November 09, 2011

What Do You Do With Your Clothes?

I've written before about how great the clothing sale is that's put on by my moms of multiples group. We hold it two times a year and we all tend to unload a lot of clothes and bring in some extra cash. Unfortunately, no one currently wants to head up the ginormous work of coordinating the spring sale. No dates have been locked in and it's looking like the spring sale is a no go. Bummer!
I have four Rubbermaid bins and one garbage bag full of clothes and toys just waiting to be sold. Have any of you sold children's clothes through Ebay? Is it worth my time? How do I figure in shipping costs? I'm seriously considering going the Ebay route with roughly 20 items to see if it works. 
Have any of you gone to a local consignment shop? I'm not sure how I feel about consignment since most stores give you a date to pick up whatever hasn't sold. I've read good and bad things about Once Upon a Child, which gives you cash on the spot. Anyone have an opinion?
A group called Just Between Friends hosts a sale twice a year near my home. The commission structure is similar to my moms of multiples group, but their "suggested pricing guide" is pretty high. I price my thing to sell and make a little bit of money to boot. I don't expect to be rolling in cash after the sales. 
To be clear: I do donate to local charities. A lot. As I prepare for the sale I make a few piles: things to pass on to friends, things to donate to the charity that has me on speed dial and things to sell. Right before our sale last month I gave one bag of clothes to a mom with triplets and donated four bags to the aforementioned charity. I like donating and knowing the clothes will either help a friend or help a charity. Still, there are some items I have that are in excellent condition and could definitely bring in some much needed cash to our bank account. (And just for the record, I don't donate stained, icky clothes. I currently have two bags in the basement to donate that are full of hats, jeans and tops, all in great condition. I tend to donate the items that seem too tedious to tag for the sales).
So, anyone?! I'm open to suggestions on how to bring in a little extra income for the "higher end" items that my girls have outgrown.

9 comments:

Kristyn said...

Hi! I follow your blog and thought I'd give a bit of feedback on the ebay/resale thing. I have a set of almost 3-year-old twins and a singleton that's 18 months younger. I, like you, also sell quite a bit at my multiples group sale twice a year. I have previously rented a table at another Mom to Mom sale in my area (I did ok, but not as well as my own mult. group sale).
Ok, so the ebay thing. There are good and bad things about it. I recently sold a few items and had a couple issues.
1 - shipping is waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy more expensive than I thought. I actually sold 2 Ralph Lauren sweaters together, the auction ended at around $2 and I charged $6 for shipping. I found a box around the house and only had to pay for postage. The postage came to $8.50 so all said and done I was $.50 in the hole - not worth that sale!
2 - I sold a set of Janie & Jack clothes for around $38, I printed the shipping label and mailed the clothes. Then later I received an e-mail from the buyer saying she didn't receive the stuff. I didn't put a tracker on it so I'm not sure how that will end up. When I went back into the shipping info, the address had been changed and it was different than where I mailed it. She must have changed it after I printed the label.

Bottom line - use the "print shipping label" feature on the ebay page when your auction ends. I would just use a bathroom scale to estimate the weight of the package. That way ebay assigns a tracking number (which costs extra $ if you add it at the post office but Ebay does it for free) and you're "covered" if your buyer doesn't receive the item. Oh, and ebay ALWAYS sides with the buyer if they have a complaint, so prepare yourself for the possibility of losing an item and/or money in the process. If you can sell a large quantity of things and overall come out ahead it's a great tool. Feel free to e-mail me privately if you have more questions. (KristynDougherty@yahoo.com).

Good luck! Kristyn

Kristyn said...

One more thing I thought of is that my Multiples Group has a section on our website (we use BigTent) for classifieds. That way we post ads for free and other members can see them and contact you. I'm not sure if your multiples group has something like that but if not, maybe you can suggest it at one of your meetings.

MaryAnne said...

I've bought clothes from ebay, and it might be worth it. The shipping is separate from the bidding price. You set it when you post the item.

My brother sells a lot of stuff on ebay, and he says that in general the best strategy is to set a low starting point (99 cents or even lower) so that you generate a lot of interest in the product. You can also set a buy it now price, where if someone is willing to pay it ends the auction early.

Melissa Ann said...

Did a quick google search on selling kids clothes online and found some amazing sites. Here's one that looks good.
http://www.storkbrokers.com/sell-baby-stuff/
The only down side I see is having to monitor your account, but it might be worth it.

Quadmama said...

Thanks for all the input everyone! I definitely have a lot to consider.

Christina said...

I actually have a friend who has twin girls. :) so she gets all my used stuff, and it works out great!!! Good luck with all the stuff you don't need....I'm sure there is an option that will be good for you.

Brooke said...

I've done three Just Between Friends sales. They're particular about the tagging and condition of clothes (understandably so) but once you get that down, it's pretty simple. I love being able to drop off everything and then getting a check in the mail - super easy and convenient. I always opt to donate whatever doesn't sell -- which is what I would have done with the clothes anyway. So I'd recommend giving it a try. You can also run a report of what didn't sell and use that at tax time for an estimate of your charitable donations (you have the prices on there too, so you don't have to guess the cost equivalent).

I've also used eBay for a few nicer things and it's worked out pretty well. For shipping, I bought a bunch of very light, plastic bubble mailers that fit a few items inside and bought a postal scale that we also use as a kitchen scale -- and I love being able to print out the shipping labels from home and sending packages right from my mailbox. I'll also use the fixed price envelops and boxes (Priority Mail) from the post office so I know exactly the shipping cost (usually about $5 for smaller stuff).

I took some clothes to Once Upon a Child once but their offer for the clothes was so insanely low that it wasn't worth it at all -- I think I just ended up donating them.

Good luck!

reanbean said...

Just catching up over here and just realized I never got back to you about the clothes! What did you end up doing? Did you set up shop on Ebay?

Quadmama said...

Once I factored in shipping it didn't seem worth it. Definitely not going the Once Upon a Child route... too many negative reviews from friends. If my multiples group can't find a sale coordinator than I think I'll give serious consideration to JBF.

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