This spring I was introduced into the wonderful world of consignment sales! First the preschool that my son attends had a clothing sale and last week I went to one of Knoxville's bigger if not biggest consignment sales, Duck Duck Goose. I remember when I first got pregnant one of my friends was trying to tell me the benefits of going to consignment sales and I would have none of it! I wanted my new son to have all new things! HAHAHA! How nieve was I?
At both sales I was wonderfully surprised by the quantities and qualities to choose from. At the Duck Duck Goose sale I was in awe at the number of potty chairs, bath tubs, and diaper genies (and that was just in one very small hallway). In my son's shoe size alone there were six Rubbermaid tubs to look through! I didn't even look at the clothes because that wasn't on my list! Consignment sales are great because we all know that kids (at least for the first two years) don't wear clothes for more than six months and we as parents definitely don't get the wear out of the clothes that we could.
So after going to two sales I have a few tips for first time shoppers:
Go with a list! A specific list with quantities, sizes, colors, etc. On my list for the Central Baptist sale was overalls and shoes. I found two pairs of great looking overalls and I might have picked up one dress shirt (that was reasonably priced) and I looked for shoes, but didn't find any that fit my specifications. For Duck Duck Goose I wanted to find a train table, potty chair, and more shoes (some for me and some for my friend Betsy). Although all the train tables that were left were overpriced, I did find a great potty chair, three pairs of shoes and a book for $14! A list is helpful for many reasons. Even though in both cases I bought something that wasn't on my list, the list helped me stay focused. I could have gotten bogged down looking at all the adorable clothes at great prices, but we don't really need any clothes right now so that is not a good use of my money or my time away from my family. I also noticed so many moms that looked like kids in a candy store; they had a hodgepodge collection of things that barely fit in their arms and as our line snaked through the sale they collected more, and more, and more stuff! Remember that a deal is only a deal if you need it AND you can afford it!
Go with a budget! Even better is to go with cash! We all know that going in with only cash sets definite unbreakable limits. At each sale I had an idea for how much I would pay for each item on my list (no more than $10.00 for a potty chair) and that help me budget the total maximum that I would spend. Since I found a potty chair for only $5.00 I was able to buy a book for $2.00 and still be well within my budget.
Go early and be prepared to be there for a while! This is especially true for big sales like DDG. I got to go in on an early admission day and I still waited in line to check out for 45 minutes. I even got to go through the "quick" 10-items or less lane! At the smaller sale I had no problem walking in, picking out what I wanted and checking out. Just be prepared to camp out for awhile at the larger sales.
Go prepared! I saw a few ladies at the big sale bringing in laundry baskets with them. Smart cookies those women! If you are shopping for an entire spring/summer wardrobe I would suggest bringing a basket or other carrying device (your arms can get tired waiting in line).
Go to one! I found great deals at both sales so my #1 piece of advice is to ask around in your moms group and make plans to go to the next one (planning child care would make it even better)!