6 Tips for Successfully Consigning Clothing

April 18, 2010
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I decided to clean out all of my dresser drawers and my closet this weekend. I was long overdue to update my wardrobe, and now that I’d purchased some new pieces, I knew I needed to get rid of some stuff, too. This is the best way to keep my clutter in control–getting rid of something when I buy something new. One in, one out, that sort of thing.

While much of the stuff I found to giveaway was good enough to donate to my local thrift store, a number of pieces were still in excellent enough condition that I’m going to consign them.

Considering it’s Earth Week, I felt it was important to point out how consigning and donating clothes are both excellent ways to reduce your waste and keep your items out of landfills. And you might make some money from it–if not at least get a tax receipt for your donation.

If you’re interested in consigning some of your things, here are 6 tips to keep in mind so you can make the most money possible from your consignment.

1. Make sure your clothing is seasonal. The consignment store I use actually publishes a calendar on its website that provides a month-by-month explanation of what kinds of clothing it is looking for at that time of the year. April is when this store is stocking up on summer clothing, which is perfect for me, since most of the clothing I pulled out of my closet is ready made for warm weather.

2. Keep a sense of your clothing’s fashion sense. To make money on things like denim, they have to have a fashionable look to them. That means no Mom jeans and nothing with a bell bottom. Stores want jeans with a lower rise and a darker wash.

3. Brands are what command the big bucks. Many thrift and consignment shops have guidelines that spell out exactly what brands sell well in their stores. One shop where I bring my clothes explains that they’ll take anything from Gap to Gucci. The teen-oriented shop where my daughters sell their clothes says straight out what their three As of consigning are: Abercrombie, Aeropostale and American Eagle.

4. Clothes must be clean and fresh smelling. Clothes that you consign can’t have any stains or spots on them, and should have been laundered after their last wear. Also, since no one wants to buy a stinky piece of used clothing, at least spray the clothes with Febreze–my favorite tool for freshening up something–before bringing them into the store.

5. Prep your clothes to make them look their best. Take the time to prep your clothes for sale by ironing shirts to a crisp finishing, replacing any missing buttons, zipping up zippers so that jackets and pants fold nicely, and trimming off any loose threads or piling on sweaters so they look neat and tidy.

6. Follow the stores rules. In addition to following my local consignment shop’s seasonal calendar, I also follow their other rules–such as that you have to bring in 10 salable items in order to “make a consignment.” Also, I make sure that I’m bringing in clothing that makes sense for that store–i.e. work clothes, fashion-forward casual clothing and professional-looking attire. All the other stuff? I donate because I know the owner won’t take it to sell. I don’t bring anything in on hanger–verboten!–and I respect the posted drop-off and pick-up times.

Hopefully this advice will help you make the most from whichever articles of clothing you decide to consign in the near future.

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7 Responses to 6 Tips for Successfully Consigning Clothing

  1. Lindsay on June 15, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Thanks for discussing this often-overlooked option for what to do with clothes that still have life left in them. You may want to check us out a http://www.clothingloop.com as we discuss the launch of our exciting new clothing exchange!
    Lindsay

  2. Tadpoles Atlanta on April 25, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Great job with this Leah. My wife and I own a couple of resale stores in Atlanta and I think you hit it right on the mark with your post. I’d add one thing and that is remember that if your are selling your items to any store they are the customer in that instance. One thing I learned in corporate sales is that you are selling yourself too. Try to come in on a day when you have a positive attitude.

    • Leah Ingram on April 25, 2011 at 8:33 am

      Thanks for letting me know my advice was on the mark and thanks for that additional tip. As a glass half full kind of person, I like that suggestion.

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  4. Kaitlinlee on April 27, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Hi! I love this… I was just wondering if you know what shops consign? I don’t know how to find them but would love to try my hand at selling off my stuff.

    • Leah Ingram on April 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

      Do a Google search using your location and the word “consignment” and see what pops up. Good luck.

  5. [...] Tips for Successfully Consigning Clothing Leah Ingram shares her insight on consigning old clothing and getting the most for it. Ingram suggests to stay seasonal and to clean and iron the [...]

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