Consigning with a store

Consignment is another option, better suited for nicer, individual pieces than whole-house contents. One way of looking at it is free storage until the pieces sell. Why keep a cluttered house, or worse, pay storage fees for something you intend to sell when you can move it to a consignment shop today?

Expect consignment stores to be pickier with their inventory than an estate sale or buyout company. They like to maintain a certain standard for their customers, and in some cases might require your decor to match their ambience. If your furniture has dings or scratches, the store should want to see photos before you deliver furniture to their location.

In most cases a consignment store will ask 40% commission to sell your furniture or collectibles within a three-month period, with the asking price dropping a certain percentage each month. Like estate sales, the commission fee goes towards their overhead: marketing expenses and workers’ wages, plus rent. Fifty-percent is considered high. Before agreeing to a commission fee, consider their availability. What days and hours are they open? Are they in a good location? How much do they invest in marketing? These will help determine the likelihood of your pieces selling. If they don’t get much traffic or keep odd hours, how do they expect to sell your piece with limited exposure?

What happens if your pieces don’t sell? What is your timeframe to retrieve them, and what happens if you’re unable to collect them in that time? Some of the seedier places might make a singular attempt at contacting you (sending an email or leaving a voicemail) before keeping your stuff. Look for a flexible store that works with you, not against you.