Most moms are always looking for a way to help generate a little extra money, if it’s only to be able to finance another purchase. An odd job here or there stretches the budget. One project I have done off and on for several years is sell our outgrown clothes and toys. There are several options here, and let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Garage/Yard Sales: You haul everything outside and tag it with ridiculously low prices, hoping someone will come haul it off for you.
Pros: The profit is all yours. You set the schedule. You can work in your sweats and a nappy ponytail.
Cons: The work is all yours. People show up at 0’dark thirty and haggle over the price of a 50 cent toy. You have to advertise your sale, or they won’t come. Your sphere of influence (the people who are interested) is limited. What’s left has to be hauled back in the house.
eBay/Craig’s List: Advertise, sell, and ship products.
Pros: Most of the profit is yours (eBay charges a seller’s fee.) You set the schedule. Your sphere of influence is larger. You can work in your pajamas.
Cons: The work is all yours, especially if you take photos and write the descriptions and load the sales page. With eBay, people might not pay you or want to return your product or complain about some inconsequential flaw. You have to pack and ship the product. With Craig’s List, people might not email you back, might make an appointment to come get it and not show up, might write you a bad check (always insist on cash), or might be a serial killer.
Consignment Stores: A retail store that sells your stuff for you.
Pros: They do most of the work. They have a larger sphere of influence, often loyal customers.
Cons: They usually take a substantial cut of the sale. You do not set the price. Some stores accept items only for a period of time. If it doesn’t sell, you either pick it up or donate it. Other stores offer you a flat price. Take it or leave it. You have to get everything ready to sell, and it better be next to new looking or your work is wasted.
Consignment Events: A retail event that is only open for a week or so at different times of the year.
Pros: You set the price. You get to shop early and might get an extra discount on unsold items. They have a larger sphere of influence, often loyal customers. They handle all the advertising.
Cons: They take a cut of the sale. You often have to volunteer to work the event to help keep costs down and make a larger percentage of your sales. You have to get everything ready to sell, including tagging, and it better be next to new looking or your work is wasted. The timing and location of the event may not be convenient.
I’ve sold clothes and toys in all four scenarios above. Sometimes I do well. Sometimes I don’t. External factors beyond my control can affect how well things go and how much I make. I have to say that it’s not always worth it. Unless I have some very nice things that I know I can make some money on, I don’t always make the extra effort, to be honest. But that said, let me outline a few tips for reselling clothes and toys.
- Be realistic. Clothes that have been through a few kids are going to look worn. Do not expect to get next-to-new prices, regardless of the label. Same goes for toys.
- Be honest. Do not slip stitch a torn seam or pin a missing button or hide a stain to get it past the eye of the buyer. They will eventually find the flaw and be very unhappy.
- Remember your customer. A garage sale customer is usually just looking for cheap clothes and toys. A consignment customer is most likely looking for nice clothes and toys at reasonable prices. Pick and choose carefully.
- Be a team player. Customer service still applies when you’re selling secondhand. Answer questions politely and quickly. If you’re working a consignment event, do your share and work your shift. Follow the directions for how to prepare your sale items. They have standards for a reason.
Now, why should you try to resell your children’s outgrown clothes and toys?
Well, it’s a way to make money off something that has already met its need for you. Kind of a two-fer-one deal. You bought it. Enjoyed it. Now, you’ll sell it to buy something else useful.
While you might think you’re making less than minimum wage with all the work involved, remember this is practically free money. It’s not costing you much but your time and effort.
You’re blessing someone else with something new to them. Why let something ruin in the attic, when others need it and can use it?
So, if you’ve made it all the way to this point and think, “Why not?” I say, “Go for it.” One consignment event I highly recommend in the Central Texas area is Fairytale Threads. I’ve worked probably five or six sales with them. It is professionally managed with lots of effort put into the marketing, customer service, and setup. Their next sale date is March 13-15, 2014, in Cedar Park on Toro Grande. If you don’t sell, go by and shop. I always find good stuff there.
Got any more ideas for generating a little extra income? Send them to me, and we might start a new series.