10 Consignment Sale Tips

As a Mother of Triplets and a Savy Shopper, I have done my share of consignment sales and I’d like to share some small tips for evaluating your efforts in participating in a children’s sale. Check out all our video footage and our behind the scenes of a recent consignment sale Gillian and I just participated in!

  1. Start Early and Plan Ahead. Give your self at least a month. You need to exam all clothing, shoes, toys, and books to make sure there are no stains, tears, buttons missing, shoes scarred, pages torn, toys still work.
  2. Read the Sale Instructions. Each sale has the types of hangars to use, types of tags to use, how to place the information on the tags, how to attach the tag to the item – tape vs pins, etc. Do you enter the information manually, or do you have to use a computer?
  3. Clean Large Items. Invest in some Mr Clean scour pads. All items need to be in working order.
  4. Batteries for All Toys. When buyers try the toy, it should turn on and work.
  5. Required Clothing Racks. Some sales require clothing racks that must be metal and very sturdy. You can find these racks at WalMart, Target, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, etc. They should be on rollers, so they can move clothes easily. 
You also need to consider hangars. In my experience use the covered coated hangars, that are sturdier, than the dry-cleaner wire hangars. These are just thick enough to get safety pins around them and secure the clothes to the hangars. If you use the thick plastic hangars, pins cannot surround their width.
  6. Working the sale. Check the working shifts and see what discounts pertain to those shifts. If you don’t want to work the shift at all, then there is another percentage of sale that is applied to your sold itmes. Another question is how much does the organization keep and how much do you receive for the item, they should be somewhere around 10%, or you should just take the items to a consignment store, but their overhead is greater.
  7. Some sales require the clothes to be organized by sex and size before you drop off the items, some sales don’t require you to. You need to find out each sales preference.
  8. Working the Sale. There is a specified time for you to shop – usually before public access. This does give sellers a benefit since you get first options on the latest styles at a cheaper than retail prices.
Some sales have a 1/2 price day – usually the last day of their sale, to move out the inventory. The prices are usually circled or marked in some fashion, so the public knows that is they wait until the end of the sale, they might be able to pick up that item at 1/2 price of the original price. The catch is, Will that item be there on the last day?
  9. Items That Don’t Sell. You have the option to donate that item, or take it back home with you for the next sale. This is up to the seller. Some sellers attend lots of consignment sales, and they just move their inventory from one sale to another or wait for the next season….it just depends on how much time they want to spend attending sales and how much storage room they have in their home to wait for another season. From my experience, if the item does not sell in 2 sales, then donate it.
 Each sale has different charities they want to donate to and it is the seller’s preference if they want to participate.
  10. Receiving your check. 2 days after the sale, 2 months after the sale? Is there system automated or is everything manually created? These are questions you need to find out prior- so you can plan ahead and budget with timing when you will receive your check and plan ahead how it can be used towards new seasons growth of articles and items.

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Episode 7: Consignment Sale Tips for Shoppers and Sellers | Matters of Multiples  on March 18th, 2009

[...] is a pro when it comes to consignment sales - and has put together a great article on her 10 top consignment sale tips. Make sure you check out all our video footage of a recent consignment sale we were just [...]

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