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10 Tips for Successful Consignment Sale Shopping

The best advice for consigning and shopping comes from the savvy mommies who have been consigning for years and years!

If you are looking for ideas for shopping this weekend, here you go!  Here’s a great list of shopping tips from Elizabeth Renfroe with Children’s Market Consignment Sale

1. Check into early shopping opportunities!

Many sales have preview sales before they open the doors to the public. Traditionally, volunteers and consignors have the first opportunity to shop. Extending invitations to new parents, military families, and/or teachers is a growing trend. You may even find sales offering the chance to shop early in exchange for a donation to a non-profit organization. Check with the sales in your area about their preview sales. Preview sales give savvy shoppers a chance to find the largest selection of big item tickets and bargains without a huge crowd.

2. Make alternate arrangements for your children during the sale.

Your sale may have a restriction on when/if children can attend. Even if your sale allows children, you may find the experience less stressful if your kids are at home. The lines and crowds can test the patience of even the best child. You’ll also save money by resisting impulse items that your kids just have to bring home.

3. Check with the sale ahead of time to see what types of payment they accept.

Many accept cash or checks only. Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license for checks or credit card purchases.

4. Be prepared to wait. Consignment sales often have a line for check-out.

Use your wait time to be productive. Go through your items and make sure you want everything you’ve picked up. Waiting until you’re at the check-out point to weed through your piles can slow things down for everyone. If you don’t want to wait, find out when your sale’s slower days/times and mark them on your calendar.

5. Keep an eye out for great deals and the items that aren’t such a good value.

If your child likes a certain brand, know the retail values of their products. This knowledge will help you know if you’re getting a good deal. Old Navy frequently runs a special on jeans, $10 a pair or two/$15. Paying $8 – $10 a pair at a consignment sale is not a bargain! On the other hand, a mom may be thrilled to find a pair of $12 – $15 Abercrombie & Fitch jeans for her son. Moms with daughters, are you looking specifically for smocked Bishops? Scan the tops of the hangers, because these dresses sit higher on the hangers than most items. It’s the best way to spot them when there is a large volume of clothing in the girls’ section.

6. String and poster board come in handy.

Before you leave, pull out a pair of your child’s pants that still fit well. Measure them from waist to hem with a piece of string, and then cut the string to match the length. If the pants at the sale are shorter than the string, you know they’ll be too short for your child to wear. For shoes, use a piece of poster board and a marker to trace and cut an outline of your child’s shoe. When you’re shopping, you can compare that shape to the sole of a shoe at the sale to see if it’s smaller, too narrow across the toes, etc. If it looks good and you’re still not sure about the fit, then let your child try on the shoes. You’ll save valuable shopping time and everyone will be much happier. This little step is much easier than struggling to unbundle many pairs of shoes for your little one to try on for size.

7. Bring a large laundry basket with you.

Using a basket with a belt or rope attached to one end will keep your hands free for shopping. If you live near an IKEA store, their large shopping bags are less than $1.00 and very durable. They can hold a lot of stuff and take up almost no storage room. Bonus: They’re great to hand to your kids when they need to do a quick clean-up in their play room when company’s coming.

8. Keep in mind that these sales are not garage sales, so prices are not negotiable.

Your sale organizer can’t lower a consignor’s price, even if she thinks it’s overpriced too.

9. Come back at the end of the sale.

If your sale discounts items on the last day, plan to go back and shop one more time. By then, the racks have cleared out and you’ll come across merchandise you missed the first or second time you looked, along with discounted items that may have been out of your price range originally.

10. Smile, be considerate of others, and have fun!

Everyone’s looking for bargains at a consignment sale. Your positive attitude can rub off on someone else who is stressed over the whole experience. Consignment shopping can be a fun and rewarding for everyone. Don’t forget – smiles are contagious!

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