There is something so refreshing about cleaning out my closet. I especially love the time of year when I need to switch out my wardrobes. I have a small closet, so once we go from Summer to Fall or Winter to Spring, I need to do a closet swap to make room for each season’s wardrobe.
I like to take this time to go through my clothes and get rid of things I’m not going to wear. My philosophy: If you didn’t wear it within the last year, it’s OUT! And trust me, I know what I did and did not wear last season. If the item is like new, I usually take it to a consignment shop to sell. I know there’s Facebook Market Place, garage sales, etc., but consignment really does the hard work for you.
Consignment shops will take new and gently used items and sell them for a discounted price. Once your item sells, you get a percentage of the sale. The percentage you earn varies by shop. The consignment shop I go to, Trading Closets in Brighton, MI, offers you 50% of the selling price. They mark down items each month, and then after 60 days, you can either pick your items up if they don’t sell, or they will mark them down to 80% without any commission or donate them.
The first time I went I really had no idea what to expect. I gathered up about 10 items in my closet I no longer wore and brought them into the store. To my surprise, the store only kept one item! I was floored, and a little insulted, until the consignment shop employee pointed out the reasons she didn’t accept the other items. Slight discoloration…out of season…loose hem….after the run down I totally understood why they didn’t take the rest of my items.
I took what I learned from that trip and applied it to future drop offs, carefully inspecting every item before I left the house. Now, I usually have a 90% success rate when I bring my clothes, kids clothes, home goods and toys in!
Here are some tips to use when going through your closet and gathering items to bring in:
1. Check the store’s website or call ahead to find out what ‘season’ of clothes they are taking. If it’s March and they only want Spring/Summer clothes, you’ll be wasting your time if you bring your sweaters in. Usually they will be very explicit on what they are accepting.
2. Steam or iron your items before bringing them in the store. Most consignment stores look for items they can transfer directly to their racks. Presentation is everything.
3. Bring clothes in on hangers. Usually stores don’t keep them, but again, it’s all about presentation.
4. Some of the ‘signs of wear’ they look for: deodorant marks on the insides of the arms of tops, fabric balling up (sweaters tend to do this), snags, holes, broken zippers, loose hems, discolorations and stains, just to name a few. Also make sure your items are smoke and pet hair free.
5. Some stores have a special light they put the clothes under to help spot stains or discolorations. It’s helpful to bring your own clothes outside in the sunlight and inspect them before you bring them in. Sometimes indoor lighting can hide imperfections.
6. Depending on the store, they may also accept accessories (purses and jewelry), home goods, furniture, DVDs, kids toys, kids clothes and beauty products. Check out the website or store before you go in.
7. Don’t watch over the consignment shop worker while he/she is looking through your clothes. This is just nerve wrecking! Shop around while they are going through your items. You may find some hidden gems!
And remember, don’t be insulted if they don’t take your items! The consignment shop employees know what sells best in their store. They may already have 20 of the same type of item they can’t get rid of. If you find yourself returning home with items, you can always donate them to your local Purple Heart or Salvation Army.