Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Survive a Consignment Sale

[Last week I got Nation 20 items for $40 & a friend 5 brand name dresses for $17.]

I've been going to consignment sales since I had my first son. I'm by no means an expert, but they are as entertaining as they are resourceful. I thought I'd share a few tips since we've got a few good consignment sales coming up in the local area [as well I'm sure in your neck of the woods].

1. The Earlier The Better
If you're a first time mom, the sales usually allow you early access. Also, selling & working also let you in earlier. Some sales will let you get early with a $5 donation and a can good...I've done this and it's been worth what I got. The earlier you go, the better the pick. The later you go, the less quality stuff there is. Although, usually by the last day things are half off.

2. Bring The Right Gear
Some sales have rules, so be sure to read up before you bring something not allowed. Most women bring a large laundry basket [with wheels] with something tied to to it to drag it with, like a belt.

3. Leave The Kids
I realize this isn't always possible. I've certainty done it both ways, but if you'll be able to get more great things quickly. If you do bring the kids, strollers aren't always allowed. There are certain times. If you bring an infant---bring a baby carrier!

4. Know Your Prices
Don't go to a consignment sale and pay too much. For example, Robeez baby shoes are normally about $30 new, but you can find them at Ross or TJMax new for $13. If you see a pair of used ones for $13 you know they aren't really a "steal of a deal", but if you see them for $3 like I did last week---buy them!

5. Where You Go First
If I'm looking for a large item, I always go there first. They go the fastest. I only have boys so I don't truly know how the girl aisles work, but I can say that there are always less nice boy items than girls so I tend to go there first before looking at general items or toys.

6. Toys
Once you see the same toys you spent a fortune on, you'll never buy new toys again. It's ridiculous how many of the same toys are there and we're all kicking ourselves we paid full price. I love to pick up baby toys & large outdoor toys.

7. Just Laugh
Consignment sales can only be understood after attending them. It's people watching meets garage sales. You'll never see more crazy, vicious people other than maybe outside Toys"R"us on Black Friday. Just prepare yourself that some adult will most likely act like a child. Be it grabbing all the items off the rack and sitting in a corner to sort through them without allowing you to look at them. Be it taking items out of your hands. Be it someone cutting in line after you've waiting 45 minutes to pay. Be it letting their kids wonder around and end up bothering you while you shop. Be it running for items even when staff workers yell at them to please walk. I've seen all of this happen and I just find it sad entertaining at this point. Never a dull moment.


Find a list of local consignment sales at: Kid's Consignment Sales

I go to a few sales:

-- All4Kids Woodstock was okay, but I think it's improving. [Already over]
-- All4Kids Cobb County Fairgrounds, is the largest, and by far the most entertaining. [This weekend]
-- All4Kids Mt. Paran North, has been my favorite. I prefer the venue and have always found nice things. [Next weekend]
-- Born Again Blessings [already over]
-- Little Lambs [this weekend]

If you miss a sale, don't worry, they generally happen once in the Spring [selling Summer clothes] and once in the fall [selling winter clothes]. 

As my favorite mega-family says, "Buy used and save the difference"

What's been your experience?
Where do you shop?


  1. Calhoun area moms can check out the Mudpies and Butterflies sale at Belmont Baptist, catty-corner across the street from Walmart. Sale starts Friday at 9. I'll be there taking your moolah from 8-12 on Saturday (half price day).

    My #1 tip is to know what you need BEFORE you go in. I've come out of sales with 25 gorgeous tops and dresses for the girls... But zero pants. And pants are more expensive to buy new after you forget to buy them used.

  2. Oooh I want to watch usually normal people act crazy!! They should put this on Trip Advisor!!

  3. So, just wanted to report back that I went early, prepared with a list, a bag to carry stuff in, and I came home with 16 items (14 outfits and 2 toys) for $45! How'd I do? :)

  4. Lindsey, sounds like you did really good! Especially for girls...I know their items tend to be pricer. I'd love to see what you post please?

    I wish I could have gone, but Nation was sick and can't be spreading all those germs around ; )

  5. I've never been to a consignment sale, but last week I went to Kid 2 Kid and got 21 items for $56. I mostly look for my favorites: Gymboree, Gap Kids and The Children's Place. Today I spotted a Goodwill so I decided to check it out and scored a few more great deals!

  6. Had no idea consignment sales were so crazy! My boss is on the committee of the one at her church (Mceachern UMC, not sure what the sale is called), and was saying how she was gonna be busy next week and need more help watching the boys. haha. craziness.

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