≡ Menu

My Experience Selling Clothes in a Consignment Shop

Click here to access all of my FREE personal finance Excel spreadsheets!

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.

consignment shop

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!


THANKS for reading my personal finance blog! You can learn more about my site here or you can jump right into the juicy stuff by reading my family's own detailed debt free success story (which has formed the foundation of this site). Please consider signing up for my free email updates!

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • pick up lines January 19, 2010, 12:19 am

    Putting my clothes up for consignment was a big step for me to take, but when I was laid off last year I was forced to make some drastic changes to my lifestyle. After spending 3 days sifting through my closet, I was able to find 15 items to put up for sale. Surprisingly, I was able to earn over $200 for my old clothes!

  • Ben January 19, 2010, 7:23 am

    Hey that’s great! Every little bit helps!

  • Christen Everly January 20, 2010, 6:17 pm

    http://www.fairygodcloset.com is another option if you’d like to keep more of your money. It’s a boutique auction site for women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories.

    It just launched last week and all basic listings are free until March 15th!

  • Ben January 20, 2010, 8:39 pm

    Thanks for the information Christen! That’s a pretty good name too!

  • Christen Everly January 20, 2010, 11:43 pm

    Thanks Ben. Any feedback would be appreciated!

  • unknowntheartist February 21, 2010, 1:16 am

    I think this was a great idea.
    I feel a bit weird sending all my good clothes for donation because I know, from first hand experience (used to work for a charity store), a lot of the good stuff goes straight into holding for employees of those stores instead of hitting the racks. At least, with consignment, you make some money and can be sure of what has been sold out of the store and not kept for employee’s use.

  • Ben February 21, 2010, 9:00 pm

    Yeah, so far so good! Do an internet search for consignment shops in your area and give them a call!

  • Marisol February 26, 2011, 3:47 pm

    FairyGodCloset, that’s an awesome name for a consignment shop! I own a shop in Fremont, CA. People do not realize especially that consignment has a lot of hidden treasures! People of Fremont, Ca if you come across this blog. Please go to my website to know more about the Shop!

  • Justine June 13, 2011, 7:40 am

    Wow! i’ve never knew this after all this years that our used clothes had just given away to our neighbors, even the expensive ones that we cant used it anymore. Now i realized we throw a lot of bucks before then..i hope its not too late thanks for the info.

  • Pick Up Lines September 22, 2011, 1:10 pm

    Till now i was not in favor Consignment Shop. As i was not well aware about this. When i red this article, i come to know the importance of Consignment Shop.Thank you for share this article. I am going to bookmark this so that my friends can also go through this nice article.
    Thank You for such kind of information.

  • Norma Lively October 12, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Just out of curiousity…did you set the price you wanted for your items? Or did the lady? And, after that …what is the percentage commission the lady got to keep?

Leave a Comment