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  • Consignment 101: Cash-in on cleaning out your closet

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    Published November 28, 2012
    Consignment 101: Cash-in on cleaning out your closet
    Instead of going to the thrift store, consider consigning higher-end, gently used items, and make some cash back.

    As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to make room in our closets for those bulky sweaters and fancy New Year’s duds.

    While it may be difficult to part with your clothes (even though you may not have worn them in months), you may find comfort in knowing you don’t have to give them away for free (sorry, sis!).

    When it comes to gently used brand-name apparel, consider consigning your items rather than dropping it off at the nearest thrift store. Not only will you make room in that closet that’s bursting at the seams, but you’ll also recoup some of your cash.

    Before you haul your offerings to the nearest consignment shop, here are some tips to ensure you get the most cash for your clothes.

    Cull and separate
    When you’re doing a deep closet edit, set aside an afternoon to really examine your wardrobe. Go through your closet and identify anything you haven’t worn in six months or more (excluding formal wear). If the garment isn’t making the cut for months-straight, it’s time to let it go.

    When you find clothes you’re eager to get rid of, examine each piece carefully. Is it a recognizable brand? Is it in “gently used” condition? Meaning, are there any visible tears, holes, pilling, etc.?

    While your potential consignment items don’t need to be in pristine condition, the more “brand new” they look, the higher they can fetch in price. A sweater that looks only once-worn will always garner a higher price tag than one with pills.

    For items that have seen better days, toss them in the thrift store pile. Next, review your consignment items. Were they made more than three to five years ago? If so, they may be considered “vintage” — meaning consignment stores that specialize in the latest styles likely won’t accept them. Market those items for consignments stores in your area that include older items.

    Wash before you consign
    Ensure all the items you want to take for consignment are clean. Most stores will only accept recently washed or dry cleaned clothes, and they will give your items (accessories included) the sniff test.

    If your clothes smell a bit mothy or stale, give them a rinse with your regular laundry. Showing up with smelly garments will make the associates much less likely to buy your items.

    Go high-end
    If you’re retiring some high-end brands (au revoir once-beloved Coach purse), make sure you market the designer duds to the right place. Or, if you’d like to fetch a higher price for your items, visit the ritzier neighbourhoods in your city. Boutique consigners have higher standards on things they’ll accept, but your efforts will be well worth the reward.

    Get the sale in writing
    Once you’ve chosen your shop, get the terms of their purchase in writing. While stores differ on the percentage of the sale price they’ll offer, you can typically get between 30 and 60 per cent of the sale price of an item. But some stores will only offer store credit if your purchase price is under a certain threshold. Whatever the store’s terms, get a printed report of exchange and pricing offers for your items before you accept or decline.

    Most importantly, remember you can always walk away. If you don’t like a price offered for an item, take your business elsewhere.

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