Whether you’re clearing out your child’s toy box or buying baby gear, the end of summer is the time to get ready for fall consignment sales. If you’re a parent and haven’t already shopped a consignment sale, get ready to have your mind blown at the high quality and good condition of clothes, toys, books, and baby gear you will find for up to 70% off at semi-annual consignment sales.
Traditional consignment shops will have a few of each item in stock at any given time, and you have to decide whether to get that item or wait to see if something better comes along. While you wait, you run the risk of the “almost perfect” stroller being sold to someone else.
Semi-Annual consignment sales, on the other hand, are open for only a few days at a time. They display all the inventory that will be available that weekend, allowing you to choose the best of what’s available, knowing that something better is not going to come along unless you’re willing to wait six months — until the next consignment sale.
Semi-Annual consignment sales typically occur in the fall and spring. They are an enormous undertaking, put on my a small group of entrepreneurs or volunteers from a local organization looking to raise money. Preparations for these sales happen months in advance, so if your favorite sale is in October, it’s time to get ready for them now.
If you have a child whose growth is unpredictable and didn’t want to buy clothes a season ahead, fall consignment sales are a great place to get clothes for $2 – $5 each. For me, I go to fall consignment sales to fill in the gaps in last winter’s clearance clothing buys, pick out a Halloween costume for Little Stapler, and do a little holiday shopping for him. This year, I’m going with the specific purpose of buying a few items for Baby Stapler. I can — and will — write a separate post on getting the most out of consignment sales. For now, it’s time to get ready for them. Here’s how:
Find a Local Consignment Sale
If you have a good network of frugal friends, their recommendation for which sales are the best is going to be your best resource. For everyone else, there’s Consignment Mommies, where you can search for consignment sales in your area.
Once you have found the sales that interest you, visit their sites and sign up for their email newsletter so you can be among the first to know when consignment and volunteer slots open up. The most popular sales fill up quickly, so you want to read all of your emails from these sales and sign up when they open.
Sign up to Consign
Anyone with a basement / attic / closet full of outgrown toys and clothes in good condition wants to see another child get some use out of them. If you’re not planning on having another child and want to make a few bucks re-selling them, consignment sales are a good way to get rid of them all at once.
All consignment sales take a cut of your profits. I have seen as much as 50% to as little as 30%. Most consignment sales also require consignors to pay an administration fee. The typical fee in my area is $10. Although you will get 100% of the profit if you sell your items at a yard sale or on craigslist, you will reach more shoppers and save time by selling at a consignment sale.
All consignment sales require a uniform way of tagging merchandise. After you sign up to consign, take a look at the tagging requirements and get the supplies you’ll need — whether they are cardstock paper, plastic or wire hangers, or safety pins.
Sign up to Shop the Pre-Sale
If you’re looking for a high-demand item like furniture, a stroller, a Halloween costume, or snow pants and jacket, get yourself to the pre-sale. You will see items at the pre-sale that won’t make it to the regular sale because they are high demand or priced really well.
Some sales offer free pre-sale passes to new moms. If you don’t qualify, or don’t have that option, the next-best-thing is to sign up to volunteer. Obviously, pick a time to volunteer that works for you — but the optimal time to volunteer is as close to the opening of the pre-sale as possible. That way, you can scope out the available merchandise while you work and plan your shopping strategy accordingly. If pre-sale passes are only available for a fee, assess whether it would be worth the ticket price for you to have the pick of the litter. I’ve never found it worth it.
No matter what route you choose for getting into the pre-sale, be sure to sign up as soon as you can, so you ensure that you get a new mom pass or the volunteer shift that works for you.
I could write an entire post on how to successfully sell your items at a consignment sale and how to shop a sale like a pro
, so I will … stay tuned! here they are:
Do you plan to shop or sell at any consignment sales this fall?
(Image by Keattikorn, via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)