Buying & Selling At Consignment Shops: Pros & Cons

Here is my take on consignment stores. Consider this “Part II” to my article about Thrift Store shopping.

I mention in that article that I’m gung-ho about shopping for “gently used” items at thrift stores, but I’m not so crazy about shopping at consignment stores.


Here’s why…


Buying & Selling Clothes At Consignment Shops

Personally, I’m not that fond of consignment shops for purchasing or selling clothing.

I’ve done it… several times.

I’ve shopped there. I’ve sold there. (I’ve sold there more than I’ve shopped there, but that’s beside the point.)


My Thoughts on Consignment Stores For Clothes Shopping:

Over the past 20 years, I’ve dabbled in consignment clothes shopping in each of the areas that I’ve lived: Texas (panhandle), New York (upstate), Florida (several different cities), as well as here in the Nashville area.

Overall, my experiences weren’t anything worth writing about. Suffice it to say that I’ve pretty much given up on consignment shops for clothes buying.


The downsides, in my experience:

  • Consignment store owners tend to be too narrow-minded about clothes (in general) and styles (in specific). If your taste doesn’t match the store owner’s personal taste, then odds are, you won’t find it here.
  • The designs and styles of clothing found in consignment shops tend to be very eclectic — only high-end big name labels, or only modern “edgy” styles that are hip & cool, or only vintage timeless classics — you get the idea. It usually a bunch of stuff that isn’t practical for everyday wear.
  • Consignment shops tend to be very female-oriented — which is fine in theory, but it’s hard to find clothing for the whole family through consignment shops.
  • There’s usually such a small selection of clothing at consignment stores, that the odds of you finding something you like… and in your size… and in good condition… and at a price you’re willing to pay are all quite slim.
  • Items at consignment shops tend to be a bit pricey — when compared to say, thrift store shopping. Usually, when I find something I actually like, it’s at a price that just doesn’t seem like a bargain to me. I’d rather pay full-price and buy it new.

For those reasons, I don’t think consignment shops are practical for most bargain clothes shoppers these days.


My Thoughts on Consignment Stores For Selling Clothes:

My experience with selling clothing through consignment shops has also been less than satisfactory.

Now I realize that I may not have the hippest wardrobe on the block… but I’ve certainly had my share of name brand, quality clothes — some still with the price tags on them — that many consignment store owners wouldn’t take “at this time”.

In reality, you have to jump through so many hoops when you’re selling your clothing through a consignment store that it’s simply not worth the effort for the percentage of the “cut” you get in return.

The downsides:

  • Consignment shop owners tend to be very picky about what they’ll let you sell in their stores. For the most part, a little quality control is a good thing. But I think it usually goes beyond this and the store owners are simply trying to cater to one ore more age groups or audiences. It’s a little too “niche” for me.
  • The designs and styles of clothing found in consignment shops tend to be very eclectic — either they want only high-end big name labels, or only modern “edgy” styles of clothing that’s hip & cool, or only vintage timeless classics that aren’t practical for everyday wear.
  • Most consignment store owners will only “accept” clothes on one day of the week (so call first!). But if you’re anything like me… when I’m ready to clear out my closets, I’m ready! And I don’t want the stuff sitting around in piles until someone’s willing to take it from me. And I don’t want to have to remember to take the items to the consignment store on the “right day”!

Overall, I find that most consignment store owners have such strict rules you have to follow, that I’d usually rather not bother. So I just end up giving all my stuff away to Goodwill, or to a local clothing drive or something.


Consignment Stores For Furniture & Household Items

I would, however, recommend consignment shops for buying and selling furniture and housewares! No joke.

I’ve probably sold household items through consignment shops about a half-dozen times in Texas, Florida and here in Nashville (actually Franklin).

In my experience, you can find huge discounts on name-brand, good-quality furniture, decorations, and household accessories. (Think, big mirrors, coffee tables, framed prints, decorative throw pillows, knick knacks, and of course furniture — sofas, chairs, bedroom furniture, bookshelves, etc.).

In fact, items sell so quickly at the furniture-type consignment shops I’ve been to that you have to grab something the first time you see it (if you’re buying), and you get a hefty paycheck right away (if you’re selling).

Overall, I’ve had excellent experiences, both shopping and selling. And I’ve gotten great deals both ways.

TIP: You can find some really great deals on furniture, housewares, and baby items at the consignment shops located in trendier, more upscale neighborhoods. If there’s one several miles away, it’s usually worth the drive!

Lynnette with a table & chairs set we sold in one day at a furniture consignment shop. Lynnette admiring a table we almost bought at a furniture consignment shop.


Consignment Stores For Baby Items

I don’t have children, but I’ve had friends who have shopped at children’s consignment shops and they rave about the good deals.

I would guess that they’ve had good experiences selling items through baby consignment shops as well, but I haven’t specifically asked.

Then again… if they were that good, then I guess I wouldn’t see so much of this on the curbsides in my neighborhood!


More About Buying & Selling On Consignment

Listen to Bud Light’s Real American Heroes ”Mr. Department Store Mannequin Dresser Upper”

Lynnette Walczak

Lynnette Walczak

I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money -- so I frequently write about "outside the box" ideas that most wouldn't think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed several years until switching gears to pursue things I was more passionate about. I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun websites).

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