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Consignment Clears Clutter – and other ways to let It go

Consignment clears clutter, and the money isn’t bad either. Toss in the “reduces, reuses, recycles” bonus and consignment is a terrific option for items from your entire house or business. Consignment shops even specialize: a Google search for “consignment shops” pulls up plus-size women’s clothing, furniture, antiques like the one below (just kidding, I made that from a summer camp trunk I’ve lugged with me for 30+ years), kid’s stuff. Specialty retailers, such as sporting goods stores, will sometimes take consignment goods as a sideline. My lawn tractor got great money!

Why consign instead of donate? Honestly, the actual cash-in-hand dollars. And, sometimes, because you can’t find a cause that you want to support. But, P.S., many consignment shops donate unsold merchandise to a wonderful charity, and you can just check the right box on your contract to agree to that.  So the stuff won’t come back into your house. That’s a goal.

Why consign instead of just plain selling the item yourself? Convenience. When you consign an item, the shop does most of the work. It’s true you have to present the item to the shop in the best possible condition, but after that, it’s the shop staff that has to dust the stuff, smile and close the sale. You’re not getting yourself to the post office five minutes before it shuts down, or banging your hip on the card tables in the driveway and hoping it doesn’t rain.  Yes, you might get a little more real-live money for doing the work yourself. But consignment staff are pros at pricing items to sell at the best profit. You’ll have to track your things, checking in to see if your property sold. But that can become a habit. And you are saving TIME. Many people who think they’ll “just sell it on fill-in-the-blank” aren’t factoring in their TIME. How much TIME will you spend photographing the item, putting it up for sale online, monitoring the bids/inquiries, getting it to the post office…????  TIME = MONEY. Remember saving TIME.

The key to maxing your profit – consign as much as you can, as high quality as you can. Match your things to the merchandise of the shops in your area. It’s OK to work with more than one shop. And work closely with the shopkeepers: obey the rules!

I’m not suggesting consignment instead of an estate sale. At some point, the amount of stuff involved could require an at-home or ship-it-all-out effort, and expert help. But there are wonderful specialists for that too.

Sometimes charitable giving is the best way to make a “profit” on an item – very few things that you’ll consider selling by whatever method will return their original price, and even fewer go up in value. A donation, especially if it’s to a carefully chosen recipient, might allow for your maximum financial benefit as a tax write-off. You may have some big-ticket item that really ought to go as a charitable contribution to an auction. You may have toys that absolutely have to go, as a donation, to the non-profit toddler play-space or a travel crate for the animal shelter.  That might also be the best way to honor your sentiment around a favored treasure. That’s fantastic.

About Lauren Williams

Me, Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®: I'm a professional organizer who works in homes, home businesses and also small businesses. I'm a NYC native who's spent time in Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Baltimore and now Seattle. All great places, but NYC will always be home, and Seattle will be where I now stay. I help you think outside of the box to get something into the box.