I don’t buy many clothes, but over the years a fair bit of what I have bought came from consignment stores. Consignment stores can be thought of as sources of quick and easy cash: You go through your closets looking for clothes that no longer fit or interest you, take them to the consignment shop, and then collect some money if and when someone else buys them.
It’s the “if and when” that matters most, of course. Here are some suggestions on how to maximize your chances of maximizing your profit:
- Think seasonally. Select clothing that is in season. Your winter coat will be much more interesting to shoppers when the weather turns cold.
- Stick with current styles. Some things never go out of style (think blue jeans), some things are stylish now and some things lost their appeal years ago. The first two categories interest owners of consignment stores. The last category probably won’t attract a buyer, but it might have back when it was stylish. If you’ve stopped wearing a piece of clothing, get it to the consignment store sooner rather than later so that it might still appeal to shoppers.
- Keep to a theme. If you bought a number of items because they matched (shirt or blouse with a skirt of pants, for example), take the whole set to the consignment store and suggest they be displayed as a unit.
- Rags are just rags. Old, dirty clothes aren’t going to sell. Find some other use for them. Consignment store owners are busy enough without having to sort through your worn-out clothing.
- Clean it up. Wash everything before you take it to the consignment shop. Remove all stains and smoke odors, replace buttons and cut off loose threads.
- Watch the bottom line. When an item sells, some of the money stays with the consignment store and some goes to you. The proportions vary, but it is common for the stores to keep 50 to 60 percent of the sale price. But a higher split does not necessarily mean that you will pocket more money. A 50 percent split on an item that sold for $5 will net you less than if the same item had sold for $7 at a consignment store offering you 40 percent.