I spent a little time the other day visiting a newer consignment business and speaking with the owner, and as we spoke, she reminded me of something I had forgotten: there is an emotional side to consigning clothes for many parents!
I remember the first time that someone recommended that I consign my children’s clothes at a sale, I began sifting through the 16 crates of clothes I had saved over the last few years and became overwhelmed with emotion.
Consigning The Emotional Side
As I sorted through each piece of clothing I recalled in my mind the time my daughter had worn each piece. I remembered what she was saying, how she was talking, how little she was and how that time had just slipped away. Looking at the stacks of boys clothes I began recalling what they were doing as they had worn each piece and favorite times we had spent at different places as each piece of clothing sparked a new memory. It seemed almost impossible to consign these clothes, I was attached to each for a reason! This was insane though, how could I be attached to each piece of clothing I had not seen those pieces in a while.
Then it was time for the shoe bins…
The shoes, my goodness, that really threw me over the edge– I looked at each precious little shoe, with hardly any wear on them because they were little kids clothing and thought how precious that time was, where had those days gone and how could I possibly sell what was once my own child’s? I began to recall the first steps, the holidays and I just did not think I could really go with this consignment thing.
I felt that putting that piece of clothing up for sale was me giving away a little bit of each child’s life. I remember feeling sad and rethinking my decision. I felt guilty that I was giving up a piece of clothing that had been mine and my child had worn.
My friend, a seasoned consignor came over and she saw that I had put everything back in the bins and she smiled! She told me all about feeling guilty initially, feeling attached to each piece of her children’s clothing and feeling that she was giving away a piece of them, but then she said, “Dana, that feeling goes away the minute you find out it made someone else happy, and you make money on what you are not using”. I thought about what she had said for a minute and derived the following momentum. I had not seen these clothes in about 2 years, I had not thought about them and I had not missed them, therefore why did I want to store stuff that I was not using that someone else could use, and since it was all in such great condition, why not make some money on them? The sell-it, consign-it adrenaline kicked in, and I washed, and prepared 16 crates of clothing for consignment.
I don’t have to tell you as you already figured, I sold almost every last piece of that clothing that had been accepted by the store owner, and when I received my check I had enough to purchase a new wardrobe for each child again! I bought their new clothes, at the consignment store of course! The feelings of guilt, memories lost and compassion were taken over by the feelings of success in the sale and the new way I had found to frugally dress my children and not break the bank!
As a side perk to the selling and the money/credits, I became friends with the shop owner and this was probably the best benefit of all: she was always very helpful in finding those hard-to-find pieces for my kids! I always had the nicest dresses, the cutest accessories and did I mention, really did not pay for them because what I made from being a continual consignor became enough to just replace what I spent on newly purchased consigned clothing. I knew when she got something new and I purchased it.
I look back at those days and wonder how I felt the feelings I did. I will remind everyone to do the following few things to help you get through the first time consigning.
1) Keep a pair of shoes from the children, and pack them away. Keep something small from that age period if you simply can not part with it, but keep only one bin marked “Kids Growing up”
1a) throw a picture of the your child wearing that particular piece of clothing into the Save Bin, or just snap a picture of the clothing and then pack it up to go:)
2) Do not take it personally if all pieces are not accepted by the Consignment Shop. The owners of these shops knows what sells in their stores/boutiques and what does not, they are very smart in their industry! I think there would be nothing worse than a Consignor who takes EVERYTHING and then you visit the shop and see that some of the pieces did not sell! Talk about emotionally distraught! Remember, everyone has different markets and populations that shop in those stores, you can always consign at more than one store:)
If something is not eligible for consignment, consider selling it on Craigslist or E bay, there are always other ways! and if all else fails, donate.
3) Do not stop by EVERYDAY. Yes, I had a friend who did this as well because her GUILT from consigning her kids clothing was eating at her. You had not looked at this clothing for a long time so why do you need to go visit it? Give it time, remember “a watched pot never boils’ saying.!
4) Enjoy your first check from consignment. Reinvest in clothing or credits from the same store you consign in, you will be amazed at the money you can save through buying consigned clothing.
5) Large Consignment sales occur bi-annually, see about getting your clothes there. Check your churches and pre-schools for consignment sales as well!
Sort through those kids clothes, and get ready and to go your local Consignment Stores. The only thing you have to lose is extra clothing that is taking up space! Clean up, Clean Out, Consign. Lavishly live life out loud, organized and ready to load the closets with all those new shopping trips you are about to embark upon!