Friday, January 28, 2011

Selling at Consignment Sales: The Easy Way

Spring will be here before we know it, and at each change of season my thoughts turn to consignment sales! I have written extensively on shopping children's consignment sales (such here, here, and here), so today I thought I'd share my strategy for making a little extra cash by selling at consignment sales.

I meet other moms at these sales who sell all their children's outgrown items and, if the items don't sell at the first sale, they cycle them through other sales. While I'm sure they make a good return on their investment, that can be a lot of work. In contrast, my attitude is much more low-key. First of all, I only sell (and usually only shop) at the one sale where I volunteer. Because I volunteer, I get 70% (instead of 50%) of the profits of what I sell. I use the option to donate any of my items that don't sell, instead of picking them back up. The sale (which supports a charity) will either sell them at their Dollar Dash or donate them to organizations that can use them.

My method of gathering and preparing items to sell is also pretty low-key. First of all, I only sell a relatively small number of items at each sale - maybe $100-$150 worth in consignment prices. This is because my husband and I are open to the possibility of more children in the future, so I save a good number of my children's outgrown items.

However, I do like selling some items twice a year to encourage myself to pare down and clean out my children's wardrobes, equipment, and toys. We don't have the space to store everything, and I know that future children may have different needs and sizes. During the year I keep a box of items to sell, so that when I start thinking about each sale, most of my items are already picked out.

Recently, I have discovered that the perfect place to prepare my items to sell is to hang them on a long dowel suspended from the ceiling of my unfinished basement over the washing machine. As each sale approaches, I bring my box of items to my laundry area and try to hang and tag a few items while I'm doing the laundry. This saves most, if not quite all, of the night before the sale rush. Before I tag my items, I check the sale's website to double-check the tagging guidelines. Every sale has different rules for tagging, and I always make sure that there have been no changes before I prepare everything.

After the items are tagged, I drop them off at the sale the night before, and my job is finished! I would say that I make on average just about $50 per sale. (I make 70% off the prices that the items sell, but some will not sell and some will sell at the half-price sale. Also there is a $5 consignment fee.)

While this may not seem like much, I consider it to be pretty much free money, as the money I paid for the items is water under the bridge. They were budgeted and paid for in the past, so the money I make in selling them is extra income. And since I've refined my system so that it is not burdensome or time-consuming, selling our extras becomes a nice way to earn just a bit of extra money.

Do you sell items at consignment sale or shops? What are your tips and experiences?
Check out more great frugal tips at Frugal Fridays.

Photo by jnnfrmarie.

1 comment:

  1. This post sounds a lot like what I do. I only consign for Dani's Duds, and I usually only make $25-$35. It's great to get the money to offset what I spend at the sale, and it feels good to clean out my girls wardrobes -- after 3 girls we end up with too much for them even to wear all of it in any given season. I have SO many girls clothes. :)


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