A friend of mine recently told me she bought at sales for years before she ever thought about selling. She said the consignment sale prep seemed very overwhelming to her. She’s a pro now, but I recently had another mom ask me to break it down because she was also feeling overwhelmed. I broke down my personal tagging system for her and she ended up with a $750 check at the last sale! I saw her posting on Facebook the other day that she’s already begun tagging for the Spring sale!

When I start to prepare for a sale, I break it down into weeks. It just works well for me to only focus on one thing each week and then I can take my time. No time crunch, or pressure to get it done. You can probably do a step every 2-3 days if you wanted.

Four Weeks Out. Collection.

This week I start collecting all of my items for the sale. Go through closets and toy bins. Just make a pile and keep adding to it. Be intentional to check books and DVD’s as well. Once you’ve done this, take a step back and relax.

Three Weeks Out. Sort.

This week I sit and sort everything out. Sort out boys from girls, and try and group together similar toys (looking for matching parts). I have a friend who uses bins, sorts by size and gender when the kids are in school, labels the bin, puts a top on it and is done. Once this is done, take breather until the next step.

Two Weeks Out. Hang and Bag.

Sit down for this one and pop in your favorite binge show because it’s going to be a long day! Everything gets hung on hangers today, and toys get bagged up. This is where you are going to wish you had spent money on the “good” safety pins. Unsolicited advice here: I love Cleaner Supply for safety pins. You can get 1440 #1 or #2 safety pins for $8-$12 a box! These safety pins rarely bend. I use #1’s for attaching tags, and #2’s for hanging pants. And most importantly, they stay closed and I hardly ever have any kind of safety pin malfunction.

It’s important to note here a couple of things to help you in consignment sale prep. When hanging pants, there is definitely a better way, and once you learn it, you’ll find it much easier than whatever old ways you have tried. Most importantly, your pants don’t slide around on the hanger, and they get seen, where as other pants slide to one side, and all you see is what looks like an empty hanger because the pants have slid down and are stuck in the middle of the rack. Easy peasy, here’s how to hang pants:

consignment sale prep how to tag for consignment

The other thing you’ll want to remember is about presenting toys. I hear it over and over again, about how shoppers don’t like the sticky goo left by packing tape. Do not think that this means it’s okay to use something less sticky, like blue tape or Scotch tape. It’s not. But, if you have an item that requires a lot of tape to keep it together, your best bet is to bag it in a zip-lock bag or to use plastic cling wrap to attach it all together. I bag about 90% of my personal toys and shoes because I like the presentation factor of the plastic bag… everything stays clean, and no sticky residue.

Once you have prepared all of your items, put your lids back on your bins and walk away.

One Week Out. Tagging.

The week before the sale, is my tagging week. It’s all sorted, on hangers or in bags, and organized. All I need is to price it and tag it! Notice I did not say, the weekend before, but the week before! Give yourself some time because the closer it gets to the sale, the more things come up. It’s Murphy Law. You know it and I know it!

If you are consigning at a sale that does automated tagging, be sure you have card stock, and not regular paper for creating your tags. If you are consigning at a sale that does hand written tags, then make sure you have 3×5 index cards. At this time, other than automated sales, I am unaware of any sale that uses anything other than the standard 3×5 tags. Do not use 4×6, 3×2.5 or any other size when your sale organizer requests 3×5 tags. Also, don’t use colored tags unless the sale allows it. I always recommend buying two or three packs of white index cards next time you’re at your local Big Box Mart. You think you only have a few items, but I assure you, you’ll be glad you bought the extra couple of packs!

Here are a couple of important items to remember about tagging.

  • Tags are like checks. Write them in ink. Don’t write them in pencil or use whiteout because the sale organizer doesn’t know if you changed the price or if a customer who wanted an extra good deal, changed the price.
  • I always recommend that only one person write the tags, and it’s preferable to write them with the same pen because if a consignor number becomes separated from a tag, it makes it easier to match up the handwriting (and pen color) and get you paid correctly. If you write some tags and your teenager or husband write some tags, in the event we have a tag that’s missing its consignor number, we are not able to match up the hand writing.
  • I recommend that you write your consignor number on all of your tags before you start tagging. Every sale we have several tags that have no consignor number, or a half of a consignor number… AB1234 got distracted and put AB12. I had one lady accuse my volunteers of removing her consignor number from her tags, until we found a dozen full size tags of hers with no consignor number. She forgot to put it on there! We want you to get paid! Making sure your consignor number is complete and on each tag is of the utmost priority. I have found the best way to ensure that is to write out your consignor number on all of your tags first before starting the task of tagging.

Once you’ve tagged everything, zip-tie or rubber band them by size and gender. Now your consignment sale prep is done and you’re ready to go!

You know the old saying of “how do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time! Chunking off your consignment tagging pile into manageable pieces will make your consigning experience much easier and do-able. Now get started! You have a big, fat check coming your way!

To find a consignment sale to get started with, check out our List of Consignment Sales in Nashville.