Ah, Spring. The grass is green, the weather is warmer, and consignment sales are starting!
If you’re new to consignment, it can be completely overwhelming (and even a little bit scary). But, it is by far one of the best ways to get name brand clothing and shoes, toys, baby items (and even adult and home items) for much less than retail. Here are my top tips for making the experience painless—even fun!
- Shop early! Most consignment sales offer early access. If you’re pregnant or a new (think, 0-3 mos or less) Mom, you can usually score an early shopping pass and hit the sale a day before everyone else. Consigning items or volunteering to work (usually only a couple of hours) can also get you in early. Check each sale (via Facebook or their website) for details.
- Shop the last day. Early access gives you a chance to grab the best items. Shopping the last day gives you the chance for deals. Most consignment sales sell items up to 75% off on the last day.
- Look for more than just clothes. A lot of people I know consign swings, pack and plays, toys, and boutique clothing because it’s almost a guaranteed sale. I found a jogging stroller, new with tags (showing a $120 retail price) for $40! A friend saved almost $300 by buying toys for her 3 year old for Christmas at consignment sales. Sale organizers are strict about the condition of items and will check for rips, tears, stains, missing pieces, and functionality—so there’s low risk of buying faulty items.
- If you think you want it, grab it! Do a walk through, and pick up anything you’re interested in. Then, pare down later. If you leave an item on the rack, it may not be there when you go back. I made the mistake of not picking up a pair of designer jeans once, and when I went back five minutes later, they were gone.
- Look over everything, and/or test before you buy. I mentioned organizers are strict—I’ve personally had items refused for stains I didn’t see—but they ARE human and might not catch everything. Most sales are no refunds, returns, or exchanges.
- Wash items according to instructions, line dry (or low heat dry), and treat stains quickly. Clean up toys, replace batteries, and make sure everything works. In my last sale, I made $176 (after the 35% consignor’s fee)!
- Tag once, sell in multiple sales. Sales operate the same way. You’ll get a consignor number (usually your initials and last 4 of a phone number) that will identify your items. You’ll describe the item, price it, and mark whether or not you want to allow discounting of the item. You can take anything that didn’t sell in one sale straight to the next one. Different areas bring different crowds, so what doesn’t sell in one could sell like hotcakes in the next.
- Group similar items together to give buyers a “deal.” Instead of selling pajamas for $4 a pair, I grouped 3 pairs for $12. People feel like they get more for their money that way, and it’s less work for you (tagging and hanging).