It always makes good sense to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but these economic times necessitate it more than ever. Add to that our rapidly growing children who are constantly in need of clothing that's the right size and weather appropriate or age-appropriate gear–and you have the perfect equation for reselling outgrown, sometimes seldom worn clothes.
Jamie Glowacki, the owner and operator of LoveBugs (now under new ownership and name, hope returns) in Providence, consulted with a few other local stores to put together this handy guide for how to prepare your unwanted clothes, baby equipment, and toys for resale or consignment. While each store has its own policies and procedures–whether it's a consignment shop or a resale shop–they share many basic rules.
CONSIGNMENT: Bring in your items; the storeowner selects which ones to keep for sale. When items sell, you are paid a percentage of the sale in cash or trade (store credit)–usually 40% in cash or 60% in trade (Check with store for specifics). If your items don't sell, they are returned to you or donated to a local charity depending on the store policy.
Pros: Items usually carry a higher price tag since the owner carries no responsibility for unsold inventory.
Cons: You have to wait for your money and some or all unsold items may be returned to you.
RESALE: Bring in your items; the storeowner pays outright for selected items–generally 30% cash, 50% trade (check with store for specifics).
Pros: You get paid up front and never see selected items again.
Cons: Owner pays less per selected item to compensate for risk of unsold inventory.
For example: You bring in a bunch of clothes and the storeowner decides to keep half the items and determines the used retail value is $100. In a resale shop, you would get paid $30 cash or $50 trade. In a consignment store you only get paid when items sell, in this case $40 cash or $60 trade if all items sell.
Rules on what and how to bring in items:
A good guideline is, "Would you buy what you are bringing in?" You may have bought that Hannah, Mini-Boden, See Kai Run, or Primigi at full price in season, but now it's worn, 3, 6, or 7 seasons later, and already discounted new at outlets or online. What condition is it in? Are the clothes stained, with holes, un-ironed? Is the toy broken or missing pieces?
1. Sort and separate items. Plan to donate worn, lightly soiled items to a local shelter or the Salvation Army. Save clean clothes, toys, and equipment for resale or consignment, neatly folded in a bin or on hangers. Dawn, from Just Ducky, has a great phrase: If it's in a trash bag; it's trash.
Simplify the process by setting up three bins/bags available for sorting all year round–one for consignment, one for donation, and one for precious/sentimental items to save. Try to sort clothes as your child grows–anything worn, torn, or missing things goes in the donation bin. Good condition, outgrown items with a good brand tag go in the resale bin. Any items that have emotional value go in the save bin. Launder items before you pack them away.
2. Fun, unusual, and unique items resell best. We are less interested in items that can be purchased at Target in a four-pack.
3. Freshly launder or wash items you plan to bring in for consignment or resale --they should not smell of smoke or pets. Items that have been in storage for years may still smell musty and will not resell.
4. Call first to check if store is accepting new items and if so, what season they interested in. Then schedule an appointment.
5. Don't question store pricing or try to barter. We, mostly women/mom business owners, know the styles, trends, makes, and models of everything out there. More importantly, we know our particular neighborhood and customer needs. We make it our business to know what things sell new in the stores, on eBay, and on Craigslist. Be prepared: we rarely take every item a seller brings in.
You will not get rich reselling your kids' stuff–expect yard-sale prices without the hassle of a yard sale. This is great way to recycle and reuse–passing along barely-worn, well-loved favorites to someone who'll appreciate the much-needed items at affordable prices.
hope returns - 746 Hope Street, Providence
Just Ducky - 34 Gooding Avenue, Bristol
Little Pumpkins - 759 Tiogue Avenue, Coventry
Visit the Kidoinfo directory for more shops near you. Write a review and tell us what you think.