CONSIGNMENT SHOPS: The Art of Buying and Selling Pre-Loved Goods

It’s time for that annual spring cleaning ritual when we venture into the depths of our closets to conquer clutter and bid farewell to wardrobe relics of seasons past. But what do you do with items that are no longer wanted — the ones you bought on impulse and never wore, or ordered online and couldn’t return?

Consignment shops offer a solution, turning forgotten garments or outdated furnishings into someone else’s treasure. In a world where sustainability is chic and thriftiness is celebrated (and let’s face it, necessary in today’s economy), consignment shops have emerged as unsung heroes of our spring cleaning escapades. 

An eco-friendly twist to traditional retail, sellers can monetize their decluttering efforts, and thrifters can nab unique finds that fit their budget.

Eco Friendly Shopping is In

With growing awareness about environmental issues and the desire to make ethical choices, many consumers favour sustainable retail options. “Bringing in clothes is better for the environment. Rather than just throwing them out, [people] want their clothes to have a second chance,” says Monika Waszczuk, owner of Sell It 2 Wear It in Dundas.

While used clothing used to have a negative connotation, with today’s awareness of the devastating environmental impact of the fashion industry, consumers are more appreciative of giving pre-loved items a second life. “Online platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji have helped destigmatize thrifting and buying used,” says Ivy Leung, owner of Kid 2 Kid in Burlington. 

But buying second hand doesn’t necessarily mean buying used. Many consignment shops carry new items with tags still attached that have never been worn. “Kids grow so quickly and tweens change their minds too often. Instead of trying to post each item on Marketplace and risk getting ghosted after the fifteenth ‘is this available’ message, it’s much easier to sell everything at once and get cash right away,” says Leung. 

Making Money with Consignment

In today’s economy where every dollar counts, the allure of turning old into new and earning a little cash in the process has never been more enticing. While every store operates differently, most consignment stores have a term contract in which they keep the item for three or four months and pay the seller a percentage of the selling price. If the item doesn’t sell within the period, the seller will have the option to take the item back or donate it to charity. 

Saving Money with Consignment 

Consignment shops offer a win for consumers looking to get more value for their dollar, delivering quality items at lower than retail cost. “Who doesn’t love designer finds at a fraction of the retail price?” asks Heather Aris, owner of My Girlfriend’s Closet in Bronte. 

At Kid to Kid Burlington, sellers are paid cash up front for their gently used kids’ clothing, baby gear and toys. The store provides sellers an additional 20 per cent if they take store credit. “It’s an extra savings if you’re looking to size up,” says owner Ivy Leung. 

Our community is home to many consignment stores, each with their own standards for what they will consign and sell. Here are a few examples.

The Millionaire’s Daughter is the place to go for consigning furniture, home decor, and china. With three locations (Oakville, Hamilton and Aurora) and over 15 years of experience in the industry, owner Maureen Barnes says they are the experts in selling pre-loved home decor. Items must be in excellent condition and from non-smoking homes. 

Shopping consignment for furniture and home décor makes it affordable and exciting to refresh the look of your space.  Not just antiques…. you will find a huge assortment of items at Millionaire’s Daughter, from pottery to rugs to armoires and dining sets.  And Barnes points out that the search is part of the fun.  You never know what you might find and the inventory turns over regularly.  You need to visit often or stay up to date online to avoid missing out on new items as they come in.

Kid to Kid in Aldershot specializes in children’s resale. Parents receive cash on the spot for the things their kids have outgrown, and can also shop from a huge selection of high quality, slightly used replacement items at discounted prices. The store sells and buys children’s clothing,
sports gear, costumes, toys, dance wear and more.   

Sell It 2 Wear It in Dundas looks for clothing items that are unique and different. “I take a large variety of things from vintage to brand new,” says Waszczuk. This store is the place to go if you’re looking for vintage fashion finds such as bell bottom jeans and leather jackets, or unique items from Europe.

My Girlfriend’s Closet in Oakville looks for designer, quality brand name items under two years old in gently worn or mint condition. “Everything has to be dry cleaned, or freshly laundered and pressed or ironed. A large percentage of our items come in with the original tags,” says Aris. 

Whether you’re hunting for a new outfit or home decor, a consignment store offers unique and stylish finds that help save you money, and the environment.  

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