Let me start out by saying that kids’ consignment sales are a God send! There are several, big and small, all over the country, and the concept is so simple yet so encompassing. Bring your kids’ outgrown stuff (clothes, toys, decor…the list goes on and on…and on!), buy new stuff, make money!! Win-win-win!!! Oh, and clean out their rooms. Double win!!
I stumbled upon our Just Between Friends (JBF) sale when Stitchy-poo was about eight months old. There were huge colorful signs surrounding our county fairgrounds. I wasn’t in a hurry to be anywhere. What the hey?! I’ll stop in and see what this is all about. The rest is history. Since then, I always try to convince parents to join the fun. I will say that it is a bit of work to start on that first sale, but after six years, I’ve got a little groove going when it comes to prepping merchandise, and that’s what we’ll look at today. Without further ado…
1. Designate a Place to Store Your Potential Sale Items
If you’re like me, you’ll find things the kids don’t play with anymore or have outgrown throughout the year, not just during the “big clean” (I do a BIG house sweep about a month before each sale). If you have a place to put it until it’s time to tag, there’s a better chance it won’t creep back into the kids’ rooms. You know how often that happens!
I have a corner of our garage dedicated to JBF. It’s nothing fancy, just a wire bookcase, bins and a broken clothing rack. Yes, that’s right. My Ikea clothing rack died last year, but I salvaged the top bar, and it hangs between two wire bookcases (the other bookcase holds my crafty goodness that I never get around to using but can’t bear to give up yet) and is perfect for hanging JBF clothes. My second Ikea rack is looking like it’s on its last leg, as well, so I’ll probably have to break down and buy the fancy rolling racks that stand up so well to the abuse of a JBF sale.
Another thing to do throughout the year is collect hangers. We used to buy a lot more clothing items at the sales (before Stitchy-poo got so picky!) and would have a ton to recycle with our own items, but now we don’t have as many hangers, uh, hanging around. Ask stores if you can keep your hangers when buying clothes. Sometimes they’ll also give you extras (haven’t noticed this a lot lately, though). We’ve also had luck finding them at yard sales occasionally. If it comes down to it, go ahead and buy some. I haven’t had to purchase hangers yet, but I used every hanger we had prepping for this month’s sale, so we’ll see what happens.
2. Know What You Can Sell
Be sure to check your sale’s guidelines for items you can and cannot bring. For larger sales, chances are if kids can use it, you can sell it. Some smaller sales may have restrictions due to space. For example, our closest sale doesn’t accept shoes or bedding, but the one 30 minutes away does.
I won’t reinvent the wheel for my local JBFers. Here are links to see what the Norman and OKC sales do and do not accept, as well as other consignor FAQs. Of course, recalled items aren’t accepted at all.
Don’t underestimate what people will buy, either. The thing that still surprises me after six years of JBFing is that people will buy gallon bags full of kids’ meal toys. I HATE that stuff, so I bag and tag it, and someone buys it. Every time.
Don’t forget kids’ furniture and outdoor items!! These are great sellers and can bring in a bit more money.
3. Prep Your Items
I try to keep like items together when storing my stuff pre-sale. All clothes go in a bin, toys in another, books and DVDs, etc. together. Makes it a lot easier when it’s time to tag!
Here’s a tip I swear by when getting clothing items ready: Separate by size and type!! If you put your items into outfits like I do, it’s so much quicker this way. I also separate tees from dressier shirts, athletic shorts from khakis, etc. I know. I’m that person.
Now let me sing the praises of MAGIC ERASER!! It’s amazing and comes in handy, especially with the extra strict shoe inspection at one of our sales. HBelle had some Converse shoes she can’t fit anymore, so she brought them over for the sale. They were definitely loved, so I took a Magic Eraser to them.
Of course, after spending all that time cleaning these shoes to sell, I decided that I was going to keep them for Stitchy-poo since they’re unisex. 🙂
4. Price Your Items
Now that you’ve gathered and gussied up the goods, here comes the fun part!! Pricing! There are many different ways to go about this. Some consignors just want to clean out the closets and making money is a bonus, so they price low hoping to get rid of it all. Others are super sentimental and price little Suzy’s communion dress darn near the price they paid for it new! I fall somewhere in between, and here’s why. When Stitchy-poo was younger, he barely wore anything twice. The kid had more clothes than anyone I knew. And most of his items were decent brand names (he was almost exclusively a Gap kid until the last year or so). We’re talking almost new clothes here. Then I factored in all the work I was doing prepping the items to sell. I definitely wasn’t going to do all this to make peanuts. However, I wanted to price low enough that I would sell most of it. After all, you’re not making any money if no one’s buying, right? I’ve done pretty well and consistently sell $12-$18 sets, sometimes going a little higher or lower depending on the state of the closets.
He’s got his own style now which consists of mostly athletic pants and Angry Birds t-shirts, and he wears them to death. He still has shopaholic family members, though, so we still have a little stock for sales. 😉
When pricing, I place all clothing items with like sizes. And, yes, nerdy me puts them on the rack in order from smallest to largest. You’ll see why in the next tip. P.S. If you can keep them like this, it makes drop-off a million times quicker, too.
5. Bag ’em ‘n Tag ’em!!
Once you have tags entered (or however your sale has you price your items), it’s time for the not-so-fun part. Well, at least for me. Again, though, I’ve got my little system that tends to make things go smoother over the years.
After I print and cut my tags, I separate them into sizes. Now, aren’t you glad you organized your items earlier?
Now it’s time to tag!! When we get to this step, I pull out my trusty tagging kit. You should make one, too. It will keep you from having to abandon your rack of clothes and bins of toys to hunt down your packing tape or safety pins. Remember those sneaky things we talked about creeping back into the kids’ rooms earlier? Yeah, that tends to happen if you’re off looking for scissors, too.
In my kit, I’ve got safety pins for attaching tags to clothes and other fabric items, scissors for cutting threads and packing tape, packing tape to attach tags to hard items, reenforcers for shoe tags, zip ties to keep shoes or other items together and a Sharpie pen because Sharpie pens are awesome. I usually have some Magic Erasers in there, too, but HBelle’s shoes were really dirty.
Some consignors swear by tagging guns, but during my days as a volunteer clothing inspector at JBF, I’ve seen so many items ruined by careless tag gunning, so I just go with safety pins. Besides, I reuse the safety pins on the items I purchase. That’s green, right??
Hard items can have tags attached with clear packing tape. Be careful not to place tape on something that might rip like labels or stickers. I hate that!! Small items can be bagged together (hence the tip title). I also really like oversized Ziplocs for keeping items like blocks and playsets together.
You can now relax and revel in all your consignor glory!! Great job! Now all that’s left is dropping your items off and waiting for that big, fat check!! Ours usually goes to the Disney fund. 😀
Have you done a consignment sale? What are your favorite prep tips? What do you do with your big, fat check?