Second Hand Clothes, First-Class Style

Consignment shopping is an excellent way to purchase kids and baby clothes, often brand new and for less than one-third of the retail price. Most cities these days have specialty consignment shops for babies, children and teens, too.

The consignment process is simple. If you are a seller, the store sets its criteria for accepting merchandise, and sets the price—usually 50 percent of the new retail price.

Expect a consignment shop to have very high standards for what they will accept: Must be a current style, must be brought in clean and must have no visible wear, holes or stains. You bring your items to the store to be reviewed and submitted for sale. Because most stores have limited hours for this process, be sure to call ahead.

Your items will be put on the sales floor and displayed for 30 to 60 days. Once sold, you’ll get 30 to 50 percent of the purchase price depending on that store’s policy.

Most consignment shops have a process by which they reduce the sales price regularly until the item is sold or the time runs out. At that time you have the option of either picking up your items or agreeing to have the shop donate them to a charity.

Stores will often give you the choice of taking your proceeds outright or crediting it to your own store account. Most people discover that building their account to allow for shopping in the store is the best option. In this way, money rarely changes hands.

Have you ever paid a lot of money for an outfit only to find you don’t like it after all? Of course you have! Many times people are reluctant to part with clothes they paid a lot for and never wore for one reason or another. Consignment shopping solves the problem.

The big step is letting go of the guilt and get rid of the clothes. When you start buying your clothes at consignment stores, that guilt is never there. If you decide you don’t like something you bought, take it back and consign it. You didn’t pay much for it in the first place and you can use the money you get from consigning it to buy something else.

If you don’t have a consignment store in your town, check out the nearest big city the next time you’re there. Even if you make a trip once or twice a year to clean out your closet, it will be worth the effort.

These days there’s no reason you should feel compelled to spend a large percentage of your income on new clothes. Let your kids see all the great bargains at a consignment store. Even your teens will be impressed, provided you scout out the best stores ahead of time.

Question: Have you ever sold clothes through a consignment shop? Use the comments feature below to share your best tips with your fellow EC readers?  

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Emjay

    Yes, I’ve shopped and purchased many items from the consignment shop. The trick is to hit the high-end consignment shops for women’s clothing. The proprietor is motivated to take in those clothing pieces that originate from quality stores and/or designers (e.g., Nordstroms or Alexander McQueen or Alfaro or?) and that are in good repair and have lots of wear left. In return, you can either purchase items or make an appointment to bring in your own items, usually in a batch/quantity as requested. The owner or manager determines which items would sell in their consignment shop. Of course, you can also find what you wish at other shops, but consignment shopping is fun and very worthwhile. It’s a bonus that the proprietor knows what’s in vogue, too, so you’re also guaranteed at least a season’s wearable clothing.

  • Konna Shouse

    I hope this isn’t offensive to Everyday Cheapskate. Love it!
    If you are interested in consignment selling, please beware the online consignment scam! I thought it sounded good. A free mailer to send your things in. They sell your things online. Great. Worry free, right?
    They kept most of my things. Gave me a credit of less than $12.00! I was getting about 50 cents per item! Then they charged me $4.99 for shipping! Free mailer meant THEY didnt charge ME for a plastic bag! Pretty misleading. I think they kept 10 or 12 of my items. They lost the knit bottom of an infant 2 piece outfit. When I complained, they said the pants weren’t on “trend”. LOL! You know how quickly trends come and go in the infant fashion scene. Of course, the top didn’t sell by itself.
    They sold my things for over $40. I have never felt so stupid. I read the reviews.
    Buyers love this company. But they need to know some poor seller is being robbed every time they get a bargain!
    Beware the “free” polka dot mailer!

    • Kimberley Hunter

      Do you mean Swap.com? I was just on their site, and everything looks good, but it probably wouldn’t be for me, especially if I had to pay for shipping. Even if you didn’t mean them, thanks for the warning. If enough sellers out this site as being a scam, they won’t get any more stuff sent in to them. Then they’ll either go out of business or they’ll change their ways.

      • Konna Shouse

        Thanks for your question. I am not familiar with Swap.com. It isn’t them.
        It’s the site that doesn’t know the correct spelling of “thread”. I am a bit afraid to name a name, although everything I said about them was true! If I had read their reviews, I would never have used them. I am usually pretty careful and felt really dumb when they were so very unfair! Many people had reviewed this rip-off company and it had been outed. I was careless.

  • Pat Walker

    This week I found four shirts two still had tags on them one from a very expensive store.