Now that I've told my shopping secrets, let me share how I sell 90% of my items (I bring 150 items and usually only have around 20 to take home on pick up day!). I've became a "super consignor" at one sale by following this plan.
****This is based upon sales in my area. Note that ALL sales are different, even within the same location. ALWAYS check the rules of your individual sales to prep the most efficiently!
How do I organize and sort my items?
As Nicholas outgrows his clothes I pack them away in large bins marked Fall Consignment and Spring consignment. I put them back in the garage and they sit until I'm ready to tag that season. Once I am able to start making my tags and sign up for a sale, I get the boxes down and start going trough them. Anything that isn't stained (or stained lightly enough that I think I can get it clean) goes into the washer for a fresh cleaning. After being washed, I organize them by outfits and make stacks by type clothing (outfits, pjs, swimsuits, etc). I also iron everything (yes, EVERYTHING including pjs and t-shirts!). I hang them as I go so they don't get too wrinkled and pin them at that point. Remember, the appearance of your items is what sells them!
PIN??? What do you mean pin?!
I am all about securing my items on the hangers. Y'all wouldn't believe how many times while I'm browsing the racks I see clothes all over the floors, draped over the racks, and barely hanging on the hangers. Also, as I work inspection I tell people if I think their stuff isn't secure. No one wants to lose their items and not sell! This is one way how you lose items and don't sell things. So, how do I pin??? I use large safety pins (basting pins is what it says on the package) and I secure the items to the hanger by pining each shoulder. If there are pants/shorts with the outfit I secure them to the shoulders as well. Another important tip, sales require that you hang them a certain direction. In our area sales require you to pin like this, with the front of your item will be hung on the hanger in the direction of a question mark. Here are some pictures to show how I hang...
How do you price your items?
After I have everything pinned and hung, I make my tags. Most sales have an online barcode system. These are awesome! It's good because you just type in an item description, price, and size. You can also decide if you want your items reduced to 50% off on the last day or not. I reduce everything. $1.00 is better than nothing or having to take it back again next year! Now, the tricky part to this is how do you price? The rule of thumb is 30% of what it goes for retail. I base it upon the condition, original price, and as I've become a consignment junkie, what I've seen similar items priced. I think I price slightly low, which has probably helped me sell so many items. When you have completed entering your tags, print on white cardstock, and cut to the dimensions the sale requires (yes, that is actually part of the rules). Once they are cut I'm ready to tag, my least favorite part.
How I organize to tag most efficiently
I've tried several methods to tag and I've found this to be the most effective. I go to the most well lit room in my house, which is the playroom in the afternoon, and organize my clothes into piles based upon sizes. I also put my tags in order of sizes and place them next to the appropriate stack. (12 months clothes next to 12 month tags.) I get out a ton of pins and get to work!
I tag one stack at a time, usually starting with the largest size and work my stacks down to the smallest. This helps when loading and unloading to keep them together by size. You will pin the tag on like this...
How do I tag toys and other "loose" items?
I use clear packing tape and lots of it! I clean everything really good and make them look as good as possible. Then, using the tape I tape my tags as nearly as possible in a place where they are easy to see. If it is a toy with multiple pieces, I put the pieces in a baggy and tape the baggy to the largest part of the toy. With diapers that N has outgrown, I place them in large zip lock bags and tape them shut, just like toys.
How do you prep and tag shoes?
I get this question a lot. With the small sizes I use a zip tie and secure them together and place in a baggy. I seal it and tape it shut to help prevent theft (as best it can). This time I had larger shoes, so I secured them the best I could and pinned a tag on them using tape to reinforce my tags (forgot to take a picture of this). I also clean the shoes up as well as I can and pray for them to sale! Shoes are hard because they are usually so worn.
How does drop off work?
Try the best you can to organize everything as well as possible in your car to minimize your time at drop off. (notice that I bartered 7 cases of coke products for a 12 hour volunteer presale shopping pass!)
Always allow yourself about an hour at drop off and I highly, highly recommend going without children. You will check in and sign a consignor contract or whatever paperwork the sale requires. After I've completed the business end of things, I hang all of my items on a rack and get in line to be inspected. I work inspection at JBF every sale and I think this is a very, very essential part to the success of a sale. With that being said, even the best consignor and even the inspectors sometimes get items rejected. I had one piece with a stain that I didn't see at home, but easily seen under the lights there. Don't take it personally if you have pieces rejected and remember for every piece that isn't in a sellable condition, that is one less unacceptable piece you will have to sort through the day of the sale! While your clothes are being inspected, use that time to put your toys, big items, etc on the floor in the appropriate place. There should be signage to let you know where. Shoes will have to be inspected as well, usually separate, so you will have to go through that line too.
I hope this makes sense and answers a lot of questions people may have about the consignor end of things. Yes, it's a lot of work, but it will make you a lot of spending money if you take the time! As you do it sale after sale, you become much more efficient and it gets easier. I notice it taking less time every sale now. I also enlist my mom to help me with my prep and that helps tremendously! She wasn't able to help in the Fall and it wasn't as fast, that's for sure!
Now you are ready to be a super consignor! Good luck! If it is a sale that uses barcodes, don't forget to log in during the sales and check on your sales! I love doing that every morning during the sale!