Many potential clients share the concern that, as professional organizer, I will force them to get rid of prized possessions. This could not be further from the truth! My job, in the first stage of the organizing process, is to enable my clients to make productive decisions about items in their homes: keep, toss, or give away. I certainly provide recommendations, but the final say is always theirs.
The first decision when faced with the “give-away pile” is whether or not you want to make money from these items. Some clients just want the stuff to disappear, and like the idea that it could help someone else, so we donate all of their items to charity. The Goodwill is an excellent fallback, but I also suggest different organizations to my clients depending on their philanthropic interests – perhaps a thrift store that supports an animal shelter for a dog lover!
Some clients feel better knowing that their items continue to have market value, and that they aren’t just throwing away perfectly good things. For those clients, consignment is a great option, and I use it myself! Clothes, shoes, and accessories usually make up the bulk of consignable items, and here’s how I do it.
I list items that are brand new with tags (yes, I am a professional organizer, and yes, I have gotten rid of things I bought but never wore!) on eBay. You can earn the most on your pieces here because it’s an international, competitive market. That said, it does take time and energy to manage eBay sales and get the items mailed off in a timely manner, which may or may not be worth it to you.
I use ThredUp* for mid-range designer pieces (think J. Crew, Kate Spade, Marc by Marc Jacobs). This service could not be easier: they send you a bag, you fill it up and send it back, and then they sell your items and give you the money, all for free! The downside is that they are pretty picky – I have never had everything in my bag accepted for sale. You can either tell them to donate the unaccepted items or send them back to you for a fee that is deducted from your total earnings.
I go to The Designer Consigner, my favorite local consignment shop, to sell high-end items and mid-range items that weren’t accepted by ThredUp*. They are very easy to work with and I trust them – the owner told me that the Stuart Weitzman shoes I didn’t want anymore don’t command a good price here in SF and that my best bet was to sell them online! They will reject items that are the wrong season, since sales move quickly, so I do have to strategize around that.
Please note that you do need to be very honest with yourself about the condition of your items when consigning. If you wouldn’t want to buy that sweater that has totally pilled on the sides or those shoes with chips in the heels, no one else would either! In the case of clearly worn pieces, it’s best to donate or even just trash them.
*This post contains referral links, which will earn me cash back or shopping credit on the linked sites. I was not asked by any of these companies to advertise their products or services.