growing up good

mothering, homeschooling, and me

Confessions of a Consigning Junkie

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Last fall's clothes, all ready to be sold!

Last fall’s clothes, all ready to be sold!

I love children’s clothing. I do, I’ll admit it.

Since I became a mom, I’ve looked for ways to dress my children that doesn’t make me half to get another job. It wasn’t very long before I discovered the world of children’s consignment sales, or, as they’re called here in Illinois: resales.

There are national/regional sales like Just Between Friends, Munchkin Markets, Rhea Lanas, WeeTrade, Big Red Wagon, etc.  My favorite sale by far, is the Growing Cents of Style sale in Barrington, IL. You can find out info on that one here.   I liked it so much I became a consignor a year ago. I’ve got two sales under my belt now as a consignor, and I’ve learned a few things.

If you’re going to consign, here are some things you can do to maximize your sales (if you’re NOT consigning and just shopping, scroll down, I’ve got tips for that, too!):

1) Wash and iron your outfits. Make sure everything is zipped, buttoned, and tied. The nicer it looks on the hanger, the more appealing it is to the buyer.

2) Sell as many of your items in outfits as you can. Outfits sell better than separates. Even if the brands don’t match, as long as the clothing does, it’s ok.  Ex: a Baby gap top paired with a Gymboree skirt (as long as they go together) will sometimes sell better together than apart.

3) Decide on your $$ game plan: do you want to get top dollar for your items, or do you want to sell a lot of items? If you just want to clean out your closets, price your items on the lower side- the lower, the price, the more items you will sell. Small sizes- especially those under 1 year, need to be CHEAP. Those racks are usually the most packed, and you’ve got to price your items low or you will end up hauling them all back home when you’re done.  Trust me, I just had to re-price at least a dozen baby girl outfits (and those are the ones left after I gave a bunch away to a friend) because I didn’t price them low enough last year.

Now, there are some items that are a little more sentimental, but I’d be willing to get rid of them…for a price. I try to limit myself to only one or two of these items per sale. If I’m too attached, I just put it back in the box rather than try to price it higher.  I don’t care how adorable it is, no one is going to pay $15 for a used size 2t dress just because I’m not ready to let go of it yet.

4)If you’re selling your baby gear, check Craigslist to see what similar items are going for in your area, and then take a few bucks off. Why? because you want to SELL your items. The last sale I went to had no fewer than 30 exersaucers- all priced in the $15-25 range. And PLEASE clean your gear before you try to sell it. No one wants to buy a crusty high chair! 🙂

5) Include accessories, if you can/have them. Barrettes, hats, tights, socks, if you’ve got matching items that are in good condition, put them all together. It makes it SO much easier for the shopper if it’s all together! If you can, put them in a ziploc so you can see all items, tape it shut, and attach with a zip tie or safety pin.

6) Which reminds me- make sure your items are on your hangars securely! Sometimes, these sales get crazy. Make sure all your items are pinned together, too.  The more time you take to hang them properly, the less likely they are to get separated or fall off the hangar during the sale.

If you are GOING to a consignment sale, here are some tips to help you have a good experience:

1) Read the rules. Some sales allow bags, some don’t. Some allow strollers, some don’t. Some provide baskets, some require you to bring your own. Read the fine print, and follow the rules.

2) Note start times and policies: what time will the doors open? What time can you start lining up? Do they give out numbers or do you have to stay there the whole time until door open?

3) Get there early!

4) Get there late! Some sales offer half-priced items on the last day or hours of the sale. Often times items that were overpriced for the regular part of the sale (and therefore unsold) are a new bargain at half price!

5) Many of these sales get CRAZY. Be prepared for long lines, crowds, noise. If this is an issue for you, consider going to the sale later in the day.

6) Go with a plan. Know the sizes your kids will be in for the season of the sale. Know what they have, what they need. Write it down. Yes, that means going through their clothes before the sale, even if that means you’re going through summer clothes in February. I have gone in with just a mental list, and I forget things, and I get overwhelmed by the crowds and amount of stuff. I lose focus, and then I don’t come home with what I need.

An example of a list I’ll make:

Elliot: size 6. Needs shorts: denim and sporty, t shirts, new soccer shin guards. Doesn’t need pjs, swimsuit, jeans or socks. Could use a dressy outfit. Needs a spring jacket. Likes orange, green.

Mary: Size 4T. Needs play shorts, tshirts, sundresses (2-3).  Doesn’t need a raincoat or boots. Look for tap shoes, size (    ). Also needs a jacket.

Edison: Size 2T. Only needs 2-3 outfits. No pjs. Rain boots size 7.

Toys/furniture: looking for a desk (Mary), a shelf for Elliot’s room, another cozy coupe (so they stop fighting over it!).

7) Finally, either while you’re in line waiting to check out or before you get in line, go through every.single.item.  Inspect each piece, front and back for stains, rips, tears, etc.  Check to make sure zippers zip and all buttons are there. Check that the sizes match what they’re listed as on their sale tag. Sometimes people will pair a size 3T top with a 2T bottoms. Maybe that works for you, maybe it doesn’t, but at least you’ll know before you buy it.

Well that’s it. Most of my consigning knowledge. Hopefully, someone will find it useful!

I’m also curious to know what sales are like in other parts of the country- if anyone from other areas actually reads this, please comment on your experiences!



Author: Growing Up Good

Mom of 3 under 6. Expert coffee drinker. Homeschooler. Wanna-be-sewer. From-scratch cooker. And pizza orderer.

One thought on “Confessions of a Consigning Junkie

  1. It can be difficult to find a good sale. If I walk in there and it seems like a closet blew up or everything is all haphazard, I am typically in & out. Find one that is set up like a store and is an established annual event and you’re typically golden. I agree whole-heartedly about double-checking the sizes and for any defects in the clothing. It’s kids’ clothing, so perfection is unrealistic. But the question about defects is what you’re willing to pay for and live with for the short time they’ll be wearing it. Also, this is not like a yard sale. I have not been to a single sale where you can haggle about prices or try to bundle items together for another lower set price. My children are nearly 11, just turned 9 and 6 (on Thursday!) and I can count on two hands the number of items or outfits we have collectively purchased for them in a retail store. I’ve had the best-dressed kids in town for such low cost for years that I basically think anyone buying kids’ clothing in a store is either insane or an heiress. 😉

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