How To: Clean out and Consign your Closet!

One of the best ways to be fashionable on a budget (or just to save space) is to sell/consign your unwanted clothes. But first, you have to decide what to keep and what to part with.

Cleaning Up:

  • Set aside pieces you are absolutely positive you don’t want to get rid of.
  • Make three piles: Keep – Sell – Donate

– You should make a donate pile, because you can’t sell everything. Consignment stores are looking for clothing they can resell.  They’ll want items that are for the current season, wearable, good condition, and preferably trendy. Some stores accept only designer or vintage, some accept a wider range. Some stores will also donate clothing for you when you bring clothes to sell.

  • It can be tough deciding between keeping and selling certain items. Don’t get too excited about the idea of selling and get rid of things you want. I once gave up a skirt only to see it in the store a few days later and wish I still had it. But don’t be too clingy either. Many people come up with excuses to keep something they were once fond of, hoping you’ll fit into it again someday, it’ll come back in style, you just haven’t found the right accessories for it yet. If you never wear it, think realistically if you ever will, and if not, just let it go. A dress that just didn’t work for you, may be another person’s perfect fit.
  • Do the same for shoes, handbags, and jewelry.
  • Make sure everything is clean and neatly packed. A garbage bag full of wrinkled clothing is less appealing and harder to go through than some shopping bags of neatly folded clothing.

How Consignment Works:

There is a difference between selling and consigning.

Consignment is when you choose what you’d like to sell the item for, the store puts it out and contacts you when it has sold. You don’t receive any money until your item sells. It varies, but most stores offer 40-50% of the price it sold for in either cash or store credit.

  • Pros: You can choose your price. You’ll get a higher cash percentage in return.
  • Cons: Your item(s) may not sell. You have to wait for payment.

Selling is when the store’s buyer chooses which of your items could be sold in their store, they price them and give you a percentage (usually 30-40% in cash/ 50% store credit) on the spot.

  • Pros: You get cash instantly, or are able to trade the same day. You don’t have to worry about what sells or not once they’ve purchased from you.
  • Cons: You’ll get a smaller percentage of your item’s selling price. You can’t choose what is bought.

Shop Shopping and the Art of Selling:

Buffalo Exchange is a commonly known consignment store, with several locations around the country; it is one of the few chain consignment stores. But there are also local stores, which I suggest trying first as they usually offer a higher percentage in return and have a better selection to trade for.

  • Find out what different stores specialize in and what they are looking for. If you have a great vintage dress, save it for a vintage only retailer. You may get a better value. Same with designer clothing and costumes.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t sell everything at your first stop. Its nothing against you, the stores wouldn’t make any money if they bought every single thing people brought in. Most of the time, the buyer won’t purchase every item you bring in. If you have several similar items in the same size, it is a perfect opportunity to split those items up and take them to different stores. One shop doesn’t need 5 size small pencil skirts.
  • Don’t bring the same items to the same store twice (or more) in hopes of ending up with a different buyer. If you plan on being a regular seller and customer, it doesn’t look good if you try to trick them into buying everything you have. The staff will know what the store is looking for and will purchase accordingly, if they don’t want your brown boots, accept it and move on. Being the person who brings the same things multiple times will either get you refused completely, or a lower price for your items sold. Sellers the buyers like and are able to easily do business with will have a more positive experience and might get more for their sale.
  • Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. You have every right to know how much the buyer is pricing each item for. If you don’t agree with the price, don’t argue. Ask to have the item back and you can try somewhere else. A reasonable buyer should completely understand and may even try to work out a good price with you if its an item they’d like to have in their store.
  • Understand that you may have paid $250 for a dress, but you’re not going to get that back. The purpose of a consignment store is to offer recycled clothing at good prices. It’s the best place to find valuable, hard to find pieces that everyone can afford. Designer items are usually priced 40-50% cheaper than the retail price to appeal to shoppers. Which in turn, means you’ll get about 1/4 of your purchase price. But also consider, did you get all the wear you wanted out of that item? Is it doing any good sitting in your closet? Getting some money back for something you never wear is better than nothing.

Now go! Revamp your wardrobe, make space in your closet, earn some extra cash and start selling!

If you have any questions, just leave a comment!

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