Friday, March 8, 2013

Consignment shop experiences

One of the ways we can add to our larders is through selling stuff that we truly no longer need or use. If you have the time and patience, you can try eBay or Craig's List (which I use for higher value items that are easy to ship).  If you don't mind getting pennies on the dollar (at least where I live) you can have a yard sale. Another way to recycle your stuff for some greenbacks is through reselling with a 3d party -- consignment shops.

Consignment shops are not created equal. Each has its own rules, what it will take, how it prices merchandise and how you get paid.  My early experiences were not satisfactory. The first had a diminishing payout policy -- essentially charging me rent for the floor space. If it sold in the first 30 days, I got 60%, and my pay out decreased by 20% per month, but I could pick it up after the first 30 days.  The convoluted rules essentially meant that the shop owned my stuff if it didn't sell in 90 days. What a racket, as I also had no say in where within the shop my stuff was displayed. Thanks anyway.

The second one I tried paid cash or store credit upfront. The cash payout was fairly low compared to what they were charging, but they took the risk re: whether or not it sold. If you took store credit, they doubled the payout. The work wardrobe I was recycling was expensive, good quality stuff and I'd be getting less than 10% on it, so I passed. I was still working then (and paying on a mortgage) so it was more advantageous to donate it to Goodwill for the tax deduction.

Third time looks like the charm. I took a box of good quality work wardrobe to a local shop (mid-month). I selected items that reflected the season, mostly woolens with a few spring items, and made my own list of what was in the box. The owner took a quick look and said she would take it all, acknowledging the quality of the items. She initialed the list, issued me a seller number and my work was done. Her policy was that she did the pricing and took 30%. I gave it a try and was very impressed.  My first check arrived last week. Six items sold.  She had a list of what sold and for how much. Total sale was $85 of which I got $59 + change.  Push the EASY button for that one.

My "lesson learned" is to shop around. Don't feel like you just have one option. Even in small towns you may be able to convince a regular shop owner to try selling some consignment items.  Know what terms you are and are not willing to accept. Know your stuff, too. I'm not talking about selling family heirlooms or original art, but your used mass-produced clothes, dishes you've replaced or kid's toys. Provide neat, clean stuff. Polish shoes, wash and press clothes, hose off kid's plastic toys. That extra $50 now and then is real money from stuff you weren't using that can be used for other stuff you need.


  1. I would love to try and sell furniture through a consignment shop! Any experience with that?

    1. That was my first experience with the place that took a larger percentage each month, so was not a great one. We live in a rural area, so a larger city may have more choices of furniture resellers. If your stuff is antique, then use a reputable dealer or try selling via Craig's List or eBay (offer local pick-up or buyer pays shipping). If using local pick up, consider where you can take the furniture for the transaction to avoid compromising your home to a stranger.

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