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Recycle Clothing and Earn Money: Learn to Consignment Shop.

Updated on April 16, 2012
Gorgeous fashion items can be found at your local consignment shop.
Gorgeous fashion items can be found at your local consignment shop. | Source
Nice blue jeans that are a little too short - but if you know how to wear them then you will be rockin' your jeans too.
Nice blue jeans that are a little too short - but if you know how to wear them then you will be rockin' your jeans too. | Source


My rockin’ blue jeans are designer and I paid less than $15 for them. I will never pay more than 30 bucks for a pair of jeans. Why should I? Jeans are for wearing and wearing out – to be worn on days off and for being comfy in. Might I add that they are NOT to be purchased all marked and slashed up with massive holes in the knees either. My Abercrombie jeans retailed at around $40 are a little short, by an inch or too, as they are size 5Short – but that is no biggie – come summertime my flip-flops will be worn with these jeans and they no longer will appear like I’m wearing last season’s flood-pants.

What? You want a pair of snazzy jeans too? Well I’ll let you in on a little secret. Jeans like mine, designer and for a frugal price, can be obtained in little stores known as consignment shops. The town I attended college in had an adorable such shop. So adorably small that I didn’t know it existed for the first 3 years I was there! My fourth year, as you can imagine, was heaven for me, for right at my fingertips I had everything I could possibly need, and no, not just Flood-Pants.

You'll find that lovely pair of heels you've been looking everywhere for, at a consignment shop.
You'll find that lovely pair of heels you've been looking everywhere for, at a consignment shop. | Source


What WON’T you find! Treasures on top of treasures are what you will find. Consignment shops are awesome when you need that perfect shirt or accessory for a very specific purpose, such as an interview. They are a great place to find attractive, presentable clothing items for a very frugal price. Shirts are generally priced at about $8 to $14 dollars. Of course there are shirts for only a couple bucks, mostly plain, solid colored tees or tanks, which are great and serve their own purpose, but actual shirts will be a bit more. Then again the label plays a role as well. Brand names that are a bit on the lower end such as Old Navy are very inexpensive. This makes sense because this store is not too pricy in itself, and personally I wouldn’t buy this type of item at a consignment shop because you honestly can get the same thing from Old Navy- NEW!


Items that are originally quite expensive are great bargains to take home with you. As I mentioned before, nice shirts are great items to find at consignment shops as well as other garments paired nicely for an interview, such as blazers or professional overcoats. Once you’ve gotten your top pretty much covered, it is time to find you some bottoms that will certainly spruce up that closet of yours.



You will most likely find some super snazzy jeans as well as classy khakis and dress pants, all for generally under $20. Designer brand names will be mixed in, and so a keen, inquisitive eye is necessary to bring with you! Take your time browsing and although some consignment shops are small and appear that they do not have much, be sure not to overlook anything because oftentimes the treasures are deeply hidden.

Many times beautiful jewelry can be found at consignment shops.
Many times beautiful jewelry can be found at consignment shops. | Source


Consignment shops are great for accessories such as purses, clutches, belts, shoes, earrings, etc. You’ll find fake brand name items too, like my genuinely-fake Dolce & Gabbana purse or my little, fake, Coach Wristlet.

If you are one of those women who flaunt their expensive, designer bags wherever you go, well that is great, I’m happy for you. But for me, my fake purses do just fine and I’m pretty content. Particularly since I like to get multiple new purses per year… we gotta keep up with the times, right ladies?

And gents, I haven’t forgotten about you. Consignment shops have begun to include both sexes now, as their clientele is no longer geared towards solely women. In fact, many shops have small men sections that are vastly growing, as the word is reaching more and more men who no longer want their women counterparts having all the fun ;)

Great finds are to be had at consignment shops everywhere.
Great finds are to be had at consignment shops everywhere. | Source

Thoughts on Consignment Shopping

Do you like consignment shops?

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Trade-In and SWAP

Consignment shops are awesome for finding the perfect item whether it is a cute shirt, perfect fitted jeans or a must-have wristlet, but there is more.

These shops allow you to bring in your previously loved clothing in good condition and buy yourself some new fashionable items. The consigner (yeah, that is you) gets a cut of the profits which is determined by how much the items are worth at retail-cost, minus any possible issues with the clothing such as them being shrunk one too many times, a missing button, zipper broken, etc.

The percentages vary from consignment store to consignment store in terms of how much money you will get back in cash versus store credit. For example, my consignment store I have grown to love, divvies it up as 30% of the established retail price directly as a check, or issues 50% of the retail price to those preferring store credit.

Personally, I always go with store credit. 50% back is great and I always find a few great buys that are coming home with me. On the off chance that I don’t find anything today, my store credit will carry over and certainly next time I’ll find something!

Prom dresses are available at many consignment shops for purchase and you can also consign your own dress during the correct season. This is an excellent option to get a dress at a reasonable price for your prom but also is a good choice when considering what to do with your prom dress that has been sitting, neglected, in the back of your closet (going on, what, five years now?) Just something to think about.

Prom dresses are often available at consignment shops too.
Prom dresses are often available at consignment shops too. | Source


~ Be picky about where to consign and which consignment shops to shop at. There are different types of consignment shops and they all play by different rules. If you don’t like the rules, or the clothing, that is fine – keep looking and you’ll find the perfect consignment shop for you.

~ When getting clothing ready to bring into a consignment shop, make sure they are nicely prepped and presentable. Nice cleaned, ironed items are much more likely to get consigned.

~ Different items must be consigned for different seasons. Instructions on when to consign winter, fall, spring, or summer items are available from each specific consignment shop. Items not appropriate for the season cannot be consigned during that time. Hang onto them and when it’s time head on back.

~READ the specific consignment shops information on their website or call them on specifics about how to go about consigning. Oftentimes they indicate your items must be either hung on a hanger or not hung and folded nicely in a bag. Although these seem like simple things, just keep them in mind so you can be successful at consigning items and keeping up with the current trends! YAY Fashionistas!

~ Also, it is good to know that many consignment stores DO Not accept clothing with any of the aforementioned issues. This is a bummer when you are trying to unload them, but on the bright side it is a very great thing when it comes to purchasing. There may be nothing worse than finding a wonderful garment that looks delightful on you – and then finding the gaping hole in it that makes you say, “now I know why it so cheap.”

~A consignment shop may not take your merchandise for several reasons, another reason being that the items are outdated and out of style. Although this reason may burst your bubble as it did mine, just deal. You might wonder “how the heck did they know how old these were?” as I did, but hey, the Salvation Army is a great place to get rid of clothing that nobody else wants.

~ Particularly in small consignment shops, they may turn you down simply because they have way too many items and have no room to put them all. I’ve been turned down before because of this reason. Just deal with the card you’ve been dealt and come back at a later date.

~ Have Fun. Consignment shops are amazing. They obviously have become a growing new trend, so embrace it. Clean out your closet and you’ll find some cool items that maybe you forgot about! Try them on, and if the look has passed and it is totally not you anymore, perhaps a trip to the nearest consignment shop is in order! Best of luck!

© emilybee, 2011-2012. All Rights Reserved.

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