Consignment Sale Tips from a Veteran Shopper

Last Updated on July 14, 2016 by Diane Hoffmaster

With summer quickly passing by, these consignment sale tips will come in handy as the school year approaches.  After traveling for the last two weeks, the last thing I want to think about is back to school shopping but I have no choice.  My kids start school again in only a few weeks. When my husband and I moved to the Atlanta area 17 years ago I was 7 months pregnant with my first child.  My husband was fresh out of graduate school, we had no family or friends here and  I was unemployed.  In other words…we were broke and about to become even MORE broke since we had absolutely nothing for the baby yet.  I discovered the beauty of consignment sale shopping out of sheer necessity.  No way could we afford new stuff for our soon to arrive bundle of joy!  And since I had no plans on going back to work after the baby was born we wouldn’t be buying much of anything that was new for quite a few years. I shopped my first consignment sale 15 years ago and have been shopping at them every single year since.  Sure, we make more money now.  I COULD buy my kids new clothes and I do on occasion.  They are allowed to pick out a few new outfits each season.  But, the bulk of their clothes are second hand because I would rather put our money into organic food than into fancy clothes that they will only fit into for a short time.  If you are considering consignment sale shopping to save money on your kid’s stuff, here are a few consignment sale tips I have put together that have helped me survive the last 17 years!

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Consignment Sale TIps

Consignment Sale Tips from a Veteran Shopper

1.  Clean out your child’s closet before you hit the consignment sale:  You would be amazed at how many of those clothes don’t actually fit.  Or, that they just won’t wear because they flat out don’t like them.  Make sure when you clean out the closet you sort by season as well.  You may end up moving into winter and realize that your child only has short sleeve shirts.

2.  Make a list:  Before you hit the consignment sale you need to write down what you need.  One of the most important consignment sale tips I can provide is to be super organized. Write down your children’s sizes for both shirts and pants as well as shoes.  Write down what they absolutely must have.  3 pairs of pajamas, 1 winter coat, 6 pairs of jeans, etc.  You would be amazed at how much you may forget while you shop.  Keep your list handy in your purse if you are hitting multiple consignment sales throughout the season.  That way you can cross things off as you buy them and you won’t forget what you stuck in the back of your child’s closet already.  Write actual leg and arm length down if your child is particularly hard to fit.  With my gangly teens, this is a must!

3.  Consider selling or volunteering.  Many sales allow a ‘pre-sale shopping night’ for sellers and volunteers.  By donating a few hours or putting a few of your own things together to sell you will get first dibs on the clothes and other stuff up for sale.  Selling at the consignment sale is also a good way to earn a few dollars, which will promptly be spent if your kids grow as fast as mine do.

4. Bring an easy to move container:  You do not want to try looking at millions of clothes while holding other clothes in your arms.  It just does not work well, trust me.  When you go to a consignment sale make sure you bring a laundry basket, clean garbage can, giant plastic bin or some other large container.  It helps even more if your container has wheels or a string for pulling.  I use my dog’s leash attached to a large laundry basket.  That way I can drag it around without having to pick it up.

5.  Leave kids at home:  Unless those kids are teens and just HAVE to try things on, leave them at home!  You will get absolutely nothing accomplished with a sc2-year-oldyear old by your side.  If you have a friend in the area, trade babysitting so that you can both go shopping unattended. These consignment sale tips will be of no use to you if you can’t focus on your shopping and not on what your toddler is up to.

Shopping second hand at a consignment sale is a great way to save money.  And don’t think that clothes are the only thing you can find there, either!  I have found everything from toys and nursery items when they were babies to books, hair accessories, and video games now that they are teens.  Check out this Consignment Sale Directory for listings in your area!

Do you have any other consignment sale tips to share?


 Check out these shopping tips for teens before you head out!

Back to School Shopping Tips for Teens

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  1. I'm learning about the benefits of consignment sales from one of my friends who's in a twins group with an annual sale. I agree - leave the kids at home. You can move easier and without distractions.
  2. Great list of tips - especially coming with a list!!! So helpful so you don't get home with that "I FORGOT!" feeling.

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