Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Become a Consignment Sale Warrior in 10 Easy Steps

Tonight was the workers sale night at my favorite local kids consignment sale. This night happens twice a year and I REALLY look forward to it.
As in, it ranks higher than a girls night out.
Or maybe even a movie date. With chocolate cake afterwards.

Yes. It’s that good.

So, with my vast experience and knowledge at SOMETHING {I’m kind of embarrassed that this is what it is}, here are 10 easy steps to become a Consignment Sale Warrior:

Before the Sale

1. Sign up to work.
Most sales have volunteers that staff the receiving item times, the public sale times and the closing times. Look online for your local websites and talk to other moms. This is the BEST way to get the best deals; shopping first is a huge advantage and is totally worth it.

2. Get the appropriate gear.
You will need either a very large clothes hamper or a large garbage can. Wheels are really important.
If you would like to go ghetto consignment sale warrior, you can use a clothes hamper with a belt looped around the handle to drag it from place to place.
Oh, yes. I saw that A LOT tonight.

3. Case the joint.
If you consign at the sale or work when consignors are bringing in their goods, try to figure out which sections will have clothes, accessories, books, etc- whatever you are looking for. It’s best to know where you’re going before you get there with other crazies shoppers.

4. Find another warrior princess.
There is a HUGE power in numbers and if you have 1-2 friends who will also be there, it is much more fun and you can get someone else’s opinion on whether or not that item is worth $3.

5. Suck up.
I always ask my kids’ pre-school teachers what they are in need of in their classroom and let them know that I get to shop first.
Tonight I got some big trucks for Ollie’s classroom and some train tracks and trains for Henry’s classroom. I think this might buy my kids a few more days out of time out. Or at least let them get away with one little push on the playground.

During the Sale

6. Know your priorities.
Try to get to your #1 area as soon as possible and work your way down your list. I always go to clothes first unless I need a specific item {like a video baby monitor or double stroller} and I start with the older child’s clothes. There are ALWAYS more clothes in the younger sections {they aren’t as hard on them and have many more clothes, usually to begin with} and my youngest has hand-me-downs. Then I go to shoes, then toys, puzzles, videos and anything else cool.

7. Stockpile your purse.
I know you’ll think I’m kidding, but I bring food and water for snack/ dinner. After 2 hours of throwing elbows and judging the value of Faded Glory {Wal-Mart} vs. Circo {Target} elastic shorts, you need a little boost of energy.
I packed a PB & J and some chips. And I was not ashamed to chomp away while sorting clothes {Helloooo, hand sanitizer?}. One mom came close by me and told me it smelled good.

No, I did not share.

8. Have a network.
Start asking the people in your size zone if you can look through their “leftovers” after they are done. Most people get a big pile of things they might like, then they go through and only keep their final purchases. Ask around- especially if you see that other mom snatching all the cute stuff.

9. Know your sizes and brands.
Some people bring a tape measure and have their kids measurements written down {kids aren’t allowed at our worker’s sale}. Some even trace their kid’s foot around a piece of cardboard and bring that to fit in shoes.
I just wing it.
If it doesn’t fit one child, it will most likely fit the other. And if all else fails and it doesn’t fit either, I can always re-sell it, right?
Try to remember the basics like:
* Gymboree runs big and Polo runs small.
* They only paid $4 for that George shirt at Wal-Mart, so you should not buy it for $8.
* You'll need that Spiderman shirt later to talk your child out of the house to a birthday party or piano lesson, so go ahead and get it now for $4.

You probably know if your child will fit larger in shirts than pants or vice versa. Or if you will use these clothes for the next 7-8 months, like I will, buy your current size and the next size up.

10. Don’t forget special occasions!
If you have a wedding or family pictures or a 4th of July party coming up this summer, go ahead and stock up while the getting’s good. And don't forget swimsuits and dress up costumes.
Cheap is the name of the game, so go for it!

I'm not done! You get an extra tip!

11. Scour the goods.
I have been burned a time or 2 with a shirt that had a stain on the back or a well placed tag was covering it. Also check the size of each item if several are together and the front and back of each if there is a combo on one hanger. I do love a matching shorts outfit, so I tend to lean towards those, but be sure to check it out.

If I had to have an 12, it would be to bring sharp elbows and a smile. The smile will hide what your sharp elbows can do!

Hope this helps and good luck this season at your local consignment sales. They are a great way to help other moms and get some great clothes much cheaper than buying retail!
For more great tips, please check back in at We are THAT Family for Works for me Wednesday.


Sarah said...

Love it! I'm the same way :)

amy kennedy said...

Great tips Hillary! We have a great sale coming up next week here in Bham and I cannot wait!!!

Carrie said...

I'm going to our church consignment sale this weekend. Thanks for the tips! I always forget something to carry the clothes around. I may go ghetto-style this time. ;-)

Kim S said...

ah ha! another instance when having ketchup packets in your purse is helpful! in case your packed snack requires it, that is :)

Hadley said...

great tips, and just in time...i'm headed to a consignment sale next week!

shopannies said...

great tips

Marybeth at www.babygoodbuys.com said...

Great tips! I'm now to the Consignment Sale market, but I'm looking forward to my first one in a few weeks!

Sharon said...

Great tips! I chickened out on going to the sale last year, but it's coming up again! I'll be able to use some of these.

Gray Matters said...

I just signed up as a volunteer for our consignment sale in April. Do you ever sell your things or just buy?

It Feels Like Chaos said...

Okay, now you're making me want to go to a consignment sale. I'm craving some super-cheap buys! Thanks for stopping by my blog, and yes, often once I set the timer for sharing a much coveted toy, suddenly everyone forgets that they wanted to play with it -- magic, that timer is!!

Lori said...

I LOVE THIS POST!! I'm selling at the local sale in April and it will be my first time there, so now I feel prepared. I never would have thought to remember a receptacle to put my items in! Thank you for sharing your tips.

PS - In my book, Circo always dominates over Faded Glory. ;)

Totallyscrappy said...

I miss the consignment sales I used to go to when we lived in South Carolina. I've not seen any here in Miami.

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