Take inventory of what you need and make a list–Figure out what clothes and shoes you need for each child. Make a list for each child and list each item you are looking for and the appropriate size. Think, Do they need school clothes, jeans, jackets, church outfits, winter pajamas? Be sure to also note quantity, and what you’re willing to spend so that you stay on budget.
After making a clothes/shoes list, make a wish list. You never know what you are going to find at a sale, and it helps to have a list of toys, books, dvd’s, games, baby/toddler essentials that you need/want because they could very likely be at the sale. When you are shopping, make sure to browse all areas because you will inevitably find a super cool toy, adorable pair of shoes, or a like-new series of books that you didn’t even know you were looking for!
Making lists help keep you on budget and from buying double! Take inventory of what you already have and make a separate list with those items. This may sound silly, but sales can be overwhelming and you may find yourself getting excited about the deals and mistakenly by clothing that your kids already have. ( I personally have done this on more than one occasion and I’m hoping to help you avoid making the same mistake!)
Get you sizes right...
There is nothing more frustrating than coming home with an adorable outfit or pair of shoes only to find that it doesn't fit! Measure the inseam of each of your children’s pants or shorts, or even the length of skirts for girls. When you go to the sale take the tape measure with you and measure the pants/shorts/skirts to make sure they will be long enough to fit. (I have bought pants that were WAY too short even though they were my kids size .) It is amazing the difference in length in the same size.
Another tip is to make a note of what BRANDS fit you child best. If you know that your is “true to size” in one brand, but needs a size smaller in another it will save time from measuring EVERY item of clothing you look at.
The same goes for shoes. Sizes may vary slightly from brand to brand so I recommend that you trace each child’s foot on paper then cut it out and use it as a guide for buying shoes. You can line the paper up on the bottom of each shoe to give you an idea if you are in the ballpark.
Know your prices...
All of our consignors set their own prices. We do have pricing guidelines for them to follow, but the price of the items is ultimately up to them. Do your homework to know what a good price on an item is. Check out eBay, craigslist, Amazon.com etc.. This will help you figure out what the average price is and then you can figure out if the price the consignor is asking is good or not.
Know your budget...
Part of the beauty of consignment sales is that you can get great deals on items for your family. But since there are loads of great bargains, it can be easy to overspend if you aren’t careful. So, set a reasonable limit for yourself. Make sure to factor in some extra for items that you may find that you weren't expecting to buy but just couldn't pass up. Bring a calculator and go through your purchases before you hit the check-out line. You don't want to be at the checkout and have to decide what items to put back! Your fellow shoppers will thank you!
ps... WHOO CONSIGNS ACCEPTS ALL FORMS OF PAYMENT!!
Bring a Basket/31 utility tote / ikea bag etc....
Something to hold all your finds in that allows you to have your arms and hands free will be a HUGE help. I can’t tell you how many moms I’ve run into at the sales over the years who wish they had thought to bring something to hold their new finds. Armloads of clothes, shoes, toys, and books can be heavy and cumbersome. Bring something large, portable and sturdy to tote your purchases in.
We do have LARGE “Ikea” bags for you to shop with at the sale and we have plastic shopping bags to put your purchases in. However, the plastic bags are not ideal for oversize loads, bulky, or heavy items. So if you are a big shopper you may want to come with back up bags/boxes/bins to haul you finds home in
The early bird gets the worm...
Sign up to volunteer or consign for the bonus of shopping early! If there are certain big ticket items you’re on the hunt for, you’ll want to arrive and get in line early. This is the best way to snag the cool race car bed, the like-new doll house, or stain free glide rocker! Even if you don’t consign you can always volunteer to work the sale. Side note-Enlist your hubby, friend, mother in law , etc., to work for you so you can shop early.
Even if you’re just planning on strolling through the sale to pick up a few things, it’s still a good idea to arrive a few minutes early. Make sure you have your wallet, something to keep the kids entertained (during hours children are allowed), and something to carry your purchases.
Be a gracious shopper...
THIS IS POSSIBLY MY NUMBER ONE TIP! Consider your fellow shoppers as you browse the sale. It’s easy to get all hyped up on the excitement over some great bargains, but is it really necessary to go down the Girls 5T section and sweep mounds and mounds of clothes into your bin or wagon without even looking at them? There are enough fab finds for everyone if we remember our manners! We’re all busy parents with crazy schedules…we can help each other out by keeping an eye on our own kids, refraining from the “grab and go” shopping tactic, and just generally being mindful of others.
Children can be gracious shoppers too!
Children ARE allowed at the sale during certain hours (not at the pre-sale and preferably not on half price day) and are welcome to shop alongside you. They ARE NOT however ALLOWED TO PLAY WITH TOYS that are on the sale floor. We know it is oh so tempting for little ones to see so many toys in arms reach, but, these items are for sale not for playing. When little ones are allowed to play with toys we run the risk of the items being broken, accidentally take home, or lost. It can be distracting as well as dangerous for other shoppers if children are running around playing with toys, or leave a toy in the walkway. A shopper or a child may fall/trip and get hurt, and we would hate to see that happen. So please, if you have your children shopping with you, teach them to be gracious shoppers as well!
Inspect your items
We work very hard to make sure consignors are aware of what is deemed acceptable for sale, and to inspect items as they are being put out on the sale floor. But, no matter how diligent we and our volunteers are, some items will slip through the cracks. It’s a good idea to examine each item for parts, size, wear and tear, etc., before you purchase it. It’s easy to find yourself in a hurry to check out, only to later discover that you accidentally bought a size 3T shirt instead of the size 4T your son needed, that a cool toy was missing batteries, or that video game wasn’t in its case.
Don’t be a stranger
Consider factoring in a second shopping day to your schedule. I find even for myself (when I shop other seasonal sales) that when I make the effort to stop back in a second day I will find at least two or three items I missed the first time. On our Half Price Day many, many items are marked down, and it’s easy to spot a few more impressive bargains that you might not have spied on your last shopping trip.
Leave the Kids at Home
We love kids!! And I'm sure you love your kids, but sometimes its fun, and more practical, to shop with just adults. Enlist Dad or grandma, get a sitter, or drop the kids off with a friend who is not shopping. Sometimes crowds are an issue and you really will not be able to concentrate as hard or shop as efficiently with little ones in tow. Going alone or with a friend you help you be more focused and better able to score some deals. It’s also very hard to tell the little ones that they can’t play with they toys, and you may be tempted to over buy — another budget buster!
Go with a Friend or Family Member
I have a few good friends who I have shopped a few sales with and it is so fun to go our separate ways and shop then come back together and show off our finds and figure out together if it is a good deal or not. It is also good to have a second set of eyes out there if you are looking for something in particular. It is all about divide and conquer one person goes to toys while the other goes to strollers or whatever.
Half Price Day
It is the last day of the sale and you often times can still find great items that were overlooked during the rest of the sale, or quite possibly an item that was out of your budget previously has now been marked down, putting it in a price range that is more budget friendly. It is also a good time to buy ahead for the next year — think Birthday, Christmas, back to school or summer break, etc..
Double check the website and Facebook before you shop
It’s always a good idea to take a peek online before you shop. Review the sale dates and times as well as any special rules or requirements for the day/time you are planning to shop. We will also post on the website and Facebook if there are any last minute changes or special promotions. Save yourself time and check it all out online before loading the kids into the minivan!