10 Tips for Shopping Consignment Sales

Almost all of Noah’s clothes and toys were purchased from consignment sales. I find that I save money while also selecting higher quality items that I would normally buy. Consignment sale season is now upon us with sales in the end of February and throughout March. If you are new to consignment sales, then you may not know that they normally have two sales per year: a Fall/Winter sale and a Spring/Summer sale. The Fall sales are normally larger but both are worth going to in my opinion. Here are some tips I’ve found to shop like a pro!

1. Go to the sale first thing in the morning.

So many of the best items are sold within the first hour of the first day. If you plan to go for the first day (often a Friday), then try to be there as soon as it starts.

2. Shop special sale days.

Many sales will do a discount day or days (often on Saturday). You should expect many items to be marked 25% to 50% off (depending on the sale). I even attended a dollar dash last year where everything was marked down to a dollar (the picture below shows all of the items I bought for $1). Personally, if I was unable to shop at the start of the first day then I would wait until the discount day rather than going late in the evening on the first day.

3. Make a list of what you need.

Consignment sales can be very overwhelming and you may feel the urge to buy too much because it is a good price. However, having a simple list like 5 shirts, 4 sleepers etc can help you stay focused. I realized after going to multiple sales last year that I had bought Noah 5 pairs of grey casual pants, which was 4 pairs too many.

4. Give yourself time.

Although consignment sales are usually pretty organized, they often have so many items to look through that you will need to give yourself a minimum of an hour. This is especially true if you are shopping for multiple children.

5. Shop with a friend.

I have seen really neat buddy systems before where one person stands in line to checkout while the other friend finishes shopping. The lines at consignment sales can get extremely long and they are often worst right after the morning rush. Plus a friend can help you go though your piles and decide what you want to keep vs. put back.

6. Be less selective when you first go though the aisle.

You will notice that the pros always do this. They will find a huge bundle of clothes that caught their eye and then find a quiet spot to go back though everything. This is helpful because you can take your time checking for stains and signs of wear without someone grabbing an item you love. Most consignment sales have a put back rack for anything you decide not to purchase.

7. Try to leave your kids at home.

Shopping is so much harder with kids in tow. Plus, I bought some of Noah's Christmas presents at the fall sale and then tucked them away!

8. See if they provide shopping bags and consider bringing your own.

A lot of sales don’t give you shopping bags and it’s hard to look through racks when your hands are completely full. I’ve seen Moms bring rolling laundry baskets with handles and it looked so helpful!

9. Look for opportunities to shop early.

Volunteers and consigners get to shop sales before the general public which means they often get some of the very best deals. I have also seen where new Moms get to shop early!

10. Lastly, don’t limit yourself to one sale!

Here is a list of sales in the Birmingham area. Every sale is different so if you have time it can be worth it to go to multiple.


#toddler #savings #budget

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About Courtney

Courtney lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, David, and son, Noah. She works as a nurse and a Mom. Courtney is inspired by Montessori practices, sustainability and minimalism.

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