Since you’re organizing your closets and clearing clutter anyway, you might as well turn some of those perfectly good but outgrown kids clothes, toys, and baby items into cash. The spring consignment sale season is quickly approaching, and now’s the time when you can recoup some of the money you spent outfitting the kiddos.
There are two approaches to consigning: the consignment shop and the consignment sale. Shops are open year-round and take current and upcoming season merchandise, and after a specified time you return to the shop to collect your check and pick up unsold merchandise. Consignment sales, on the other hand, are events lasting only a weekend, and all accounts are settled within days of the sale. In both cases, of course, the seller keeps a portion of proceeds from the sale of your goods and provides a venue, merchandising, promotion, and (most importantly), a check for your items.
If you choose to go the sale route, read further on how to prepare now for upcoming sales.
- Set up a staging area for consignment items.
If possible, move clothes to be consigned to a guest room closet or an off-season storage space. Otherwise, designate a space in the kids’ closets at the end of a rod. The best place is in the laundry, so you can wash the item and take it out of circulation immediately.
- Start saving wire hangers from the dry cleaners.
Mommie Dearest may have had a point about wire hangers, but they are required for consignment sales because they are uniform and easy to work with in bulk. If necessary, secure smaller garments with safety pins to prevent slipping or stretching. Keep wire hangers in the laundry so you can hang garments right out of the dryer and the hanger will be an indicator that the item is intended for the sale.
- Clean toys and equipment before drop-off.
Once you’ve made the decision it’s time to part with something, it hard to invest more time cleaning crevices and crannies. Just remember that some bleach and a garden hose will work wonders on plastic play equipment and bicycle tires. If you are storing outgrown toys outdoors or in the basement, I recommend waiting to give them one good clean before bringing them to the sale. Otherwise, they will get dirty again and still require a cleaning.
- Don’t wait to sign up as a seller.
Although sales welcome new consignors, most of them limit the overall number of consignors to make their sale manageable. Consider that most of them complete intake, staging, pick-up and payment within days so they must be extremely efficient. Sign up early and begin your preparation now so you don’t have to scramble at drop-off time.
- Everybody wins.
Consignment sales are a great way to manage the stuff that comes in and out of our lives with growing children. There are benefits to all parties: The purchaser buys quality items at far less than retail price and the consignor earns money for the residual value of items that are no longer useful to her anyway. But this simple exchange also benefits the sponsor (for example, the Day School T-N-T Consignment Sale of Riverchase United Methodist Church is one of the largest non-profit sales in the area, and unsold items that aren’t reclaimed are donated to local charities).