Consignment Sale Shopping 101



Consignment season is upon us! 90% of all my kids clothes, shoes, toys, and baby gear were purchased at local consignment events! Between my two kiddos… shopping consignment has saved me hundreds if not thousands! Over the last few years I’ve learned a few things, here are my top ten tips:

1)   Plan ahead.

–       Look up local consignment events in your area!


–       Find a babysitter! I repeat – find a babysitter!!!

Consignment events are usually bi-annual. In my area the spring consignment events are in March-May and fall events are in August-October.

I suggest finding a babysitter. Crowds can be big and lines long. You will have a more productive and less stressful shopping experience is you are not trying to keep up with little ones, push a stroller through narrow aisles, and lug your bag or bags 😉 around while shopping! Trust me!!!

2)   Go to the pre-sale and half off days.

Most consignment events have pre-sales for first time parents and people who make small donations. If you are in the markets for big ticket items like baby gear try and make it to the pre-sale as those things are usually the first to go. I try and stock up on toys or clothes for larger sizes for half price during the final day of the sale.

3)   Make a categorized list.

Consignment events can be overwhelming. Most events are usually very organized but there is still so much to look through. You will have a much easier time staying on track if you make a categorized list. Before going to a consignment event make a list of items you need/want to look for. When you attend an event (which are usually organized by category) you can whip out your handy dandy list and feel less overwhelmed. 😀

4)   Shop the clothes last.

There are tons of super cute clothes to pick from at consignment events but toys and gear go fast. If you have non-clothes items on your shopping list, snag them first. I usually scope out baby gear/furniture/large toys first, then books and toys, then shoes, and lastly clothes.

5)   Toys.

I love buying toys for my kiddos at consignment!

–       Look for name brand itmes: Fisher Price, Melissa and Doug, Little Tikes, Discovery toys,.. ect.

–       Look for classic toys: blocks, stacking rings, little people, leap frog/tech toys, mr. potato head (who know these toys will last!)

–       Look for toys that don’t require batteries or annoy the heck of you.

–       Look for educational play things.

–       Look for items that are easy to clean.

–       Inspect items for missing or broken pieces.

–       Buy a variety, (don’t buy too many of the same type of toy).

6)   Shoes.

It’s shocking how much infant/toddler shoes cost! Although they are comprised of far less material, they cost just as adult shoes!

–       Look for gently used name brands like Stride Rite!

–       Inspect all shoes for scuffs and missing/damaged detailing.

–       Scout out the next several sizes your child will need. Shoes go quickly at consignment events! Snag them while you can!

7)   Clothes.

–       Bring a list and have an idea on what/how many items/outfits you need.

–       Keep in mind age/season.

–       Shop for 1 kid at a time.

–       Start in their current size and if you have time look at the next several sizes and stock up. Kids grow so fast!!!

–       Stick to gently used name brands such as Carters, Baby Gap, and Gymboree.

–       Buy comfy clothes – don’t get something just because its cute. Ask yourself, “will my baby be comfortable in this? Will I realistically use this?”

–       Inspect all items for stains, rips, fading or imperfections.

–       If you are buying a multi-piece outfit check it carefully! Consigners sometimes mix and match random brands and pieces; they also tend to place stained, damaged, outdated pieces behind nicer and newer ones.

–       Don’t buy it if you don’t need it.

8)   Bring your own bag / locate holding spot.

Bring your own bag! I’ve been to consignment events where they ran out of shopping bags. I like to bring my own. I also bring a laundry basket for bulky items such as toys. I’ve even seen people bring wagons.

Most consignment events will have a place where you can drop of large items you want to purchase and have held for you. Find out where that spot is so you don’t have to drag heavy items around with you as you shop.

9)   Evaluate / double check.

Double-check all your items for imperfections before checking out. Evaluate – did you find what you were looking for? Did you by an assortment of toys/clothing and not too much of the same thing?

10) Pay cash.

Lines get long! Sometimes they have a separate line for cash only people. It saves time.

Happy shopping!