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GUEST POST: Item Prep – Best Practices to Save You Time

The best advice for consigning and shopping comes from the savvy mommies who have been consigning for years and years!

If you are looking for some valuable tagging tips, today’s expert has probably tagged  & priced more than anyone in the industry!  Here’s a great list of tagging tips from Kristen Yartz with Little Red Hen Consignment Tagging Service:

Whether this is your first or your tenth consignment season, you have probably already decided which sale you want to do and are now facing mounds of your childrens’ outgrown and unused “stuff.” It can be overwhelming to come up with an efficient game plan, especially with so little spare time. So here are some tips and tricks that we’ve learned and used over the years at Little Red Hen Consignment Tagging Service to increase your efficiency in preparing clothing for a consignment sale.


1. If you’re really organized, you will already have hung ironed items from the previous season in a spare closet or a separate section in your kids’ closets. These are your “seed” items for the coming season, which reduces your overall prep time. Are you shaking your head and laughing at the improbability of this scenario? Second best is to keep a tote in a closet where you’ve tossed clothes and shoes (in bags) as your kids outgrew them. It’s never too early to start planning for subsequent seasons.

2. Gather all your clothing items together, and on a bright, sunny day (preferably by a window), check each item over for stains, holes, missing buttons, faulty zippers and signs of heavy washwear, such as fading and pilling. Pay special attention to collars, cuffs, fronts of shirts, knees and bottoms of pants and shorts, and don’t forget the backs of each item!

3. Sort your items into two laundry baskets – one for natural fibers, such as cotton, and another for synthetics. This will help you whip through your ironing, as different fabrics require different heat settings. If your items have been folded in storage for awhile, fluffing them first in the drier will reduce your ironing time. It’s tempting to not iron your clothes, but items that are well presented have a greater chance of being sold. Most shoppers at consignment sales are looking for items that have been gently worn, are in excellent condition and look sharp.


4. Set up your workspace by a closet or a portable hanging rack (highly recommended) so that ironed, hung and pinned items can be immediately hung, not laid in a pile to wrinkle. When you’ve worked through your items, group them in “type” sections (shirts with shirts, shorts with shorts, etc.); this will assist you in the pricing/tagging process.

5. Have hangers sorted in bins by size and type for easy retrieval. Depending on your hanger sources, you may have infant, toddler, child and teen top and bottom hangers in your inventory. These all need to be separated out before you start ironing. If most of your hangers are the same size, place them in an easy-to-reach spot close to the ironing Board.

6. Think like Goldilocks when you set the height of your ironing board – not too high and not too low, but just right. Think about your posture as you set the board up. You may be standing in one place for over an hour. Correct placement of the board can ward off later aches and pains caused by long bouts of ironing.

7. Use an anti-fatigue mat when ironing. Those sold for general kitchen use work well, as do the foam ABC/123 pull-apart mats that you may have around as children’s toys.

8. For best results, iron in daylight or at least in a well-lit room to enable you to notice any missed stains, holes or missing buttons. As you go, button every button, snap every snap and zip every zipper. This ensures that all the parts of an item are present and functioning and also assists in overall presentation.

9. Be wary of decals and beads/sequins on clothing! If you iron over them directly, they may be damaged. Turn your item inside out to iron that section of the clothing, or iron the back of the item at a higher setting with a blast of steam to get the wrinkles out while protecting the (often branded) decal or delicate decorations.

10. After an item has been ironed, pin it to a hanger right then and there. Remember to face your hanger to the left, so that it looks like a question mark when you look at the front of the garment. Pin pants, skirts and shorts to the top of the hanger’s “shoulders,” and give them the Tug Test to ensure that they are firmly affixed. Do the same for shirts and dresses. Your items will be handled multiple times during their trip to the sale, at the sale by workers as they merchandise the store and organize sections, and by shoppers themselves. If in doubt, pin!

11. Sets bring a higher price than individual items, so it’s important to merchandise them properly. If you have dresses with matching diaper covers, pin the diaper cover to the hanger along with the dress on the inside of the dress, if possible. (Diaper covers count as an item, so a dress with a matching diaper cover is a 2-piece set.) If you have a multi-piece set, use a small zip tie to secure hangers together and then pin the items together as well. You may be tempted to cut the zip tie to make it look “neater.” Don’t! You’ll be left with a sharp plastic edge right where you (or someone else) will grab the hanger. Ensure that matching accessories are also included – with several pins, or if appropriate, pop them into zipper bags, tape the tops of the bags and pin through the taped to the items they match. Note on the tag that it is a multi-item set.

Kristen Yartz, 39, is the mother of two and the owner/operator of Little Red Hen Consignment Tagging Service, which she launched in response to the oft-heard remark, “I’d like to consign but I don’t have time!.” Little Red Hen offers complete tagging services (with no up-front fees) for busy families.

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