Saturday, September 11, 2010

Consignment Sale Debriefing & Tips

It's been a busy and fun weekend so far. Hubs and the DS went to go visit his family, and therefore I'm getting some fun girly stuff done! I've been waiting for today, for several weeks now, knowing that two major consignment sales would be open for business. I couldn't sleep, I tell you. It was like Christmas Eve or something. Plus, I had to get up before the sun to be ready for the first sale.

6:50 am: roll up to a church parking lot and see small line of frugalistas waiting for the gym doors to open.
7:00 am: mad dash inside. people falling down. screaming. something caught fire. well, not really, but you get the idea.
7:01 am: overwhelmed.
7:02 am: My confidence increasing, I weasel my way over to the 18-24 month boys' rack and begin quickly skimming. Hello, stripes. Hello, Ralph Lauren. shopping bag.
8:00 am: Checking out and glory Hallelujah, I only spent $22 for several nice pants and shirts. Not to mention a cute puzzle depicting how to set the table. Gotta start 'em young.
8:20 am: roll up to a church parking lot and see a cop directing parking traffic. oy.
8:22 am: overwhelmed. again.
8:24 am: go straight to shoes and see lots of cute styles, but not in his size. shimmy my way over to the 18-24 month boys' rack and begin skimming: Nothing...nothing...nothing...ehhh....hmm...maybe?... I wasn't as impressed with the selection at this particular sale, saw several stained items. Ventured out to the books/puzzle area and toys.
9:15 am: Checking out in the "express" lane, and my total was $18.75.
9:30 am: Visiting the final sale of the weekend, and the one I hadn't planned to visit. After combing the racks, found a pair of jeans for $2.
10:30 am: Leaving with my sanity in tact, and only a minor dent in the budget DH and I had agreed upon after 3 sales!

And here is the final stash of clothes bought for Fall/Winter:

Not too shabby for roughly $44, tax-free too! I love all of the pieces, and they average $2 a piece.

So here are some of my tips that I've heard from others, and that I've learned through experience:
  • Try to leave your kids and DH at home. I don't say this to be mean, but simply that space is extremely limited at this type of sale, and most shoppers are on a mission. Plus, you won't have to worry about someone getting bored or whiny.

  • Go first thing at opening if you can. The early bird gets the worm, or rather the early shopper gets the best selection.

  • Bring a bag or laundry basket, something. I am constantly amazed at how many people have nowhere to place their items. The IKEA bag was made for this.

  • If there are windows available, take your clothes over there and inspect them for stains, tears, missing buttons, broken zippers, grease stains in natural light.

  • Take cash or check with you. Most sales are not debit/credit equipped.

  • To stretch your dollar further, visit sales hosted by non-profits since there will be no tax included!

  • Volunteer at your favorite sale and shop the preview sale for even better selection (before the public gets their grubby hands all over it).

  • Take some measurements of clothing that currently fit your child well. I used a string of yarn to measure some jeans from waist to bottom cuff. Holding it up against other pants will show you how it compares. For shoes, I simply trace a foot, then take out the insole of a prospective shoe to compare for size and width.

  • Know prices of brands. This will help you in the long run. For instance, I really don't like the idea of paying more than $3.50 for a shirt because I know I can buy a new one for the same price at Walmart (Garanimals brand) or Kohl's (Jumping Beans). Some consignors price items too high for the brand, i.e. GenuineKids by Oshkosh for Target, $8 sweater...not a deal.

  • Keep a towel with you in case you need to sit on the floor and sort your clothes before buying. I did this at a sale and many buyers wished they had one too. A lot of the venues that sell do not have seating or a table to do this. Plus, this will keep your clothes clean too.

  • Some buyers/sellers frown upon this ("stockpiling"), but I call it smart shopping. If you even think for a second that you like a particular item, shove it in your bag. I may start with a bag overflowing with clothes, but after sorting, pondering, etc. I may decide it's not worth it. Please put the items back where you found them. I have 'lost' several items to other shoppers because I hesitated.

  • This should be an obvious one: know what you need to buy. I'm sure lots of poor souls fall prey to impulse buying at these sales since everything is so cheap. But it's not much of a deal if your kid already has more of the same.

  • Have fun :)

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