Is Consignment Worth Your Time?


When cleaning out your home, office, or garage, you can free your closets and storage spaces of excess stuff in several ways. The most common options include passing it along to friends, donating it to local organizations, tossing it, and consigning it.

There are a few different approaches to consignment:

Traditional—You drop off your items at a shop, such as Raspberry Beret or Revolve, and get paid a percentage when they are sold.

On-the-spot—You bring in your items into a store like Buffalo Exchange or Thrive Exchange, and you walk out with cash or store credit during the same visit.

Online—These online thrift shops, such as ThredUp, are gaining popularity. To sell your items, request a Clean Out Kit, fill it with items you no longer need, and send it back. For some items, you receive cash or online credit, and for others, you receive a percentage of the sale.

Whichever one you choose to do is up to you, and may depend on a number of factors, including time, money, and convenience. Regardless of your preference, keep these questions in mind (and check the company website or ask a representative) before starting the process:

  • What seasons are you currently buying? You may be clearing out your winter layers in April, but by then most consignment shops are seeking summer apparel. Confirming this before you drop in with your things is a helpful time saver for everyone.


  • Which brands and designers do you generally look for? Sometimes you can find this information on the website, and it’s always worth checking beforehand. For some shops, the designers are less important than the overall condition of the items. Look out for stains, rips, pilling, stretching, and general wear and tear.


  • Are there any specific items that you DON’T accept? You may not find this out until someone has had a chance to go through your items one-by-one, but checking sooner than later may be helpful, especially if you become a regular consignor.


  • Is there a minimum or maximum number of items required? This is not always the case, but some businesses may include these requirements. To start an account at WearOvers, you need to have at least 30 items accepted for consignment. After that, you can drop by with any number of items to add.


  • Do I need an appointment? Some places accept walk-ins, but most require an appointment. A store may have a waiting period of several weeks, depending on the location and season.


  • How long do you hold the items? There is a range here, usually between two and six months, but it’s wise to find out and mark the date in your calendar.


  • What do you do with the items that don’t sell? After the selling deadline, you can usually pick up the remaining items to keep, donate, or try to consign elsewhere. Several stores provide the service of donating the remaining items themselves.


  • Do I need to bring my items in a certain container? Some places require hangers or clean bags containing neatly folded clothing. Even if these are not mandatory, they improve the presentation and may make your items more likely to sell than if they arrived tossed together in a trash bag.


Most people don’t get rich consigning their slightly used clothing and accessories, but there are a few exceptions, like this mom who made a small fortune on Poshmark.

For the rest of us, we may earn a few bucks, clear out our closets, and feel better about squeezing some cash out of those fabulous leather boots we bought at full retail price a few years back.

Keep this list of questions and the various consignment types in mind when weighing your options. The more you consign, the faster the process tends to go. Track the hours you spend, the money you earn, and the overall enjoyment of the process to decide whether or not the consignment path is worth your time in the long run.

Anyone have tips or stories to share about consigning your clothes? Let us know!


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