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How to consign your kids’ clothes and toys

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.Adored by Us

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?

Prepare items:

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
phone: 401-453-2222

Just Ducky – 34 Gooding Avenue, Bristol
phone: 401-253-6335

Little Pumpkins – 759 Tiogue Avenue, Coventry
phone: 401-828-1281

Luca – 139 Water Street, Warren, RI 02885
phone: 401.289.2251

Visit the Kidoinfo directory for more shops near you. Write a review and tell us what you think.

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  • Dawn, if you have questions, send them to me. I’m happy to answer them. rikidsconsignment@gmail.com

    Yes, I am one of the organizers, but I also consign my kids outgrown stuff. I have sold over $1000 of my kids stuff at each of the last 2 sales (I have 5 kids).

  • I am wondering about the RI Kids Consignment Sale that is happening April 7th thru April 10th. Anyone actually consigned with them? Is it worth it?


    I am looking for the easiest way to be rid of my son’s baby clothes and get some of my money back from them.

  • Recently opened Luca, located at 139 Water Street in Warren is not your typical consignment shop!

    With fashionable table displays, fine wooden hangers and freshly pressed garments in a stroller-friendly space, you may find yourself asking; This is consignment, right?

    From designer duds, like Matilda Jane, Catamini, Oilily and Lilly Pulitzer, to top brands like Mini Boden, Hanna Anderson, Corky & Co., and the Gap, we only sell the finest quality childrens clothing and accessories – all in pristine condition.
    In addition to hip kids clothes and cute maternity wear, you’ll also find baby gear such as cribs, pack & plays, bassinetes, strollers, high chairs and designer diaper bags. We also carry NEW and Custom TUTUS with matching accessories!!
    We accept clothing for consignment that is high-quality and the most current of styles. Call or stop by for more information on becoming a Premier Consignor at Luca!

    We carry and are ALWAYS consigning;
    Clothing Sizes Newborn to Teen – Mini Boden, Catamini, Lilly Pulitzer, Hanna Andersson and other Major Brands
    Baby Gear- Highchairs, bouncers, exersaucers, carriers, jumpers,strollers, Bob, Preg Perego. Macalren, Bjorn, Svan, Bloom, Stokke, Quinny, Bugaboo, Ergo Baby, Fisher Price, Graco,
    Furntiure- Cribs changing tables, cradles, gliders…
    Toys- Fine wooden amd top brands.

    139 Water Street
    Warren, RI 02885


    Tuesday-Friday 10-5
    Saturday 9-4

    Check out PATCH for our most recent review!

  • Has anyone been to or consigned clothes to the store, “New 2 You” in Coventry, RI? It seems it has closed and some people may be waiting to be paid? If you have any info, please email me: anisa(at)kidoinfo(dot)com. Thanks!

  • Amen Nancy! I moved to Providence from SF and have quickly slipped into the RI mentality of not driving anywhere beyond 2 miles 🙂 I have no intention of offending anyone. I just want you to shop at MY store…hope to see you soon!

  • I just wanted to say that people outside Prov. may read this blog. While I agree with Jamie about Children’s Orchard I also feel the 4 miles to Seekonk is still local and there are mom and pop shops there that need support as well. People get veggies brought up from south county and say they are local and that is a far longer haul. Your shop is actually closer to my home in Seekonk than the Childrens Orchard.

  • yes…boys clothes are very hard. Here at LoveBugs, we try really hard to keep boys clothes in stock (it’s not easy). And the Children’s Orchard is why I opened my store. They are overpriced and it takes forever to get an appointment. And they are not local…the CEO made 2 million last year. I did not make any where that amount. Shop Local. Shop Providence. xoxo

  • No one wants or sells used boys’ clothing after age 5–it’s all wrecked. Maybe a little gentlemanly get up or a belt.