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Consignment Sale Countdown: A Four Week Plan to Organize Your Sale Items

This week, our chief Consignment Blogger Elizabeth shares her 4-week plan for bigger, better consignment cash outs!  And yes, it involves NOT WAITING until the last minute to gather, tag and price your goodies.

First, here are a few important tips to your 4-week success: 
Tip 1: Hangers

Ask your dry cleaners if they have any hangers. Let friends, neighbors and co-workers know that you are looking for hangers. Don’t forget to say, “Yes!” if the sales clerk asks you if you want to keep the hanger on an outfit.

Tip 2: Know What Your Sale Expects From You

Know the guidelines for preparing your items, what’s accepted for this season and what’s expected of you before, during and after the sale. Register, sign up for a drop-off time and schedule any volunteer shifts. With clear expectations, you can make this a great rewarding experience. If you have questions, call or email the people running the sale.

WEEK 1:  Decluttering Week

Day 1:  Create a work area in your home where you can sort, clean and tag your inventory.  The brighter the room is, the better for inspecting items.  Bring in additional lamps or stronger lighting to help with checking for stains and wear on clothing.
Days 2 – 7:  Go through your children’s closets, drawers, toy boxes and bookshelves to find consignable items.  Collect toys, books, clothes, shoes and other items that your children have outgrown or no long need or use. Check living areas of the house, like the den, for additional items to consign, like DVDs with the correct boxes, video games in cases, puzzles, games, books, etc.  Tackle a room or two a day and put everything into that area you set up on Day 1.  Don’t forget to check storage areas where you keep off-season clothing, too.

Week 2: Prep, Wash, Match Week
(AKA Clothing)

Concentrate on clothes this week.  Examine everything under quality light for stains, holes or excessive wear.  Wash clothing that needs to be washed.  Use stain remover to get out stains. If you can’t get out a stain, don’t consign the item.  Iron items that need to be touched up.  Make everything look neat.  Following the directions on how to hang clothing is a MUST!

In smaller sizes, consider putting together sets or including accessories with an outfit to increase its appeal.   Make sure sizes match.  Don’t put a 2T shirt with a pair of 18 month pants.

Put aside any items with fixable issues, like missing buttons or loose seams.  If you have enough time, you can go back to these items later.  If you have things that aren’t up to snuff for consigning but aren’t ready for the dust rag pile either, give them to a charity thrift store.  Start a throw away pile for stained, torn or excessively worn items.

Create your clothing tags and attach them as instructed.  Use enough details in your tags’ descriptions to make sure items and tags can be matched up if they are separated.  If you are using a tagging gun, attach the tags through the manufacturer’s tag or in a seam, not directly through the fabric.

Bundle hanging and tagged clothes with rubber bands, zip ties or string with like sizes and genders together (3T girls’ clothing together, size 8 boys together).  Grocery or small garbage bags are another great option to group clothing by size and gender.  Tear a hole in the bottom of a bag and pull the hanger hooks for a section of clothes through the hole, then drape the bag over the set.  Write the size range for each set on the bag.

Find a place to hang the clothing.  You’re now done with the hardest section of items to prep and price.  Congratulations!

Week 3:  Shoes, Books, Toys, etc.
(AKA Elbow Grease Week)

You do not want your children’s help this week unless you are rewarding them for cleaning out toys.  It’s a well-known fact that a toy will be ignored for years until 6 minutes before Mommy decides to sell it.

Check online to make sure none of your items have been recalled.  Check the manufactured date on your car seats and baby gear to make sure they’re within your sale’s guidelines.

Examine toys and games for missing or broken pieces.  A sponge, some soap and water and a little elbow grease will help get your toys ready to sell.  Replace batteries in anything that requires them.   Make sure all loose pieces/parts of your toys are bagged and SECURELY attached to the main piece with tape or zip ties.  Check any discs and books for excessive wear or damage.  Verify that cases and contents match.  Discard toys that are broken or worn out.

Clean your shoes toe to heel, trim loose threads, clean out any Velcro and make sure the shoes are in great shape.

Follow your sale’s rules on how to bundle and tag pairs of shoes.

For baby gear:  Clean the fabric, vacuum up any crumbs, wipe down hard surfaces and make sure everything’s clean, fresh smelling and mildew-free.

Create and attach tags for all of the items you’ve prepared this week.  Put tagged items in boxes or storage containers, out of sight until you’re ready to load up for your drop-off appointment.

WEEK 4:  The Home Stretch

Now that you’ve got everything else tagged and ready to load up, work on those items that had small problems and were set aside.  Fix buttons, repair seams, replace screws.

Do a final walk through in your home to make sure you didn’t miss anything you meant to consign.  If you run out of time, save those items for a future sale.

Drop-Off Day:

Load up the car with all items and drop off!  Go get your nails done or treat yourself to a cupcake.  You’ve done it!  Get ready to shop!

About the Author

Elizabeth Renfroe has a passion for all things consignment sale-related.  She enjoys coordinating the Children’s Market Sale at First United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, Alabama.

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