Sell clothes on consignment – and put money in your pocket

  • Article by: SARAH WELCH , getbuttonedup.com
  • Updated: March 27, 2013 - 5:01 PM

Worried that it would take too much work? Think again. Here’s what you need to know to unlock the liquidity hiding in rarely worn frocks.

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Designer clothes and shoes at Clothes Mentor in Edina. Check out consignment shops to see what they specialize in.

Photo: GLEN STUBBE • gstubbe@startribune.com ,

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It’s time. Time to purge your closet (and your kids’ closets) of all those clothes that simply aren’t worn anymore.

However, rather than doing the usual closet whip-through and then dropping off an overstuffed garbage bag of clothes at Goodwill or another charity, consider an option that will both streamline your closet and improve your finances: selling items on consignment.

Worried that it would take too much work? Think again. Here’s what you need to know to unlock the liquidity hiding in rarely worn frocks.

1  Sort your possessions into  three piles.

Pile 1 is for the clothes you want to keep. Pile 2 is for well-worn items that you will either give to charity or, if beyond repair, toss. Pile 3 is for pieces in good condition that you think others would find appealing. (Hint: Designer clothes always do well at consignment stores.)

2  Review your items with a  highly critical eye.

Being honest with yourself about the condition of clothing will save time in the end, as the staff at the consignment store is going to be doing the same. It will also make a good first impression if you bring in items that are in pretty decent condition.

3  Get familiar with consignment stores in your area.

Depending on the type of items you’re looking to sell (such as women’s, children’s, etc.), a consignment store that focuses on a particular clientele might pay more for what you have. It is also more likely to sell your clothes, as they bring in the right kind of customers for those items.

4  Visit the consignment  store.

It’s always a good idea to check out the store (or stores) you’re thinking about working with. When you stop in, pay attention to the prices and try to get a feel for what sells well. If you can, talk to employees, as they know what sells and the proper pricing for what you have to offer.

5 Ask questions.

It’s important to understand what is required of and owed to you as a seller. Know what percentage of the sale price you will receive, and find out what fees you’re responsible for. Also, keep track of the items up for sale, and cross them off your list as each one finds a buyer.

6  Mark your calendar.

Keep track of when the selling period is going to end, and be ready to pick up the items that don’t sell.

7  Be season-savvy.

Though it’s tempting to try and sell bulky winter clothing right now, it’s actually the perfect time to bring in spring and summer items, as that’s exactly what will be in demand now. Wait until autumn to bring in fall and winter items.

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