Consignment Shops: Recycling At Its Best

Real Estate Agent with Bean Group / Franklin

Maybe it's just a Baby Boomer thing, but I love the thrill of finding a bargain and a piece of history, or art, at the same time. I am able to do this by shopping at consignment shops. Okay, so maybe it is not recycling at its best, but it is recycling at its most enjoyable.

Some might think that the economic downturn is the reason why many turn to consignment shops, but my love for consignment shopping began long ago. In fact, I still have my first purchase. It is the Delft container in the center of this photo:

Delft items

My parents came over from the Netherlands (Holland), and Delftware was a way to tie in my love of the color blue with my ethnic background. (Delftware is a type of ceramic ware made in the town of Delft, better known for its blue and white floral motifs.) My collection grew from there:

  Delft Plate     Delft houses     Delft minis

I've visited Goodwill shops, too. I have two daughters. When they were younger, finding clothes for them was a task that required more funds than I was willing to spend. I allowed my children to play in whatever clothing they had on at the time, and stains didn't discriminate between their play clothes and their better clothes. With hand-me-downs from friends and Goodwill purchases, I didn't have to worry that they were dirtying an expensive outfit. Parenting is stressful enough without worrying about children getting dirty. Let's be real. Childhood is a dirty job! (I wonder if Mike Rowe, from Dirty Jobs, would consider trying this one out for his television show.)

Today, I give as good as I get. I always donate at least 10-20 bags a year to Goodwill. I set up accounts at my favorite consignment shops and several times a year, I drop off 5-25 items. Once a month, I collect a check and then purchase more bargains! These shops charge 30%, 40% and 50% commissions, but my savings on my purchases tend to exceed the value of the items I have traded in. How does this happen, you ask? Well, all consignment shops drop their prices after a certain period of time. The trick is to look for the dates on the items you are interested in, and keep your purchases to only items that have been further reduced. Here are some examples of what I have been able to find: A batik butterfly framed print - $5; bentwood chair - $18; painted gourd - $1.50; rafia wall hanging - $8; framed painting of San Francisco Bay - $60; and my favorite... my daughter's wedding gown - $250

 Batik Butterflies     Bentwood chair     painted gourd


Boat painting

consignment dress

The most interesting item I've discovered, however, has to be this item called, a Cap Off. It is a device that removes the caps from soda or beer bottles.

cap off  cap off  cap off

If you try to find this by Google search, you will only find a new version. I have the original "Cap Off" :-)

New Hampshire To Do will be featuring some of my favorite consignment shops in an upcoming issue of their magazine. In the meantime, try some of them out by checking out the links below:

The Etcetera Shoppe in Meredith, New Hampshire: something for everyone!

Pat's This and That for antiques in Tilton, New Hampshire 603-286-2442

Project 4 Consignments for clothes in Tilton, New Hampshire 603-286-4206

Consignment Gallery in Amherst and Bedford, New Hampshire 603-673-4114 and 668-4114

Feel free to add some of your own favorites. Look for the Ebay Bedroom in my next article.

Frances Sanderson, Franklin, NH REALTOR®, Certified EcoBroker®



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Dean Carver
United Brokers Group/Carver Home Team - Ahwatukee, AZ

I love bargain hunting ideas that are so economical! Sellers can really find some nice goodies to spruce up empty space without spending a lot of $$$!

Jan 09, 2010 06:02 AM #1
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

You are sooo right, Sonia. I have used some of my finds to stage vacant homes that I have listed and I think it helps sell them.

Jan 09, 2010 06:13 AM #2
Joan Snodgrass
Midamerica Referral Network - Kimberling City, MO

I volunteered at our local Thrift Store (non--profit) for years.  Got to love it.  I have an account with a great Christian Book Store and enjoy the benefits of an exchange on CD's & books.

Jan 09, 2010 06:34 AM #3
Robbie Young
RPM Mortgage - Conforming, Jumbo, FHA VA Loans - Sonoma, CA
Home Loans California

Wow Frances.  Thanks so much for posting this!  I too love second hand items, but you really have created an art out of it!  And your daughter is such a beautiful bride!  Thanks again.  I'm going out looking today!

Cheers from the Wine Country in California and Happy New Year!

Jan 09, 2010 06:42 AM #4
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

Hi Joan and Robbie,

As I look down at what I am wearing today, I would say that this is more than creating an art, it's absorbing a lifestyle :-) Thanks for commenting!


Jan 11, 2010 04:02 AM #5
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Frances, I love the photographs and the stories each object tells. So much more interesting to shop in consignment shops.

Feb 06, 2010 01:05 AM #6
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

Hi Janice,

Thank you for your imput. What I truly appreciate about consignment shops is that you can find antiques without paying the "antique shop" prices or bargains without paying the E-Bay shipping charges. Each of these have their merits, of course, but every penny saved is one more penny towards another purchase :-)

Feb 06, 2010 01:32 AM #7
Brenda Carus
Century 21 Zwygart Real Estate - Monroe, WI

Reusing items is the ultimate green, isn't it?  Thrift stores a da bomb.

Feb 09, 2010 08:01 AM #8
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

Hi Brenda,

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to tout another website I found that lists over 9200 thrift stores around the country...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Feb 10, 2010 02:59 AM #9
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