Consignment Checklist

It’s generally easier to let go of spendy items that serve no purpose in your life if you can recoup at least a little bit of your investment by selling them — feels less like wasted money than simply giving them away. So what do you do with something that’s too good for the “donate” box, when you have no interest in screwing around with yard sales or Craigs-listing? You might want to consider consignment — an option that pairs the biggest bang for your buck with the smallest time/energy requirement.

Consignment In A Nutshell

Checkmark-Iconyou sign a contract with a retailer — s/he agrees to display and sell your stuff

Xmark-Iconyou leave your merchandise with the vendor

Checkmark-Iconthe shop puts your products on sale for a set period (30 days, 3 months, etc.)

Xmark-Iconif an item sells, you’re paid a percentage of the asking price (around 50-60%)

Checkmark-Iconthe store keeps the remaining percentage as a commission

Xmark-Iconif something isn’t selling, the price is discounted following an agreed-upon schedule

Checkmark-Iconif it doesn’t sell by the expiration, that item will either be returned to you or forfeited

The Right Commercial Match

Xmark-Iconcheck with other consigners to ask about their experiences with the shop

Checkmark-Iconvisit each retailer to get a sense of that space’s layout, feel, and appearance

Xmark-Iconyou might choose a vendor that specializes in one particular type of merchandise

Checkmark-Iconor you could go with a more “generalist” approach for a broader audience

Xmark-Iconeither way — make sure your products fit in with the feel of the store

Checkmark-Iconcheck out the condition of other similar items to understand your competition

Xmark-Iconfind out how and where your merchandise will be displayed

Checkmark-Iconlook at the shop’s pricing to see how your stuff will be marked

Xmark-Iconsee what kind of customers frequent the store — what sort of shopping traffic it gets

Checkmark-Iconask how your valuable items will be insured in case of theft, loss, or damage

Xmark-Iconlook for signs of extra security (fire protection, locked cases, burglar alarms)

Getting Your Stuff Ready For Submission

Checkmark-Iconrepair any damage or wear, if possible

Xmark-Iconthoroughly clean all items before submitting them for sale

Checkmark-Icontime your consignments to match the season — sweaters in winter rather than June

Xmark-Iconget a rough idea of what an item is worth ahead of time

Checkmark-Iconprepare any supporting documentation (appraisals, insurance, receipts)

Covering Your Buttocks

Xmark-Iconget every single term and agreement in writing

Checkmark-Iconmake sure you understand your rights and responsibilities before signing up

Xmark-Iconask for the right to “pull” your items early if they aren’t selling

Checkmark-Iconknow how the discounting schedule works (30% off after 30 days, 50% off after 60)

Xmark-Iconclarify up front what the commission will be — and ask about any other charges

Checkmark-Iconreceive an itemized receipt for the items you’ve submitted

Xmark-Icontake photos to show the quality and condition of each item

Checkmark-Iconget a regular statement for items that have sold in the past month/quarter

Xmark-Iconmake sure your merchandise is returned the end of the sale period — not forfeited

Checkmark-Iconif you receive something back in worse shape, don’t be afraid to speak up

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    Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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