Friday, February 6, 2015

Why I'll Never Have Another Garage Sale

You decide to have a garage sale to get rid of your children's old clothes and toys. It takes an entire week to get your garage ready, which you have to do at night while the kids are out from under your feet. You sort your kids stuff, sticker tag it, secure tables from neighbors or get creative making some out of old plywood in your garage. You get $50 dollars in one dollar bills and change. You post your sale on Facebook, Craigslist and you hang signs around your neighborhood. You think you are ready and you even begin imagining all the awesome stuff you are going to buy with the cash you'll make.

The night before the sale strangers stop by that read your add on Craigslist and ask to look at your stuff early (umm no, the sale has not started yet).You are up until 2 am putting the last few finishing touches on the garage and then finally, exhausted, you go to bed. You are abruptly awoken to someone knocking on your door at 6 am, asking to go dig through your stuff early, before the sale starts at 7 (umm no, the sale has not started yet). You get up, grab a coffee, and finally open the garage door, only to realize that it is raining. 

Cold and raining. 

Over the two rainy days of your sale, a few people browse but no one really buys much. You catch a few dishonest people switching tags and stealing stuff. After the weekend is over, you have cleared $36. 

Bummer.

Sounds awful, huh? It is. But I have found a much better option.

Have you ever considered consigning your children's gently used clothing or toys? I have had several friends over the years tell me how amazing it is, so last year I tried it a few times. It has actually been a pretty good experience. You can get 65-75% of your total sales back, and once you figure out the rules of tagging, pricing and hanging, it really doesn't take too long to prepare your items.

The most stressful part of the event for me is the drop off and pick up processes, but that depends on which sale you consign with. In Kansas City, there are many different sales that happen at different times throughout the year. I've consigned 4 times with Kids Closet Connection, and 2 times with Rhea Lana. The drop off with Kids Connection is definitely easier and faster, but the pick up with Rhea Lana is much, much better than Kids Connection. 

Kids Connection is great if you have a lot of average price and quality of kids clothes and toys in decent condition. You tag all your stuff, pricing them as low as $1 if you like, before you go to drop off your items in order to expedite the drop off process. When you arrive at drop off, once your clothes are briefly inspected for quality, you hang them up according to sex/size and place other merchandise like toys or infant items in the correct section of the store. The sale last several days and you can decide if you want your items to go half price the last day. As a consigner you earn 65% of your sales and you get to shop before the public. If you refer other moms to sell or if you volunteer to work the sale (quality inspection, cashier, clothes sorting after, etc) you can get another 5-10% more back of your sales, pending on how many shifts you volunteer for. You can check your sales nightly after each day of the sale. The absolute worst part of this sale is the pick up process. You, as well as hundreds of other consigners, have only a few hours to frantically find your items. If you can't find something, or anything is missing (lost or stolen), items are not guaranteed. I have had a few items go missing, only one was a large item, but overall, I have made enough money on other items that it wasn't a big deal. After the sale, checks are mailed to you 7-10 days later.

Rhea Lana is great if you have nicer items that are in very good condition. This sale market's itself as "boutique brands" and higher quality than the other sales in the area, and it definitely is. The minimum you can price an item is $3, but like Kid's Closet Connection, you have the option of selling at half price toward the end of the sale. My stuff doesn't sell as well at these simply because Nike, Gap and Gymboree are about the nicest brands my three kids wear, but I do find that I get more than at other sales overall for the items that do sell. Also, you get 70% of your sales from the start, and then more if you volunteer and refer others, and you of course get to shop before the public too. I love that with this sale you can see your sales live throughout the day as items are sold, in real time. The difficult part of this sale is the drop off process. If you print off your tags at home before you come, drop off is easy, but your items are not guaranteed. This means that in order to get your items guaranteed (which is really nice if an item is lost or stolen) you have to have them print the tags for you and then you put them on your items at drop off. Also, the inspection process is much more scrutinizing, simply because they only want high quality merchandise. I also enjoy that with this sale when you go to pick up your unsold items, all items are already sorted for you, and they give you your check that day before you leave. It literally takes 2 minutes to pick up your unsold items and get paid.

If you prefer, both sales offer to donate your unsold items and then mail you your check, that way you don't have to worry about picking them up. I don't usually do that though because what doesn't sell at one sale, usually sells at the next one. There is usually an initial consigners fee but if you transfer unsold items to another sale of the same franchise in that same year, the fee is usually waived after the first sale you participate in. 

Overall, I would suggest to anyone looking to sell their kids used items to check out these types of sales. I find these are a financially savvy way to get rid of the mountains of clothes and toys that collect in boxes and tubs in my basement. These sales are much much much easier than having a garage sale at your home and I always make more money.

Oh, and if you live in the KC area and you decide to sell with either of these franchises, please give them my name as a reference so I can get a little extra in my check (another bonus to selling and referring others to the sales). 

There are lots of sales coming up this spring, in fact I'm currently doing the Rhea Lana sale at the Overland Park International Trade Center this weekend. 

So stop by and buy my stuff. Hope to see you there!

                                                                                Photo Courtesy http://www.encorebabyregistry.com