Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cleaning Out the Clothes? Consider Consignment Shops.

consignment store sign

The easiest way to get rid of clothes that no longer suit you - but might well suit someone else - is to donate them to a thrift store. Freecycle is another good option.

But if you have the right items - and the time to invest - you might want to try using consignment stores, or resale stores that buy your clothes outright. If you want to go that route, here's some advice from those in the know.

1. Make sure your clothes are in good condition. As a prior consignment-store owner wrote on The Dollar Stretcher:
Don't even try to sell clothing through consignment unless it is in pristine condition and less than two years old. Selling shoes? Polish them. Selling jewelry? Clean it. I used to say that you need to detail your things as you would a car you're about to sell.
2. Pick a store that suits both you and your items. As One Paycheck At a Time notes:
Consignment stores are not created equal. Typically the better the neighborhood, the better the clothing, and therefore, the higher the price tag. Some very high-end clothing consignment shops only accept designer labels. ... Some stores only sell women's clothes whereas some only sell children's clothing.
And as Asha Dornfest writes on The MomSpeak about selling children's clothes:
Find a shop you like.

When evaluating a resale shop, check out the clothes for sale. Are the brands reputable? Are the clothes in good condition? Is there a decent amount of traffic in the store, ensuring regular turnover? You’re likely to sell and buy at the same place (you often get more in trade-in than in cash), so be sure you’re happy with the selection.

Is the person at the counter nice? This last detail counts: you’ll be doing business with this person on a regular basis.
3. Find out what the store accepts. For example, many stores will not take out-of-season clothes. And one store owner says no to anything white.
As for white clothes? Generally speaking, you can forget about selling them. "It's almost impossible to find white items that look new," Eclectic Threads owner Tara Selario says. "There are always food or sweat stains, so I don't usually bother with those pieces."
4. Make an appointment. Most stores require one.

Related Post:
Thrift Stores Could Sure Use Your Stuff

[Photo of The Sassy Foxx Consignment (in Douglas, Massachusetts) by Svadilfari / Sean, licensed under Creative Commons]


Julie Bestry said...

Great post, as always.

As for the rule of finding out what they'll accept, a corollary might be to find out what they'll accept WHEN. That is, if you're cleaning out your closet in September, purging out all of the summery clothes, you'll likely find that most consignment shops are buying/stocking Fall/Winter clothes. Of course, if you live in an area where there are lots of snowbirds getting ready to fly south, they might stock some warm weather stuff (which would be useless during this particular cold snap), but in general, you won't want to try to consign prom dresses in July or heavy sweaters in April.

chantal said...

I'm also guessing stores that take designer labels will probably accept things that are fancy designers and more than 2 years old...Although perhaps a third category might be vintage designer. I'm thinking of all the old stuff from the 60s that is so popular right now...of course I don't have any of it but I have lots of friends with mothers with full closets of awesome vintage stuff that I'm sure would be sellable. Too bad that is not my clutter problem. I just need to send my stuff to the local thrift store!