You’ve got a closet full of brand name clothing that now no longer fits you or your needs. How can you recoup some of what you spent? Consigning! Consignment shops will take your gently used items, mostly clothing and accessories, and sell them for you, while taking a percentage of the selling price. It’s an easy way to unload your unused clothing while earning some money. It will also help you avoid the hassle of dealing with EBay and Craigslist – no haggling with strangers, packing up boxes to mail, or footing the bill for shipping costs.

So how does consigning work? First decide what you have to sell. Thanks to snags, loose threads, and faint stains, you know you’ll never wear that white turtleneck again. Unfortunately, neither will anyone else; toss it in the trash and move on. What about that red wool blazer? You find it hot and itchy and, sorry to say, tighter than when you bought it just last year but it’s in great shape. Bingo – the perfect item to consign. Continue in this vain through your closet and drawers.

The next decision is which shop to use. Though consignment shops policies vary, the concept is essentially the same. Do a little research online to find which ones accept the items you have to consign. For example, there are shops that only deal with high-end clothing while others only accept children’s items. Some may deal all types of clothing, but not shoes or accessories. Naturally this makes it necessary to know exactly what you want to sell prior to choosing the right shop. The National Association of Resale Professionals is a great place to start.

Once you’ve matched the store’s market with your items, determine how and when they want items dropped off. Shops may require an appointment, limit the number of items you may drop off during one appointment, and expect your clothes to be clean, pressed, and on hangers. (Should a shop require clothes be in excellent condition, determine if they offer steaming services and have hangers available for a reasonable price.)

Many shops require a contract be signed. As with all contracts, read the fine print before you sign on the dotted line! Standard agreements tend to detail how items are priced (25% of retail value is common), what percentage the store retains for their service, and when consigners may pick up checks. Most likely you will also be asked what you want to do with items that do not sell after a set period of time – take it back or have the shop donate it on your behalf?

Some consignment shops will let you put your earnings toward items in the shop with a deep discount provided. It’s a great chance to use the money earned from old clothes for new one you will actually use. (Hint: Don’t make the mistake of trying on that red wool blazer again!)

Does it sound complicated? It’s really not. Decide what you want to sell, find the right shop, learn the procedure, and start making some money. Once you’re set up, it becomes just another errand to run – drop off the clothes, pick up the check. Happy consigning!

The Washington DC Metro area is great for consignment shops, here are a few of our favorites:

Current Boutique
2529 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 528-3079
specializing in: Women’s designer clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories and jewelry

Second Time Around
3289 M St NW
(between N 33rd St & N Eton Ct)
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-2355
specializing in: Women’s high end designer clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories

1702 Connecticut Ave NW
(between N R St & N S St)
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-1122
specializing in: Women’s designer clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories

Bellies & Babies
1913 Mt Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301
(703) 518-8908
specializing in: ‘non-mass market’ maternity and children’s clothing, local handmade gifts and
baby ‘gear’

Mustard Seed
7349 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 907-4699
specializing in: All brands for men and women, shoes, handbags, jewelry and vintage items (1950-1970)

About Alejandra

About Alejandra

Since 2008, organizing expert & certified life coach, Alejandra Costello has taught thousands of students in 132 countries how to get organized through her video-based training programs. Her YouTube videos have been viewed 100+ million times. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV and “The Decluttering Queen” by Good Morning America, Alejandra’s expertise has been featured in The New York Times,, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. 


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