How to Make BIG BUCKS at Consignment Sales

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How to Make TONS of Money at Consignment Sales! via #kids #consignment #frugal

Today’s Totful Tuesday topic contains insider secrets to making the most money possible selling your outgrown kid’s clothing and toys at consignment sales.  Below are my trade secrets for maximizing the money you make with some time-saving tricks and organizing ideas as well.  Can’t wait to hear your ideas in the comments!

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Spring is in the air.

Flowers are blooming, the robins are hopping, and consignment sales are happening every weekend for the next two months!

You probably think I’ve gone on and on about this topic ad nauseam, but you would too if you continually seemed to find treasures such as this:

Why YES, that is a cashmere Crewcuts sweater that retails for about $99 if I’d bought it new… practically stolen for $10 at a consignment sale last fall.  Noodle loves it, she calls it her “picture sweater.”  And don’t those blue eyes of hers just pop?!

Here’s my list of DO’s and DONT’s when selling consignment, otherwise known as:

Part Two: How to Shop Consignment Sales Like a Rockstar is coming next week.  😉

DO start early.  Consignment sales have a way of sneaking up on you, so the sooner you gather/ sort/ wash/ tag the better off you are.  Ideally you should be gathering things all season as the kids outgrow them, with a ‘final sweep’ of closets, drawers, and toy bins a few weeks before the sale.

DO have a system.  I use this notebook to enter inventory leading up to the sale.  When it comes time to enter the items into the computer it’s super easy– and I don’t have to be buried under mountains of stuff!  Trust me, it’s 10 times easier to cart this notebook around than try to juggle each item as I type it in.

DON’T sell things with stains, tears, missing pieces, or that are broken.  EVER.  I’ve bought things only to discover a stain slyly hidden under a tag.  Is $1 really worth it to trick someone into buying something they can’t use?  If you think the stain can come out, then get it out yourself…. before you sell it.  Selling sub-par items lowers the integrity of a sale’s reputation.  What goes around comes around… and don’t you want to be on the good side of karma?  Instead, sell a bin of “as-is” clothing at a garage sale for .25 each.  Shoppers will often pay a quarter to try to get out a stain, as long as they know about it first.  Those quarters add up!

DO put batteries into toys that use them.  Get them at the Dollar Store.  Since you are only selling things that work (see above), you want to show that off.

DON’T sell styles more than a few years old.  It’s not worth your time.  Especially maternity.  I’m telling you, they come out with new and more flattering maternity fashions each year, so no one is going to buy the acid washed stretchy jeans from 12 years ago, or the “I’m as big as a house” floaty tent-like thing.  It’s all about showing off the bumps nowadays!  ‘Tis better to donate to a charity that can use it then cart items to AND FROM a sale when they don’t sell.

DO invest in a clothing rack if you plan on consigning a lot.  I use mine all the time, and it cost only $15 at IKEA.  During the year it holds hangers, and during consignment season it’s super helpful for sorting and tagging.  Plus you can use it at yard sales, parties to hold coats, or to store off-season clothing.  I think it’s paid for itself about 20 times over by now.

DON’T sell ANYTHING that has been recalled.  Not only is it unethical, it’s illegal.  Here’s the CPSC list of recalls: children’s items not including toys, and toys.  Keep in mind most carseats can’t be resold after 5 years as well.  Most sales make you sign a waiver saying you won’t sell anything on the recall list; note that this makes it YOUR responsibility to comply.

DO get a clothing tagging gun! This little beauty saves TONS of time by quickly tagging clothes and other items. It’s a newer addition to my consignment kit (see below) but I’m already a fan.

How to Make TONS of Money at Consignment Sales

DO price items higher if they are new with tags.  But not so high they won’t sell.

DON’T place tape over decals, like play kitchens with decals on them.  I’ve taken things home and ripped off the consigner’s tag only to take half the sticker with it.  Be careful tagging books, too– it pains me when people use packing tape on book covers!

DO group items together, for example a bag of dinosaur books or several small baby toys into one package.  You can even put together outfits this way and charge a bit more, but DON’T try to put two different sizes together.  Someone did that to me once and I wasn’t very happy when I got home and realized it!  Also, try to keep brands together.  Selling a Gymboree top with Walmart jeans might not work to your advantage since Gymboree is considered a “premium” brand.

DO gather hangers all year long.  DON’T wait until the week before the sale to buy them at the Dollar Store, you won’t find them (trust me)!  I’ve only ever had to buy one pack of hangers, the others I gather during the year when I buy new clothing or at the end of a consignment sale.

DON’T overprice your items.  Your goal is to get rid of the useless things to make room for what you need, right?  With that in mind, try to take emotion out of it (aw, I LOVED that dress) and steer your brain toward what you’d pay for it (if I were buying it right now, I wouldn’t pay more than ___).  Keep in mind places like Gymboree often run sales and have promotions like Gymbucks so charging $15 for a used top isn’t going to get it sold.  I could buy a brand new top there for less than that, especially since I’m a Gymboree pirate and “werk it” at those Gymbo sales!

DO stay organized.  I keep my supplies in this bin, so each season I just pull it right out and everything I need is there.  Dollar Store storage bags, safety pins for tagging, rubber bands for keeping hangers together for outfits, markers, post-it notes, Clorox wipes for cleaning toys, and fastening tags. Not pictured are my clothing tagging gun and notebook.


DON’T price all brands the same.  Lower end, lower prices.  Higher end?  Higher-but-not-too-high prices.  Here’s a pricing guide from Consignment Mommies if you need help.

DO tag correctly.  Follow the rules of your particular sale.  Not doing so will make you stand out– not in a good way.  The worst?  People reusing tags with the names of other sales (faded, no less).  TACKY!  If it didn’t sell there, why do you think it will sell later for the same price, like, years later? 

DO iron, snap, and tie.  That extra minute of styling goes a long way.  Don’t go crazy ironing everything, but a quick hit with the iron on certain items will make ALL the difference, and get your stuff SOLD!

Now go forth and MAKE BIG BUCKS, friends!

What DO’s and DON’Ts would you add to the list?  
Any consignment sale insider tips to share?  Do you think you could use any of these ideas?  And, am I the only one with an IKEA clothing rack in my basement?!
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How to Make TONS of Money at Consignment Sales! via #kids #consignment #frugal

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  1. Great tips! I’m saving this in Evernote for future reference, plus I shared and tweeted.

    One question: Is it worth trying to sell a crib? We just took down the one for our 3 year old. I’m for putting it in the trash since I think it’s at least 5 years old, if not older. I don’t think I can donate or sell it. I also don’t know anyone needing a crib.

    1. If it’s a drop side crib I say toss it. Most (all?) have been recalled and manufacturers aren’t allowed to sell new ones anymore as of last year. I believe 2nd hand shops can’t sell used ones either.

    2. Instead of tossing the crib, why not give it a new purpose? Pintrest has a ton of easy awesome ideas. Just a thought 🙂

  2. This seems like a great way to make money! I have tons of really nice things, and I think it would be worth it to attempt consigning. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. great – thanks – I can’t wait for the how to shop post. I am hitting the mothers of multiples sale this Sat and need tips!!

  4. Such a helpful post! I’ve been hitting all the consignment sales lately to buy, but I’m eager to turn around and resell lots of stuff the MOMENT we don’t need it anymore. Thanks!

  5. I just sold a lot of things in a consignment sale lately. I would say REALLY look around. I sold my daughter’s tap shoes and leotards that she has grown out of, and bough cleats at the sale! Think outside of the box. It doesn’t have to be just clothes. I had car shades that were hanging out in the garage since my new vehicle has them built in! We all go out and buy this stuff, so share the love!

  6. I am spending today getting ready for my first one, Smart Moms! I need to plan ahead for the fall so I’m not rushing around.

  7. I’ve never been organized enough to do this and my kids play in so much dirt, their clothes always end up trashed. Great post! Love your ikea rack!

  8. These are awesome tips. I haven’t really gotten into selling yet. I am more interested in stealing from people : ) haha. I am going to pin for future use.

  9. Thanks so much for featuring us!! Sorry I’m late to the party 🙂

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  12. Hello! Thank you for all of these tips! I am getting ready to open a consignment shop in the town that I live in and have been looking for a pos system to use, any advise? What do you use?
    Any info would be greatly appreciated!!
    Thank you for your time,
    Libby Harrison

    1. Hi Libby! I actually sell at consignment sales which only happen a few times a year, and the owners of the sales do all of the cash register stuff. I’m not sure what POS system they use, but it’s a system specifically for pop-up sales like these where each seller inputs their own information in the program but the owners run the registers. Hope that helps!

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  14. I was at a consignment sale this past weekend and I saw a lot of tags that, at the end of their item description, said “Originally $__” and it was highlighted! I found that to be rather tacky.

    After shopping these sales for the past three years, I consider myself fairly seasoned, and I feel that I can almost immediately tell the difference between someone who is selling to make room and someone who is selling to make money. Honestly, I rarely buy from the sellers I feel are just trying to make money (as opposed to “extra money”… Does that make any sort of sense?).

    Just my two cents 🙂

    1. I totally agree. I think at a consignment sale we all know it “used to be” higher, but now it’s been used so it’s lower. Hopefully most shoppers look for value, not for the original price. I also think people who think too much about the original price won’t sell as much, because they’re skewed by trying to get their money back vs. what the actual used value would be. The only time I put the original price on there *sometimes* is if something is new in the box or big like a Stanley crib so people can see the detailed info and get a sense of the resale value. Great point for new consignment sellers to consider!

  15. Good tips. I’m selling my kids stuff for 5 years now. I use 3-4 different places/2-3 year. I think it’s nothing bad to make extra $$ We have our Trip Piggy Bank. All $ form sale we use for our vacations. I also noticed that,when kids were younger,we had more stuff. Now it’s less. So I’m driving to local Thrift Stores and trying to find good deals. It’s nothing bad about that.

  16. I went to a consignment sale a few days ago and I was apalled at the number of people trying to negotiate a lower price with seller. I thought the prices were great but obviously some people want something for nothing. I later (that same day) went to a local flea market and found the same item for sale $5.00 over consignment tagged price. Makes me sick.

    1. That’s crazy, I’ve never heard of negotiating at a consignment sale! If a price is too high on something I just pass on it.

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