How To Shop for Frugal Clothing at Consignment Stores

Are you in need of some new clothing but are unsure of how to score the best deal at your local consignment store. Here are my tips for finding frugal clothing and selling it too!

Are you in need of some new clothing but are unsure of how to score the best deal at your local consignment store. Here are my tips for finding frugal clothing and selling it too! #frugalclothing #consignmentshopping

How to Shop for Frugal Clothing at Consignment Stores

I used to assume that all consignment stores automatically made clothing more expensive. Think about the logic of it, the store has to make money, the person selling the clothes has to make money, and you still want to get a good deal. Doesn’t seem like you would be able to with everyone trying to get their cut!

But lately, I’ve found that there can be good deals on clothing, even at consignment stores. Especially if you are looking for specific higher-end brands or if you are just looking for a little better quality clothing than the thrift stores. Here are some tips to try and get the most for your dollar at consignment stores.

–If you aren’t into shopping in a store, you may also want to check out my best tips for Buying Used Clothes Online.

How to Find Thrifty Clothing

1. Shop around for the best stores. Ask your friends and ask their friends which consignment stores they enjoy shopping at. While one store might have higher prices or higher-end clothing, another might have good prices all the time plus sales! If you have a friend that you admire their clothing style, you may also want to ask them about where they donate or sell their clothing when they are done with it. Some consignment stores carry clothing with different styles (younger, older, etc) and you don’t want to waste your time going to a store that doesn’t have your style if you don’t have to.

2. Pay attention to sales. Many consignment stores mark down clothing after it has been with them a certain period of time or at the end of a season. (For example, I know of a store in my town that marks down anything that is still there after 3 months based on the color of the tag.) At these sales, you can find good deals to buy clothing for another season. If you still aren’t sure when a store might run sales, try to check it out seasonally. Likely certain clothing will be marked down toward the end of a season to make room for the next season’s clothing. Most consignment stores have little to no storage space so they must sell these items!

3. Sell your clothes! When you are done with them or they no longer fit, sell your clothing back to consignment stores! Some stores will give you only credit to their store while others will give you cash so make sure you “shop around” for the best store to sell your items at. You might not make as much as selling your clothing outright but you won’t have to do any of the work.

–Too many clothes in your closet? Consider creating a Minimalist Wardrobe!

Tank Tops

4. Make double sure you are picking the best store to sell your clothes at. This is a very important point so it’s worth repeating. One store in my town often throws away things they decide not to sell instead of giving them back to you…you don’t want that to happen! Find a store that gives the clothing back to you if it doesn’t sell after a certain time period or a store that donates the unsold clothing to a shelter or a good cause.

5. Just because it’s a brand name, don’t pay more. This goes for shopping anywhere. You want to get a quality item but you don’t need to pay for the tag! Pay attention to what fabrics the clothing is made out of and how durable it feels. Don’t buy used clothing that feels thin or already has holes in it because it won’t last much longer. Also, look for clothing that is made from more natural fabrics versus polyester. It will typically last longer and hold up better in the wash.

Do you have a favorite consignment store in your town that you can regularly find good deals at? Tell us about your finds and your tips in the comments!

Not into consignment stores? Check out my post about shopping for clothes at rummage sales! Want to sell your used clothing online instead? Here are my best tips for running online sales!

Do you sell your clothing at consignment stores or do you shop at them? What tips do you have or what experiences can you share with other readers?

This post on Frugal Clothing was originally posted on Little House Living in September 2012. It has been updated as of September 2019.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Frugal Clothing: Consignment Stores – Little House on the Prairie … | Saving Money
  2. Consignment selling can be a good way to make a little extra spending money. Some other things to follow are:
    . do your research as the article says,
    . before you take your items to the store call them or better yet, stop in and find out what their policies are: what items are they currently accepting, do they want them pressed and on hangars, are there certain days or do you have to have an appointment to drop your items off, what happens to the items they do not accept for consignment, how long are the items kept at regular price before they are marked down, how does their markdown system work, HOW OFTEN WILL YOU GET PAID AND HOW WILL YOU GET PAID, once the item is on the sales floor understand that the store usually is not responsible for lost or stolen items or damage done to the items, does the owner/sales staff go through the store occassionally culling the items (basically if they think they no longer ‘like’ the item or feel it doesn’t ‘fit’ with the store any longer or whatever reason…the items are usually taken off the sales floor and donated to a thrift/charity or simply thrown out.
    . what happens to your items if they do not sell in a specified period of time? Can you get them back or are they donated.
    . stop in the store occassionally to see if you can locate any of your items but please don’t ask the staff where it is if the store is crazy busy (do that on a quite day)
    . Rummage sales are a great place to find good instyle items to take to a consignment store. Be certain that all zippers work, all buttons are there, there are no stains, rips or tears, and that the material is not overly worn. Make sure all the items are freshly laundered with no musty or storage smells!
    . Know what the cost split is…..many stores do a 60/40 split…40 for you.
    Have some fun.