Every season I purchase a few new clothing items for my son. I typically shop the clearance aisles of local stores like Old Navy, Kohl’s and Gymboree and walk away with a few cute shirts and pants. Within a few weeks of shopping I invariably receive an email message from a former coworker that reads, “I have a few bags of hand-me-downs. Would you like to meet up for lunch and pick them up?”
I am ever so thankful for everything we have received over the past three years. Bags and bags of clothing, toys and other baby related items have saved me a big chunk of money.
I’m a stickler for processing these hand-me-downs as soon as they come in the front door. I pour all of the bags and boxes onto the dining room table and sort by type. Books land in one pile, shirts, pants and toys in another.
I generate a pile for anything I don’t plan to keep. This typically includes pants with zippers and anything that looks particularly worn or too small. It might also include puzzles or toys that I don’t think my son will be interested in or duplicates of items he already owns. In the past I gathered everything together and dragged them off to the donation center.
This time around I picked through the piles and selected a few items in particularly good condition that my son probably wouldn’t wear. This included brand new items that were a size too small for my son as well as dress shirts, pants and sweaters that I don’t typically dress him in.
Yesterday I drove to a local consignment shop to see if they might be worth something. I also added a couple of maternity pants that never quite fit right and three toddler toys.
I didn’t have any expectation for how much I might earn. Since I typically donate these items I figured any amount of money offered would be a bonus.
I carried a medium sized bin into the store and shopped for a bit. After fifteen or twenty minutes a kind cashier invited me back to the front of the store.
I was offered $18.72 in cash or $22.02 in store credit. I selected the cash option, which averaged a pitiful $1.70 per item.
The pile included four brand new items, (a toddler sweatshirt, one pair of pajamas and two 2T onesies), two used Melissa and Doug toys, three like-new maternity items and two pairs of pre-owned toddler pants.
It’s not exactly getting rich money, eh? Since many of the items were free to me, I didn’t feel bad about selling them at such low rates, but if I had paid full price I certainly would’ve felt robbed.
While I was shopping I noticed that the store’s prices were nearly as high as purchasing items for new. So I know that the item they paid me $1.70 for will probably be re-tagged around $15.
I also understand that the store wants to earn as much money as possible and that they are paying me upfront for the merchandise. Honestly I like this model better than one where you don’t get paid unless someone purchases the item you consigned.
I wish I tried consigning sooner. I’m just curious if I had anything else in those donation bags that could have netted a profit. It’s not so much about making money it’s more a curiosity about how much someone would be willing to pay me for them.
Have you ever consigned children’s clothes or toys before? What was your experience?