The Rules of Consignment

“Where the hell are you going with all those packages?” my friends used to say, mocking me as I walked out the door with an armful of envelopes on my way to the post office.

I used to relish in my eBay sales, furiously exploring my closet for clothes I didn’t wear enough to warrant their stay and then list them for hours and hours on the site. Throughout the week, I would stalk my listings constantly, hopeful for even an extra dollar’s bidding activity.

However, those days are over. Slowly but surely, eBay has been knocking out little sellers like me with selling limits, decreased rights, and hefty fees to make way for big retailers like Michael Kors, Burberry, and J. Crew. How are they supposed to make money if they have teeny people like you driving down prices with your gently used Coach bag with a $19.99 starting bid?

As a result, I have moved on from my days as a proud eBay seller and I have evolved into a consigner, toting my trash bags full of clothes to storefronts like a homeless person. Consigning brings significantly less profit than eBay selling does, however eBay also takes a lot more time, effort, and frustration.

We constantly say that we “have nothing to wear,” (which, umm, we don’t… duh) however a brief peek into our closets usually proclaims otherwise. If you’re looking to make some fast cash on gently used items (so that you can go buy more stuff…) and you’re over trying to list stuff on eBay and deal with nasty buyers, then check out these tips on how to consign your clothes.


 Back on the Racks in Long Branch, NJ

1. Choose a heavily trafficked store. When you walk in, is the place full of moms or young professionals? Is it empty or are people fighting to look at the racks? Don’t submit your stuff to just anyone – carefully choose a store that has a clientele that will take an interest in what you have to sell. Consider a national chain consignment store, such as Plato’s Closet or Buffalo’s Exchange. They will be pickier with what they take, but more people will see your items.

2. Read the rules. Consignment shops have varying rules from how long their selling period is (between 30 and 45 days on average) , what their cut of the profits are (30 – 40 percent) , what they d0 with the items after that period has passed (donate to charity or return to you), how many pieces they take at a time (15 -30), and what seasons they accept what styles (one season ahead). Carefully read these rules and policies before signing anything or handing anyone your precious clothes.

3. Stick with designer pieces. You may love that obscure furry top, however it’s going to sell for $3 or less in a consignment shop. Consignments shops are super brand-name focused – people don’t want to buy your old junk with no name on it. If the piece’s home was in a mall, chances are it can sell in a consignment shop.

4. Don’t bother with heavily worn items. Even if the pieces has no stains/holes/etc., if the fabric feels loose, thin, and faded, a consignment shop is not going to take it and you’re better off selling it on eBay after all (clearly labeling it a used item) or donating it.

5. Clean it up. The consignment shop isn’t going to do it for you, they’re simply going to hang it on a rack. Since you obviously want to make money, give the piece a good washing, ironing, and lint rolling. The better it looks, the more you’ll make.

6. Submit items designed in the last three years. There’s a reason that consignment shops don’t take suits anymore – because no one wears them. To you, it may be vintage, but to the average consignment shop, it’s just old. The newer the piece, the better. When you shop for clothes, do you look for old junk or fresh pieces?




7 Replies to “The Rules of Consignment”

    1. It’s not bad for big ticket items once in a while… otherwise, though, it’s not worth the time!

  1. I 100% agree with you about eBay. I stopped selling about two years ago. Such a shame there are no consignment stores in the UK. Well, not hat I know of anyway. Thrifting is pretty big over here, so maybe they’ll be making their way across the pond soon, and I’ll bare these tips in mind 🙂

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