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Shopping Consignment Sales for Ebay 101

Guest Post by Jen Wise, YardSaleMommy.com

No doubt consignment sales are THE place for moms looking to SAVE money on gently used clothes, toys, and gear for their own kids.  But what may not have crossed your mind is that children’s consignment sales are also great place to begin to MAKE money on ebay.

Since my girls were little, I have been shopping consignment sales to buy toys to resell on ebay for profit (I visited my first consignment sale 6 years ago).  There are many people out there who sell kid’s clothes on ebay, but toys?  Since toys are expensive, and some are often hard to find in stores, parents often turn to ebay to find those no longer manufactured or two save a buck or two.  Consignment sales are fabulous one-stop shopping venues for substantial ebay inventory.  Interested?  Here are 10 tips for shopping consignment sales for reselling on eBay:

1.  Volunteer as much as possible, to shop as early as possible.

This may go without saying, but in order to get the best deals for resell, you need to shop first, before consignors and before the public.  Not only will you get first dibs on what is available, you’ll be able to select the items you are looking for at the best price.

2.  Look for items with high retail value, but are being sold at the sale for very cheap.

People head to auction sites like ebay in search of a good deal.  Retail prices are scary in our current economy, and I have literally seen people buy something used off of ebay in order to save as little as $3 off of the Target or Toys R Us price.  If something is very expensive to buy in the store, then it will retain its value for resale very well.  Think American Girl, Thomas the Tank Engine, Playmobil, and boutique toys like Calico Critters.

3.  Purchase items no longer sold in stores, but are still very popular.

This is where you will probably stand to make the most money when reselling toys.  Toys are “retired” all the time, and once a toy is no longer manufactured, where will parents need to go to find it?  Ebay.  Look for character toys, TV show toys, movie toys, or vintage toys no longer sold in stores to purchase.  For example, if your child is into the Wiggles or Blues Clues, but those toys are no longer sold at retail stores, you might be willing to pay top dollar in an online auction site.  Spend some time researching completed listings on eBay to see what’s hot and what’s not.

4.  Buy in bulk on the cheap.

If you can find large groups of items for a low price, this could be a money maker.  Take Littlest Pet Shop pets, for example.  You might find a huge bag of 50 pets at a sale for $5. This would be a great buy for making a profit!  We know that each little pet cost $3-$5 retail, so there might be $150 or more tied up in that bag of pets.  Another example might be Thomas the Train items.  You might be able to purchase a big bin of trains, track, and accessories for $50, but retail value of the items might be $700.  That would be a purchase with big profit potential!

5.  Don’t be afraid to dig.

The mounds and piles of toys at consignment sales can be very intimidating, but some of the best stuff might just be on the bottom!  Examine every bag, sort through every pile, sift through each bin of items.  I’ve even found valuable things on the back of tippy top shelves, hidden by someone who hoped to find them when they shopped in the future.

6.  Hire a babysitter.

If you are serious about making money and buying to resell, it is worth it to go alone and hire someone to keep the kids if needed.  I spent nearly 6 hours shopping the last consignment sale I went to, and found a whole summer’s worth of inventory.  This would not have been possible if I had my children with me.

7.  Arm yourself with a smart phone.

If you are buying to resell, a smart phone is invaluable.  EBay has an app you can download, and in seconds you can pull up closed, final auctions on the things you are considering purchasing.  This takes the guesswork out of what to buy and eliminates the risk of purchasing an eBay “dud”.

8.  What are your children into?

Search for those things.  If  you see something your kids are “into,” chances are other people’s kids are into the same things.  As a mom, you know the retail value of the items you buy or consider buying, so if you see an unbelievable deal, chances are there is money to be made.

9.  Buy baby gear on the cheap.

Baby gear like bumbo seats, baby bjorns, infant backpack carriers, diaper bags, mobiles, and nursery bedding are expensive.  If you can find easy to ship items such as these for pennies on the dollar, you’ll be looking at a nice eBay profit.

10.  Buy sets and split them up for resale.

For example, a dollhouse set for $25 may seem like a high price at a consignment sale, but often big sets of things can be split apart and sold separately for great value.  That $25 dollhouse set may sell for $50-$75 on ebay, or you can split it up and sell the dollhouse itself for $25, the people for $25, the furniture for $35, and some special individual pieces for another $20.


For more tips, suggestions, and lists of things that sell well on eBay, visit my blog at www.yardsalemommy.com .  You just might be inspired to look at your next local kids’ consignment sale in an entirely different light!

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