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Kids Exchange: Tips for consigning

February 19th, 2009

I haven’t consigned any items yet, but I learned a few things from working and shopping the sale. Some of these tips are just guesses based on my observations.


  • Securely tag your items: The shoppers are not going to be gentle with your items. Your merchandise may be buried under piles and piles of other items, so be sure that your tags are securely attached. Don’t just use safety pins to attach your tags to your clothing. Zip ties are more secure. While you’re at it, zip tie the clothing to the hanger as well. Many things that ended up in the “unwanted” bins did not make it back to the appropriate place quickly (or at all) due to missing hangers. The organizers of Kids Exchange didn’t provide us with extra hangers for such items, so we had to scrounge around for those.
  • Secure all pieces together: Whether you use zip ties, ziploc bags (making sure that the top is not only zipped but also taped completely shut), the original box (again, taped completely shut), or some other means, just be sure to secure all of your pieces. I can’t tell you how many random parts that I ran across while working and shopping. Your items aren’t going to sell as well if they are missing their pieces.
  • Use original packaging when possible: This may just be a personal preference. Gabe and I selected a few items that were likely identical to dozens of others with the exception that they were in their original boxes. We might have even paid a few dollars extra. We had to trust the tag when it said that the set was complete.
  • Be descriptive on the tag: Things like “complete set” or other information that isn’t obvious are helpful to the buyer, but you also want to be sure that your item gets properly categorized if it is misplaced during the sale. I don’t know for sure, but I think that the first thing that the “lost tags” person does is look through a box of spare tags that have been collected from around the building to see if they can match the item with the appropriate tag. Of course, if you’ve attached your tags securely, then you don’t need to worry about the tag getting lost. If your item is returned to the “unwanted items” section, then it really helps the sorters to return your item to the correct location if you write categorization information on the tag. This is especially important for clothing. Familiarize yourself with how they break down the categories. Generally, this is done by size, so write on the tag the correct size as well as whether it belongs in the girls or boys section. The people volunteering only care so much that your item makes it back to the right section, so make it as easy as possible on them. Your item has a better chance of selling if people can find it.
  • Familiarize yourself with the product groupings: Often an item could potentially belong to more than one place. It helps to find out which place is the most appropriate. For example, we found Little People items in the Little People section (as you would expect) as well as the Fisher Price section and various other sections like trains or animals. I’m guessing your good condition items would sell best in the section that best describes your item. Perhaps a strategy for selling a worse condition item would be to put it in a different category that still fits?? It’s probably best just to price it real cheap and put it in the proper place.
  • Price appropriately: We saw quite a few items on the 50% off day that were obviously not selling because of prices that were too high. It helps to know the going rate of what you are selling. I’m sure that there are websites out there to help you with this, in addition to checking prices on ebay or craigslist. Consignment prices are higher than yardsale prices.
  • Make sure your items are clean: This seems pretty obvious, but I can’t tell you how many items that I saw that looked grungy. Also, I highly recommend putting items like bedding into plastic bags (original linen packaging with the large, clear plastic zipper bags are perfect). When I was cleaning the linen section, it was impossible to tell whether some items were stained or just dirty from falling onto the dirty floor. I would recommend doing the same with soft fabric toys. You cannot expect that your item will not fall onto the floor, and that floor is extremely dirty.

    Please leave comments if you have other suggestions, especially if you have consigned at the sale in the past!

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