Consignment Sale Strategies

6:00:00 PM

One of the reasons that I have yet to conquer my laundry room for the Spring Cleaning Challenge is that I have had an influx of clothing into my house. In case you didn’t know, it’s consignment sale time! You see, for a few weeks each spring and fall, there are several local churches that put on consignment sales for children’s clothing as well as other child and baby essentials. I can buy clothes for my girls for pennies on the dollar and get nice clothes. That way I don’t feel bad when my four year old ruins some pants (do they roll in the dirt on the playground at the daycare?) or if the babies outgrow an outfit before they can wear it more than a couple of times. The churches do it as a fundraiser, and parents use it to get rid of out grown clothing and equipment (and make and extra buck too). Here are a few pointers for shopping consignment sales:

  1. Know the rules of the sale. Some won’t allow strollers. Some only take cash. Some don’t allow you to bring your own bag or basket, but require you to use theirs.
  2. Know the hours. Some sales have an early bird sale, and charge money to attend. Most sales have half-price hours. Do you prefer the best selection or the best price?
  3. Know your brands. Some brands run small, others large. Some brands, you can get brand new on clearance for the prices you see in consignment sales. Some brands are durable (and some are less).
  4. Have a budget and stick to it. Enough said. Have a price threshold for each kind of item. Keep in mind that the younger the child, the cheaper you can typically get clothing.
  5. Know what you need. I try to check kids’ closets before I go so I know who needs shoes, and who only needs shirts. For specialty items (a double stroller, for example), keep in mind that there will be few of them, and they will probably go fast.
  6. Dress comfortably. You will be on your feet on hard floor, holding lots of items, for a while. Lines can be long. Now is not the time to try out those cute flip flop wedges. Eat before you go, too!
  7. Allot time to examine each item. Regardless of rules, some consignors will (sometimes unknowingly, sometimes knowingly) try to sell a stained, torn, or non-functioning item. Examine each item and decide if the price is worth the condition.
  8. If you are new to consignment sale shopping, I suggest going with a friend who has been to a few. They can tell you if an item is overpriced, or if you can probably get a stain out.

Is it worth it? I think so. I’d rather cram the grand majority of my shopping for the kids into a few trips a year. Can you save a lot? Well, take this for example: This Safety First booster seat can be purchased brand new at Babies R Us for $24.99. I just bought this very same seat for $5. It was dirty—I think someone pulled it out of the garage and slapped a price tag on it. There are a couple of minor signs of wear on the cushion. A little elbow grease and it is ready for one of my little princesses to use! That’s an 80% savings! That’s pretty good, if I do say so myself!

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