In exchange for writing about my consignment sale experience, I have been compensated by Indy Kids Consignment. The content and all opinions expressed in the post are mine.
What would you say if I told you that 85% of my kids’ wardrobe was second hand? What if I told you that I can fully stock both of my kids’ closets with like-new, name-brand clothes and shoes for under $150?
I can, and I do, twice a year. It’s called savvy consignment sale shopping. It’s fall consignment sale season, and all around various kids’ sales are gearing up for their big sales. If you’ve never been consignment sale shopping, I highly encourage you to check it out. It’s like a gigantic indoor yard sale, only the things are clean and well-organized. I started out as a shopper and have turned into a full-fledged fanatic: I buy, sell and volunteer for the sale.
When I say “the sale”, I mean THE SALE: Indy Kids Consignment. In my opinion (and I’ve been shopping and participating in sales for over 9 years now), it’s the best one around. What makes a great sale? A large selection of high-quality items that are well-organized and reasonably priced. Indy Kids Consignment has it all. This year’s sale takes place Thursday, September 15th – Saturday, September 17th at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds in Noblesville.
Along the way I’ve learned a thing or two about how to get the most of your consignment sale shopping experience. Here are 8 ways to shop a consignment sale like a pro:
Before The Sale
1. Know What You Have
You can’t save money by buying things you already have. A week or two before the sale I go through all of my kids’ clothing, shoes and outerwear and take an inventory. By doing so, I can see what they have and what they need. Eli has 5(!) pairs of brown pants. Elena only has one pair of winter pajamas that still fit. I make notes of what they need to fill in their wardrobes and also write down items that I don’t need to waste my time looking for.
2. Involve Your Older Kids
As Elena’s gotten older, her taste in clothing has gotten more pronounced. Last spring I took the time to go through her clothing with her and was really surprised to find that she didn’t like quite a few things. Ruffles were out, as were any kind of bows. It gave me the opportunity to put things that still fit, but that she wouldn’t wear, in the sale. It also saved money and aggravation. I knew what her preferences were, and didn’t buy things that would spend the whole season unworn.
3. Know Your Prices
If you’re not already familiar with your favorite brands prices (both regular and sale price), take a few minutes and figure it out. Not all sellers price reasonably. In the excitement of the sale it’s easy to put a Gymboree shirt in your bag only to realize later you could have gotten the same shirt cheaper on sale in the store.
4. Know Your Sizes
Figure out what sizes your kids wear in various brands and what shoe size they’re currently in. Write it down (I store my information in Evernote) and refer to it as you’re shopping. When looking at shoe sizes, don’t forget to write down the corresponding European size. I’ve found adorable Hanna Andersson and Primigi shoes at a steal, but had no idea if they would fit my kids. It stinks to bring things home only to realize they’re too small.
At The Sale
1. Bring a Big Bag. Better Yet, Bring a Laundry Basket
Some sales provide you with bags (IKC loans out giant IKEA bags for your convenience), but be prepared. I typically bring a big bag and a laundry basket. The basket is nice because you can throw bulkier items in it, such as toys. It also keeps the aisles open. Space is at a premium, and no one likes getting whacked with your giant bag. Keep the laundry basket at your feet, under the clothing racks, and scoot it along as you go.
2. Determine What You Need The Most and Get It First
If there’s an item I really, really want, I make a bee-line to that section first. Some years it’s a winter coat, other years it’s boots or a swimsuit. While there are great deals and finds throughout the sale, the very best things go fast. Strategize, people.
3. Shop Ahead
After you’ve gone through all the sections in your kids’ current sizes, take a peek at the next size or two up. I’ve gotten great deals on clothing that they might not fit into for a season or two. If you take good stock of what you have prior, you’ll know you don’t need a jacket this season, but you’ll definitely need one next year. Think ahead for birthday and Christmas gifts, too. If it’s cool, kids don’t care that it’s secondhand. Your wallet, however, does.
4. Grab Now, Decide Later
Now, when I say “grab,” I mean grab politely. Manners matter here, too. If you’re on the fence about something, go ahead and put it in your bag. When I’m done shopping, I find an out-of-the-way spot and go through my things. I total everything up to see how much I’ve spent and then make decisions on what to keep and what can go back on the rack. If you’re shopping with friends, it’s fun to reconvene, see what everyone found, and help each other make those decisions. Or bribe them for that super cute dress you missed.
Are you a savvy consignment sale shopper, too? If you have any of your own tips, share them with us!