Here’s the Baby Cheapskate guide to making a few extra bucks consigning outgrown baby & kid clothes, gear, and toys:
Most consignment stores begin accepting fall clothing at the beginning of August and the beginning of March–and that’s when you can start picking up some fantastic deals on summer consignment clearance, by the way. I’ve done some research at our local kid consignment shops, and here are some guidelines for preparing clothing, etc. for consignment:
A good guideline that I’ve come across at a few stores is to take a good look at your stuff and ask, “what would I give as a gift?” Consignment stores are emphatic that they are “not thrift stores.” Items brought in should be clean and ready to go on the racks (pressed, if necessary). They should be flawless, with no stains, fading, missing buttons, etc. They should also still be fashionable.
Equipment should be clean, current and safe, with absolutely no missing screws, bolts, etc. So clean under the high chair cushion, for gosh sakes! Toys should have all their parts and be in “like new” condition.
So where do you take your stuff? Family-oriented phone directories, free local parenting magazines, and word of mouth are great places to discover what consignment stores are near you. Visit a few to get a feel for their angle. Some consider themselves upscale and will turn up their noses at your Old Navy stuff in favor of fancy French labels. Others prefer major brands like Carters but shun discount store labels, and till others accept everything.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of possible stores, check their consignment policies. Most stores advertise that they sell for a third to a half off retail prices. You can expect to receive 40 to 60 percent of what the item sells for. Usually, your stuff stays at the store for about two months before it either goes on clearance or you’re asked to come get it. Some stores only pay you when you rack up a certain amount on your account, say $50. Sometimes you get better deals if you’re willing to accept store credit over cash. Some stores, like Kid-to-Kid actually buy your stuff outright, so that you leave the store with cash in-hand.
You’ll need to call the store to find out if you need to make an appointment to bring in your stuff. Some only accept items on certain days of the week. While you’re on the phone, ask whether they prefer clothing on hangers or folded neatly. Find out what item’s they currently need and don’t need. Many stores, for example, don’t have much room for equipment, and some don’t take pajamas and other sleepwear.
To find stores near you, try the directory at ResaleShopping.com. An internet search of your town plus “children’s consignment store” should also turn up a bunch.