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Category: Consigning

Clean Up: A Personal Story

This post is a very personal one for me.  I do not typically share my personal life or problems with very many people…but as I was going through a particular struggle the last few weeks, it occurred to me that I have a unique position to try and help other moms and remind them that they are not alone.  Maybe it seems obvious to think that we all have struggles, but it was someone pointing the obvious out to me that motivates this blog.  I hope some of you will take me up on the challenge and offer at the end.

Like many families, it seems that life has handed us one thing after the next for quite a while now…family members who have died, a child who needed brain surgery, a special needs child, my own injury that causes chronic pain and difficulty with many tasks…it seems there is always something in high priority and it was not usually in my control what that was.  THINGS started to collect around my house…we have too much stuff, much of it being kids stuff.  

Garage 1 v2We are clean people….we dust, vacuum, clean the bathrooms weekly (ok, well almost weekly). Dishes and laundry are done daily.  But truth be told, despite my OCD nature to want everything put back in its place and be cleaned in particular ways, I have trouble getting rid of things.  I would like to give it to someone who wants it, needs it, keep it for sentimental value… or maybe it is in good condition and I could sell it and make some money to help out the family budget.  After all, I am the owner of a successful consignment sale…I certainly know how to prepare and tag my own items, right?  Wrong…I might know how to, but I never seem to get to it.  So the stuff keeps piling up….until about 2 weeks ago thanks to someone stating the obvious.

I knew keeping the stuff was not making me happy.  In fact, DAILY I was quite stressed over everything that I could never seem to sort through and move out.  However, life was happening.  The last couple of months has been especially stressful with our special needs child who was going through medication changes and having many “episodes”.  During one particularly bad day, I sat reviewing notes from his various therapists.  One of the providers, who I will call BXT, has the unique position of being home-based and pointed out that we had lost our ability to manage our son with the things that are important to him because those things were everywhere in our house….we had no control.  Although I had read this message previously and thought “yeah, I know…we have a lot of stuff and we need to get rid of it and organize it”, the message did not profoundly hit me until that day as I sat re-reading, trying to figure out what I was missing or what I could do to improve things for my son and our family.  Although the message was worded in a kind way, suggesting a “summer project”, and was only intended to help I suddenly got rather peeved at BXT….because he was right.  So, I decided to stay peeved…because being Type A personality I did not like the suggestion that I lacked control because of my own failing…it was motivational to be annoyed.

Organizing It v2I wish I had thought to take a picture before we started cleaning out our garage, it was quite an avalanche waiting to happen with some furniture, older sale equipment, bins of clothing and toys, even empty cardboard boxes waiting to go to the burn pile….this is about 2 days into the project.  

With our son safely in a special needs day camp for 2 weeks, my husband took off work and we embarked on what we thought was going to take about a week of purging stuff in our garage.  We started with the safety issues of installing locked cabinets for power tools and chemicals.  Then after that week, we got to the STUFF…you know, all the stuff we had packed up in bins to store for the sale.  Friends, it was ugly….most of the clothing, toys, and books I had packed up with the determination to tag it myself had sat.  It sat too long…elastic was dried out, yellow staining had developed on the clothing, mice had made a couple of nests, some styles of clothing were dated.  We went through it all…being peeved about the obvious situation that had boldly but tactfully pointed out, I was determined to let go of things and also to be realistic about what I could accomplish.  I decided that I needed to throw away, donate, and use the TCT Tagging Service (and yes, I do pay 20% of my total sales plus the fees for supplies and storage, the same as all consignors).

Kathy v2So far I have delivered 14 bins of clothing, outerwear and shoes, 4 boxes of books, and 4 bins of toys to Kathy, our Tagging Service Coordinator.   Here she is getting to work on my items. Thankfully, she said she found the funniest shirt she has tagged for anyone….I hope she keeps her sense of humor because I’m still sending more items her way.  

The garbage man is probably not happy.  The local thrift store has a lot of sorting to do.  My son is rather upset that we have locking cabinets in our garage.  The mice have lost their home.  But my house is returning back to order, I think I may even feel some sanity returning…I may be able to park my car in the garage this winter!  I am beginning to find some calm in the storm.  With the epic project of the garage being cleaned out, I can now clean out the smaller areas inside our home and I will have a place to put those bins that are going to the next sale season…directly to our Tagging Service preparers.  I never, ever, want to be in a garage for almost 2 weeks in 90-degree heat…ever!

I challenge each of you to consider realistically…do you have things you want to free yourself from, things you need to get rid of to clear the clutter out of your home and mind?  Will you actually have time to prepare your items, hold a yard sale, or post and meet on Facebook groups?  Please don’t make my mistake.  Don’t hang on to things hoping to maximize your earnings or think you will make the time to do it.  BXT said the obvious to me, he called me out.  Now I’m saying that to you…let it go (insert Frozen song here…lol).  Seriously, being moms we tend to take on more than is reasonable.  We want to do it all!  I am so happy I have cleared a lot of clutter, I’m thankful that I was motivated by someone to make THIS the priority…I’m starting to feeling like I can function again.  Yes, I will “lose” some money to our Tagging Service preparer, but that is far better than leaving it sit and causing both physical and mental clutter…not to mention how much we ended up throwing away (please remember our Tagging Service is not a cleaning service and clothing should be freshly laundered and delivered in bins so we can keep your items clean).  

So, if you need to, you can be peeved at me…but it’s time to get rid of stuff!  Please join me this season in getting Paid to Purge.  If this post connects with you, I encourage you to sign up for our Tagging Service NOW!  Make the commitment to clear it out…make it a summer project.  

I’m getting clutter free…I hope my family and others will help me be accountable to what we accomplished in the last 2 weeks and give me kind reminders, if or when needed, of where we were and where we do not want to be again. It may not solve all of our life problems, but it sure has been a great place to start.  I challenge you to join me!

How do I get paid? How do I know how much I will get?

How do I get paid- How do I know how much I will get-When you register as a consignor you will pay an “upfront” fee called the Registration Fee.  This fee reserves your place as a consignor and is non-refundable and non-transferrable.

Most consignors chose to help out during the event.  We call them Team Members.  A consignor who chooses not to be a Team Member will have a fee called the Consignor Fee deducted from your commission at the conclusion of the event.  The Registration Fee and the Consignor Fee are two separate fees, one is paid upfront and the other is deducted from your commission if you are not a Team Member.  Since most consignors will help out during the event as a Team Member for a minimum of two hours, we wanted to give them an added benefit beyond shopping early…so we will waive the Consignor Fee and it will not be deducted from commission. 

Team Members help from 2 – 16 hours.  This is OPTIONAL as a consignor.  But most consignors like to shop early and have the Consignor Fee waived and even earn other stuff…plus it’s fun to hang with other moms!  Each 2 hour shift has an added “perk”, so take a look at our Team Member perks chart here to see how many hours you need to achieve your personal goals.  Do you want to shop early, earn more commission, or even get your money more quickly?  See how many hours are needed for your personal goal and then sign up in the Consignor Portal. 

As the sale progresses you should look at your Sold Items Report and multiple the dollar total by your anticipated commission percentage.  Next deduct any fees (like the Consignor Fee if you are not a Team Member) or optional services (like 20% for our Tagging Service) to find out what you have earned.  The “Estimated Earnings” report is an approximate number based on the average consignor…truly an “estimate” and not your personal accurate amount, so please do not use it if it is visible in your account.

Our 10-16 hour Team Members can receive a printed check on the final night of our sale.  All other consignors will have their commission sent to PayPal at the email address you registered with as a consignor…please note that the email address we have on file MIGHT be different than an email you used to pay your upfront Registration Fee.  We will always use the email you entered when you entered your consignor information…this email is kind of like your bank account number.  Please make sure it is correct or your money may be delayed in arriving.  (Note that PayPal does have an option to connect more than one email address to a single PayPal account.  Please see their website for details on how to do that.)  You can confirm your correct email address by logging into your Consignor Portal and updating your Consignor Information.  You must do this for BOTH of our sale locations (one does NOT automatically update the other).

Once we finalize the sale data, we will send money to PayPal and PayPal will then send you a notice to your consignor’s email address that you have money to be claimed.  You follow the directions in the email to obtain your money.  PayPal can also link your checking account to your PayPal account so that you can make a free transfer of your commission to your own bank.  Please see PayPal’s website for directions on how to do that…the process of PayPal confirming your bank account information will take a few business days, so make sure you start early if you chose this as an option.  PayPal will hold your funds for 30 days to see if you “claim” the money.  Once you claim it, it goes into your PayPal account immediately and you can transfer to your bank from there, if desired.  After 30 days have passed, PayPal will notify us that you did not claim your money and they will send back to us any money that was not claimed.  Once we receive your unclaimed money back from PayPal, we will issue you a printed check minus a $2 processing fee.  This happens automatically and you do NOT have to request a paper check.  Again, paper checks cannot be issued until the 30 day waiting period has expired since PayPal is retaining the money until that time.  If you would like a printed check and do not wish to wait that long you always have the option of being a 10-16 hour Team Member to receive your check on the final sale day.

We are excited to be offering PayPal payments so that consignors can receive their money more quickly and securely!  Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing info@theclothingtree.com

Consignor Portal Reports Are Awesome

Quakertown ConsignorsCLICK HEREA few of you have asked some questions about the differences in the reports of the Consignor Portal so I want to share this guide for you to reference.

To follow each description you might want to log into your Portal and look at the grid where these items are listed.

ESTIMATED EARNINGS – You will see a row for “Estimated Earings” …this line especially causes some confustion.  It is important to note that this is indeed just an “estimate”.  It is based on our base commission of 60%.  Most consignors will have a difference in this estimate compared to actual since it is only determined on that base of 60%.  Consignors who are Team Members can expect a higher earnings.  Consignors who do not help as a Team Member will have the $10 Consignor Fee deducted from this amount.  Additionally,  for those that use our optional Tagging Service your actual earnings will be 20% less to pay for the tagging services.

SOLD ITEMS – This section is usually updated in the evening after each selling day.  (We officially ask that you allow us until the next morning, but we are all excited to see our daily sales, so we almost always upload at the end of the sale each day before we go home.)  Remember this is not a “live” report…we have to upload it which we do once daily.

SELLER REPORT – This is uploaded when we send you notification that your money is available in PayPal.  This is the final and accurate report of what your total sales were and what percentage you earned.  It also includes every detail of any deductions such as the Consignor Fee for Non-Team Members, Tagging Service, and so on.  If you have a question about how much money you made, take a look here first and then email us with any questions.  An excellent item to look at on this report is the “% of items sold”.  This will help you consider your future growth and earning potential as a consignor.  Your goal should be to sell 75% of what you bring.  We will write a separate blog on this topic, but if you are not that high consider things like 1) Is my pricing too high 2) Did I have a lot of things returned to me during my drop off time (too many stained items, forgot my batteries in toys, wrong season, etc.) 3) Am I keeping my ACTIVE inventory clean?  (If you transfer items between our sales all your items go Active when transferring.  You need to mark items you are not bringing as INACTIVE so that you have an accurate report and that we also have accurate statistics for helping the growth of our events.)

DONATION REPORT – If you marked your items as Donate you will be able to look at this report and print it out for tax purposes.  If your items were not marked as “Donate” but you decided at the end of the sale that you were leaving them behind we did donate those items, but it will not show in the report since it was not marked that way when you entered it. This report is available when we notify you that your commission has been issued following the sale.

UNSOLD ITEMS REPORT – This report is uploaded after we close on the last day of the sale.  You can print it to locate your unsold items if you are choosing to claim your items when the selling days conclude.  If you cannot print this just prior to coming to pick up your items, we will be happy to print it for you when you arrive.  Remember you should also mark off any items that you did not bring to the sale and any items that were returned to you during your drop off appointment. 

Top 10 Consignor Supplies

ARE YOU READY TO CONSIGN?

To help you get organized for consigning we wanted to share the top 10 supplies you will want to have on hand and let you know the cheapest places to find them.

images (2)1) Hangers – Beg, borrow, post…since we do NOT require a specific type of hanger consignors can use whatever they find FREE! Ask department stores and dry cleaners if they have any hangers. Post on social media and ask your friends if they have any unwanted hangers, ask on The Clothing Tree’s private page for consignors if anyone has extra…try not to pay for them! If you end up having more clothing than hangers we suggest buying a box from Uline and picking up at their warehouse just outside of Allentown. You should ask for the white shirt hangers, they are the least expensive and come in a box of 500, share with a friend or save for next season…or sell lots of clothing. :) If you don’t want that size box then the dollar store or Walmart are your best bet for smaller quantities. Sometimes a dry cleaner will sell some of their own stock at cost.

2) Cardstock – Tags must be printed on cardstock (not regular paper). This is 65lb weight paper. All consignors must use white or cream colored cardstock UNLESS you have decided to use our optional Transfer Service. If you are using the Transfer Service then you must use any shade of green cardstock to print your tags. Green cardstock will likely need to be purchased from an office supply store but white cardstock has the best price at Walmart.

3) Safety Pins – This is one item we do NOT recommend you buy at the dollar store…usually the metal of the pin is too flimsy and will bend when trying to push pin through…not fun! If you are going to use a bunch we recommend buying a box from Cleaner Supply…the size 2 is the best all-round size. Use safety pins to attach tags to clothing or clothing to hangers.

4) Zipper Bags – from sandwich bag size to jumbo bags you will need some. Use them to pack small parts to toys, socks, or even large toys or lots of pieces like train sets, Duplo, or dollhouse with parts. The best place to buy the large, XL, and XXL zipper bags is from the dollar store. We also like the 2.5 gallon bags.

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5) Zip Ties – To connect shoes together, items with multiple larger pieces or bags, or poke a hole through your zipper bag (poke hole below the “zipper”) and attach bag to toy with a zip tie rather than tape. Buy zip ties at the Dollar Store or get a large assorted size container at Walmart.

6) Cleaning supplies – Remember to clean your items prior to bringing them to us. Our favorite item for cleaning plastic items is Mr. Clean Magic Erasers…do yourself a favor and buy name brand on this item! It has been our experience that the generic version just crumble very easily. Buy a box of 10 at BJs or just a couple at Walmart. Magic Eraser is great for cleaning scuff marks off items and for cleaning textured plastic items like Little Tikes desks or outdoor playsets.

7) Packing Tape – Use to apply tags to the back of books or videos, seal the top of the zipper bag with toy parts, or put over top of items tagged using safety pins to better secure tag to item. We recommend using Heavy Duty packing tape and you can get a small roll at any department store or office supply store.

8) Plastic Wrap – use this to wrap around wooden puzzles to keep pieces in place

9) Lint remover and sweater “depiller” – We will not accept items with fur or items with “pilling” – a depiller can be bought at Walmart for about $4-5.

10) Miscellaneous supplies – scissors (to cut tags), index cards and a pen or marker (so you can write a note with further information and attach to item), and masking tape.