Consignment Sale Secrets

Consignment sales are a great way to get deals on your children’s clothing and toys. I have gotten so many deals over the past two years that I have been going to these that I have to share some of my secrets.

The first sale I attended was back in September 2011 when I was six months pregnant with my son. Since then I have gone to, or consigned at, seven other sales. In this time, I have found out some tricks and tips that I would like to share with you.


1. Consign

In addition to getting great deals on clothing and toys, you can also make a little bit of extra money at these sales. I know people who have been consignors that make enough money to offset what is spent on new items. Not to mention, at most sales if you are a consignor you will get special presale access.

2. Purchase a tagging gun

This will save you so much time if you do decide to sell items at the consignment sale. At the first sale I sold items at I used the method most people use: safety pins. This is so time-consuming and tedious, not to mention that you will probably have drawn blood from your fingers. Tagging guns are so inexpensive, you can pick one up for about $11 on Amazon. This will cut down your preparation time dramatically.

3. Shop early

Large items such as baby equipment (strollers, high chairs, bouncers, Jumperoos, etc.) and large toys (wagons, bikes, toy boxes, play sets, etc.) will go quickly. Very rarely are these still around by the end of the sale. I recommend shopping as early as possible on the first day to get some of the best deals. If you are looking to shop before the general public but haven’t consigned any items there are still ways to do this.

A great way to shop early is by volunteering. Most sales offer volunteers who volunteer for three or more hours early access to the sale. Volunteering usually entails sorting clothing, setting up merchandise, or cleaning up after the sale. If volunteering isn’t for you either, you can always check into whether your sale offers presale passes for military families or even first time parents.

4. Bring a bag or a laundry basket

You can expect to pick up a lot of items when you shop at one of these sales and you will need something to carry all of your finds. Most sales do not provide shopping bags or shopping carts so you will need to bring your own. For most sales I use my Thirty One large utility tote, but if you have a laundry basket or tote bag that will work too.

5. Go to the bathroom beforehand

Once you are inside the sale you will probably be collecting a lot of great finds. If you end up having to go to the bathroom, you may not be able to hold the items. There are a lot of people at these sales and most will not allow you to leave your bag. Plus, there are tons of kids at these sales so waiting in line for a bathroom can take a long time.

6. Bring cash or a credit card

Make sure that you bring either a credit card or cash to the sale, as most sales won’t allow you to write a personal check. In addition, if you have cash that is even better. Some sales set up a special cash only line which tends to move a lot quicker. Also, it is good to have about $15 in cash just in case (in the rare instance) that you may only find a couple of items and the sale has a minimum credit card charge.

7. If you can, find a sitter

If you are able to, you should drop the kids off at the grandparents, or at the very least bring an extra person to help you wrangle your kids. With so many toys, clothes, and equipment children can get distracted very easily and if you are chasing the kids it makes it hard to concentrate.

8.  Take Your Time — go through twice

I have found that this is the best way to tackle a sale. I go around the entire sale, browsing the toys, equipment, nursery items, books, puzzles and shoes first. These items are usually on tables so they are easy to look over quickly. Also, these items tend to sell faster. After I have looked at (and picked up) any of the items that I want, then I go ahead and tackle the clothing items.

After finishing up the clothing items then I take one more trip past the tables, and if there is time, I look at the clothes again. Almost every time I have found something that I didn’t see the first time!

9. Take advantage of discount day

The last day is usually the discount day where specially marked items are 25 to 50% off. Because the individual consignors decide whether or not items are discounted on the last day, not all items are discounted, but most are. I have found that this is the best day to purchase clothes as there are always a lot more clothes left over on that day than there are toys. However, I have still gotten some great deals on toys and equipment on that last day.

10. Determine what you really need and when you should buy it

There are so many great deals at these sales that you might be tempted to get carried away. That is why after I have picked up all of the items that I am interested in, I take a minute before checking out to reflect on my purchases. I ask myself the following questions:

Is this something that I really need?
Do we have something similar already?
Will this be discounted on the last day?

If the item will be discounted then I ususally wait until the last day, unless it is something I REALLY want and would be upset if it wasn’t there anymore. I also try to avoid impulse buying if it is something that we already have. Just because it is a great deal doesn’t mean that I have to buy it if it is something I don’t need (although I admit that I am guilty of this sometimes.)

Spring consignment sale season is starting to heat up, so head out and find your local sale and keep these secrets in mind in order to get some GREAT deals.

What sort of consignment sale deals have you gotten?

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One Comment

  1. The one and only sale I have been at was last year. I got a jogging stroller for $8, but didn’t realize another one was only $3! Always look twice is a great tip! 🙂 And bring a big vehicle. I stuffed my $50 worth of purchases into my car and really wished I had taken the truck.

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