11 Online Consignment Stores You Need for Back-to-School

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WIN-WIN WITH USED KIDS' CLOTHES

Kids' clothes are a major expense that can drain parents' budgets faster than Legos, Monster High dolls, and junk food combined. Children outgrow their clothes well before they're worn out and sometimes even before the tags are removed. But with the new school year looming, parents can turn to a crop of online vendors that accept gently used and new clothing for resale and share the earnings. This also means like-new kids' clothes are available at budget prices. On these 11 sites, parents can consign what doesn't fit and buy what does.

MOXIE JEAN

This site buys and sells like-new baby and kids' clothing, from newborn to size 14, and shoes up to size 4. Request a bag, fill it up, send it back to the company at no cost. Note that Moxie Jean rules out brands such as Babies R Us, Fisher Price, Gerber, and "bargain" labels in general. It takes photos of every accepted item and divides the haul into "basic," "better," "boutique," and "designer," and sets prices accordingly. A pricing chart is posted on the site. Consigners are paid in cash or in credit to spend on the site. Moxie Jean donates rejected items to a children's hospital in Chicago. When buying, shipping is free on orders exceeding $50; otherwise the tab is $5.95.

THREDUP

Best known as a women's resale site, ThredUp also sells clothing for girls and boys. The slick, easy-to-use interface lets customers shop by size, category, color, brand, condition, price, and even style. Consigners order a "clean-out" bag and should use the D.O.T. system -- defect-free, on-trend, top brands -- to decide which items to send (at no cost). To arrange the return of unsold consignment items, select "return assurance" when sending in the bag and they'll come back after 84 days. Items not accepted for resale are passed on to third-party sellers; the site typically accepts only half of what it receives. Shipping is free on orders that exceed $70.

SWAP.COM

This consignment site sells a wide range of products -- baby, kids', and teen items; women's apparel and maternity wear; books, games, and DVDs; and sports and outdoor gear -- and lets consigners set the price for each piece. Swap.com charges sellers a shipping fee of $8.90 (deducted from earnings) when sending in items, then photographs and posts them. If the goods don't sell, the items can be shipped back on the seller's dime, stored with Swap.com (fees apply after nine months), or donated to the site after listing for 45 days. With the latter option, the site sells the clothing and donates the proceeds, minus a commission, to the consigner's favorite charity. Swap.com's cut is 25 percent of the sale price plus $1.50 for each item. Proceeds are paid to the seller's PayPal account. There's no charge for shipping on purchases exceeding $50; smaller orders cost $5.99 to ship.

FLIPSIZE

Rather than being a consignment store, per se, FlipSize buys items up front so sellers don't have to wait for a sale. The site has a "no dud" promise that guarantees no holes, stains, or excessive wear. It rejects brands such as Healthtex, Gerber, and Walmart house brands; rejected items are donated to local children's nonprofits. Accepted items are assigned a point value -- one point is worth the equivalent of 5 cents -- and points can be cashed out, redeemed as store credit, or converted into a gift card for a retail store. Although FlipSize pays for shipping, the site requires a $5 bag deposit that's refunded during processing. Outbound shipping is free for purchases of $49 or more and $7.95 otherwise.

DESSIE KIDS

This kids' clothing consignment site carries sizes newborn to age 8 and focuses on higher-end labels. Dessie Kids buys gently used and new items upfront. Brands that fall into the "high" category, such as Gap, Abercrombie, Lands' End, and True Religion, net sellers a set price of $1 to $6, depending on the garment and size. Prices paid for "finer" brands, such as Bella Bliss, Juicy, and Armani, are negotiated but hover around 30 percent of the seller's cost. Bags are sent out on request and there's no charge for shipping merchandise to the site. Rejected items are donated to a local nonprofit, or sellers can pay $5 for their return. Shipping on purchases is free for orders above $75.

FROG IN MY BOX

Frog in My Box carries new and used items for babies, kids up to size 14 (shoes to size 4), and maternity. It's one of the few sites of its type that sells kids' books (but is no longer accepting them for consignment). Request a mailing label for a fee, fill a box with the items to be sold (brands not accepted include Garanimals and Fruit of the Loom), and send it along. An extensive chart details price information for sellers; prices range from 16 cents to nearly $9 and depend on the type, size, and condition of the garment. Payment for accepted items can be cash or store credit, which is worth a 20 percent bonus. Items that aren't accepted can be shipped back at the consigner's cost or donated to charity. Shipping is free on orders that exceed $50. Note: Mailing labels for inbound consignment items currently are not available but will be shortly, the site promises.

LITTLE LAVENDER

High-end kids' clothing for ages newborn to 12 years rules here. That means designer labels, boutique merchandise, trunk show samples, and even handmade goods. Thousands of items are for sale at Little Lavender from brands such as Remember Nguyen, Anavini, Silly Goose, Hannah Kate, Lollipop Laundry, and more. The site does not accept popular brands such as Gap and Gymboree and most certainly not Kmart or Walmart house brands. Consigners net 45 percent of the listed price. If the item doesn't sell within 60 days, the price drops 20 to 30 percent; after 90 days, the item is sent back at the seller's expense or donated (rejected items likewise go to local charities). Shipping goods for consignment requires an email exchange with the vendor. For shoppers looking for something specific, the site may be hard to navigate. Outgoing shipping costs $5.50 to $8.50.

KIDZ OUTFITTERS

This site is keen to build its inventory of designer duds but accepts "mainstream" (e.g., Chaps, Disney, Faded Glory), "premium" (e.g., American Apparel, Crazy 8, OshKosh B'gosh), and "upscale" (e.g., Nautica, Kissy Kissy, Crewcuts by J. Crew) merchandise. It stocks new and like-new kids' clothing and shoes for ages newborn to 14. The owners of Kidz Outfitters are currently in transit from Alaska to a new base in the lower 48, and once business resumes, consigners can send in items for resale at no cost. The site pays sellers 40 percent of the listing price post-sale, and sellers can cash out or earn a 25 percent credit bonus.

KIDIZEN

Download the app to access this parent-to-parent marketplace for buying and selling previously owned kids' clothing and more. Kidizen specializes in high-end clothing brands such as Matilda Jane, Mud Pie, Tea Collection, Mini Boden, Janie and Jack, and Livie and Luca. There's a little more work involved here: Sellers set up and maintain their own "shops." They snap photos of the items, set prices, and add details including condition, brand, and category, and then manage shipping and payment. There are no listing fees, but the site takes a 7 percent cut when an item sells and PayPal, which processes payments, likewise takes its share. The Kidizen website provides how-to guidelines for getting a shop up and running. Buyers can keep track of the offerings through social media.

LOTEDA

Parents can sell or buy an entire season's worth of children's clothing in one transaction at Loteda. Consigners send in a pile of gently used clothing (20 items minimum and no discount brands, such as Faded Glory, Cherokee, or Healthtex) using a prepaid shipping label. The site owners take photos, arrange "lots" of multiple items, and set the price; for their efforts they take a 40 percent cut, minus the cost of shipping. Unsold and rejected items are either donated to a charity or returned at the seller's cost. Buyers scroll through pictures of clothing arranged in a group and must order by the "lot," arguably making shopping more efficient. The lot price on purchases includes shipping.

MY KID'S THREADS

My Kid's Threads stocks a curated selection of clothing in sizes newborn to 14 from brands such as Burberry, Tea Collection, and Catimini, which sells at up to 80 percent off retail. The site does not accept brands such as Jumping Bean, Gerber, OshKosh B'gosh, or items from Target and Walmart. Consigners earn 40 percent back or 50 percent if accepted as credit. Unsold items are donated to one of the site's charity partners and sellers can elect to donate their earnings, as well, in exchange for a tax receipt. Sellers send in items using a prepaid mailer bag and can opt to pay $12.99 for a "return shield" that ensures rejected items are returned at no cost. Shipping is free on orders greater than $49, or $5.95 for smaller purchases.