Once in a while my wife and I will rummage through our closets and dresser drawers looking for clothing items that we no longer wear. The most dire of these items are cut into rags to be used around the house, but the remainder are usually bagged up and given to either Goodwill or the Salvation Army. In exchange for our “donations” we are able to claim a small charitable gift deduction on our federal and state income taxes.
I’ve experimented with selling our “higher end” clothes on eBay but the time involved and marginal profit realized was simply not worth it.
This year a friend of ours told us about a consignment shop nearby that would pay us “a lot of money” for some of the clothes we otherwise would have given away. We were fascinated with the concept and decided to try this place out.
How Does a Consignment Shop Work?
Offering our clothes for sale in the consignment shop was surprisingly easy (I might even go as far to say that it was fun).
My wife called the shop and spoke with the lady who handles the inventory. The lady instructed my wife to pick out 30 of her “best” items and bring them in so she could look them over.
As fate would have it, my wife had prior commitments so I ended up bringing in the clothes myself. This particular consignment shop only sold women’s apparel but since most of my clothes were “beyond wearable” this didn’t affect our plan very much.
After my wife had bundled up some of her best suits, skirts, blouses, sweaters, and shirts I bravely headed into the historic downtown shopping corridor in Portland, ME affectionately known as the Old Port.
After several attempts to find a parking spot I made my way to The Second Time Around consignment shop for my 11:00am appointment.
“Good morning, may I help you?” said a voice from behind the checkout counter.
“Yes ma’am, I have an 11:00am appointment to drop off some of my wife’s clothes.” I said.
“Oh great, you must be Mary’s husband!” she said. “Just set them down there and I will be right with you.”
I sat my “merchandise” on the counter and the lady began going through each piece creating two piles. One pile was for clothes she would attempt to sell and the other was for clothes she would not accept.
When she came across an item she wanted, she would write a description of the piece on a receipt.
Of the 30 items we brought in to sell, the lady kept about 18 of them. Some of the items were either out of season, out of fashion, or not in good enough condition to resell.
When she finished inspecting the clothes she gave me a copy of the receipt along with instructions on how to go online and create an account with the store. This account allowed my wife to keep track of what items she had for sale, what items had already sold, what the asking price was for each item, and how much money she had in her account.
The items would remain on sale for 3 months after which time we would have to pick them up or they would become property of the store.
I must say, its fun logging on to your account to see if any of your items have sold. As of this writing (about 3 weeks in) 4 of my wife’s items have sold totaling about $76. Not bad considering donating these items may only have accounted for $20 in tax savings.
If you’ve got a closet full of clothes you no longer wear, you might be surprised how much money you can make selling them in a consignment shop! In my experience, selling your items in a consignment store is worth it!
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