It’s spring and we are in the thick of it with kid’s consignment sales. And what fun, yet stressful, exciting and liberating events these can be if you know how to shop them right and score big!
Knowing how to shop children’s consignment sales is essential to saving money as a parent. If you do it right, you can get hundreds of items, from clothing to baby gear, books, and toys for nearly nothing.
I love consignment sales. I’ve won some and lost some, but all in all, I save major bucks shopping these sales in the spring and fall.
So here are some tips for how you can score big at consignment sales and mistakes to avoid…
Find the best sales
This comes partly from experience and partly by researching online and talking to friends. Consignmentmommies.com is an excellent resource online for locating sales in your area, but ultimately you’ll need to go and experience several to find your favorites. I like to stick to the sales that are pickier – they don’t accept items that are too worn or dirty. They have a large selection of most things and aren’t super crowded. Yes, this formula seems like it would be hard to come across, but talk to friends, go and experience a few and you’ll quickly find your favorites.
Make a plan
Know the rules of the sale. Know if you need a pass to get in early or not, when things will be marked down and whether or not strollers or other things are allowed. Don’t waste time showing up with a kid in tow, only to be turned away. Also, make sure to bring cash and a bag to hold all of your goodies in. Some sales will allow credit card transactions for a small fee, but typically the lines are shorter for the cash-only sales. Some sales may also offer a large bag to hold your stuff in, but usually, you will need to bring your own. So pack up your favorite large re-usable grocery bag(s), because the last thing you want to do is have to juggle all of the fun things you find in your hands.
Grab and sort later
Before you start shopping, determine what is most important to you to find in the sale, and make sure to go to that section first. The good stuff goes quickly, so you need to act fast. For me, I always go to the boy’s clothes section first because it seems to me there is always less for boys. From there I hit up the shoes, accessories and then finish with the toys (where there is always a large selection). Grab everything you like the minute you see it and inspect it later. Make sure to check for stains, holes, and tears because even though it may only be a couple dollars, it’s probably something to pass on. In most consignment sales I’ve been to there is a rack where you can hang the things you don’t want back on it for the workers to return to the sale section later.
Sign up for email reminders
If you found success at a sale, make sure to sign up for notifications or join their mailing list for future sales. Because when you find the golden sales, you don’t want to miss out knowing when the next one will be.
Not every sale will be a hit, just like not every garage sale will have everything you are looking for. If you wait even an hour or two into the public sale time, be ready to be looking through a lot of picked over clothing. Of course you can still find great deals on toys and accessories. If there is any way to get into the pre-sale shopping period (like volunteering to work the sale for a 3-hour shift, or winning a free entry on a Facebook post or share raffle), then do it! There is nothing better than being one of the FIRST shoppers in and getting first dibs on everything. Getting into the pre-sale is your ticket to finding the most, high-quality items for the least amount of money.
If you haven’t shopped a consignment sale before, give it a try this spring! It really is fun to see how many things you can acquire, for the least amount of money. You can also stock up on Christmas presents, birthday presents or even clothing for the next year if you get lucky.
Some of my favorite finds this year have included: two Polo shirts for $12, a Polo dress shirt for $6, Nike shorts for $2, a belt for $1, books for $1-5 each, a set of play golf clubs and balls (for my toddler) for $3, and so much more!