Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Children's Consignment Sales

I am so excited!!! My favorite children's consignment sale is coming up this Saturday. For the past couple of years this has been my sacred semi-annual ritual; my husband knows that he's babysitting on consignment sale day! I volunteer for a 2 hour shift in exchange for being able to shop an hour early, which is completely worth it, since there are over 200 volunteers to shop. And the volunteering is a lot of fun in itself.

I love these sales because they are a win-win situation for everyone: shoppers get great deals; consigners recoup some of the costs of their purchases; and the organization that puts on the sale raises money. In my area, the deals are tremendous. I have gotten many high-quality name brand clothing items for $1-$5 per item, as well baby equipment, books, toys, and outdoor play equipment for a fraction of their retail values.

Since it is officially consignment sale season, I thought I would share some tips for shopping children's consignment sales.

- Find your local sales. If you are in my area (Northern Virginia), I highly recommend the Catholic Consignments sale this Saturday. Redemption Unlimited is also publishing a list of other local sales on their sidebar. If you are in another area of the country, try googling "children's consignment sale" or "children's resale" with your location. There are similar sales in many areas. March is prime season for spring sales around here, and October is the time for falls sales.

- Make a plan. If your sales are anywhere near as good as mine, you'll be thrilled with all the items that you can get at a fraction of their regular retail value. But you're not saving money if you're buying items you don't need or don't have room for. I always try to make a good list of what my girls need, so that I focus on that. I always end up with a few extra "fun" items, but first I look for what they actually lack.

- Shop early. For the best selection, shop early. And depending on your area, that can mean really early! I went to the half-price portion of the first sale I attended, and when I arrived the line wrapped around the building. As a new mom, I was floored. I thought it looked like a celebrity event or something! It is especially important to shop early if you want something that is in high demand. In my experience, that includes more expensive or trendy brand names and expensive equipment, for instance, Baby Bjorns, Bumbo seats, Legos, Gymboree and Janie and Jack clothes, etc.

- Pack lightly. It's best to shop by yourself, without little ones if you can. If you need to bring a baby, a soft carrier is easiest (some sales don't even allow strollers). Definitely leave toddlers at home; otherwise you'll spend all your time keeping them away from the toys. Also many sales encourage bringing a large bag or basket to hold your purchases.

- Plan for the next sale. Next year or next season, consider volunteering or consigning. This will be my fifth sale as a volunteer at this sale, and I really enjoy it. Since I'm getting the best selection at the volunteer pre-sale, I have also been able to get the majority of clothes and equipment that my girls need for each season at the sale. I also often consign a few items at each sale. We're not ready to get rid of most of our baby stuff, but I also don't hang onto everything. A great advantage of these sales is that you can try a piece of equipment for little money and sell it right back at the next sale if it doesn't work out for you.

I hope these tips are helpful to those of you who are new to the consignment sale world! I plan to post pictures of all my finds after I shop on Saturday. I can't wait!


  1. This is so helpful. I have yet to actually go to any of these sales, and we were talking about this morning at our mom's group meeting. It's kind of overwhelming, but your tips are great. Thanks!

  2. Liz,

    I am planning on going to the sale on Saturday so perhaps I will see you there.


  3. I've gone in the past to the Dani's Duds sale in April -- have you been? If so, how to you think it compares to yours?
    And if I were to convince my husband to watch the girls :) what time do you think it'd be best to arrive at the one on Saturday? It sounds great.

  4. I have not been to the Dani's Duds sale. I've heard good things about it, although I don't like that you have to pay to shop.

    For Catholic Consignments, I would say that if you really want the best bargains, arrive between 7:00 and 7:30, get a number, and be back at 8:00 to be one of the first shoppers. If you want to be more casual about it and don't need anything desperately, arrive about 9:00 or 9:30, after the initial rush has gone through. Otherwise you might have to stand in line for a little while.


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