papers for the next year.
You’ve now made some money, cleared out some space, gotten some help on your tax
returns, helped the environment, and possibly helped a charity. #