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I have been a consignment sale girl ever since I helped run a local sale through our Mother’s of Twins club. When I first started though I had no clue what I was doing and would come home with a ton of things we didn’t need just because in the moment they looked cute or I thought they would fit.
For anyone that is going to venture out to sales this season here are some of my top tips for shopping, saving and keeping your sanity at a consignment sale.
10 Consignment Sale Shopping Tips
- Have time to spare. Slow down and really look, not just fly through the racks. Since there typically aren’t large amounts of one particular item, there are a lot of individual items to choose from.
- Wear the right shoes. Simple but often overlooked.
- Know what you need. Go through your kids drawers the day before make a detailed list, also put clothing and shoe sizes on your list. I’ve seen some shoppers write this on their hands since your arms will be filled with items. Coming home to see that you bought 6 pairs of jeans and they needed shorts is a joy killer, so avoid wasting time and money on things that aren’t needed.
- Measuring your children is often better than knowing sizes. A Gap size 6 isn’t the same as a Gymboree 6 etc. I take a cheap cloth measuring tape for each child in my purse with painters tape marking dress length, waist, foot size, and pant length. You won’t need to pull it out for every garment but it will be there if needed as a reference (your kids will probably enjoy helping you make it too).
- Go early!! If the sale starts at 7 am people line up at 6 am. Really they do. The best equipment and clothing goes first. Often the best quality is priced the same as some of the worst, so the first folks in the door not only get great condition items, but they get great deals!
- Take a laundry basket or rolling basket. You will not be able to carry everything in your arms. If you don’t have a basket with wheels loop a belt around the handle of a regular basket and pull it behind you. (I know it sounds funny but you won’t be the only one doing it).
- Be okay with lines. Just go prepared for a wait. You’ll wait to get in and to check out. There are great deals but most of the times consignment sales have way more shoppers than volunteers so be patient and kind.
- Do a little research on the sale. This is an inside tip… consignment sales that run as businesses usually offer the sellers a lower percentage of their earnings over non-profit sales. Because of this your non-profit sales have much lower prices for the same item (held mostly at churches etc.) . The mom’s selling their clothes don’t have to mark the clothes at a higher price to compensate for the decrease in commission. (Sorry if you run one as a business, but it’s the truth.)
- Use a Smartphone to check recalls. Before grabbing a crib or other large baby equipment item quickly search the name of the item and the word recall. You don’t want to get home to learn that your crib shouldn’t be used to even hold stuffed animals… Also do not plan on buying any carseats at a consignment sale. Most will not carry them, but if they do you have no way of knowing if the seat has been in a wreck before. Car seats are also considered too old to use/sell after 5 years.
- Shop for upcoming birthdays or Christmas. The toy and book areas can be great places to grab super cheap presents. Tuck them away and be set for your kids next birthday or Christmas. I’ve had friends get 1,000 piece lego sets for $15! Don’t look past dirty items too, most things can be cleaned up to look brand new.
Do you have any big tips for shopping consignment sales??