It all depends on what you want, in addition to cleaning out your closets and cupboards.
ARE YOU WILLING TO SHARE IN THE RISKS AND REWARDS OF CONSIGNING?
Since a consignment shop doesn’t make money until you do, participating in the process by placing your items on consignment is, in effect, profit-sharing. You do your best to offer stylish, clean, appealing merchandise, and the shop does its best to showcase them in a proper manner, draw potential buyers to the shop to buy, and operate in a professional manner so your goods return the maximum reasonable price to you and to the business.
Now, the key in pricing is reasonable. No professional shopkeeper, and no reasonable consignor, will insist that something in a consignment shop be priced too high. The consignor risks having her items remain unsold, and the shopkeeper risks not making the rent! So when you’re looking for a shop to best represent you, look for one whose prices and selling policies will draw buying customers.
WOULD YOU RATHER JUST DO IT AND BE DONE?
If you prefer just passing on your items and not worrying about whether they will be sold before you get any money, you might enjoy a shop which buys things outright from the general public. When the shop takes all the risk of merchandise selling, though, it must buy for a price reasonable enough to allow for profits. Therefore, a buy-outright shop will give you instant cash…but it may (or may not!) be less than the potential income if you waited and shared the risk as you do when consigning.
Selling, rather than consigning, might be a good choice if you are moving, or if you simply don’t wish to wait for your cash. Some shops will offer both options, so be sure to ask.
WOULD YOU PREFER YOUR ITEMS BE SOLD TO HELP OUT A CHARITY?
If it’s important to you not only to clear out your closets, but to make sure your items help others in many ways, think about donating your gently-used good items to charity. Charitable shops, run by non-profit associations, can do double good: they help recycle and they raise money for their mission. If the shop is run by a true charity, you can receive a donation slip that you might be able to use to reduce your income taxes.
Another, and often more lucrative, way to help a local charity is to ask them if they maintain an account in the charity’s name in a consignment shop. This is the perfect blend of expertise: the charity can get on with doing what it does best in fulfilling its mission, while allowing the consignment shop to use the retailing and marketing talents it has to gain maximum income for the charity. The sharpest consignment shops will have available a list of charities who welcome your consigning to their accounts.