How to Make Money Selling on Consignment

Clothing rack with colorful shirts
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Want to get top dollar for your unwanted stuff? Then, selling on consignment is definitely the way to go. These days, you don't even have to leave home to make a sale. Here's everything you need to know to get started consigning.

What is Consignment?

Consignment is when a store or website agrees to try to sell items on your behalf. Typically you don't get paid until the item sells, but occasionally consignment stores will offer to buy items outright.

When you deliver or ship your items, you'll be asked to sign a contract that spells out all the terms of the agreement––how long they'll try to sell your items, how much commission they'll take, when you'll be paid and what they'll do with anything that doesn't sell.

Clothing is one of the most popular items to consign, but you can make plenty of money consigning furniture, antiques, home decor, electronics, sporting goods and children's items, and there are a number of consignment businesses that specialize in selling these types of items.

As a general rule, consignment shops and websites won't take items that are more than five years old, but the rules are a bit different for things like furniture, home decor and video games, where older items may be considered more valuable.

Where to Consign Locally

If you'd like to sell your items locally, you have two options: consignment sales and consignment shops.

Here's an overview of both.

Consignment Sales

Consignment sales are typically held a couple times a year, and only last for a few days. So, they're a lot like yard sales, in that regard. The business or organization holding the event usually charges consignors a small fee to participate, and takes a commission on all sold items.

A 30 percent commission is pretty common. Most consignment sales are very specific about what items and brands they'll accept. Kids' consignment sales are the most prevalent, but there may also be consignment sales for women's clothing and home decor in your community. Churches often hold consignment sales as a fundraiser, so if you're looking for a sale to participate in, start by checking with the churches in your area. Some parents' groups also sponsor sales.

Consignment Shops

Consignment shops usually specialize in a particular type of merchandise, so you probably have several in your community. Ask around until you find one that's a good match for what you have to sell, whether that's kids' clothes and toys, women's clothing, juniors' clothing, home decor and furniture or sporting goods.

Where to Consign Online

Get more eyes on your stuff, and take the work out of consigning, by selling your unwanted items on one of the many popular consignment websites. In most cases, you just ship your stuff to the company on their dime, and let them handle all the work of photographing and listing your items. Easy! Here are a couple consignment websites that are worth checking out.

thredUP

Order a free clean out kit.

Then, fill the big bag they send you with the clothing and accessories you no longer wear (they accept both women's and kids' clothes). Ship the bag back (free). They'll go through everything, and list the items they accept. In most cases, items have to sell before you get paid, but they buy high demand items on the spot. It's also worth mentioning that they'll give you an extra 10% for Luxe items (i.e. designer brands). If you want to get an idea of what your stuff is worth, use their Payout Estimator. Please note that thredUp accepts less than 40% of the items that they receive, and does not return unaccepted items, unless you pay for Return Assurance ($10.99).

The Real Real

Have a bunch of designer clothes and accessories to offload? Then, check out The Real Real. Once their team authenticates your items, they'll list them, and send you up to 85% of the selling price.

It doesn't cost anything to send your items in. They accept women's, men's and kids' fashions, as well jewelry, watches, handbags, art and home decor. View their designer directory to see which brands they currently accept. According to their website, most items sell within three days! 

Not Sold on Consigning? Check out Where to Sell Your Unwanted Stuff for the Most Cash for more ideas on how to sell your cast offs for maximum profit.