Garage sales and online apps like Mercari and Poshmark aren’t the only ways to sell your used clothing for cash. If you haven’t done so already, step back and ask yourself, “Are there any consignment shops near me?”
As long as you don’t live a thousand miles from Timbuktu, there’s a good chance at least one store is in your nearest town.
If you’ve ever held a garage sale, you know how aggravating it can be to negotiate with professional hagglers on items you’ve already priced low to move quickly. A consignment shop isn’t the best option for every clothing item you want to sell, but it can be better than what you’re doing already.
Whether you want to make a little extra cash as you declutter or you want to start a side hustle flipping secondhand items, a consignment shop can be the perfect location to “buy low and sell high!”
What is a Consignment Shop?
If you’re not familiar with consignment shops, here’s a very basic definition:
A consignment shop is a store that sells used, secondhand clothing in good condition. You receive a portion of the selling price if one your items sell.
Instead of having a garage sale on a sweltering summer day or dropping off your clothes at Goodwill, consider selling your gently used clothes at your local consignment store. There’s nothing wrong with garage sales or donating to thrift stores, but consigning your clothes can be an easy way to clean out your closet and earn some extra spending money in the process.
Consignment Shops vs. Consignment Sales
In addition to brick-and-mortar consignment shops that are open year-round, you should also keep a lookout for consignment sales that generally last for three or four days.
Consignment sales are one-time events that take place at community centers or empty storefronts in the mall–think the Halloween costume store that’s only open in October. These sales are usually themed for baby gear or clothing for children and expecting mothers.
You’re more likely to pay the entrance fee of $10 or $15–plus the commission per item sold–for consignment sales to help pay the event staff and to rent the venue. If you sell by consignment, be prepared to print and tag your clothing that can take a few evening to complete before the drop-off date.
Because you pay the entrance fee, only sell at a consignment sale if you’re sure you have enough clothing to cover the entrance fee and profit. Not every item you enter is guaranteed to sell, so you will need to take pricing into consideration.
How Much Do Consignment Stores Pay?
Each consignment store has a different payment policy. Some stores don’t pay you until an item sells so they’re not stuck with unsold items at the end of the current clothing season. Other stores will look through your clothing, buy the items they want to sell and give you back the rest. Typically, you can earn more per item if you get paid after a customer buys the item.
When an item sells, the store might keep between 20% and 40% of the sales price. Because commissions can vary widely, you need to compare the consignment fees whether or not you have at least two stores in your city.
As the end of the season approaches, the shop will reduce the prices to clear their inventory to make shelf space for the upcoming season. Obviously, you’re going to earn less if something sells at the end of the season, but it’s still better than nothing.
Each consignment shop also has a different end-of-season policy. As a general rule of thumb, most stores require you to pick up your unsold clothing by a certain date or it gets donated to the local thrift store. Make sure you pick up your clothing so you can sell it again somewhere else.
Where to Find Consignment Shops Near You
How can you find a consignment shop near you? It’s easier than you think.
Most consignment stores only accept clothing, fashion accessories, and baby gear like beds and toys, but you can sell other tangible items too.
Search Online for “Consignment Shops Near Me”
Probably the easiest way to find your closest consignment shop is to enter the search keyword, “consignment shops near me” into your preferred search engine. You will quickly find three or four suggestions with either Bing or Google. Believe it or not, both search engines provided different results and came up with a few stores I wasn’t aware of.
Although search engines have improved tremendously in recent years, they don’t know you’re looking for a store to sell your clothes instead of buying secondhand clothing for less than retail. For example, the top listing in one search was our local Goodwill Thrift Store, which only accepts donated clothing.
Even though you have to sift through the search results, a single web search is one of the easiest ways to find a list of consignment stores and resale shops looking for your clothing.
Here’s the moral of the story: Call the store to confirm they consign clothing before you walk in with your clothing, sporting goods, or antique furniture for nothing.
Showroom Finder is an extensive database of consignment shops located in the U.S. You can search for the following types of consignment stores on Showroom Finder:
- Local shops
If you have high-end clothing or fashion apparel to sell, Showroom Finder might be the most efficient way to find the best boutique consignment shop where you can earn more per item sold.
Consigning on shop listed with Showroom Finder can also mean your “must have” items are also listed online to increase your audience exposure and odds of making a sale.
Crossroads has physical stores located all across the country, but they also let you sell online with a prepaid mail-in bag that Crossroads will mail to anybody in the USA. You can either sell your clothes outright or on consignment.
Consigning is more lucrative as you’ll keep at least 50% of the selling price, but only 30% if you sell immediately. So, do you want one in hand or two in the bush?
Once Upon a Child
There are many “mom and pop” consignment shops, but there are a few national brick-and-mortar retailers too. Once Upon a Child accepts clothing, footwear, toys, and furniture for children up to age 20 years old provided it’s in good condition and in style still.
You can visit your local store any day of the week, and it’s probably a good idea to schedule an appointment so you’re not waiting around all day for your clothing to be processed. After your collection has processed, your local Once Upon a Child store pays you on the spot.
Plato’s Closet will pay you on the spot for the following clothing for young adults:
- Girls sizes 0 to 22
- Guys sizes 28 to 44
- Current styles that mall clothing stores still sell
All clothing, footwear, outerwear, and athletic apparel must be in good condition with no stains and minimal wear. You will be immediately paid for all accepted clothing, if you accept their offer.
How much you will earn from each piece–and how many items will sell–depend on the current supply and demand for your local Plato’s Closet. National consignment brands might have wide name recognition, but they don’t have a uniform payment schedule.
Style Encore buys women’s casual and business clothing sizes 0 to 4X in good condition. No appointment is necessary to meet with an appraiser and you’ll be paid in cash on the spot. As long as your clothing and authentic designer handbags are still in style–usually purchased within the past few years–you’ll most likely make a sale.
Look for Local Consignment Sales
You can also try your hand at a local, seasonal consignment sale for your clothing too. Some sales only happen once a year and others occur in the fall and spring months.
Although you only have a few days to sell your clothing, consignment sales usually mean you can keep more profit from each item sold. And since you can name your own price, you can either try to “undersell” the competition to earn more overall even though you earn less per item.
Asking your friends, family, and local social media groups is one way to find a consignment sale, but you can also check these online consignment sale directories too:
- Kids Consignment Sales
- Consignment Mommies
- Consignment Sale Finder (Will begin listing Canada and UK sales soon)
Each consignment sale allows different items to be sold. Some only allow clothing for the current or upcoming season to be sold; a sale in April will be for spring and summer clothing only while an October sale will let you sell winter clothing instead of shorts and t-shirts that will sit in the dresser for the next six months.
We have sold our old children’s clothing at several local consignment sales and personally prefer them to consignment shops. Not every sale is the same so try at least two different sales to see which one you have the most success at. Also, keep an eye on registration fees and commissions so you can price your clothing accordingly.
Play It Again Sports
Consignment shops aren’t exclusively for clothing. You can also sell your old athletic equipment–weight sets, golf clubs, baseball gear–at a specialty sports consignment shop like Play It Again Sports.
Your local store will pay you on the spot for any equipment or apparel your local store accepts.
Music Go Round
Have an old guitar or drum set taking up valuable real estate in your closet? Music Go Round accepts used instruments of all types plus essential music gear and equipment you no longer need.
Once your instruments and gear are inspected, you’ll receive same-day payment letting you walk out the door with cash instead of an instrument you’ll probably never play again.
You might not have a Music Go Round store location nearby, or you don’t like their offer. You can also sell your used and vintage instruments at Guitar Center too.
Contrary to Guitar Center’s name, they buy more than just guitars like drums, amps, keyboards, and speaker systems. Some instruments and gear can’t be sold to Guitar Center including band instruments, drumsticks, guitar parts, and acoustic panels.
Most Guitar Center store locations will pay you up to $500 cash. If your total sale amount is greater than $500, you will usually receive a Guitar Center check the same day. Local laws prohibit some stores from offering cash so you might receive a check when your equipment sells for less than $500 too.
Don’t Forget About Online Consignment Shops
Maybe a local consignment store isn’t a good option for you or you live in the boonies and would spend more in gas than you might get back. Instead of just giving your clothing for nothing, you can consider selling on these online consignment shops too.
ThredUP will send you a free cleanout bag for the following items:
- Women’s clothing
- Children’s clothing
On all accepted items, you will earn up to 80% of the listing price from more than 35,000 items. If you have premium fashion brands, you will receive 90% of the listing price.
Selling through thredUP can be extremely convenient because you can sell without leaving your house and the trained thredUp camera technicians will photograph and list your clothing.
The most glaring downside is that all unwanted clothing is responsibly donated to a local charity. Payment or not, you must be ready to not get your unsold clothing back if thredUP doesn’t want any of your items unless you pay a $10.99 return fee.
You might also consider selling your clothes on Swap to sell your men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing. You get paid a percentage of the sales price after an item sells. It’s your choice, but Swap offers cash payment or store credit to receive a payment bonus.
First-time sellers can only mail one box of clothing into Swap and repeat sellers can send up to three boxes each month. You will receive a prepaid shipping label for every box you mail to Swap.
Currently, Swap has a 20% rejection rate which is pretty good for a consignment store. Once your shipment is appraised, you have 14 days to decide if you want to donate your rejected clothing or pay a $5.99 fee to have your items shipped back to you.
If the idea of mailing your clothing off to an online consignment store without guaranteed payment isn’t your cup of tea, Poshmark is one of the best online resale websites. You will need to take pictures of your clothing and list them by brand.
When an item sells, you can print off a prepaid shipping label which comes in extremely handy for bulky items that are expensive to ship if you need to pay for postage as a seller. Poshmark doesn’t pay you until an item sells, but having the piece of clothing in your possession means you can sell it somewhere else at the same time to sell your item sooner.
You can sell almost anything on eBay including clothing. Each item must be listed individually and we’ve had success selling on eBay.
Because you have to pay for shipping, make sure you calculate the shipping costs before you list the item to make sure you don’t lose money on the sale. You’ll be surprised how much a single pair of jeans or a dress costs! Once again, take good pictures of your items to increase the odds of making a sale.
You can choose to either sell your items for a fixed price or at auction. Many sellers prefer a fixed price with free shipping, but you need to decide which option works best for you.
Another popular online clothing resale site is Mercari that lets you sell these items:
- Men’s clothing
- Women’s clothing
- Children’s clothing
- Home goods
- Vintage items
- Tech gadgets
- Handmade items
After an item sells, Mercari will send you a USPS or FedEx shipping label, but you’ll have to decide if you (the seller) or the buyer pays for shipping. If you pay for it, you need to build the shipping costs into your selling price.
Mercari keeps a flat 10% fee on all items sold and you can get paid via direct deposit for no additional charge when your balance is greater than $10. With rock-bottom fees, Mercari can be more profitable than most other physical or online consignment shops.
Trove Market is one of the largest online furniture marketplaces. If you have vintage or mid-century furniture, Trove is probably your best bet for selling online as you can find a local or national buyer.
You can also try a local antique or resale shop that accepts clothing too.
What Can I Sell at a Consignment Shop?
Most stores only keep your items for the current season–spring, summer, fall, winter–and they’re probably not going to sell a parka when it’s 110 degrees outside. They’re going to sell short-sleeve clothing that customers are more likely to buy.
Most consignment shops accept the following items:
- Men’s clothing
- Women’s clothing
- Children’s clothing
- Baby clothing and gear
Some stores specialize in a particular niche like children’s clothing, upscale women’s clothing, or sporting goods. Selling through a specialized shop means you might have to take your adult and children’s clothing to a different shop, but you can earn more per item sold because these stores cater to a certain audience.
Can Items Be in Any Condition?
Usually not. Most items must be in good condition which meets these criteria:
- No stains
- Minimal wear
- Still in fashion
People shop at consignment stores to buy next-to-new clothing to save a ton of money. Even though their three-year-old might spill grape juice on their shirt the first time and stain it, people don’t want to buy dirty clothes and consignment stores have limited shelf space and try to stock the best items that are most likely to sell at the highest possible cost.
For non-clothing items, your items still need to be in good condition. An excellent way to look at if your item meets consignment sale expectations is if you would buy the item for yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- Would I keep this furniture in my living room for guest to see?
- Is that car seat clean and still in-date?
- Will that crib look good in the nursery?
- Can this stroller last through several children?
What Items Sell Best at Consignment Stores?
Consignment stores sell many different brands and types of items, but you’ll have the most success with these items:
- Designer clothing
- Mid-Century furniture
- Wooden furniture
- Upholstered items
- Leather furniture
- Wooden dining sets
- Modern, inexpensive home accessories that cost around $20
Items that have been well-maintained or restored have the best chances of selling. Even for furniture, name brands usually maintain their value better because they might be known for their superior build quality.
For example, a La-Z-Boy or Ethan Allen leather sofa will fetch more than an Ikea leather sofa that is usually has a product lifestyle that will only last a for the duration of the current fashion fad.
What Doesn’t Sell Well at Consignment Stores?
Most consignment shops only offer clothing for a reason, it’s a basic need and most of us have a closet full of it that always seems to be getting fuller.
Some items simply don’t sell well at consignment stores because there isn’t much overall demand unless you can tap into a specific buying audience.
- TV armoires (most flat screen tvs hang on a wall now)
- China and other specialty dining sets
So if you have a cabinet full of Fiestaware, Precious Moments figurines, or beanie babies, you probably won’t have much success at a consignment store. You might be better off selling these items at a specialty store–antiques in particular–or online on eBay if you can justify the shipping costs.
Are Consignment Shops or Consignment Sales Better?
What should you choose, consignment shops or consignment sales?
The answer mostly depends on how many items you have to sell.
When Consignment Shops Are Better
Consignment shops are better when you only have a few items to sell. This is because consignment sales charge a registration fee of $10 or $15 that means you have to sell a few items before you even make a profit.
If you have less than 30 items to sell, you should probably visit a consignment shop first or ship them to an online store like thredUP. Not only is selling to a consignment shop more convenient, but you’ll also save time in not having to tag each item and pick them back up if the shop will appraise and instantly pay cash for your items.
When Consignment Sales Are Better
If you have at least 30 items to sell, a seasonal consignment sale is a better option. Most sales usually require that you have a minimum number of items to sell that usually around 25 to 30 items.
The more items you have to sell, the more you can make and profit once you reach your break-even fee which is the cost of the entrance fee and the time required to drop off and pick up your merchandise.
You will need to print individual tags on cardstock paper that need to be printed and pinned on each item you list. Obviously, this takes time and there’s a non-monetary investment in addition to the entrance fee and cost of gas to drive from your house to the event center.
Because consignment sales rent space in an empty storefront or an event center, you usually have a several hour window to pick up your unsold items on the last day of the sale. If you don’t pick up your clothes within the window, most sales will donate them and you can’t get pick them up later. If you want your unsold items back, only commit to a consignment sale if you can make the pickup window.
You might be able to earn more money per item if you sell your items in a garage sale or online, but if you don’t have the time to sell, a consignment sale can be the next-best option. Also remember that consignment shops buy your unwanted items year round, so you can try selling a few items the first time to see how you like it.
Consigning secondhand items can be a fine way to earn a little extra cash or to start an ongoing side hustle.
Do you have any experience selling at consignment stores? If so, please let us know in the comments below!