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Are you new to consignment? Interested in the resale world? Supportive of your local thrift store? Learn how to make the most of our shop local, recycle, renew and refresh industry with these articles. And don't miss our blog for up-to-date, seasonal tips and ideas.
Pat and Terry are avid resalers. "We’re always on the lookout for those magic words: consignment, resale, used. We’ve even been known to make [...more]
Clear your life of clutter and fill your wallet with a little cash, or fill your karma with a little good deed. It's not hard to [...more]
Is it better to consign or to sell outright? [...more]
"Which type of consignment, resale or thrift store should I choose?" [...more]
How making your things shine can mean more success [...more]
Have you ever wondered how your best friend and her children are always so well-dressed, even on a limited budget? Do your next-door neighbors [...more]
Cachet without Cash! Got a yen to redecorate? Do you have a guest room that needs new furniture or a child outfitting a new apartment? Perhaps you need [...more]
Follow our blog for ideas and tips, seasonal suggestions and maybe a recipe or two. Take a look at our blog.
Want to open a consignment shop or start a resale shop? Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? You have "no costs" if you consign. That’s all, unfortunately, some [...more]
How to choose the best resale shop for you
Pat and Terry are avid resalers. "We’re always on the lookout for those magic words: consignment, resale, used. We’ve even been known to make illegal U-turns to investigate new sources!"
Both have filled their closets with gently-used clothing and their homes with pre-owned furniture. They've found everything from nostalgic treasures to the latest fashions, even a crepe pan and a garden gnome on their latest excursion. "It’s a lot more fun than mall cruising, and of course we save a bundle." Pat’s a collector of vintage handbags and jewelry; Terry outfits a growing number of grandchildren with everything from school clothes to games and toys.
"There’s one thing we’d like to share: find the right shops for you. It’ll save time, and once you get to know the staff, they’ll even put items aside for you to see on your weekly visits."
First, is the shop located in an area where you work, live, or shop? Convenience plays a big part here. After all, an hour in travel time can cut your pleasure in finding the perfect buy. Store hours and the availability of parking are also features you’ll appreciate.
Does the shop carry what you’re in the market for? A large variety of possibilities as well as the quality you want can justify weekly visits. Quick turnover of stock is important too: are there lots of newly-arrived goods to choose from?
Are you pleased with the value? What you are willing to pay depends on the appeal and usefulness of the item. A $20 sweater that was originally $200 is only valuable if it fits your body and lifestyle. Price is not an absolute: Watch experienced resale shoppers snap up items which to the uninitiated seem overpriced! "I’d rather spend $400 for an antique mahogany desk than $150 for a pressboard mass-merchandised one," says Terry. "The antique has value. The cheap new desk won’t last and it certainly won’t please me the way the antique will."
Do you enjoy the atmosphere of the shop? For some customers, a jumble of dusty merchandise is a great treasure-hunt. Others prefer a more upscale ambiance. "I like a neat, organized, clean store for clothing. I’m more willing to dig through cardboard boxes when I’m looking to add to my vintage jewelry collection," notes Pat.
Is the service in a store pleasant? Will the staff help you find what you’re looking for and suggest alternatives? Do you feel welcome? Do they offer the features you want, such as credit card acceptance, layaways, and approval sales?
Are you valued as a customer? Is there a mailing list you can join to receive sale notices, special event invitations, and coupons? Does the shop offer you a frequent buyer club card or a preferred customer discount? Do they maintain a want list for special items you’re searching for, and will they call you?
"Some of our best finds have been in the most implausible places. We find great buys in items that a shop doesn’t normally deal in." Pat found a 1920's beaded bag in a secondhand furniture store and Terry remembers the handmade baby quilt discovered under a pile of 1970's avocado drapes. The best value might be items a given shop normally doesn’t deal in, such as a first edition book in a housewares shop or a designer suit in a lower-end basic clothing store.
You will, for sure, find several resale shops to include in every shopping trip. But never forget: sometimes the best treasures can be found in the most unlikely places. Once in a while, take a day to explore shops off your beaten path. . . and be sure to carry cash for that once-in-a-lifetime find!
If you will never use it again, why are you giving it a home?
Got some spare time? Clear your life of clutter and fill your wallet with a little cash, or fill your karma with a little good deed. It's not hard to sort through and clean out. All you have to do is go through your cupboards and closets with one thought in mind:
Will I ever enjoy using this again?
Much of what we own, whether it's a knick-knack or those plaid knickers, we did like... once. But do we still? If it doesn't fit your current life style, your decor or your body, chances are you'll never get any more joy out of possessing it. So pass it on to someone who will.
How to find your no-longer-cherished possessions a second life? There are many choices available for something which still has some panache, style, and utility. The best choice, and the simplest, is to take them to a shop which will find a new owner with no fuss or muss on your part.
What's worth offering to a resale shop? You'll hear all sorts of buzz words, from gently-used to slightly-worn, and caveats like in style and in season. You certainly don't want to haul in a lot of things that aren't worth re-selling, but how to decide? We all can agree that a limp stained shirt or a figurine with chipped fingers is not resalable, but what about that tweed jacket you just had to have a few years ago, or the end table inherited from your in-laws? I have the complete fail-proof question you can ask yourself:
Would I wrap this with a festive bow...?
...and gift it to a close friend or cherished relative? If your answer is yes, then it’s something that your local consignment shop might welcome, a buy-for-cash resale shop would value, and your favorite charitable thrift shop be delighted to have. Take the time to clean and polish things first so they look as good in reality as they do in your fond memories. Gently lave that adorable baby quilt, dust off the ornately-carved onyx vase, wash and press the silk dress that never was just the right shade of cerise for you, and take it to your chosen resale outlet.
If you take a good look at something that’s cluttering up your life and your immediate thought is well someone might want it...emphasis on someone might... chances are that your item would be better put in your next garage sale or club/church’s rummage sale for a quarter or a dollar.
So open that closet door, that drawer, that cupboard, and take a good look: if you won’t ever again use what you find but if it’s likely to delight another, recycle it by letting one of our Professional Resalers find a new owner for it. Whether you consign, sell, or donate things which are cluttering up your life, you’ll get the good feeling of sharing resources, of forward-thinking recycling by passing on something someone else is looking forward to using, and the clarity of less clutter in your life. Not to mention cash or karma. Pretty good trade, isn’t it?
On the blog: See how Kate took the 52-Thing Challenge, purging her life of some clutter...and what she did with all (well, most) of those 52 items she didn't need.
Should I consign or sell my underloved items....
and what about donating?
Once you've made the decision to part with some
possessions, and you've selected the things that are prime quality and style,
you've got just one more (I promise!) choice to make. And that is: is it better to consign or to sell outright?
Consigning has pluses:
Since you are paid a predetermined percentage of the actual selling price, you share in the income your carefully-prepared items generate.
Consignment shops are more willing to try an unusual piece, since they are not investing money in something with perhaps limited appeal.
Consigning, though, has some aspects that you might consider disadvantages:
Most consignment shops only accept items in season.
Some shops limit the number of items to be brought in at one time.
You must wait for items to sell before receiving any money.
If it doesn't sell, you make nothing.
Selling outright has pluses as well:
You receive immediate payment for the items accepted.
Often, buy-outright shops will purchase, for a reduced amount, off-season goods or goods which they must store for a time, such as prom dresses or Halloween costumes.
You're done with that batch of prior possessions in a few minutes.
Selling has disadvantages as well:
Because the shop must make a profit, and is taking all the risk, you will receive less per item than you might if consigning.
The shop will be more choosy about what it will buy, since there’s a financial investment being made on their part.
And finally: Should you simply be a good person and donate your items to a charitable thrift store?
Yes, if you believe that is the best use of these goods. Be aware, however, that not all shops which market themselves as helping charity are actually doing so to any reasonable extent. If you have doubts in your mind that your wonderful items are truly helping your favorite charity as best they could, ask how much of the proceeds actually go to the cause.
So which will make me more money?
The best way to make money with consignment shopping... is to shop. True, your under-appreciated items can make you some money or, if donated to a legitimate charitable thrift store, generate some tax savings. And that is a wonderful bonus: you've gotten your use and pleasure out of something that can now bring joy and utility into someone else's life.
But for true savings, it's true: Shop secondhand wherever you can. All the smartest people do.
Which type of consignment, resale or thrift store should I choose?All shops that sell gently-used goods are resale shops. Within resale, there are consignment shops, buy-outright shops, and thrift shops.
BUT IT MIGHT BE CALLED SOMETHING ELSE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD!
Depending on where you live, and where you're from, and where your neighbors are from, local usage of these terms may vary. It's easy enough, though, to figure out which type of shop is which: just ask! Any shopkeeper is more than happy to explain her (or his) business to you!
WHICH IS BEST FOR ME?
If you enjoy sharing in the profits, and the risks, of consigning, become a partner in the process with a consignment shop. To clear out items you wish to pass on with little fuss, a buy-outright shop's procedures might suit you better. And finally, for clean, usable (but not necessarily terribly fashionable) possessions, donate to a thrift shop whose charitable mission resonates with you.
Prepare your items for consignment or resale to make more money
Making your items look their best gives you a boost in resale value. Why? The better it looks, the better it sells. Here's how making your things shine can mean more success:
Freshly-cleaned and groomed items will appeal to the shopkeeper, which means they will be more likely to be accepted for sale in the shop. Remember, the shopkeeper will not accept items that she or he doesn't believe will sell. If it's not immaculate, that's a big strike against it, no matter how desirable it might otherwise be.
The shopkeeper knows that things that look good sell for a good price. So the value of a cared-for object will reflect the extra effort you put into it.
When your items look good, they will get prime placement in the shop. It's only natural: the cleanest, prettiest, most polished merchandise will be placed in displays, be shown more readily to browsers, and be highlighted.
Shoppers gravitate to clean and polished goods and they bypass dust, grime, tarnish and fading. Make sure your items are attractive and worth a second look!
PREPARING YOUR ITEMS
A few minutes with an iron or a bit of cleaner will make your things much more appealing to the buyer. Make sure it's ready to sell.
Are all the buttons secure? Fasteners in working order? Seams still sturdy? Furniture dusted and polished?
Use a good light to examine for stains, discoloration, scratches or fading.
Check that everything's there. Forgetting a crucial accessory will decrease the value.
Transport your items in luxury. Garments on hangers won't be mussed when they arrive. Breakables and delicate items should be wrapped to prevent transit and handling damage.
Help the shop process you quickly by grouping sets together.
Presentation is key. The shopkeeper, in a sense, is a shopper of your goods, too. Musty, messy, dusty items will be passed over.
Let the shopkeeper be the judge. They have had experience in what will sell. It may sometimes seem that one of your items may be over-priced and another under-priced, but the shopkeeper knows her customers... which means more money for you!
Now sit back and relax while the shop ensures that your no-longer-wanteds find a new, loving home!
More on this subject on HowToConsign's Pinterest Board:
Secrets of Savvy Secondhand Shopping
Have you ever wondered how your
best friend and her children are always so well-dressed, even though she is on a
limited budget? Do
your next-door neighbors always have the most interesting decor, although their
mortgage is as large as yours? Chances are they shop resale!
You too can be an expert resaler and find treasures that will enrich your life without flattening your wallet. And you can do it without a huge investment in time or gas. Here are some Savvy Secondhander Tips:
* Map out a route of the resale shops you want to visit. Include a variety of resale shops, from charitable thrift stores to elegant consignment boutiques. Each has its own special charms.
* Shop frequently. The more often you visit, the better buys you'll find. Most resale shops have a rapid turnover of their most interesting items.
* Be prepared. Some shops don't accept credit cards or checks, so tuck away a little mad money for that unexpected delight.
* Know the sizes and colors you need. Bring swatches, measure your available space, bring a child's garment along for size comparison.
* But be flexible. If you have your mind set on a specific item, you might pass over a trove of unexpected treasures.
* Look for the unlikely. If a shop specializing in one area receives something they're unfamiliar with, you might be able to pick up a treasure for a pittance.
* Canvass every corner, poke through all sizes, explore all departments. Different brands are sized differently, and could be mismarked. Remember to check out what's on display!
* Small accessories and related items can be some of the best bargains. Examine showcases, boxes of goodies, and ledges for some hidden finds.
* Check out your selections carefully. While shopkeepers price items based on desirability and condition, be sure you can live with a small snag or scratch.
* When you see something that calls out to you, grab it! Chances are it won't be there the next time you visit. Many's the treasure missed by too cautious a shopper.
* Get to know the sales staff and let them know what you are interested in. They delight in matching up merchandise with a valued buyer. If the shop has a mailing list, sign up for their newsletter, notices on sales and special event invitations.
* Each resale shop has its own personality and merchandise strengths. You'll soon find your favorites and, even sooner, you'll have people wondering "Where does she find all those great clothes?" and "How do they manage to always have such a wonderful home?"
More on this subject on HowToConsign's Pinterest Board:
Cachet without Cash:
Decorating with previously-enjoyed decor
Got a yen to redecorate? Do you have a guest room that needs new furniture or a child outfitting a new apartment? Perhaps you need a few things for your mountain cabin or seaside bungalow. Shop resale to decorate with personality and style!
There are resalers who offer everything from kitchenware to great room furnishings. Styles from kitsch to chic. Express yourself with more verve when you check out secondhand. Whether an unusual side table that sparks up a den or a chaise longue reminiscent of indolent Southern afternoons, add that little extra flip to your decor with an experienced possession.
Ideas we've seen easily & inexpensively done with anything from antiques to retro-chic:
Mass a collection on a mirrored or polished metal tray for extra gleam and attention. Copper bowls, tiny mirrored boxes, chrome decanters look great reflected.
A look we especially love: brass candlesticks massed in a fireplace, outfitted with a variety of candles. Flickering light to warm a festive evening!
Who says dining chairs have to match? A variety of wooden chairs gathered around a big oak kitchen table gives a casual, let's-chat-over-coffee look to your home.
Speaking of chairs, nothing perks up a room (from bedroom to board room) faster than a sculptural chair. Look for a Windsor, an Eames (or an Eames-inspired copy!), or whatever suits your decor and your taste.
Baskets are a wonderful resale buy. Try masses of them in a disused corner for textural interest. Hang flat baskets on a wall, or tuck them under side tables to hold magazines and games.
When you browse through resale shops, abandon preconceptions. Don't look at what it IS.... think about what it COULD be in your own home. Wouldn't that graniteware kettle look great with geraniums in it? How about that ornate chair, painted white, in front of a wicker dressing table? That sofa table would make a great entry hall piece. Imagine an ornate frame as a mirror in the dining room. And that sturdy oak dresser would make a wonderful vanity in the downstairs bath.
Resale shops probably have just the touch of personality your home needs, from a spectacular easy chair to that unusual storage unit your bedroom has been longing for. From wall decor to coffee-table accessories, you'll find the special touch your home can cozy up to at a price your wallet will love, too.
Home decor items aren't just in resale furniture shops.
Check out resale shops which specialize in clothing for small items, too. The greatest finds can often be found where you least expect them. That big wooden apple lamp in my doctor's office? She found it in a children's consignment shop!
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