Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Consignment Sale Tips & Tricks

A couple of weeks ago, I consigned and volunteered at a local consignment sale here locally in Seattle which is run by my good friend, Rachel. She organizes an amazing sale that keeps getting better and better with each season. She’s organized, gets back to people quickly if they have questions and she’s a blast to hang out with!  Her sale is twice a year and if you are local and in Seattle around September 13th – 15th, make sure you check out her Jack & Jill sale. I have to admit, I'm now addicted to her sale and I organize my daughters outgrown clothes and toys she no longer plays with, in bins through out the year for ease of getting them to this sale. 
If you love bargains and being able to reuse toys and baby gear, then you know consignment sales are the best thing EVER! If you've never shopped a consignment sale, first of all, you've been missing out but once you go to one, you are in for quite an experience. 
Consignment sales are not to be confused with Consignment stores, which are open year round. Sales are typically held twice a year for a few days or a weekend. If you are on a budget and let’s say you have 3 kiddos that need clothing and shoes, this is a smart way to shop since they outgrow things so quickly. Another benefit to selling a sale versus a store is you set the price, whereas at a consignment store the prices are set by the shop. Consignment sales are held seasonally and are another way to shop for your child while staying on a budget.
Consignment sales and shops not only have wardrobe options for your kid, they have a big selection of baby items, such as bouncy seats, play mats, bumbo seats, swings, co-sleepers and pack and plays.  High chairs, strollers, baby gates, toddler beds, books, cloth diapers, feeding supplies, and bedding for babies and toddlers are great finds at these sales and also found on the cheap. As a new mom, we sometimes get gear that we think we need and then time flies and we use something for a few weeks and it then lands in storage. New moms really love these sales to be able to snag a deal on those exact items.
Consignment sales can be overwhelming if you've never been to one.  Here are some tips to make your shopping experience the best and you don’t get overwhelmed. Trust me, the first sale I went to, you would have thought it was Black Friday at Target.
1. Make a list and check it twice. Especially if you are shopping for more than one child, make a list of their size and what you’re looking for, especially if you have a budget you need to stick to. It’s just like going to the grocery store, you are on a mission and need to pick up the essentials. If you think you have money left over, then you can get extra items. Most often, you’ll be thinking of buying clothing for the next season. If you are unsure of current shoe size, stop by a shoe store to have your child measured before the sale. You’d be surprised how fast little feet grow.

(Photo courtesy of The Jack & Jill Sale)

2. Let kids play…at home. To make shopping easier, leave your kids home, if possible. You don’t want to be distracted by the little ones who are running around in the huge and crowded sale. Most kids don’t like to shop anyways.   The last sale I was at, a little boy go separated from his mom. It was heartbreaking to see him scared that he lost mommy.  
3. BYOB – bring your own bag. Lots of sales give you a bag that you can use while you’re there but it’s super convenient if you have your own bags that the cashier can then put your items in. Those blue Ikea bags or reusable fabric/nylon grocery bags work well.  
(Photo courtesy of The Jack & Jill Sale)
4. Shop early, shop often!  Going on the opening day will give you a better chance of finding items that are on your wish list.  You can increase your chances for early entry by volunteering and consigning at the sale which often gives shopper a pass to a presale the night before opening day. Many times the last day of the sale is the discount day when most items are half off the listed price.
5. Check before you buy. Once you've picked out your goodies, make sure check them that they are in good condition. Usually the consignment sale’s rules restrict torn or stained clothing and they usually try and do a good job in checking them when folks drop off their items but sometimes they slip by, so make a point to check your goods before you purchase. We do this when we buy new items at a store as well so it only makes sense. For purchasing toys, check that all parts are included and in working order.  I've had the experience of not carefully inspecting toys only to get home and find parts broken that were not obvious and my daughter being terribly sad as a result.  The parts might be taped together in a bag so as a volunteer to help you insure it’s working. They are happy to help if you ask them.
(Photo courtesy of The Jack & Jill Sale)
6. If you’re on the hunt for a car seat, double check the expiration date on the bottom of the seat.  Consignment sales usually require sellers to sign a waiver to insure it hasn't been in an accident or recalled.  
(Photo courtesy of The Jack & Jill Sale)
Have you shopped at a sale and now are interested in consigning items at their next sale?  Being a consignor is fun and helps you get rid of kid-related clutter in your house and most of all you can make some money. If you volunteer on top of consigning, most sales let you you can shop at the sale early, before the public, to get some of the best deals. 
Here are some tips for consigning that will benefit you well: 
1. Many consignment sales have a site with their consignor agreements and rules. Check it out since it will help knowing the tips and tricks for having a seamless selling experience  You can often get on their mailing list to insure you get first dibs on signing up for the sale, since many sales limit the number of consignors due to space constraints. The rules will also let you know items can be sold, how it should be tagged, how it should be hung on a hanger and so on.  Read the Rules!!  The owners of these sales want you to sell your items and make money. You might run the risk of your items not selling if you don’t follow the rules.
2. Presentation is the end all. If you have items with stains, try to treat them and wash, especially if its an item that would sell well. Wrinkled items don’t look nice on a hanger so try and steal or iron the items if possible. The nicer your presentation the more you will sell. Take the mud off the sneakers and tie up the laces. Always think, would you buy the item the way it is or can you fix it?
3. If selling a two piece outfit, it helps to make sure both pieces are attached well so they will not separate during the sale.  Safety pin the pieces together and wrap a rubber band or twist tie around the two hangers to keep them attached.  When selling toys with many parts, place the parts in a sealed plastic bag and tape it shut.  Clear packing tape works great to keep toy parts together that do not fit in bags.  Use plastic bags (such as Ziploc) to contain onesies, socks, underwear, shoes, or other small items.  Tape the bags shut so that buyers are not tempted to take the contents apart, resulting in loss sometimes.
4. Price your items to sell.  Most clothing items sell for between 25 -30% of their retail value since they are in great condition, and high end or boutique labels retain more value. The larger equipment items in great condition hold their value and will sell for up to 50% of their retail value. These items are always in high demand, but again, price to sell. These include strollers, bouncers, furniture, exersaucers, car seats, bumbos, pack n plays, baby carriers, etc. Items that are “new with tags” or still in the box may sell for half their retail value. Don’t forget that most sales offer a half-tag sale and if you mark your items for that, you’ll increase your chances of selling it. 
(Pricing guide courtesy of Consignmentmommies site)

5. All tags should ideally be printed out on white card stock as regular printer paper tears easily and could tear away from your item. Some sales will reject your items if you haven’t followed this rule. Make sure you also print the tags as they are in the system that your consignment sale provides. Re-sizing tags will destroy the bar code and prevent being scanned properly.

6. The easiest and best way to tag your items are with a tagging gun or safety pins. For safety reasons, don’t use straight pins. Ouch! It’s best if you attach the tags to the sizing tag or in a seam when using a gun so you don’t damage the fabric. Attaching the tag to the item versus the hanger will also insure the tags don’t get separated from the item. Make sure you put good descriptions on your items. If the tag does get separated from your item, this will allow the volunteers to be able to match them up with items if buyers find a tag less item.

(Tagging guide courtesy of The Jack & Jill Sale)

7. If you have shoes, zip tying is a great way to attach the tag and also keep the shoes together. Another option is putting them in a Ziploc bag and using packing tap to affix the tag on one side. 

These are just a couple of tips to make your consignment sale experience fun and worthwhile. If you have any tips or tricks, please comment below..we'd love to hear what you think. 


  1. Do you have tips on the hangers? I don't have a bounty of them, so what would you suggest?

    1. What a great question...depending on if you want to buy some, you can get 10 packs for $1 at the Dollar store or Babies R Us. I also always ask at store checkouts like Carters, Old Navy, Target or Walmart. Also when your at the consignment sale, they will have some at the checkout since some people don't want to take the hangers home. It's all about recycling. :) Thanks for the comment.

    2. I ask at Old Navy after the weekend. They throw theirs away, unlike Target who inventories theirs, and will give you a big garbage bag full if you're there at the right time! Also I pick up packs of plastic kid hangers at Goodwill when I see them - mine sells them a dozen for 99 cents.

      I love the Jack and Jill sale for all the reasons you said - great post!

  2. I love consignment sales! All of your tips are great ideas. I just volunteered and consigned for the first time and I realize how important many of these are. For hangers I just asked around and my friends gave me a ton! :)

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