Consignment Sales Vs. Garage Sales

Where Should I Sell My Stuff?

A few of my friends asked me to review my experiences with two different consignment sales this year.  Since I also just participated in a garage sale, I’d like to share my thoughts on all three of those events.  Hopefully it will help you out as you decide where to sell your belongings.

Photo Credit:  Prawny (MorgueFile)

The focus is to save money so you can reach your dreams.  Each time I’ve earned money from one of these sales, my husband and I agreed to put that money back into my business.  It has been a wonderful feeling to recuperate some of my initial blogging expenses, as well as put money toward developing my skills and interests further.

All that to say, you should go sell some stuff and put it toward a goal.  Put it toward debt or an emergency fund or some other awesome goal.  To help you decide where to start, here is my review of what to expect in consignment sales and garage sales:


Consignment Sale #1


  • Biggest consignment sale in my city
  • Very organized with lots of support from volunteers before, during and after the sale
  • Four days of selling (Wednesday night through Saturday afternoon)
  • Clear instructions with easy data entry on website
  • Last day of sale allows discounts, so consignors can charge more up front then reduce prices if items don’t sell.
  • The sale will donate your unsold items to a local charity with your consent.


  • You only earn 60% of your total sales revenue, unless you volunteer.  Your maximum earning potential is 75%.
  • Unless you are one of the first 100 registered consignors, you will need to pay for parking during the sale.
  • You can see your estimated earnings posted online, but you may not receive your check for a week or two.

(Honestly, those cons aren’t bad at all; I’m just comparing them to the second consignment sale I listed here.  Both sales were EXCELLENT, just different.)


Consignment Sale #2


  • Very efficient setup allowing for approximately 1,500 shoppers to go through the sale in a four hour period.
  • Clear instructions and data entry on the website.
  • Sellers earn 85% of total revenue, no volunteering required.
  • Checks are distributed to sellers the same day as the sale at pickup.
  • Any unsold items are stored in an individual bin with your consignment number on it – except for large items.  This creates a very quick process of finding your number and gathering your items.
  • The sale will donate your unsold items to a local charity with your consent.


  • The sale is only open Friday night for volunteers to shop early and Saturday morning for the public.
  • Since the sale is shorter and didn’t offer a “discount day”, I reduced the overall asking price on each of my items compared to Consignment Sale #1.


Again, these are simply differences between two consignment sales.  I’m glad I tried them both and hope they shed some light on what great opportunities come from consigning (if you’re willing to put in the work).


Garage Sales


  • You can have one whenever you want.
  • You earn 100% of your revenue.  Yay!
  • You can team up with other families to have a mega sale and increase your foot traffic.  My best friend just invited me to join her sale. (Thanks Andria!)  It was wonderful being able to sell some stuff while supporting her efforts.  And we got to catch up as we sat together during the sale.
  • It’s a very low-cost investment to put your sale on the map.  Advertising on social media or with yard signs is relatively cost free.
  • You can sell a larger variety of items.  This one is obvious, but again, it’s something that stands out as a significant benefit compared to consignment sales.


  • You have to set up, promote, monitor and tear down the whole sale yourself.
  • Your location might be awful (although you might be able to co-host the sale at a friend’s location like I did).
  • It’s weather permitting.  Rain, sleet, typhoon-like gusts, erg.
  • A lot less foot traffic than consignment sales.  You probably don’t want 1,500 coming to your garage sale, anyway.
  • You can’t charge as much for items as you would in a consignment sale.  This might not be true in every case, but it is the general rule.

It’s just the nature of garage sales; people come for a deal.  But they also come carrying cash and are willing to permanently remove clutter from your house.  So make them the deal!

What’s the moral of the story?

They are all three GREAT options for someone looking to build up an emergency fund, pay off debt or just declutter the house.  I highly recommend trying one out for yourself.

If you’re curious about the details that go into consigning, check out my three-part series here.  To learn how to host a successful garage sale, check out my friend Monica’s great article here.  I used several of her suggestions (like placing a bin marked FREE out front and organizing/pricing clothes by size) and they really helped!

Join the Discussion:  What’s the most successful sale you’ve ever contributed to or set up?



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