I was familiar with the concept of consignment sales before last year, but my addiction has blossomed into full force recently. The main reason for this is (shameless plug coming) the Cousin’s Closet Consignment Sale. I shopped the first one, last June. It was the week before Sydney was born. I was shocked to find Gymboree dresses for $4, GAP sweaters for $3, etc. HELLO!? Sign me up. Their sale got HUGE last October, and I filled a large garbage bag full of (mostly high quality) kids clothes for about $35.
Since then, I’ve sought out a few others, and overall, I’ve been extremely pleased. They are run differently, and some of the moms (let’s be honest…it’s 99% moms, not dads) are good at pricing their gently used clothes, and others are totally out of touch with reality. (Just because you loved your daughter’s first Christmas PJ’s, doesn’t mean I’ll spend $10 on a used fleece sleeper.) I went to one today and although they were shockingly lacking any 3T-4T boys clothes, I was still pleased with my loot–all for Sydney. Check this out: 6 pairs of pants, 1 coat, 1 pair of capris, 3 sweaters & 3 shirts. I got all of this stuff for $26. TWENTY SIX DOLLARS! In fact, I felt so good about my experience that I thought I would share a few tips to help you make the most of your consignment sale experience. Today I will discuss SHOPPING at a sale. (Perhaps at a later date I will give you the Brazenlilly tutorial on PRICING your items to be sold.) I will also show you some of my fave purchases today.
First, do NOT bring your children with you to a consigment sale. This is serious business. You are on a mission. A hunt. There is a plethora of clothing for you to weed through, and you need to have your focus on your agenda, NOT on your toddler and whether that Elmo phone was broken BEFORE he picked it up or AFTER. Also, the good sales (cough*Cousin’sCloset*cough) have so much stuff that the aisles are narrow and will get crowded. A stroller will not only tie you down, it will cause bottle-necks and seriously annoy the shoppers who were smart enough to get childcare.
Second, bring CASH. If you are on a budget (and who isn’t?) decide ahead of time the maximum amount you are willing to spend, get it in cash, and put it in your pocket/purse. That way, you won’t get caught when someone doesn’t take a check or debit, and you won’t get sucked in buying way more than you can afford. (Which is very easy to do.)
Side bar, this is probably my fave outfit I got today. This particular consignment was run like a flea market, with a different consigner at each booth. This lady had almost all name-brand stuff for good prices so I bought quite a few things from her. She thanked me by throwing in 2 matching hair barrettes.
But I didn’t have the heart to tell her that hair barrettes were not really gonna happen anytime soon in our house. Oh well!
Third, know in advance whether or not you are able to barter. Most consignment sales are RUN by people who “own” the sale, not by the people who own the clothes. Therefore, they (the people who RUN the sale) don’t have the freedom to haggle with you. Don’t even bother!
And lastly, I suggest you have a shopping strategy. Trust me, you will be easily overwhelmed. Just knowing the size of your children may not be enough, especially if you have a little girl. (WAY more girl clothes out there.) So, for instance, I have decided that my number one target at consignment sales will be jeans and specialty items, like sweaters/jackets. I especially like a certain brand of baby/toddler jeans, so I seek them out. I know that I will always end up buying onesies, t-shirts, PJ’s, etc. at regular stores as my need arises. But I might not be able to fill the closet with cute GAP sweaters. Enter: consignment sale. So, when I’m sweeping through the racks, I zone in on anything unusual or eye-catching, and find those Children’s Place jeans. What do you need? Shoes? Hot weather clothes? Dress pants? Think about that before walking in.
I also limit myself to 2 sizes larger than my kiddos are now. (My one exception is I bought an ADORABLE brand new Gymboree jumper for Sydney. It’s a 2T…. This was before she was even born.) Which leads me to my last suggestion: don’t bind yourself to your rules! Have fun and find some deals. You’ll fill the itch of shopping without the guilt of spending too much money.