A lot of folks go shopping at Goodwill or Salvation Army for hidden treasures which can be unearthed and sold on eBay for big bucks. If this is your sort of thing, good for you. Enjoy. I find that for the average person, that’s generally a bigger hassle than it’s worth; you won’t often find many (or any) items that will turn an appreciable profit once you factor in the time to scavenge, take pictures, write up your auctions, and deal with buyer questions. Again—there are people who do it and do it happily.
But for a busy mom, say, who’s trying to save time as much as money, buying beyond what you or your kids will use is a waste. Right?
The trick is to reap greater financial benefits without spending any more time. eBay is a huge time suck. The financial rewards can be great, but it’s a gamble, and there’s no way to get the time back once you’ve put it in. So. What to do?
To utilize the following you need to have two things:
1) A catch-all thrift store (such as Goodwill or Salvation Army) where you would be shopping anyway. (This is about greater gain with little effort. If you’d be making a special trip, don’t bother.)
2) A better-class consignment store where you normally shop; preferably one that pays at a higher rate if you’re willing to take payment in store credit.
Have both of those? Good!
I have a nearby Salvation Army that I hit every couple of weeks. There’s always a tag color where everything’s a dollar, so I’ll go in looking for only that color and am usually able to pick up some stuff for myself or the kids dirt cheap.
Here’s the secret: I’m not going to make a ton of money picking up clothing there and selling it on eBay. Believe me; I’ve done it before, and other than the occasional discontinued Hanna Andersson mint-condition item, what I recoup is peanuts compared to the aggravation. I don’t bother, anymore. However, it doesn’t take me any longer, in my regular shopping there, to pick up every name-brand, good-condition, in-style, in-season clothing item I come across that’s currently a dollar and toss it into my cart.
I don’t know about your Salvation Army, but at mine? Everything is pretty much thrown together. Other than the fact that all the kids’ stuff is in the same general location, that is. So in order to find jeans for my son or pajamas for my daughter, I have to comb through all the racks, anyway. While I’m doing that, if I come across a great item for a buck that’s the wrong size or gender for my kids? Into the cart it goes.
The next time I hit the high-end consignment store, I sell them the stuff I picked up at Salvation Army. I paid a dollar apiece, and they will sell those items (depending on what they are) for anywhere from $4-$20. My account is credited half that, so I have the potential to make a $9 profit on a piece.
Extra time spent: None.
Extra effort spent: None.
Extra trips made: None.
Extra money in my account where I buy most of the kids’ clothes: And how.
I average about $15/trip when I go to Salvation Army. Sometimes it’s mostly clothes to keep, sometimes it’s mostly stuff to sell; usually it’s about an even split. Between that and consigning stuff that my kids have outgrown, I have never, in over six years of shopping at my local kids’ consignment boutique, paid cash there. I always have money in my account. And that’s handy, because about 80% of my kids’ clothing comes from that store.
It requires a bit of attention to your local store’s trends (you have to know what brands/styles are popular), but other than that? There’s nothing to it.
(Don’t get me started on my other pet topic, which is “Who are all these people throwing out brand new clothing from the Gap and Aeropostale??”)