Saving money is awesome. But not every method is right for everyone. Last week, I participated in my second consignment sale. Now that I am a few sales in, I realize how many hours I wasted trying to figure things out at the beginning. It’s just part of the learning process, but hopefully I can save you time by posing these 12 questions before you consign your baby items.
A full review of my first sale can be found here.
Questions to ask yourself before joining a consignment sale:
- Who do I know with experience in consigning? Start here. This was the most helpful step I took. Turns out some of my friends were major league consignors and were more than willing to help with advice. They made me feel brave enough to dive into something so big and new.
- Am I willing to tie up a large space in my house to prep for the sale? Our home has a pretty open floor plan with minimal storage, so when I began sorting and tagging items over the span of a couple weeks, a large portion of our living room was devoured by onesies and board books and toys. My poor little guy ate more than one meal in a high chair that doubled as a hanging rack.
- How much time am I willing to commit to this? The biggest investment you’ll make consigning is TIME. Cataloging dozens of clothes, scrubbing toys, adding batteries, researching prices, finding the right hangers, cutting tags, attaching tags to each item, hauling everything to the sale, then picking up unsold items takes a LOT of time. My advice: Start sorting early. Also, don’t consign if you don’t have more than $200 worth of items to sell.
- What is my earning potential in the sale? My first consignment sale was four days long and paid 60%-75% to consignors. My second was four hours long and offered 85% to its consignors. Again, try to ask someone with experience to see if it’s worth it. Knowing the margins can help in your decision.
- Do I need to free up some space in my house? If you’re looking to make space, this is a great chance to do that. Each sale I’ve been in will allow you to donate whatever doesn’t sell. BOOM. Clear that stuff out and give it to someone who needs it.
- Do I have quality items to sell? You can charge more at a consignment sale because the rules are more strict about what gets sold. So thoroughly inspect every article of clothing for stains, holes or missing buttons. Use good lighting. If you miss a stain at home, the inspectors will reject your item. Another time waster for me. Erg.
- What will my expenses be? There will probably be a small registration fee for the sale. In my first sale, I spent $43 on fees and supplies. For example: Packaging tape, painter’s tape (for taping books and DVDs), a tagging gun, Ziploc bags, safety pins, etc. Just keep an eye on your expenses since they do eat into your profits.
- Do I have enough baby hangers? Even if you don’t, just use what you have available. At your pick up time after the sale, ask if you can have more hangers. In my experience, they were more than happy to part with their surplus.
- Will I be tempted to spend money on unnecessary items at the sale simply because I’m there? At my first sale, I stood in the checkout line behind a woman on the phone. She had several bags the size of bean bag chairs stuffed to the brim with clothes for her daughter. She was proudly telling the person on the phone that she made good money consigning her items, and decided to go shopping, even though she didn’t need anything. Try designating a purpose for your earnings instead of letting your profit erode from impulse purchases.
- What are the specific rules for consignors? Each sale I’ve joined had a very VERY detailed list of rules about consigning. The details nearly made my eyes bleed. But, each one is important to make the sale run swiftly and smoothly. Some examples from my last sale are: Pajamas must be folded, not hung. All hangers must face left. Shoes must be in Ziploc bags. Things of that nature. So follow the rules and don’t take short cuts. When you start going cross-eyed, go for a 10-minute walk, then get back to work.
- Do I have any large items to sell? I’ve observed in both sales that toys, furniture, baby equipment and other large items sell pretty well. If they’re in decent shape, still work and are no longer needed, then haul them to the sale.
- Should I give these items away instead? Now that you have a better idea what consigning is like, ask yourself if it’s still for you. If it is, then awesome. Stay tuned because I’ll write more on the subject. If not, who in your life can you bless with these items? You’re obviously looking to get rid of them anyway. In my experience, if you’re selling ONLY clothes, it’s probably not worth the time and hassle to join a consignment sale. Just load them into your trunk and bless an expectant mother or two. But if you also have a lot of toys, equipment or furniture to include, it might be worth consigning (and remember they can donate what you don’t sell).
Join the Discussion: Did you participate in a consignment sale, garage sale or some other sale this year? What was one lesson you learned?