This Saturday was a big day for me. It had been on my calendar for months, and I’d been gearing up all week. No, it wasn’t a wedding or even a football game I was counting down to – it was the big semi-annual kids consignment sale in my town. 😉 #momlife
For more than three years now, I’ve been “stocking up” for each season for Sam at this big sale. In the past, I have found gems at absolute steals (my favorite was a Patagonia fleece I found when Sam was a baby for $10.00), but I’ve also come home with junk because I got caught up in the moment of “what a great deal this is” and didn’t really think through what we needed, already had, etc.
Here are a few tidbits of advice to save you from making the same mistakes I’ve made and help you have success shopping consignment for your kids…
BEFORE YOU GO:
– Mark your calendar for opening day. Some sales re-stock after a few days, but I recommend going at the very beginning if at all possible.
– Check the website for special deals or “early-bird” shopping events. Our sale offers an $8.00 ticket to shop on Friday evening before the sale actually starts on Saturday morning. I did that last year and appreciated the smaller crowds and (slightly) better selection. However, I opted not to pay the extra money this year, and it was fine too. Most sales also offer 50% off days later in the week if you are interested in a really good deal; but, be warned, I find that most of the “good stuff” is gone by that point.
– Make a list of your child’s sizes and the specific items you are looking for. I’m sure this is more important for parents with multiple children/ different ages, sizes, etc. But, knowing what you are looking for helps you from buying a bunch of things you’ll never use. This year, my list included a raincoat, snow bibs, and boots – among other things. (I found the bibs, not the other two.)
– Set some “ground rules” for yourself and set a budget. Jeff and I always agree on a budget before I go to one of these sales. While I’d love to have an “unlimited bank” for these kinds of things, the budget actually helps me to be selective about what I buy and careful to look for, truly, good deals. My “ground rules” are: nothing I couldn’t buy new at the store on sale in a month for the same price, nothing stained, no white (mostly), no holes. Mostly, I look for items that are “special” – one of a kind or brands I wouldn’t normally be able to afford. Also, when in doubt, I buy UP a size – never down.
– Arrange for childcare and DON’T tell your friends. OK, I’m kind-of kidding about that second part; but, the bottom line is: you don’t want any distractions (or competition) while you are shopping. So, make sure your husband (or someone) is on board to keep the kiddos; and, while you probably should tell your best friend that just had a baby about this great event, you’re better off to go separately. #shoppingisintense
DURING THE SALE:
– Get there right when the sale begins. The early bird gets the worm folks, and these things are INTENSE. If your sales are anything like the ones in my area, there will be a line at the door at 10AM. (See my point above marking your calendar.)
– Bring a large tote for your loot. I would never have thought to do this, but at my first sale everyone had big market totes. There usually aren’t shopping carts or anything else available (although some people bring them – seriously), so bring SOMETHING to put things in as you find them. I’ve seen everything from Thirty-One bags, to laundry hampers, to big plastic rolling bins. You will feel silly, but you won’t be sorry!
– Start in the section that is most important to you. Most sales are set up nicely and organized into sections based on gender, size, occasion, etc. I usually start in the holiday section and move on from there. 🙂
– Pick up/ hold on to everything that remotely interests you. This is important. These things are basically a race, so when you see something you might want, don’t trust that it will be there when you go back to it. I usually do a quick run through when I first get there grabbing everything I like and worry about inspecting it, etc. later…
– Take inventory and refer to your rules before heading to checkout. Once I’ve made my initial run through of the sale and grabbed an insane amount of clothing, I find a “quiet” spot in the back somewhere and plop down on the floor to assess the damage. I do this very officially – by making a “yes,” “maybe,” and “what was I thinking?” pile. Then, I slowly wittle down the yes group to include only items that fit my “rules” and we really need/want. This is also where I pay special attention to my budget and prioritize items.
– Remove tags, wash, try-on, and wear.
So… Bet you didn’t know I could write so much about one little consignment sale, did you?!? 🙂 Are you a consignment shopper? What’s your advice?
(P.S. Hello to my reader-friends that I saw at the sale on Saturday! Hope you got some good stuff!!!)