Director Jewels: How To Prepare for a Kid's Consignment Sale (or, 11 Things No One Tells You About Consigning)

Friday, May 17, 2013

How To Prepare for a Kid's Consignment Sale (or, 11 Things No One Tells You About Consigning)


So you're planning to sell all of your kid's outgrown clothes, toys, and gear in a consignment sale?  That's great news!  Consigning is a fantastic way to get a lot more profit for your items than you would reap if you held a garage sale or tried to auction off your items to your friends!  I should know - I've tried both. 

This week, my stuff is for sale at a Kansas City consignment event.  This is the sixth time I have placed items in a sale, so I feel like I have a decent grasp of the consigning process.  I absolutely feel that consigning is the best way to make money from your pre-loved kid's items. 

But I also know from experience that the week of the consignment sale can be absolute insanity. Here are a few reasons why.

1. You Will Procrastinate. 

Last-minute tagging. May 2013.

When you sign up for a sale, it may be months away.  You'll probably think oh, I have soooo much time to get ready!  It will be no problem at all!  Then you'll get an email reminder that the sale is next week, your drop-off time is tomorrow, and suddenly you'll become a crazed woman digging through closets and drawers and tote boxes of too-small clothes, trying to establish what you will sell and how much the current retail value is, and oh-no-you-don't-have-any-hangers-and-all-the-dry-cleaners-are-totally-out-since-it's-consignment-season!!! 

If you didn't know - most dry cleaners will give you a bunch of wire hangers for free.  Just call and ask! 

2. Your Home Will Be Overtaken With Clothing Hanging From Every Random Place You Can Find.

Boy's Clothes, organization in progress. May 2013.

If you're consigning while your first child is still immobile, this one might not apply to you yet.  But as your innocent baby turns into a lively toddler, he will probably discover that dragging clothing which has been safety pinned to a hanger is one of the most fun things to do in the world.  During consignment season, we have to duck to get into most of the rooms in our house because the door frames are all overloaded with clothes.

3. You'll Get Really Familiar With Duck Tape (or some other personalized tagging system).

May 2013.

This one kind of depends on how many items you have decided to sell, and what the policy is at your particular sale.  Some places sort your unsold items for you at the end of the sale, but a lot do not.  If you have a handful of clothing items - like twenty - it might not be a big deal to you to go searching for your unsold inventory at the end of the sale.  But if you're like me and routinely bring 300+ items to consign, let's just say you're going to need a system.  My current marking trend is a piece of black duck tape on top of a piece of purple duck tape.  My husband can probably tag hangers in this fashion in his sleep.

4. Boxes of Toys May End Up In Random Places, i.e. Your Kid's Bed.

May 2013.

As you get closer to the sale, you'll find you are running out of places to store the prepared items.  I typically have totes on top of my kitchen table, piles on top of the piano, stacks of clothes in door frames and on the back of the couch, and one time I completely filled my scrapbook room with stuff.  If you have that aforementioned lively toddler, he's probably going to try to reclaim everything in the boxes, so be prepared!

5. It Doesn't Matter How Hard You Try, At Some Point You Will Get Confused.

May 2013.

There is nothing like getting all the way through your consignment pile and then realizing that you have no idea if you got all the items entered.  Or if you tagged one incorrectly.  Or if you accidentally put a $50 tag on a $5 item.  You get the idea.

5. Loading And Dropping Off Your Items May Take FOREVER.

It won't be so bad if you only have a small stack of clothes, like this one.

May 2013.

But sometimes, you will be convinced you need to invest in a moving truck just to get it all to the sale location.

August 2012.

Drop-off is typically done best when you don't have to worry about bringing kids with you - but sometimes that is inevitable.  Just make sure the tagged items are out of reach so that your little one doesn't gleefully rip tags off all of the clothing you painstakingly worked on for five days!

October 2012.

My favorite tip for keeping clothing organized while in transit: put a rubber band around the hangers in each size section.  Take a pair of scissors with you and just clip the bands once everything is in order on a rack.  Super easy and everything stays in the correct order!

6. You'll Build Some Awesome Muscles Dragging a Clothing Rack Around.

May 2013.

These things are heavy.  Hopefully you'll be lucky enough that there is one available for your use, because let me tell you...it is even more work to unload everything without one!

May 2013.

7. When You Are {finally} Done With Drop Off (or shopping, or pickup), You May Feel Disgusting. 

I get seriously sweaty when hauling this stuff around. And it is gross.  It's especially bad when you are pregnant.

August 2012. 6 months pregnant with Adelaide.

8. If You Volunteer To Work The Sale...Bring Food.

If you don't, and you feel like you might starve to death - don't blame me, okay?  This, again, is an important one to remember if you are pregnant.  Volunteering at the sale while pregnant is in and of itself a feat of amazement. 

Pzone in October 2012. 32 weeks pregnant.

9. Whether You Think You Care Or Not, You Will Obsessively Watch Your Sale Totals Roll In Each Night.

I'm actually doing this as I am drafting this post.  I'm refreshing the page over and over, waiting to see if I have made any money.  It's a crazy consignment mama rush to watch those numbers pour (or creep) in!  It's always worthy of a whoop of joy, whether you sell a $70 stroller or a $1 set of binkies that your child wouldn't touch.

August 2012.

10. If You Take Your Kids Shopping, You'll Probably Have To Bring Home A New Toy.  

This is how we ended up with a large plush Sally car yesterday afternoon.  The boy has 23810473820 cars and trucks, and even a couple of plush cars and choo-choos, but with a $2 price tag and the biggest smile you can imagine...how is a mama supposed to pass up this deal?  It was quite distressing for him to have to hand her over for the four seconds it took to scan her tag, though.

May 2013.

11. If You're Not Very, Very Careful, You Will Spend More Than You Make.

I always go to these sales with the best intentions.  Especially when I'm consigning - because isn't the point to make some extra cash, not spend it all away?

But I almost always find a thing or two or twenty-six that I just can't imagine living without.  Pink ruffle romper?  Addie NEEDS it!  Random American Girl book that I don't already have? Get that in my stroller.  Batman t-shirt that won't fit Lincoln for four years?  Um, duh!

So, yeah.  It's really easy to buy more than you need when everything is so very accessible and conveniently placed all in one place.  I'm happy to say that I only spent $13 at the sale this week and I'm not really planning to shop anymore.  We'll see how that goes.  But, I certainly have not always done this well!  You can also always take into consideration how much you would be paying if you bought everything at retail price...and then, obviously, you are saving a TON - especially if you're "reinvesting" the profits from your sold items!

My best suggestion is this: take a list with you.  Make a physical list of the specific things you actually need, and only buy those things.  Feel free to laugh at my idea; I rarely adhere to it myself!

April 2011.

So, spill!  Are you a consignment mama?  What's your best trick of the trade?

12 comments:

  1. Great tips and hilarious photos! I love the one of your baby hidden in the car under all of the stuff! :)

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    1. Thanks! That photo still cracks me up every time I see it. :)

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  2. I can totally relate to these things, especially the obsessively checking the totals and spending more than you make! Unfortunately for us, I find all of these great deals but until we are completely done having kids I have been hanging on to the clothes and toys I really like!

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    1. Rachel, I'm right there with you - I keep SO much stuff, since we are not done having kids yet either. Yet I still seem to have hundreds of things sitting around waiting to be consigned! My kids have a ridiculous amount of clothing and I've been known to flip items that I have found at rock-bottom prices at Goodwill or a garage sale, too. :)

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  3. I took a picture of my DD surrounded by items on my way to the LS sale this spring! It's amazing how much stuff we get... and how much stuff my friends give me to sell for them! (We do a profit sharing system, which helps us both out.) As for the $2 Sally plush car - my friend and I thank you for buying it... glad to see who got to benefit from the time we spent cleaning and tagging it! So fun to see our old items being "new treasures" for others. :) - Rebekah

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    1. How fun to know where the Sally car came from! It is a HUGE hit in our house. :)

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  4. I'm a consignment sale owner & I can't wait to re-post this link for all of my consignors!

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    1. Awesome, Molly! Hope they enjoy. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  5. I am entering my second sale this fall, and this was a very good list of things to anticipate. Thank you for the tip on rubber banding the sized hangers together. I know that will save me lots of time on the day of the drop-off!

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    1. You're so welcome! Glad the ideas helped you! :)

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  6. I have only consigned around 3 times but my advice is to hang all your items first, enter them into the system laying them face down after each and then print your tags. All you have to do is cut out the tags row by row and go from first to last when tagging. I also have my own rolling rack then cost me like $20 to put all my items on when I'm down and then simply roll it into my hall closet. No clothes hanging everywhere and no little ones can get to them! Works like a charm

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