Tips for Selling on Consignment

I’ve started taking my boys’ outgrown clothing and toys to consignment shops instead of selling them in garage sales.

Yes, the consignment shop takes a cut of the sale, but I don’t have to price all the little items and sit around my garage all day hoping a parent with the right size kid will come by.

I’ve also learned a few tips for selling on consignment that will help you maximize your earnings:

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First, know the exact terms of how your local consignment shops work.  Some pay you a percentage of the sale price (usually 40 percent) when the item has sold and then cut you a check up front.  Other shops will pay you cash on the spot when you bring your items in.

Call ahead to find out exactly what items the store wants.  You just may have something in your garage that you wouldn’t have thought to bring in.  You should also find out what things they won’t take so that you won’t waste your time (or theirs).

Bring clothing items in season.  Consignment stores don’t always have a lot of space to store things, so they appreciate it when you bring in items appropriate for the seasons.  Most shoppers are looking for winter coats in the late fall, not in July.

Clean the items you plan to sell.  This means washing all clothing and making sure your items look like new.  If its odor or condition is a turn-off to you, it’s highly unlikely that any consignment store will want it either.

Make any minor repairs needed.  Consignment stores like things to be in like new condition and won’t accept clothing with rips or broken zippers.  If you’re serious about selling your stuff, you’ll need to get out your sewing kit and fix those things.  Likewise, be sure other toys and furniture are in good working condition (i.e. no broken pieces or loose screws).

Make sure you have all of the parts and accessories.  If you have the instruction manual, include that with the item. Do you have the original box?  Even better! The more complete the item is, the more money it will bring in.

If the consignment shop offers to donate what doesn’t sell, consider taking them up on that offer.  Sure, you lose the tax deduction, but you also lose the hassle of taking those items to a charity.  Because how many of you still have a box of stuff you’ve been meaning to donate?

Have patience and be friendly.  If your store sells on commission, it could take awhile before you get your money, so patience is a virtue.  Remember to be friendly and helpful to the staff at the shop because they have a lot of power over how your items are displayed for sale.

Do you sell items on consignment?   What tips do you have?

About Christina Brown

Christina is a wife and mother dedicated to figuring out how to live a simpler, happier life on a budget.


  1. Anonymous says

    Related to donating: I took a never-worn dress and a worn-once suit to a consignment shop a couple years ago. I was told that if they didn't sell within a month, I could ask the shop to donate them to charity. At least, that was my understanding. I hadn't heard anything from them after a month and called the shop to find out the status of my items–intending to reclaim them and sell them on my own–but they had already given them away without notifying me. :(

  2. Anonymous says

    Okay, that's just not right of the store to rid of your items before contacting you. That's like robbery.

  3. Anonymous says

    I've found that the stores in my area are extremely picky about what they take and don't pay out much for the items. I save more by donating the clothes and taking the tax deduction….and the charities pick up.

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