My First Shot at Consigning!

Whelp, I did it!  I listened to all your advice and tried out some consigning rather than going all-in and opening up my own thrift/antiques store! Haha… Or, as I saw on Storage Wars the other night – a M’antiques store ;) Best name ever!

Here’s how the whole process went down:

  1. I rummaged through my entire basement for goodies to sell
  2. I scheduled an appt. with the consignment shop to come in and convince ’em they wanted all my awesome stuff ;)
  3. I brought them all over in boxes, and we went through each item, one by one, saying Yay or Nay depending on what it was. (As long as it was in good condition, they pretty much accepted 80% of what I brought in – I was pretty surprised. And realized that not everything has to be old or even an antique! Some places sell just about anything that’s used.)
  4. They priced ’em and entered the info into their system (I suggested a few prices myself, but ultimately I just let them run with it since they’re the pros of knowing how to sell stuff faster/better)
  5. I signed a 1-page contract stating the terms of how everything operates
  6. And my items were creatively placed in the store that same day!

Pretty easy. I was actually surprised at how simple and efficient the whole process took. So much so that I even went back 3 weeks later and dropped off ANOTHER handful of boxes, haha… I may or may not be addicted now ;)

Here are some of the terms of our contract:

  • The consignment shop takes 50%. A HUGE portion of the sales price no doubt about it, but then again they’re doing all the work for you while you sit back and do whatever you want ;) Research tells me shops usually only take about 30-40% of the asking price, but I figured I’d give this place a shot first since it’s my favorite, and see how it goes from there. They have new stuff listed every single day of the week, so they’re definitely pretty good at unloading stuff.
  • There’s a 3 month selling limit.  I’m not sure how other places do it, but this one gives you 3 months for the items to sell, and at the end whatever’s left over needs to be picked up by you or it’s considered donated. Which most people probably end up doing, I’d guess? I’m not going to though ;) I’ll go and donate it myself and at least get the write off…
  • Towards the end of the 3 months they discount the prices. This not only helps to move stuff out of the store quicker (YOUR stuff), but also to more accurately reflect a fairer price than what was previously marked. At least in my opinion.  All of which is a part of the agreement though. I do wonder, however, how many people WAIT for the prices to go down and *then* jump on all the deals?  Provided they’re still un-bought? I’ve been catching myself play this game with a few of their items I have my eyes on, and I must say it works out well when the stars align ;) So it’s kinda weird being on both sides of the table here.

And that’s pretty much it. It’s all rather simple, and it’s fun as hell to walk through the store and actually SEE your stuff in there too :) In fact, the other day I had seen these AWESOME tumbler glasses I liked, and about 5 seconds after checking them out I realized that they were my OWN I was consigning! Haha… They had looked so good in the store that I didn’t even realize it :) Which goes to show how you can be “in the moment” and convince yourself to buy something you really don’t need!

So what did I consign?

I’m glad you asked :) I consigned about 30 things the first time (4 weeks ago), and another 35 things the second time (last week).  Everything from wine glasses to bird feeders, decorations, piggy banks, wooden statues, hand-painted eggs, vintage flower posts, picture frames, and even that crazy skull head coffee mug I picked up for a dollar the other month ;) (Now listed for $2.99, btw) Tons of stuff that I enjoyed at one point, but eventually grew out of  use for.  And would have been probably donated to The Salvation Army or sold on Craigslist instead – IF and when I had the energy, of course.

Actually, here’s a good system to use if anyone else has stuff they want to get rid of: Try selling on Craigslist or eBay first so you can get the most possible money out of your items. Then if that doesn’t work, try consigning them at a local place in your own area if you can find one, and if that fails go right to the thrift store and donate them there (where you can then get a tax write off). Each method has its own sets of pros and cons here, but ALL of them is better than simply chucking everything into the trash and being done with it.

How much have I made so far?

Here’s everything I’ve sold, along with the price:

Sentry Safe $34.99
Bird Feeder $9.99
Large Cloisonne Egg $74.99
(2) Carved Wood Men $45.98
(2) Jamaican Carving $9.98
(2) Reverse Glass Painted Egg $9.98
(2) Metal Lanterns $7.98

Total revenue: $193.89
MY Portion: $96.95

So almost a hundred bucks for stuff I could care less about!  And I guess the more pairs of stuff you have, the better,  haha… Not too shabby, overall though eh?  It would be even better of course to have $200 for everything there, but that’s the way the game’s played. And now I sit back and watch the rest of my stuff hopefully sell too! Woo!

My new thing now is searching for undervalued stuff at other shops and yard sales I hit, and then trying to flip them for a profit ;) It’s not really hard in the grand scheme of things, but you do have to make sure whatever it is you’re picking is unique enough to have someone want it a lot, and then more importantly CHEAP enough so you can turn it around at a good 3x-4x higher value. ‘Cuz right off the bat you have to at least DOUBLE the price just to break even, and even then it’s not worth your time. Only the original seller and the consignment shop in that case makes out ;)

The entire ecosystem is just incredibly exciting to me right now. I’ve learned sooooooo much already just tinkering around with this stuff a tiny bit, that I can’t even imagine how much MORE opportunity there is to come later. We’re only 4 weeks into it and I’ve already snagged $100 buckaroonies! I HIGHLY encourage anyone remotely interested in this to give it a shot at least once too. It hardly takes any time, and the extra money is awesome. Not to mention the free space you’ll then have in your home/garage/storage units.

So thanks to all of you who encouraged me to try it out! I know I like the idea of jumping into things all the way when I get excited about stuff, but this is a great way to slowly immerse myself into the world of buying and selling used goods. I’m certainly in no rush to go out and open up my own store anytime soon, especially after my recent success here, but I do still see the appeal of it all. Maybe when we’re more settled and I don’t need as much money anymore? For now though I’m totally content just picking up a check without doing any work ;) It’s the ultimate Side Hustle!

Now who wants to try it with me? This week is as good of a time as ever! :) And remember, you don’t necessarily only need antiques – some stores take anything used and in good condition!

(Photo by rickpilot_2000)

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  1. Pauline September 10, 2012 at 5:58 AM

    50% is indeed very high!! I’d list the items on Craigslist or Ebay during a free listing offer first, and see what I can get on my own, but as you said, it takes time.
    Good idea about flipping things, you’ll have to hit the sales early before all the cool stuff is gone!

  2. Call Me What You Want Even Cheap September 10, 2012 at 6:28 AM

    I agree with Pauline, you could probably get more money for your things on eBay, Craigslist, or Kijiji. But great job on making almost $100.

  3. Lance @ Money Life and More September 10, 2012 at 7:07 AM

    We have a consignment store downtown where I think you rent a booth. Then you go in an set it up I believe. The only reason why I think it works this way is because there is stuff in there that has been in there for years and never sells. I imagine they have to charge for space or else they’d be losing money on the stuff that never sells. As long as you’re OK paying someone 50% to sell your items seems like fun to me. Don’t forget to include your gas costs as you search for new items to sell.

  4. Angie Nelson September 10, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    I love this side hustle! I don’t like “clutter” so I am frequently donating things. I never considered taking them to our local consignment shops. Odd considering I’m a frequent consignment shopper… This is definitely one to bookmark!

  5. Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies September 10, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    We tried consigning the sale of a car once and it was an epic failure. Glad to hear that you had better luck than we had.

  6. Heather Stephens September 10, 2012 at 8:04 AM

    One of my favorite latest discoveries is thredup! It is an easy way to make a bit of money from clothing my kids have outgrown. They don’t take tiny baby sizes or certain brands from big box stores but most things that are clean, in good condition, and not out of style are accepted. You go online and create a free account and request a bag. They send it to you with return postage prepaid. You fill it with your kids clothes and set it out for UPS it USPS to pick up. A couple of weeks later, your $ is in your account. You can use it to buy other clothes or deposit it into PayPal. I made $28 and change with my first bag on clothes I would have just dropped off at good will. Great to see you again at FinCon!

  7. MJYU September 10, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    J Money, I live near you and was wondering where you co-signed your stuff at? I have been looking for a decent place but would love your opinion


  8. Amanda Talbert September 10, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I consign EVERYTHING. Well, I also work at a consignment store so that’s always my first thought when I decide to get rid of something! But if you love consigning you will love my latest addiction – selling on Facebook. The county I live in actually has about 5 different FB pages set up (one for kids items only, one for juniors clothes, one for larger items like trailers/cars/pigs/etc, and one that is just labeled “Garage Sale”). I have things listed on each of these Facebook pages. Once an item sells the buyer sets up a time to meet the seller. It’s not as creepy as Craigslist because you usually have at least a few mutual friends (we have a very small county!) and it’s better than eBay or consigning because you get 100% of the profits. In our town, this is taking over… I know we’ve taken a small hit at the consignment store because of it. I myself have made about $250 from it over the last month – selling JUNK like old kids clothes, a fondue pot I was given, and some of my old clothes from high school. Thought you’d appreciate this idea. :)

  9. Joe @ Retire By 40 September 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Flipping seems like a difficult preposition because of the need to make 2x the price. Garage sales might be a better place to find deals. Good luck!
    It was awesome to meet you. :)

  10. LB September 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    I don’t live near any consignment shops that let you just bring your stuff in. All that I know of make you set up and rent a booth. If I could find one that would just take my stuff that would be great, but if it is a household item that I can’t sell on Craigslist or Ebay it just gets donated instantly.

    There is one consignment shop that does a discount the longer the item has been there. And it isn’t just 3 months so you have a rush of people buying the stuff, that would suck. It is after 6 months I believe and then every money after that it goes down, but still the people have to rent their booths, so not sure how they make money.

  11. Mistress Susan September 10, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I buy luxury investment pieces at bargain prices, so when it is time to sell them, I get the full price I paid for them since they are in high demand. J, it is great that you are consigning, but like the other readers, I would look for a 30% fee max. I understand that selling items yourself is time consuming, but still, 50% is too much. Some places even have a tier program, so if you sell a $4,000 Hermes handbag, the fee is 30% on the first $3,000, but just 15% for the remainder. Also, for $9.99 items, you may feel better about donating them to the Salvation Army or National Kidney Foundation. A good consignment shop for luxury items is

  12. Angella September 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Wow 50% is so high! Most the ones around here at 40/60, but they usually only take antiques. Years ago (as in my high school days lol) I use to hit up yard sales and thrift stores and resell the goodies on ebay. I made a ton of money!! You know, because before ebay changed everything it started out as, you actually had a shot at making some money. I’m all about some cheapcycle and craigslist these days. I think if you handle selling it yourself, you’d make a lot more money, just comes down to what/where, the time you have and marketing! I sold our washer/dryer set for enough money to buy a brand new set and still have $75 leftover!

  13. Brent Pittman September 10, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Whew! I misread the article title. I thought you Co-Signed for a loan. Best wishes on selling your stuff.

  14. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager September 10, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Not sure I like the 50% cut.

    I’ve definitely sold clothes via consignment before. I should call and see how much money I’ve made so far…

  15. Jacob @ iheartbudgets September 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    My wife does this all the time. We have an 8-month old, and as he grows out of clothes, or if we get clothes we just don’t like, she goes there, gets credit and buys him new (used) ones. We haven’t had to pay much for baby clothes over the last 8 months due to this strategy. We also do this with her clothes anytime she wants something different.

  16. J C September 10, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    BAHAHAHAHA when i first saw the post.. i thought it said cosign.. i was like why on earth would you do that?!

  17. shey September 10, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    first, i thought this said first shot at cosigning. I gasped. lol
    even though 50% is a lot, thats a pretty sweet deal.

  18. J. Money September 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    I thought you guys might enjoy this post :)

    @Pauline – I know, I hate that it’s 50% but totally not worth my time :( That and I like window shopping while there and getting out of the house! :)
    @Call Me What You Want Even Cheap – Maybe I can pay someone else to do it for me, at like 25%, and then make 75% profit? Haha… that might work ;)
    @Lance @ Money Life and More – Yeah, those are totally rented out booths – and are usually more upscale and incredibly boring. At least to me ;) I like stuff constantly moving in and out and not priced as if they’re stuff came off the Titanic!
    @Angie Nelson – Yeah! What’s going on over there? ;) Do you want me to give you a homework assignment?
    @Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies – A car??? Now that’s a first! Haha… although I shouldn’t be laughing as my mom once found one at a yard sale – my dad was pretty shocked (“What did you find this morning, honey?”… “Oh, a car.”)
    @Heather Stephens – Oh wowwww that’s an excellent idea! Totally booking that to give it a shot later – these kids outgrow EVERYTHING, my word… I can’t believe you asked me if I knew you this weekend too, you turd :) I don’t think I could forget our talks last year even if I tried! Haha… if you know what I’m saying ;)
    @MJYU – I’ll email ya :)
    @Amanda Talbert – What??? Facebook??? You guys are geniuses!! Can you come here and set them up for us? :) I suck at Facebook! Man… that really is awesome. Good for you guys. And for working at a consignmnent shop too – I’m totally jealous.
    @Joe @ Retire By 40 – Yeah man, you too!! VERY cool indeed – you were one of the ones I was really looking forward to meeting :) Next time we’ll have to chat a bit more too, I know things were kinda crazy there this weekend.
    @LB – Yeah, I’m not fans of those unless a) you get tons of foot traffic in, and b) you can sell stuff other than things that are 300 years old. I’d never fill a booth in those places!
    @Mistress Susan – Oooooooh now that’s a good idea! I hadn’t even thought of (or heard of?) high-end consignment stuff like that before, but you’re right – the higher the $$ the better the return! Esp if it’s not 50% :( I’ll have to see if there’s others in our area as well, but for now it’s a good way to test the waters and see how the whole system works. Been having a blast so far.
    @Angella – Nicely played! I once bought a dryer on CL too – a 1 year old one cuz the person sellin was a richie rich and needed a new one for her mansion or something, haha… I got it for like 90% off! :)
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – If only I could negotiate :(
    @Jacob @ iheartbudgets – Love it! And super smart too – our kiddo is already up into 6 month’ers and he’s only 2 months old!! “They grow up so fast!” Haha…
    @Brent Pittman, J C, and shey – All three of you thought I said “Cosign”?? That’s hilarious! And an entirely different post, haha… I’m glad you guys were wrong ;)

  19. Christa September 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    I had a garage sale recently, so I have nothing to consign right now. But with a baby in the house (who grows an inch per day, I swear), I’m sure I’ll be jumping on the consigning wagon soon!

  20. jesse.anne.o September 13, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I can’t fathom doing this in NYC. We have so many thrift stores and free piles and re-sale shops that I can’t think of anyone who would take non-designer non-luxury stuff. (Unfortunately!)

  21. J. Money September 14, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    @Christa – I bet! Those boogers grow out of EVERYTHING so fast – it’s amazing!
    @jesse.anne.o – A totally different world out there :) I miss thrift shopping in NYC though, I still have my killer Italian dress shoes from one!