There can be a stigma when it comes to shopping for used items, especially clothing. Oftentimes people instantly become germ-a-phobes when they think of wearing someone’s old clothes.
However, shopping at thrift shops and consignment stores is a great way to get a great bargain on items — from clothes to furniture.
First, the clothes that can be found at good thrift stores and consignment shops aren’t always used, and when they are, they are usually gently used or still worth a few wears. More often than not, brand new clothes can be found mingled in the racks, still bearing their original store tags.
Kris O’Neil, one of the owners of My Sister & Me Consignment in Fenton said, “I think it is important for people to know that consignment stores are a great place to find new and used items that are in excellent condition.”
Tip #1 Look closely over items before you purchase. Check for stains on clothes, or missing buttons. Look for scratches on furniture items. Remember that used items won’t always be in perfect condition, but will still be functional.
Those who frequent this type of shop know that there are treasures to be found. Thrift stores and consignment shops are great places for people to get rid of items they no longer want. People consign clothes that no longer fit them, items they received as gifts and just didn’t want, and it is even a great place to get rid of the clutter in the house.
Sometimes moving means it’s time to downsize — why not make a few dollars by consigning the items that just don’t fit.
O’Neil has learned much since opening My Sister & Me a few months ago and shared some insights for people who want to consign items and make some money from the stuff they no longer need in their home.
“It’s a great way to find and sell one-of-a-kind or neat items from all walks of life and places. And consignment shops that are local (family based or small business based) are great opportunities for the community to shop local,” O’Neil said. “We’ve noticed a lot of people bring in their old décor and clothes to sell that they have grown from (whether it be size or fondness) and take home new to make their wardrobe or home ‘fresh’ and newly decorated.”
Not all thrift stores are consignment shops though, and many different resale shops have different ways of getting the items they sell. There are stores that run strictly on donated items, and there are stores like Howard’s Hidden Treasures in Fenton that get many of their items from the purchase of abandoned storage units.
Tip #2 Know the average cost of what you are looking for. While most thrift stores are known for great prices, sometimes what looks like a bargain might not be. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price, but remember that consignment shops are selling someone else’s merchandise and might not be open to haggle.
No matter where the items are coming from, resale and thrift stores offer a variety of interesting items sure to please any shopper. From furniture to baby clothes, and antiques to man cave décor, thrift shopping is a way of life for many people.
It’s a great way to find a bargain on items everyone needs. Rebecca Howard, owner of Howard’s Hidden Treasures, said, “You can get the best deals, and you never know what you’ll find.”
Tips for consigning
• Find a specialty store. A consignment shop that sells mostly antiques might not be interested in modern day items, just as a shop that specializes in children’s clothing probably won’t be interested in selling adult clothing items.
• Know what sells. Consignment shops are looking for items that sell quickly and easily. They also want items that are in season (no one wants to buy a bathing suit in the middle of winter). Examples of items that sell — new or gently used baby items, designer clothes, and furniture that is in good shape. Items that won’t sell — an old junior sports trophy, stained clothing, or broken furniture.
• Clean your items. Don’t expect the consignment shop to clean the items before they are put out on the shelf — they just don’t have time for that. Makes sure items are clean and presentable so that people will want to buy them and take them home. Consignment shops will probably decline marked and worn-looking items.
• Read the contract. Consigning items always comes with a contract. This will state how much of a percentage you get and how much the store keeps. It will also give info on when you need to pick up unsold items, as well as any price markdown points the store may have.