Consignments: Worth their weight in gold!

Consignments: Worth their weight in gold! October 21, 2013

Recently, a dear friend passed on an extra ticket to a local baby and children’s consignment sale slated for the end of last week. I had known about the sale for a few weeks and thought I would check it out, but honestly wasn’t sure of what to expect. This was certainly the case since for many of the items we have needed for our daughter since she’s been born, I’d much rather have new simply because we want more children and I feel they’ll have a longer shelf life that way. Further, I think I have had a mental block against ‘gently used’, one that wasn’t always rational! Still, there have been a few things that as she’s grown we have wanted to try out, but, honestly, didn’t want to pay the price. Enter consignment sale.

I went on Thursday and all in all, it was a great experience! We came away with some nice items, some of which were still in their boxes and looked like they had been used, at most, twice, including the major coup: a Beaba baby food maker for one fifth the usual price tag (as an aside, I’ll have to give an update on this post at some point, because everyone’s comments were really helpful, we are doing a mash of a few different ‘schools of thought’ now, and she’s thriving). In the end, we found everything on our list for a fraction of what we would have paid otherwise, making this momma very happy.

Which leads to a few points of advice for anyone who is contemplating trying one out (and for those who have already tried and liked consignments, pass on your tips too):

  • Make a list and a set budget. I’m not sure how other sales work, but ours was HUGE. It would have been really easy to get distracted by things we didn’t really need. The list still allowed for a quick browse of a non-list section (where I found the Beaba!), but kept me focused from the front end on getting in and getting out without utterly ruining Pia’s naps, feedings, or our budget.
  • Go early, if you can. I’m not talking about standing in line at the wee hours of the night like its Black Friday. At ours there are ‘public days’, ‘consigner days’, and ‘volunteer days’. I was going to go on a public day, but my friend had passed an extra ticket for the consigner sale since she was trying to sell things. Had I not gone then, I wouldn’t have found some of the things on my list…I know because I went back on the public day just for one last browse for one forgotten item! Next time, I’ll consign too since I’m sure there are things I have that I don’t want to save but someone else may want.
  • If bringing children with you, bring entertainment and plan for things like diaper changes and snacks…ours had a long line and, though worth it, checking out was a longer process than anticipated. There were several mommas around that got “trapped” by the line and children were dropping like flies right and left.
  • Think big(ger) picture and anticipate needs. There were some every day items on the list, but we also have two of our Goddaughters coming for Thanksgiving. I told myself that if I could find two booster seats for only a few dollars, that I would purchase them. I found what I needed for $4, and it will make our lives easier when we have Thanksgiving as well as future visits from friends with kiddos.

Long story short, I’m very bullish now on children’s consignment sales. If you haven’t tried one and have some needs to fill, you may want to see if your area has one. Happy shopping!

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  • Kat0427

    J, welcome to the world of children’s consignment 🙂 We have a great resale shop around the corner and I bought our children’s Halloween costumes there this year for a very good price. Consignment/resale shops can also be great for dressier clothes and shoes, since these items are only gently worn (only worn for church or nicer occasions). So happy you were successful, and I can’t wait to hear the end of the “baby food” story!

  • Juris Mater

    Agreed on the designer brands–so much more fun to wear and SO much better handed down. I’d much rather pay the same price for gently used designer baby/kid clothes than Target brand first hands.

    J, what’s required to consign your own stuff? It is a lot of work to price things, etc?

  • Bethany

    I had the chance to attend one of these larger consignment sales and was blown away by the volume of items available. It was awesome, especially when shopping for a first baby girl (after the 3 boys!) It was here that I also found a pair of unused yellow Crocs that have been a staple in both boy and girl summer wardrobes! I agree that a good list and a proper budget are definitely in order, especially if you’re like me and can justify any expenditure with the word “sale”. Can’t wait to hear about Beaba!

  • J’

    I haven’t done it yet, but my friends have. I will ask, but I don’t think its time intensive. At least for ours, it seems like they do a lot w/ and or for you, and then tag it with a bar code so that at check out the item just gets scanned and tracked that way. For the clothes, I totally agree…we had a few finds of really nice brands for a couple of dollars, which I’d much rather than new Target (although I love Target, don’t get me wrong).

  • J’

    I bought Pia a pumpkin costume! Totally agree! I was pretty excited about that find.

  • J’

    Sigh. I am TOTALLY like you.;) ooo, sales…:0)

  • I have found that nicer shoes, sports cleats, and even boots are things that are great to pick up second hand. Infant/baby clothes are usually good buys, as well as baby items like high chairs, pack n plays, etc. I have not had good luck with older children’s clothes, except for very dressy or formal wear. Glad it was a success!

  • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

    Oh! Can’t wait to see pics of you little pumpkin!

  • Queen B

    I had never been to a consignment sale until we lived in NC. Now, I don’t know how we survived before them! Last summer, before we left NC, I bought a season of clothing for my kids for only $30! Now, I can barely stand to pay full price at a clothing store. Awesome suggestions, too, J. I have definitely underestimated the checkout time in the past–and suffered with crabby kids as a result.

  • FYW

    I had never heard of these big consignment sales! That sounds intense. I do love going to the consignment stores near us though. It’s small, so I don’t feel overwhelmed there and never buy more than one or two nice pieces I wouldn’t want to buy at full price. Such bargains! My neighborhood has at least 3-4 clothing and toy swaps a year. Those are such blessings. All for free! Clothes, toys, shoes. Anything left over is sent to a women’s shelter, so it works out great for us. We have a kids listserv in our neighborhood, which makes it all possible. If you live somewhere with a lot of kids and a good way to communicate with the families, might be another good option!