preparing for a consignment sale

April 15th, 2009

Preparing For A Consignment Sale

In my area, there is one huge consignment sale run twice a year by a local church that everyone knows about.  It is the place to go if you are in the market to buy gently used, good quality used children’s clothing, and the waiting list to become a seller is a mile long.  I know, because I’ve been on that waiting list for over two years.

But on Monday I got the call I’d been waiting for – they had a seller pull out at the last-minute, and had an opening for the spring sale.  Which is in less than 3 weeks.  Was I interested in becoming a seller?

Of course I was interested!

The timing, although quick, actually works out well for me, because our neighborhood association garage sale weekend is the following weekend.  So anything that doesn’t sell at the consignment sale will already be prepared to go into our garage sale.  Hopefully between the two activities, I will significantly whittle down the 7 boxes of outgrown kids clothing that reside in our guest room closet, and create a few snowflakes to tackle the last of our ever-dwindling non-mortgage debt.  So in the meantime, I prepare to succeed.

Priced to Profit vs Priced to Go

Although I would love to make a little money in this clothing-selling venture, my primary purpose is to pass on all the clothing my kids have outgrown in their lifetimes that I still have.  So I price my items to sell versus pricing them to make a good profit (a little under what the current general selling price are for similar items).  This means I’ll most likely sell more of my items, but make less money on each item.  Because I am a frequenter of yard sales, consignment sales, and have been to this specific sale 4 or 5 times, I have a good idea of what the going rates for items like mine are.  So I’ll set my prices a bit under that and hope for the best.

Presentation isn’t Everything, it’s the Only Thing

I want to sell as much as possible, and as quickly as possible.  So I’ve been washing all of my items and checking them for obvious defects.  When I label and repack them, I fold neatly or lay flat as to disturb things as little as possible.  The nicer everything looks, the more likely it is to sell. I’m competing with tons of other clothing from sellers, I need mine to make a great impression.

Devil is in the Details

Every sale has a protocol to follow, and this is no different. I need to make sure I have the right color tags, that I’ve put my seller id number on each of my tags, and that I know when the dropoff and pickup times are, so I don’t forfeit my profit or my unsold items. If I leave off my number, I don’t get credit, and if I don’t come by a certain time to pick up unsold items, I lose them. So I’ve marked my calendar and made a checklist to follow to adhere to the guidelines.

The sale is May 2nd, and I am hoping for a very successful one. And even if it isn’t, now that I have my foot in the door I can continue to be a seller as long as I would like, so hopefully I can learn from any mistakes I make and do even better at the next sale!

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10 Responses to “Preparing For A Consignment Sale”

  1. Wow – I wish I could find a sale like that in our area! I resort to hitting the thrift store every time Valpak sends a coupon; what a wonderful thing!

  2. Good luck! I hope you sell everything and make some snowflakes…I used to buy all my children’s clothing at thrift stores or resale shops. Once I bought a new outfit for my granddaughter when she was about 6 and I told her she could wear it right away…her response was, “You mean we don’t have to wash it first!!!”

    Today I went thrifting and purchased a pair of Gap jeans, Liz Claiborne capris, a pair of nylon shorts and a nice T shirt for a total of $15.00.

    Resale is a good thing!

  3. Good luck with the sale! It sounds like you have an excellent plan just like my mom used to do for her personal garage sales. They were so famous around the neighbourhood, she’d usually have a line up of neighbours waiting to see her stuff in the morning and almost everything would sell out by mid-afternoon. Hope you have the same good fortune for your sale!

  4. I just participated in a similar sale and although its a lot of work it is so worth it. I wash and iron everything and almost all of my stuff gets sold. I price mine to sell like you said but
    there are many that don’t and their stuff gets left. At our sale being a cobsignor has other benefits too and we can shop at a pre sale. I have twin girls so it helps so much. Good luck!

  5. This weekend, I’m participating in my first garage sale EVER! I’m pretty excited but also nervous about how things will go. I’ll definitely use your tips of folding and neatly displaying my clothes and such. I also don’t know for sure what pricing is in the area of the garage sale (it’s in another town far away), but am pricing to ‘sell’—essentially to get rid of things and have some snowflakes.

    Do you have any advice for a sale novice?



  6. We participate in a neighborhood yard sale but I would love to see a church consignment sale start up, what a great idea!

    To Jamie: I grew up helping my mom host an annual yard sale – so here are some tips that may come in handy…

    1. Price everything, don’t make people guess what you want or have to ask, not everyone is comfortable to ask and you don’t want to loose out on a sale (I price items right away and put them under my house until the yard sale, this saves me from pricing everything right before the sale)

    2. Group similar items together: clothes in one section, glassware together, kitchen stuff, decor, tools, etc. If you can use large tables to display your items great.

    3. Position the expensive things near you, so you can keep your eye on them better (jewelry, beads, coins, silverware, etc)

    4. Keep the money on you (not in a box) – this way if you are walking around you have the chance to make change fast and don’t have to worry about keeping your eye on a cash box. Also have lots of small bills/coins to make change

    5. Make yourself comfortable: have a good chair, blanket, snacks, water, book and radio on hand to relax during the slower times (hopefully there won’t be much of that)

    6. Advertise, post a yard sale ad on Craigslist, put up signs with clear arrows and directions (especially at nearby intersections) – you can post the time of your sale too, some like to know they can come early if you are going to be open at 7am.

    7. Display is everything!! Nicely folded clothes, organized groups of items sell faster. Don’t make people dig through huge piles or in boxes, lay items out and have them easy to pick up and examine.

    8. Straighten up after others – keep clothes and items organized and looking neat.

    9. Have a mirror handy if you have lots of clothes or jewelry for sale.

    10. Starting REAL early? A pot of fresh, free coffee or tea is great, keeps people lingering longer.

  7. I just participate in a sale like this a couple of weeks ago. It was great. I made over $100. I plan to do it again when it happens in the Fall. Best of luck to you!

  8. Well, here is the midwest, I am pricing most things at $1. Shirts, pants, etc. Some outfits at $1.50, and a few REALLY NICE outfits at $2.

    I see stuff at yard sales all the time priced about twice that so I know I am going low and howpefully that sells the majority of my stuff.

  9. Wow, your Church has a great gig going on. What a great idea for a yearly consignment sale. That way they get good quality goods year after year to get a commission on. Excellent idea.

    I find that garage sales are the cheapest for used clothing but you can’t try things on and it is very hit and miss. Congrats on getting in on the action.


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