Seasonal Consignment Sales are generally set up and run in a similar manner. You tag and prepare your items, take them to the sale, the sale sells them, you pick up your unsold items and a few weeks later, you get a check in the mail.

However, that’s usually where the similarities stop. With so many sales in the Middle Tennessee area, it’s important to make sure you peruse each sale’s website to make sure you understand the rules of each sale. You don’t want to get to the sale and realize your tags are formatted incorrectly or you brought items that the sale doesn’t accept.

Before I started a sale, I was a consignor for many years. I’ll be honest and tell you I never understood why each sale had it’s own set of rules. Now that I’ve hosted a sale for the past 13 years, I understand the reason. The rules each sale sets are there to help it run more efficiently. When you don’t follow the rules, you become a cog in the machine that stops the gears from turning.

That may sound overly dramatic, but it’s true. Have you ever shopped a sale and the check out line goes on forever? Guess what… chances are volunteers are caught up trying to safely remove a tag from an item, and the consignor used way too much tape because they didn’t want the tag to come off. Now all of the customers in line must wait because a consignor didn’t follow the rules. If you think I am joking, volunteer at a sale and ask to be on the tag removal line. Every volunteer who works in the tag removal line says the same thing… all consignors should be required to work tag removal to help them understand how difficult it is when consignors do their own thing.

Most consignors are contentious, but the few that don’t follow the rules, mess it up for those who do. Before you participate in a sale, make sure you read over the sale website and understand what is required for that sale. Here are a few things you’ll want to pay attention to when you find a sale you want to participate in.


consignment sales middle tennesseeAre the tags automated or index cards? If the sale offers automated tags, be sure to pay attention to the rules of the tags. For instance, you’ll need white card stock and not regular paper or colored card stock. You’ll also want to pay attention to what quality setting you’ll need the printer to print at. And most importantly, look at how they want the tags attached. Some systems can’t read bar codes if you tape over the barcode.

If the sale offers index card tagging, make sure you look at the format. Volunteers are looking for prices in one place, if you have your price in a different spot, it slows things down, and it also creates the possibility that the size could be mistaken for the price if you’ve swapped information around.

No Discount Mark.

If you want items to not be discounted on the discount days, you need to understand what the sale No Discount mark is, and you need to make it big, bold and right next to the price. Most sales use a Red Dot or an ND. Some sales may use a black dot or an X. Whatever the mark is, make sure you understand what it is for each sale and mark your tags appropriately. If you use a black dot on your tags, and the sale requires a red dot, there is 95% chance your items are going to be allowed to go half price because volunteers are looking for that red dot.

Important Dates.

Knowing the drop off and pick up dates are half the battle. But also make sure you understand when what date the checks will be released and also if the sale is automated, what date they shut off access to creating automated tags. Sale organizers are dealing with 100-800 other people (depending on the size of the sale) and they just can’t answer every email about “when is pick up”, “why did the automated system shut down” or “when can I expect my check”. As much as sale organizers would like to, it’s a logistical improbability. The good news is, all of this information should be on their website, and you should be able to find it before you decide to consign.

Picking Up.

In addition to knowing when to pick up, you need to know what pick up is going to be like. Most sales group items together for you, as in, you have one pile for pick up. Others, don’t sort anything back and you have to search rack to rack to find your items. Knowing this before hand will allow you to know how much time to allot for the pick up process and whether or not you can bring the kids with you.

Presentation of Items.

Some sales want items packaged differently. Lets take books for example. Some sales like multiple books tied together with twine, some like them bagged, and others don’t want them sold in sets at all. Some sales want them tagged with clear packing tape and others want you to use blue painters tape. The bottom line is, if you are going to take the time to prep your items to put them in the sale, go ahead and do it the way the sale suggests so that you aren’t bringing those items back home.


Some sales have pricing minimums, while others do not. Some sales allow pricing in 50 cent increments, but most do not. I have personally struggled with pricing. You feel like an item won’t bring $2, but its worth more than $1, so let’s price it at $1.50. The problem is, the sale requires whole dollar pricing because they don’t have quarters until half price day. So what do you do? The best thing to do is to pair it with another, similar item and then boost the price to $3. This way, you stay within the whole dollar pricing, and if that $1.50 item goes half price, volunteers aren’t stuck trying to half that. When I price my items, I always try and remember that sales run on volunteers, and I try to make it as easy on them as possible. The simpler I can make it, the less chance of error on my check.


Some sales have limits on infant clothing. Others have limits on teen sized clothing. And others have total item number limit. Knowing limits helps you decide what sale is best for you. It also helps keep you from tagging additional items that won’t be accepted into the sale. Know the limits before you start tagging to make sure you bring your very best items with the best chance of selling.

Knowing the rules before you consign, will make your consigning experience easier for everyone involved. It will also save you a lot of frustration when you’ve spent hours tagging your items, only to have them returned to you for incorrect format. The good news is, most sales tend to follow other sales rules, so if you tag for one sale, there’s a good chance you’ll find other sales that follow the same (or similar) set of rules. When in doubt, send an email to the sale organizer before you decide to consign to clarify any questions you may have.

To find out more about local consignment sales, see our Consignment Sale Calendar.