It’s that time of year here in the Philadelphia ‘burbs. TONS of children’s consignment sales!
Before I progress, I have a confession. I’m a germ-a-phobe. I used to be way worse, but let’s just say that on a scale of “pigsty” to “severe enough to be on medication”, I’m about a 7 (“must wash hands at all times and won’t eat anything that’s been sitting out for more than 10 minutes”). I used to hate the idea of buying used clothing and toys for Noodle until I caught the bug.
NO, not a germ-bug but the consignment bug! These sales are GREAT! We have dozens in our area, and most are very strict about what items they accept. The toys and clothing are mostly in perfect condition. And you can get them for a fraction of what they cost new!
Here’s a few tips I picked up about shopping these sales:
1. Make a list of things you’d like. I’m sure it will continue to grow, but here are some of the things on my list this year:
2. Get there early. The good stuff goes FAST. Use your list to focus on the areas most likely to sell first, and work your way down. In my experience, furniture/outdoor equipment goes first. Also in high demand are gates, sports equipment, and specialty equipment like double strollers. Brand name clothing goes quickly, if that’s important to you (hey, you can always resell it if you get some!) I usually browse the clothing last because there is an excess of it and I’d rather get some great outdoor stuff and toys. I can almost always find good deals on clothes, either at a sale or new (from Kohls, Carters, the outlets like Gymboree, etc.)
3. Work it. Even if you aren’t consigning anything, see if they’ll let you work the sale in exchange for being allowed into the “presale”. You’ll get to scoop up the good stuff before the general public, and also get to scope out the goods if you help with the setting up and sorting. Win-win!
4. Choose carefully. Last spring, all the sales were on the SAME FLIPPIN’ DAY. I had to choose the order in which I shopped them. I opted for the closest one first, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. I should have gone for quality, not location. The BEST sale was the Moms of Muliples sale. I should have stood in line when they opened, got what I needed, and THEN went to the others. This year, strangely enough, they are all on different days. ::happy dance!::
5. Go alone or with a sherpa. I would highly recommend NOT taking your kiddos. You’ll have to hang onto them so your hands are already full, use a stroller which is hard in large crowds with tight spaces, or supervise them carefully and risk not being able to turn your full attention to the items you need. As for the sherpa, even when I shopped alone my hands were overflowing with things. See if you can go with a friend or a mom who can help hold stuff or scout out things you need. Then buy them lunch.
6. The usual stuff. This is the same whether you are going thrifting, yard saling, or consignment-ing. Clean out your car, wear comfy clothes, carry lots of cash, and you might even want to bring big bags if they’ll allow them to help hold your things. I had to fit a plastic slide, 7 toys, bags of clothing, a Fisher Price piano, and a walk-behind all in my trunk. WITH the stroller. I looked like the Clampetts rolling out of there!
7. Find a website that lists them all. Do some snooping on the web for a site that lists all the local sales. I found one here for my area. It’s great to have all that info in one spot! And if you don’t have any in your area, what are you waiting for? Start your own! They HAVE to be super-profitable- low overhead, you keep 50%, and the majority of the work happens on only a few weekends a year (yes, I know they’d be a lot of work to set up but once you get rolling…)
I love these sales because they allow me to get more bang for my buck. Do I need to shop second hand? Not really, but when you see the money you can save I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t. Even some of my chic-est friends are all about consigment. It’s good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment, and it’s just plain FUN to do!