22 October 2012

Consignment Season

Well it is that time of year again. The time when the weather is changing and I quickly realize that my children have a closet full of clothes that either don't fit or are inappropriate for the current weather. Lucky for me it is also consignment season.

For those of you who don't know what consignment season it, it is one of the most spectacular (<---Kaydence's new word) times of the year. Twice a year, fall and spring, certain consignment companies will get together for a very large consignment event. During these events you can consign your children's gently used...anythings, and also buy others gently used items at deeply discounted prices. If you have children or are currently expecting and you have never participated in a consignment event you are certainly missing out.

I am definitely not new to the world of hand-me-downs. I was not one of the lucky few who came from a well to do family, and with as many children as my family had there was just no "extra" in the budget for new. For back to school season, while most other kids I knew where shopping at local outlet stores and malls, I was shopping at the Goodwill and second hand thrift stores. I was always mortified as a child of my hand-me-downs and gently used cloths and vowed that when I had kids I would NEVER make them suffer the way I did.

That was until I had kids...

When discovering I was pregnant with my first child I was thrilled and stuck to my "I will not buy her used clothing vow." We spent and received hundreds of dollars worth of new clothes and this made me happy. I was doing better for my child than I had, right? Wrong! Kaydence quickly outgrew the clothes she was wearing, leaving dozens of outfits barely used or never worn. I was now in a predicament (<---another one of Kaydence's new words.) My baby had no clothes that fit her, I have a pile of unused and gently worn cloths that I didn't know what to do with, and a tight budget that wouldn't afford the amount of items she needed. I couldn't help but think to myself what a waste of money it all was. Late into Kaydence's first year of life I discovered my first consignment event, Just Between Friends (JBF), through a mommy community I became a part of on YouTube. I was very reluctant at first. I have been buying used clothing for myself for many years by this point, but I wanted "better" for her. After much battling between my desires and the amount of money in my wallet, I eventually gave in and headed to my first consignment event. And I can honestly say I have never looked back.

 Each consignment season I am able to stock pile clothes that will get my little ones through until the next event, while still having paid a fraction of the cost I would have buying them new. Many of the clothing I find is name brand and practically new. The kids, at this age know no better and quite frankly I don' care if they did. When asked where I found his shirt or her skirt, I have no shame in admitting that I got it consigned. If there is anything I have learned from being a mom it is setting aside my pride. Buying second hand doesn't make me less of a mom, or my kids less fortunate.  My kids are rich in love and attention and I like to think that purchasing second hand makes me a smart mama, especially in today's economy. My children's closest are 10% new and 90% second hand fabulousness and unless I wrote a entire blog post about second hand shopping nobody would be able to tell:-)

Clothing is not all you can get at these wonderful bi-yearly events. Cribs, toys, dressers, changing tables, breast pumps, books, strollers, carseats, bassinets, maternity clothing, and pretty much anything you can imagine associated with pregnancy, infancy, and childhood can be found at these consignment events. I have purchased a brand new double stroller originally priced at $350 for less than half of the cost. Among many other toys, books, and other items that the kids needed or wanted.

Each event I walk away with amazing steals and am happy to know the kids have what they need. This fall's consignment event was no different. With Kameron growing as quickly as he has been, now fitting 24 months clothing at only 9 months old, his closet of clothes have been dwindling to a mere 5-6 outfits. I have been desperately putting off buying him clothing hoping that what we could get  through until the the fall consignment sales. Although it was a struggle we made it, and just this past weekend I was able to rack up a closet of new fall/winter clothes for both the kiddos. Between JBF and Grandma, I think we are are pretty good for now...fingers crossed.

For Kaydence: 12 shirts, 6 pairs of pants, 5 sets of PJ's, and a winter coat.
For Kameron: 12 shirts, 6 pairs of pants, 6 pairs of PJ's and a Winter coat.
All for $100
And this doesn't even includes grandma's collection of awesome steals! 

Due to the generally large nature of these events, they can be quite overwhelming for first timers. To help in any way I can I have decided to compile a small tip list for anyone new to the consignment world.

Don't underestimate the overwhelmingness of these events!

::1. Know what you want::
 Make a list of the items that you are wanting/needing to get. This way you don't get too distracted or forget something the day of.

::2. Think ahead::
 Since these events only occur twice a year, planning ahead is necessary. What sizes are the kids now? What sizes will they be within the next 6 months? What milestones will they be reaching? All of these question are important ones to know if you plan on buying clothing, or toys (i.e. walkers, standing tables, jumpers, etc).

::3. Bring your own bags/containers::
 The events most often times do not provide bags for you. If you are looking to stock up on clothing and items for a few months you will need bags to put this stuff in. Many times it is also convenient to bring laundry hampers with belts attached for dragging, wagons, or rolling carts to place all of your items in.

::4. Bring cash::
The events generally accept all major credit cards, however, there are always fast lanes for customers purchasing only in cash. Also, by bringing cash you make sure you do not exceed your spending limit.

::5. If you can, leave the kids at home with a friend, relative or babysitter::
 These events get crazy! Not only are the packed with people but all of the choices means you may be there for awhile. Kids get restless. If you want a semi-peaceful shopping experience than having a babysitter is always best. Plus, the minimization of any extra strollers and carts in the aisles will also make shopping easier on others and yourself. If leaving the kids are home is not feasible than it will certainly help to have and extra adult to accompany you to help with the kids while you are shopping

::6. Shop strategically:: 
If you plan to purchase a lot of items. Go for the bigger things first, they are usually the first to go. Once you have picked out your larger items you can take them over to the "HOLD" area while you continue to shop for your smaller one.

::7. Volunteer/Consign::
If you can volunteer for even a short 4 hours shift or consign some of your children's gently used items you will most likely get some added perks. (see #7 for more details)

::9. Check the events ahead of time for perks::
Often times consignors, volunteers, first time parents, foster parents, and in some areas military families get some extra perks. Most often the perk is early entry, where you are able to get into the event the day or morning before it opens to the public. This is always a plus if you are wanting to get the cream of the crop. The best cribs, strollers, clothes, toys etc are always the first to go so the sooner you get in the better. Also there is usually a small fee associated with entry ($5 or less) and this is often times waived if you fall into one of the above categories or if you sign up for their emails.

::9. Be aware that the last day of the event is usually free and most items are half priced::
 With this in mind, know that if you are only going for clothes Sunday's may be your best bet to get more for less.

::10. Have Fun!::

Hope these tips help with your future consigning endeavors. Don't be afraid to get your feet wet in the world of consigning and second hand shopping. Keeping and open and positive mind about any situation allows for individual growth; and hey you might actually find some pretty cool stuff:-)

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