6 Strategies for Shopping Consignment Sales

6 Strategies for Shopping Consignment Sales

We have a local Mom2Mom kids consignment sale that is held twice a year at the fairgrounds and I always make sure to hit each sale so I can stock up on kids’ clothes for the season. It’s such a thrill to leave each consignment sale with a load of great deals on quality used clothes, shoes and toys for my kids. At every sale I’ve been able to buy great brands of gently used and sometimes brand new items for a fraction of their retail price. Since I’ve got five kids and a limited budget consignment sales are a fabulous way to give them extended wardrobes without breaking the bank.  As an example, at this month’s sale I purchased 34 clothing items – jeans, pants, shirts, hoodies and skirts – plus a couple boxed toys for $126.  Score!

Here are some of favorite tips for finding exactly what you need and getting the best deals when shopping consignment sales:

Shop With A List

Take a list of the things you know you need with you – for example, our little boys get lots of hand me down jeans and shorts from their big brother but few of the shirts survive so I got them lots of shirts and no pants, just a few new pairs for my big boy.

Get Perfect Fitting Shoes

Draw around your children’s feet on a piece of paper and take it with you if you’re planning to shop for shoes. The shoes are never in any semblance of order at these sales and it can be hard to figure out the size. With drawings of your kids’ feet you’ll be able to quickly and easily determine if they’ll fit without having to bring your kids with you to the sale.

Leave The Kids At Home

Consignment sales are usually pretty packed with people and the displays can be pretty busy so you don’t need any other distractions.  Find somebody to watch the kids so you can concentrate on the hunt for deals without lots of begging to hit the toy aisle.

Bring A Basket

Bring something to carry the goodies! Many sales ban the use of strollers while shopping so bring a laundry basket (or maybe hubby) along to hold all the finds while you’re hunting for more. If you’ve got a rolling basket or cart then bring it along so your arms don’t get tired.

Double Check Everything!

Some clothing items look great from the front but have stains or rips on the back, missing buttons or broken zippers and you don’t want to find that out after you’ve left the sale.

Participate In The Sale

Volunteer or sell your own items at the consignment sale so you can shop early. I’ve done this before and plan to again at the next sale – if you volunteer to work a sale or if you sell your own gently used things then you typically get to shop before the sale is open to the public and you’ll have best pick!  Plus I always figure it’s a bonus if I end up making more in sales than I spend.

Racking Up at Consignment Sales!

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We feel pretty lucky that our county has a school uniform policy because it’s hard enough to get all five kids up, dressed and out in the morning when we know in advance they’ll be wearing some combination of navy and khaki!  The problem with that is that when summer comes they have hardly anything to wear since they’ve been in uniforms all year long, and we simply don’t see the point in spending a lot of money on play clothes that they’ll just wear for a few months.  That’s why we plan in advance and wait for a few consignment sales that happen each year in our area.   

Today I hit the Mom2Mom sale in Daphne – I paid a $1 entry fee so I could shop on the first day and I got there early for the best selection.  They were still putting out the signs when I got there so I lucked out and was able to pick up quite a few summer things for the kids, and I even got some uniform pants, shorts and skirts for this fall, all for just $110!  Here’s a breakdown of what I bought:   

  • 5 – Girl’s Pants
  • 2 – Girl’s Short Outfits
  • 1 – Girl’s Shorts
  • 5 – Girl’s Uniform Skirts & Pants
  • 7 – Skirts
  • 1 – Girl’s Pajamas
  • 6 – Boy’s Shorts
  • 5 – Boy’s Uniform Shorts & Pants
  • 13 – Boy’s Shirts
  • 1 – Boy’s Pajamas

There were a total of 57 pieces for just $110, or less than $2 per piece and I got some great brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Izod, Bugle Boy and Gymboree!  Here are my favorite tips for a successful consignment sale shopping trip.   

Take a list of the things you know you need with you – for example, our little boys get lots of hand me down shorts from their big brother but few of the shirts survive so I got them lots of shirts and no shorts, just a few new pair for our big boy.   

Draw around your children’s feet on a piece of paper and take it with you if you’re planning to shop for shoes.  The shoes are never in any semblance of order at these sales and it can be hard to figure out the size.  With drawings of your kids’ feet you’ll be able to quickly and easily determine if they’ll fit without having to bring your kids with you to the sale.   

Leave the kids at home.  Find somebody to watch the kids so you can concentrate on the hunt for deals without lots of begging to hit the toy aisle.   

Bring something to carry the goodies!  Many sales ban the use of strollers while shopping so bring a laundry basket (or maybe hubby) along to hold all the finds while you’re hunting for more.   

Double check everything!  Some clothing items look great from the front but have stains or rips on the back, missing buttons or broken zippers and you don’t want to find that out after you’ve left the sale.   

Volunteer or sell your own items so you can shop early.  I’ve done this before and plan to again this fall – if you volunteer to work a sale or if you sell your own gently used things then you typically get to shop before the sale is open to the public and you’ll have best pick!