There are so many reasons I love consignment shops.
You can find some incredible deals on clothing, accessories, and shoes, while also recycling the stuff you no longer need. It’s a win-win.
Table of Contents
- My Shopping Rule for Consignment Shops
- Online vs. Actual Consignment Stores
- The Best Online Consignment Shops
- Popular Consignment Stores in the U.S.
- Are You Ready to Sell at a Consignment Store?
My Shopping Rule for Consignment Shops
I don’t shop for clothing all that much anymore because I’m focused on spending mindfully and saving the rest. However, every now and then, I get the urge.
My spending rule is to stick to consignment and if I want to buy something, I can only do it after I sell a few things to the store.
This not only minimizes my shopping costs, it also keep my closet in check. There’s nothing I dislike more than a closet full of clothing I never wear.
So far, it’s worked out well and I highly recommend this method, if you’re trying to kick your shopping habit.
Online vs. Actual Consignment Stores
I’m lucky to have a lot of options near me because I live near San Francisco — my favorites include Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Trading, and Wasteland.
These days, however, you don’t need to live in a big city to have access to recycled fashion. All you need is a smartphone to get rid of the stuff you no longer want or need.
This article will detail the best online consignment shops in addition to popular consignment stores located in large cities.
The Best Online Consignment Shops
Poshmark is an app, but you can also use the desktop version to browse through items like clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry, and other accessories. Technically it’s not a consignment shop, but you can find gently used clothing and accessories for a pretty good deal.
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The app is great because it’s really easy to communicate to the buyer or seller, and it’s easy to like items, ask and answer questions.
If you’re using it to shop, you can create a filter to only show clothing and shoes in your size.
There are even Poshmark parties that you can partake in to see new items from your favorite sellers.
How to Sell on Poshmark
If you want to sell on Poshmark, you can snap the photo and post directly from the app. Poshmark charges a flat fee of $6.95 and takes a 20 percent cut of the final sale.
When you sell your item, you print out the premade shipping label from Poshmark and drop it off at the mailbox. When the buyer receives the item, they are required to inspect it and then “accept” it. Then you get paid.
For items that are priced lower than $15, Poshmark charges a flat fee of $2.95. For more expensive items, Poshmark takes a 20 percent commission fee.
When your item sells on Poshmark, they provide you with a prepaid shipping label (just print it from your printer) so you can ship your item to the buyer.
For a complete review of how to buy and sell from Poshmark, see my review of it. I also noted which gently used designer items I’ve had luck with while selling my stuff (see the section that says “5 clothing brands that tend to be high in demand”).
thredUP is the world’s largest consignment and thrift store that sells clothing for women, kids, and even sells maternity wear.
I personally haven’t used thredUP, but decided to see what it was like. I signed up and did some cruising on the site. I first checked out the designer section to see what kind of items they had. For example, I saw a pair of black high top Prada tennis shoes for $149 and Christian Louboutin diamond encrusted heels for $1,599.
Shipping is free for orders over $79.
If you want to get rid of your stuff, they have a “Clean Out” section on the top navigation that allows you to order a “Clean Out Kit” which consists of three options.
- Free Donation Bag: This means you’re willing to let go of all the stuff you ship to them and whatever thredUP doesn’t take, they will donate to charity
- Free Standard Bag: Whatever items thredUP accepts, they will pay you for. The rest will be sent back to you but the processing time is up to three weeks.
- $16 Expedited Bag: You get paid for the items thredUP accepts, but $16 will be deducted from your earnings and whatever is left over will be processed within a week
Sellers receive anywhere from 5 percent of the sale price for women’s items valued lower than $14.99 to 80 percent of the price of goods expected to sell for $300 or more.
thredUP has a payout estimator if you want to get an estimate of how much your stuff is worth, before sending it to them.
3. The RealReal
Do you have a lot of high-end luxury items? Think: Rodeo Drive, not the mall. A few examples include Burberry, Chanel, and Hermes.
If so, check out The RealReal, which is one of the top online consignment stores for designer duds.
Just like thredUP, you request a shipping bag that comes with pre-paid postage so you can drop off your clothing at the post office. They also offer in-home pick up.
If you successfully end up selling your items online, you get paid based on a scale.
- Sales with less than $1,500 receive 55 percent of the commission, along with items priced lower than $120.
- If you sell an excess of $10,000, you receive a 70 percent commission
- An 80 percent commission is paid for fine watches and all Hermes Birkin bags
If your item doesn’t sell after a year, it will be sent back to you. (You pay for shipping.) Otherwise, the unsold items may be donated to charity.
There’s also a free price estimate tool on their site that gives you an idea of how much you could receive before sending your items in.
eBay is a great place to sell your designer clothing and make some extra money. Their platform for used goods is huge with millions buying and selling items like clothing to artwork to cars.
When you sign up for an account to sell, you get 50 free listings a month. When your items sell eBay takes a 10 percent cut of the final price. Keep in mind there may be additional fees for certain types of payment methods.
When you sell on eBay or anywhere else for that matter, be sure to take really good photos. See what your competition is doing and make sure your photos are clear, are taken in bright light, and easy for an online shopper to get a feel for.
Whenever I list on eBay, I always put a tape measure along the edges of the item when snapping the photo. It makes it easier for both the shopper and the seller to quickly reference how long or wide the item is.
If the item is small, like jewelry, include an easily identifiable item in the photo, like a coin. It helps the potential buyer understand how large or small the item is since it’s sometimes hard to tell from the photo.
When you sell on eBay, you can easily see what other sellers have priced the item for, and in order to stay competitive, consider shipping it for free and selling it for a few dollars less.
If I desperately want to get rid of the item or think it won’t sell, I use the “Best Offer” option and set it to automatically accept offers 20 percent lower than what I’ve priced it for.
Popular Consignment Stores in the U.S.
If you’re interested in taking your gently used items to an actual consignment store in your city, here’s a heads up on what to expect, as well as a few tips.
- Avoid weekends as most places tend to get crowded and the wait is long (usually over 30 minutes)
- Don’t bring your entire closet! Sift through the best items that are gently worn
- Focus on bringing your name brand or designer labels
- Stick to items that are in season
- Bring your state-issued ID or driver’s license
- You must be 18 or older to sell
The consignment stores on this list give you cash on the spot, rather than the giving you a cut of the sales when it sells. You would typically get 30 percent of what the store would price the item for. If you take store credit you’d receive 50 percent.
As an example, let’s say you sold a shirt that the store priced at $19. You would make $5.70 if you took the cash or $9.50 in store credit.
Here are some highly-rated consignment stores in various cities across the U.S. Some of the stores listed have multiple locations in different states while others are specific to that particular city.
5. Buffalo Exchange (Locations in 20 states within the U.S.)
Buffalo Exchange was definitely one of the pioneers of the consignment trend and now has locations in 20 states. The store has been around since 1974 and is one of the best places for consignment shopping. Since the store has multiple locations, the ones in the fashionable areas like New York City’s East Village and Los Angeles’s La Brea location are always worth a look.
If you want to sell at Buffalo Exchange, it’s on a strictly first come, first serve basis and if you come on the weekends, it’ll be crowded. In the California and New York locations I’ve frequented, you simply wait your turn in line, rather than putting your name on a list. Sometimes the wait can be very long, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Whatever items you sell you receive 30 percent of what they price it for, if you want cash, and if you choose store credit, you get 50 percent. You’ll have to show your driver’s license or ID when you’re selling.
They mostly take gently worn designer labels and look for items that are in season, so if it’s summer, leave your winter stuff at home until fall rolls along. In my experience, they can be picky about what they buy. If the item is worn out and not a designer label you’re probably better off donating it.
According to their site, they are always on the hunt for plus size items, menswear, jeans, t-shirts, button-ups, dresses, shoes, sweaters, jackets, designer, vintage, jewelry, and athletic wear.
They have stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
6. Crossroads Trading (Locations in 7 states in the U.S.)
Crossroads Trading is similar to Buffalo Exchange but the buying process is more streamlined. When you enter the store, you sign in (usually through an iPad) and they call you when they’re ready to look through your bags.
Just like Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads looks for gently worn designer labels that are in season and trendy.
Similar to thredUP, Crossroads offers a mail-in service for people who don’t live near a location. You request a pre-labeled bag, fill it up, and drop it in the mail. You can expect the processing time to be 1-2 weeks and whatever they take, you get a check for 30 percent of the items or 50 percent if you take store credit.
According to their site, they are looking for designer labels from Madewell, Topshop, Anthropologie, Lululemon, Kate Spade, J.Crew, and Zara. They do not accept items from Old Navy, Forever 21, Target, or Walmart.
Crossroads locations in the U.S. include California, New York, Illinois, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Washington D.C. Most of their locations are in California.
7. Plato’s Closet
Examples of brands they regularly accept include H&M, Billabong, Steve Madden, Tory Birch, and Nike.
8. Wasteland (San Francisco and Los Angeles Only)
Wasteland is one of my favorite consignment stores. I’ve successfully sold a lot of my vintage designer items but shopping there is also really fun because they seem to have a lot more unique items that you wouldn’t be able to find in other consignment stores or the mall.
According to their site, you can drop off your bags and the average wait time is about 5 to 20 minutes. They look for items that are in new or almost new condition.
Wasteland pays 35 percent of the total marked prices.
According to their site, if they don’t buy your items it means they have too much of it already or it may not be in season.
9. Beacon’s Closet (New York City Area Only)
Beacon’s Closet is an awesome local consignment shop in the New York City area with locations in mostly Brooklyn and one in Manhattan. They pay the highest percentage of any consignment store — 35 percent in cash or 55 percent in store credit.
If you want to sell there, items should be gently used, clean, and in excellent overall condition. They also recommend that you don’t bring more than four large bags when you sell.
You have the option of dropping off your bags and returning later to see what items have sold. Beacon’s Closet buys 7 days a week. You must be 18 or older in order to sell and have a valid ID or driver’s license.
Whatever you don’t end up selling can be donated by the store.
Are You Ready to Sell at a Consignment Store?
So before you can stand to look at your overly stuffed closet one more time, start taking out all of the items you no longer wear and get moving on selling them at one of the consignment shops mentioned in this article.
Whether you choose the online or in-store route, you have tons of options to recycle your fashion and make some extra money in the process.
Which consignment shops do you frequent to sell your unwanted items?