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How to Use Consignment Shops to Sell Kids' Clothing, Books & Toys

Earn Extra Cash at a Consignment Shop

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Take your daughter shopping for an Easter dress.

Sell your kids' old clothes at a consignment shop.

© 2009, Natalia Vasina Vladimirovna

It's not unusual for kids to outgrow their clothing before actually wearing them out. As a frugal single parent, you can actually earn earn extra income by selling the items your family no longer uses. Here's how to use a consignment shop to sell your kids' old clothing, books, and toys:

  1. Visit the Consignment Shops in Your Area

    Chances are, there are probably a few consignment shops in your area. If you can, try to visit each one or ask other parents in your neighborhood for a recommendation. The quality of stores can vary greatly, and you want to be sure you're using a reputable shop known for reselling top-quality items.
  2. Ask Questions

    Whether you visit the shop in person or call ahead, you'll want to ask several questions before you start gathering your consignment items. Here are some things you'll need to know:
     
    • Do you need to schedule an appointment or do they accept drop-ins?
    • Do they charge a fee for each appointment?
    • What percentage will you earn on each sale?
    • Does the shop purchase the items outright from you (and pay you on the spot), or do they pay you only after each item has been purchased?
    • What are the shop's expectations regarding the condition of clothing, toys, books, and household items?
    • What season are they accepting currently?
    • What happens to items that don't sell?
  3. Gather Your Items

    Once you have an appointment, it's time to start gathering your consignment items. Focus on items that are in good condition, but no longer fit or suit your style. Basically, items that haven't been worn in months or won't be worn again are good candidates. Also consider bringing in toys that your children no longer play with. Perhaps your son has simply outgrown his old action figures or your daughter doesn't play with her dolls anymore. These items could be helpful to another family.

  4. Separate Items if Needed

    You'll probably come across some items that need to be saved for next year. For example, if you're collecting items at the end of the summer, you'll need to put them aside and bring them to the consignment shop next spring. It makes sense to get these items out of the closet and box them up for the next year. Just label the box with the "Consignment Shop Items" and the target season.

  5. Prep Your Items

    You'll need to spend some time washing, ironing, and prepping the items you plan to bring to your appointment. To increase the chances that your items will be purchased, make sure you follow the instructions given to you by the shop. As you're preparing each item, you'll probably come across some items that are stained or do not meet the consignment shops' expectations. Set these items aside to be donated.

  6. Choose a Charity to Donate Leftover Items

    Most of the time, you'll find that the shop doesn't accept all of the items you bring in. This is to be expected. Perhaps they have too many similar items at the time, or there's not enough room in the store for some of the larger items you had hoped to sell. In this case, plan to donate your leftover items to a reputable charity in your area. Some organizations will even pick your donations up at your home or office. (Tip: Consider donating your items to a charity for single parents!)

  7. Shop During Your Appointment

    While the shop owner or clerk checks your items, you'll probably have a few minutes to look around. Use this time to scout out some inexpensive items for your kids. Once you get into a routine of dropping off items every 2-3 months, you can regularly put the money you earn toward "new" clothes and toys for your family.

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