Consignment Stores and Thrift Shops - What's the Difference

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What is the difference between consignment shops and thrift stores? Although some people use the terms interchangeably, consignment shops and thrift stores have a couple of significant differences, which, once understood, can help you to determine how to best dispose of unwanted goods and declutter your cabinets and closets.

Consignment Shops and Thrift Stores Explained

Both consignment shops and thrift stores sell second-hand inventory, but this is where the similarity between them ends. These businesses generally have very different business models, which we will explain in this article.  

Thrift Stores

While not all thrift stores are the same, most operate on a donation basis, with proceeds going to a charity or nonprofit organization. Donors may receive a receipt from the thrift store for their contribution for tax purposes,  but they do not receive money for their goods. Because the thrift store accepts donated items, the condition of the goods will often vary significantly and are priced accordingly by thrift store staff. 

Consignment Shops

In the typical consignment shop model, people bring items they no longer need to the store to be evaluated before being accepted into the store inventory. Unlike thrift stores, consignment shops tend to be much more selective in what items they will accept based on quality, condition, and marketability. If a consignment shop decides to take an item, the shop and the consigner enter into a formal agreement, and the store agrees to sell the item in return for a percentage of the final sale. This consignment percentage varies. 

Thrift Store vs Consignment Shops - What’s the Right Choice?

How do you determine whether to take your items to a consignment shop or a thrift store? The type of goods and their condition will be a significant factor in your decision. Reputable consignment shops will have fairly strict standards when accepting inventory because their goal is to sell products of a certain quality and price point. If you want to get rid of furniture with excessive scratches and dents, or upholstery that is torn and faded, a consignment shop might not be the right choice. However, if you have name-brand items in excellent condition, you could earn money on your unwanted goods once they are sold.  

On the other hand, if your primary goal is to declutter your home and not to recoup some of your original investment, a thrift store will generally take anything you bring. Thrift store staff will sort items and eventually discard anything that can't be sold. If the thrift store supports a qualifying charity or nonprofit (such as Goodwill), your donations will provide products that people can buy for less, and you can often deduct the value of the contribution from your taxes.

Consider Around the Block Consignment Shop in the GTA

When evaluating your consignment shop and thrift store options in the greater Toronto area, consider Around the Block. As one of the finest furniture consignment shops in Toronto, we've built a reputation for quality consignment and excellent service for shoppers and consignors alike. If your closet is littered with things you’ve bought but never used or quality items you no longer need and are taking up too much room in your house, consider selling them on consignment and earn 60% of the final sale. Check out our Consign with Us page to learn why Around the Block is the choice for quality consignment, including artwork, collectibles, jewelry, furniture, tableware, designer handbags, and more.

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