I love Kid Consignment sales. I’ve been consigning and shopping them since Sophie was a baby. Not only have I found some incredible bargains on some really great stuff over the years, but I’ve also made a nice little chunk of change from the stuff I’ve sold.
Unlike consignment stores, consignment sales are seasonal events, lasting only a few days to a week in places like hotel conference rooms, empty retail spaces and gymnasiums. These events offer a much larger selection than consignment stores and there’s a huge range of prices since consignors get to set their own prices. To help you get the most bang for your buck, I’ve put together a list of 5 tips for shopping consignment sales.
1. Make a list of what you need, including the retail price.
Big consignment sales can be sensory overload if you’re not prepared. Make a list of all of the items you’re looking for and include the retail price next to it. You’ll want to leave some room to jot down the prices you find at the sale too. This will help you stay focused and let you know if you’re getting a deal or not.
2. Decide whether you are looking for a brand name bargain or lowest possible price.
Brand and style may not matter to you on some items. For me it was a baby monitor. I could care less if I got analog or digital, new or old, as long as it worked. So I went for the cheapest possible and found one for $5 that works great.
I was a little more picky about a baby swing. Even though there were swings for $10, I had a certain one in mind. So I spent $30 on it, still a savings of 70% off retail, but not the cheapest there.
3. Dirty vs. Damaged.
The swing you see above was FILTHY when I found it. It was covered in dust and dog hair and had some stains on the fabric. Fortunately, with a little wiping, some homemade stain remover, and a run through the washing machine, I got the swing looking good as new.
Dirty (within reason) can be fixed. But if the item shows excessive wear and tear or staining, does not work, or is missing pieces, you’re better off not buying. If it comes with a plug, plug it in! If it’s battery operated, and isn’t working, ask to test it with new batteries or bring your own. Consignment sales don’t offer returns or refunds so it’s important to check the condition before you buy.
4. Shop at the opening for selection, the closing for deals.
Bigger items like cribs, swings, bouncers, walkers, large toys and other gear go fast and are usually not marked down at the end of the consignment sale. I shop the first day for those items.
Clothing, on the other hand, usually gets marked down at the end. And because consignment sales carry a ton of clothes, I wait until the end to stock up unless I’m looking for something specific.
5. Check for early chances to shop.
Volunteers and sellers are first to shop and get first dibs on any markdowns at the end. If you have something to sell or have a few hours to volunteer, it might be worth your while.
Have any other great tips for shopping consignment sales? Share them in the comments below!