Comparing Consignment and Resale Stores

By Wednesday, April 06, 2016

I have long been a thrift store fan and later branched out to shopping at resale and consignment shops that sell more current and modern stuff. You can see my original comparison of thrift shops and consignment/resale stores here. I would estimate that I still shop at thrift stores 90% of the time that I am shopping secondhand.

A few years after beginning my thrift shopping addiction lifestyle, I decided to try out taking some stuff to a resale store. I have done Clothes Mentor and Plato's Closet (both locations in Fort Wayne, IN.) I am beyond Plato's Closet now because I don't own anymore junior brands. I never bought anything at Plato's Closet and I have made purchases at Clothes Mentor twice but I was shopping at a consignment shop, The Snooty Fox -that name I know-, in Cincinnati with good luck. The have a large selection of brands I love at good prices and a large 1/2 off sale section. With my luck shopping there, I finally decided to test my luck at consigning.

Due to the fact that I do almost all of my shopping secondhand at Goodwills, I was able to break even on just about everything that I had consigned which I was pretty excited about.  I can even say that some of the things I brought in provided me with even more than I paid for them. I am not in the business of exploiting charity thrift stores though so I would never shop specifically for items I could turn around and resale. That's not my end game and for me, it's not worth the time or gamble of possibly losing money.

I would say after my experience from both shopping and selling at the stores, I prefer taking my old stuff to a consignment shop. It is nice to know I can reuse someone else's old clothing and then when I ready for a change, I can consign/resale/donate it back and continue the cycle. It makes me and Mother Nature happy.

I am by no means an expert with consignment shops and resale stores but I am hoping to share what I have learned from my own personal experiences. Each store and location if it's a national chain will of course have its own variances but here's what I can say from my own experiences:

Consignment Shops
- You will get more money for your items. The store I take my clothes to gives you 1/2 of whatever they sell it for. So nicer brands = more money for you.
- The store takes what they want right what you walk in, tell you what they'd take in it's respective season i.e. fall/winter, and tell you what they think you would be best off donating.
- They are less selective on choosing items based on the year it came out. It doesn't matter if your shirt is from 2010 or 2016 as long as it is still in style and in good/excellent condition

- You are paid on commission so you don't get any money up front. So you do need to go back to the store and pick up what you earned. The store I go to says that you need to pick up any commission within 18 months. So yeah, not really a problem at all.
- Items may not sell and if that's the case you get no money. Unsold items are donated to charities so you can come and pick up a tax exemption card.
- I have successfully sold things that resale stores rejected at a consignment shop!

Resale Stores
- You get your money right away and don't need to check back to see if items sell or not.
- Branching off the above, if your clothing doesn't sell, it doesn't matter because you still got paid.
- These stores might be better at taking your out of season clothing.
- This is a little easier to bring items that you are on the fence about. You can hear how much the shop is willing to offer yo for the item and decide if you'd rather have the clothing article or the cash.

- Less money. They usually only off a few dollars per item unless it's an expensive, designer thing.
- More selective about dates on the tags. If any of your clothes are more that two years old, a resale store might not take it.
- You need to drop your clothes off and come back in a few hours or the next day after they have sorted through all your stuff. This balances out the whole paid up front thing.

Tips regardless of whatever you decide to do:
- Do a little research on the shop. Have you shopped there with luck and had a pleasant experience in the store? Does the store have any rules or guidelines for what they want on their website?
- Wash any clothes that you have worn and put back into your closet before taking them to a store.
- I like to iron just about everything because I want my clothes to look as appealing and in their best state.
- Fold your clothes or hang them on hangers to keep them in tip-top shape going to the store.
- If you decide all this getting money for your old clothes is too much work or not worth the effort, donate them to a local thrift shop instead and be sure to get a tax exemption donation form. You still get some money that way!