Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Consignor Secrets {ways to save time & money when preparing}

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of consignment sales.  It's consignment sale season here where I live in Virginia and I've been doing some shopping for the kids {the women's sales are coming up too}, but this has been my first year to actually sell my own items.

I've only got experience with one sale and the host has made it pretty easy to navigate these new waters, but I thought it would be fun to talk about how to make preparing to consign a little easier.  While I don't have all my earnings yet, I'm really excited about the thought of getting at least some money back!

I opted to start with consigning some of Savannah's clothes.  It may sound silly, but I couldn't bring myself to start off with her newborn/infant items this time, and since it is my first time doing this, I opted to pick her 2T clothing.  I figured I'll sell more sizes next time once I've learned the ropes a little bit.

How does it work for consignors?

If you are a total newbie to the concept of consigning clothes, here's a basic rundown of how it works with many consignment sales.  These might not apply to all types of sales, so definitely check the websites for any sales that you are interested in participating in.

- The people running the sale usually require a consignor fee.  You pay this no matter how many items you plan to consign and it is essentially your "entry fee."

- The consignor usually gets a percentage of their total sales and the host of the sale gets the rest.  Since they are providing the location, staffing {which are usually volunteers}, and marketing of the sale, it makes sense that they get a cut of your sales.  In our area, most of the consignors get around 70-80% of their total sales.

- Consignors are responsible for pricing and hanging their items.  You can decide whether you want your items to be included in the discount days that generally happen at the end of the sale.

- You can also decide whether you want your items to be donated at the end of the sale.  The choice is yours!  You might not ever want to see the items again once they've left your home.

- Consignors typically get to shop before the sale is open to the general public, so it's a great way to get first dibs on the best items.

I know a lot of people who have had great luck with consigning.  I know some people who do it every single season and they use the money to help with their clothing budget for the current season.  I think this is especially true for children's clothing, when kids are constantly outgrowing clothes.

Preparing to Consign

If you're interested in giving this a try, I've got some ideas for how to save time and money when you are preparing to consign your own items.

1.  Prepare your items in stages
I would definitely recommend you prepare all your items in stages.  It can get a little chaotic in your home when you are trying to decide what to sell and then going through the stages of getting all the items tagged and ready for the sale.  Here are some basic stages that might help you keep your sanity while you are prepping your items.

- Choose your items
- Wash or spot clean clothing/disinfect toys or gear
- Enter all your items {with prices and descriptions} into the tagging system your host uses
- Print all your tags
- Attach tags and hang items

2.  Have a generic price list for the pieces you are selling {tops, dresses, pants, outfits, etc.}
Pricing and entering your items in the tagging system can be very time consuming, so having a generic price list will help keep you from analyzing each and every item.  You won't have to think about base prices for each and every item, which should help speed things up.

You can and should increase or lower those prices based on the condition of the item or depending on the brand, but this price list will give you a baseline or starting point when you are pricing each item.  For example, I priced many of the long-sleeved shirts at $2 a piece.  If it was a specialty shirt {like for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas themed}, then I may have increased the price just a little bit.

3.  Collect supplies all year round
You will need some supplies in order to prepare your items for the sale.

Here's a list of supplies you will likely need depending on what you are selling.
- hangers
- safety pins or ribbon {unless you have a tagging gun}
- Ziploc bags
- packing tape
- paper {possibly cardstock depending on host requirements}
- printer/ink
- scissors

In order to save money {you're trying to make money, remember?}, try your best to collect these items throughout the year.  Consider using a small tote so you can store these supplies in one place and be ready when consignment season rolls around again.

4.  Print your tags at the library or some public printer
You will save money on ink and lots of time by printing your tags on a public printer.  You may have to pay a little bit for each page you print, but I can almost guarantee you will save more money by not using up all your ink from your personal printer.  Also, it will take a lot less time to use one of the nice laser printers.

When I was preparing for this consignment sale, it was a little overwhelming at first, but I eventually got into a bit of a groove.  I'm looking forward to seeing how things go with this first sale.  I tried my best to price my items and present them well so they will actually sell, but we'll see.  I may be back afterwards to share some of my successes and/or failures!  :-)

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What ideas do you have to help a new consignor? 

Linking up with:
Allison for Handmade Hangout
Wendy for Frugal Friday
Cheryl for I'm Lovin It

photo source
photo credit
photo credit

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Teacher's Salary Series: Ways to Stretch Your Clothing Budget

Welcome back to another week of The Teacher's Salary series. Feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any suggestions for future topics.

Click HERE to see links to some of my previous posts from this series.

I know I've been talking a lot about clothing budgets lately, but today I wanted to come full circle by sharing some ideas on how to save money on clothing.  Once you realize you need to have a clothing budget and work on determining what it should be, then it's time to get out there and stick to it!  The good news is that no matter how small your clothing budget is, there are lots of ways to save.

1.  Buy used
Before I quit work to stay home with my kids, the thought of buying used clothes never occurred to me.  I'll be the first to admit that my preference will always be for buying clothes with the tags on, but I have realized that you can find some amazing prices on used clothing.  

Consignment sales are a great place to find gently used clothing for very good prices.  I shop consignment quite a bit for my children, but have started to visit some women's consignment sales for myself as well.  You have to dig and sometimes they can be overwhelming, but you can find some great brands at fantastic prices if you are patient. 

Thrift stores are another option for used clothes.   In my experience, not every thrift store is created equal.  Some thrift stores are poorly organized and tend to have outdated styles, but there are some that have really nice brands and current trends.  It may take some time to see which thrift stores are worth your time, but they are a great option.

Yard sales can also be a great place to find clothes for pennies on the dollar.  Since the selection at yard sales will be all over the place, you are likely to find things at totally random times.  Just keep your eyes peeled all year round and you can snag up some great items at great prices.

I don't have personal experience with ThredUp, but I'm hearing great things about them.  They are an online consignment store where you can buy and sell used clothing.  From what a friend has shared with me, you can find some great deals on high-end clothes and they offer free returns if you purchase through their mobile app.  Once I'm out of maternity clothes, I'm definitely going to check them out!

"The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her"

2.  Buy new clothes strategically
I posted about this specific topic a few weeks ago, so I won't repeat everything again today.  But, the truth is that you can find some great deals on new clothing if you keep your eyes peeled on sales and shop at the end of the seasons.  Check out my full post HERE for more specifics on how to snag new items for much less than sticker price!
3.  Stick to the basics
I'm starting to realize that we Americans have way too many clothes!  If the size of the closet in my 1940's house is any indication, then we have a lot more clothes than previous generations.  While there is nothing wrong with buying clothes if you can afford them, I'm convinced that we need a lot less than what we actually think.  

If your clothing budget is limited or you just want to simplify your purchasing, make a list of some wardrobe staples for each season {which may be based on your specific clothing needs} and make sure you stick to those items first and foremost when you are shopping.  You might start with basic items in basic colors and then consider using accessories {like jewelry or scarves that can often be cheaper} to add some more excitement or a pop of color.  Once you have the essentials, then you can always add some special pieces as your budget allows.       

You might find that your problem isn't that you don't have enough clothes, but that you need some new ways to wear what you already have.  Pinterest has been a huge inspiration to me!  Try to think outside the box and find new combinations with the items you already own.     

4.  Clean out your closet periodically
It's a great idea to routinely go through your closet and pull out items that you are no longer wearing.  If you could use the extra cash, then sell them and use the money for things you actually need.  It's a great way to keep your closet under control and to help you fund your clothing budget!

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What ideas do you have for stretching your clothing budget?

Linking up with:
Kelly for Whimsy Wednesdays
Rachel for Wednesday Whatsits
Ruth for Thrifty Thursday
Carrie for Think Tank Thursday
Allison for Handmade Hangout
Wendy for Frugal Friday
Cheryl for I'm Lovin It
Jerri for Friday Favorites Linky Party
Jen for Link Party Palooza
Sarah for Frugal Friday Link Up Party

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Focus Room: Living Room

A couple of weeks ago, I introduced a concept called my weekly focus room.
{Click HEREHERE, and HERE to see the rooms I've tackled so far and why I came up with the idea of weekly focus rooms in the first place.}

I've been stuck on this room for a lot longer than a week and I really wish I had more to report. 

Even though I didn't get as much accomplished as I would have liked, I was glad to get a few things done before finally moving on to another room!

My Fourth Room:  Living Room

 Since we don't have a den or family room, our living room gets lots and lots of use and as you can imagine gets very dirty.  Aside from the normal deep cleaning I wanted to do, I was hoping to complete some unfinished projects and maybe even tackle a project that I've been contemplating for a while now.

Here are some before pictures.

Since we don't have a hall closet near the entryway, this bench and the hooks oftentimes acts as our "dumping grounds" when we walk in the front door.  It needed some tidying up and the picture on the bench needed to hung.

You can't see it from the pictures, but the lampshades on either side of the couch are were cracked and needed to be replaced.  They were damaged when they were in storage while we lived with my grandmother in between our moves 2 years ago.  They have annoyed me the entire time.  There were also some paint touch ups in the corner that never happened before we moved in, but you can't really see them in this picture either.

I didn't take pictures of this, but the baseboards under the window had a crack between the wall and the wood from back in the winter when the wood contracted.  The gap wasn't a huge deal, but it was there and something I wanted to fill in with caulk at some point.

Just another view of the room.  The stairway behind the door never got a second before we moved in and was in desperate need.  I hate unfinished projects!

 I chose the living room for this most recent focus room because of some of the leftover projects that I was anxious to complete.  We spend a lot of time in this room and I guess the nesting in me was just ready to get some things done and marked off the project list!

Unfortunately, I didn't get as much done as I'd have liked, but did get some things marked off my "to-do list."

Here are the after pictures.

Since this area gets lots of wear and tear, I did some paint touch ups in the corner {which you can't tell in the pictures} which made it look "cleaner."  I didn't realize how dirty the cushions were until I took these after photos.  I'll have to tackle that next time!  

I also finally hung the picture that had been sitting on the bench for quite a while.  We were babies on those pictures!!  

I cleaned behind the couch and did some paint touch ups where the couch had rubbed up against the wall and then some in the corner that had been sitting there since before we moved in.  

I also replaced the cracked lampshades with these new ones from Target.  They were on clearance for $13.98!  

My saga with the TV armoire continues and probably will until the spring since the baby is due next month.  I decided that I do want to convert it from an armoire to a TV stand {by basically cutting the top off}, but I just haven't had a weekend or the manpower to help me make it happen.  You can check out what I'm planning to do HERE.  I did, however, go through the DVDs that are in the storage cabinet so we could get rid of the ones we don't ever watch.  

I also caulked the baseboards in order to fill in the gap and painted them with some leftover paint.  You have to love old houses with walls that aren't flush and wood that swells and contracts!

This is just another view of the area as you enter the front door.  Again, it's not visible in the pictures, but I did finally get around to doing the second coat of paint up the stairway.  It looks so much better.  At some point, I'll make the stairway a weekly focus room and work on it some more.

I did some basic cleaning, but wasn't as thorough as I would have liked.  I dusted some of the room, but neglected the TV armoire which probably needed it the most.  Oops!  I was pleased with some of the progress, but was bummed I wasn't able to tackle the TV armoire like I had hoped.  It's a big project though and the timing just hasn't worked out yet.  We'll get to it eventually.

There is still a lot more I'd like to do in the living room.  The window in the front still needs a curtain and I'd like to do a gallery wall of family pictures too.  I'd also love to spruce up the area where the bench and hooks are located.  I'm thinking maybe add some paneling/bead board/board & batten wainscoting/etc. and then have hooks all around that little corner area so we have more places to hang coats and bags.  And I've also been dreaming of some sort of shoe storage solution that could be pulled out of the wall {since there is just dead space underneath the stairs}, but that is way over our heads and would cost and arm and a leg!  Baby steps...          

This week's focus room:  Office

I'll report back next Monday to show you how it went.

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Do you have any unfinished painting touch ups that have sat for 2 years?

Linking up with:
Kathy for Titus 2 Tuesday
Rachel for Wednesday Whatsits
Allison for Handmade Hangout
Wendy for Frugal Friday
Cheryl for I'm Lovin It
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