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October 24, 2012

A Few Thoughts about Consignment

Trust me, I love a good consignment shop or consignment sale just as much as the next girl, but as this fall consignment season comes to a close, I have some things weighing on my mind.

Choosing a Consignment Shop:
When you are choosing a place to consign your items, there are a few questions you must ask.
1. How long has the shop been in business?
2. When do items go on sale?
(Will the shop run period sales that will cost you to lose a large portion of your earnings?)
3. Do you have the option of picking up any left over items?
These questions are the ones that make or break my decision to sell with a particular shop.

To be honest, most shops fail the test.
I never trust a new shop - unless I personally know the owner. It is dangerous to leave a large amount of items with a shop that has not yet proven themselves trustworthy. Many times, I have seen shops close their doors within a matter a months - as most do not realize how much work running a consignment shop can be. The consignors never receive any money nor are their items returned. "That's not right!", you say. You're right - It's completely unacceptable, but it happens all the time.
Even if a shop is well-established, be sure to ask around and read any available on-line reviews.

If person-after-person has a horror-story, beware!
Before leaving your items with a shop, it is a good idea to browse the store (on multiple occasions), to see what kind of prices they attach to their items. With the percentage they will offer you, are you going to make any more than you would if you were to have a yard sale or sell the items on-line? (I once found brand new Motherhood bathing suits at a Consignment Shop for $10.00 each. Yes, this was a great deal for me - but not a great deal for the person to whom these suits belonged. Are you following me here?) I realize alot of people don't want to deal with having a yard sale or selling items on-line - but if your goal is to make money, you may want to consider another option besides dumping everything at a shop that really is not going to make you all that much dough. If your goal is simply to get rid of your things, there are lots of great charitable organizations that would gladly accept your items.

*If you are from my hometown or my current location, let me know if you'd like some information on great shops in the area.
I worked for one particular shop (in my hometown) that continues to make me money every month.
A Few Thoughts about Consignment

Kid's Consignment Sales:
While I love attending the biannual kid's consignment sales held in our area, you will not see me leaving these sales with the huge loads of goods I find during the summer yard sale season.
I love observing other moms at these sales! They are wild-eyed desperate hunters in search of bargains, but I can't help but think that oftentimes, they're really not getting that many great deals. They think they are, because yes, the prices they are paying are less than retail; but consignment sales are not the cheapest way to shop. I thought about this alot throughout this past consignment season as it fell on the tail-end of my favorite shopping season.

Throughout the summer, I found yards/garages full of great kid's items for pennies - literally! Just B. Toys for $1.00 each, Janie & Jack coats for $.25 each, Baby Gap & Ralph Lauren Polos for $.50, Baby Boy Nikes/Crocs/Stride Rites - BRAND NEW! in the box for $1.00 each, Melissa & Doug Wooden Puzzles for $.50 each, Scholastic Kid's Books for $.10 each, Kid's Pottery Barn Baskets for $2.00 each, and the list goes on and on and on. It is so worth it for me to get out on a Saturday and scour for truly great deals.

You have to lose the mentality that you can't find great items at yard sales.
Everything I've mentioned above was either new or in perfect condition.

I heard so many moms say, "I'm heading to the consignment sale, because Susie Q. doesn't have a thing to wear this season!" I just can not relate this, and the mindset is boggling to me.  I plan ahead - I buy ahead - and before consignment season arrives, my kiddo is all set with toys, books, and clothes for the next season and beyond. This leaves me feeling a little unimpressed with all of these sales. Yes, I enjoy going. Yes, I find things. Yes, I splurge on items here and there that I "just have to have". Yes, there are deals to be had, but be careful! It's easy to get caught up in the hype of the sale and the competition with other shoppers and leave having spent far more than if you would've just gotten up on a Saturday and attacked browsed a few yard sales.

If Saturday mornings aren't your thing, some yard sales are held on Friday mornings or Friday evenings. Oftentimes, you can also browse seller's items on their Craig's List ad - and most of the time, they'll let you pick items up during the week before the sale even starts that weekend.

My goal is not to burst your bubble! My goal is to help you get the best deals you can possibly find for your family. In short, I buy at yard sales and resell at great consignment shops or on-line. This allows me to actually make money on items that Caleb has already worn/used. (Note: Certain items are being saved for the football team of brothers I would like Caleb to have. *smile*) 
*Don't be afraid to buy lots of different sizes, items for varying stages of development, etc. Currently, Caleb is wearing anything from a 12 months to a 3T depending on the brand, style, etc. I'm so glad I didn't just stick to buying him one certain size for this fall/winter season. In buying ahead, he is - for right now - set with clothes up to a size 5T. Shopping this way will truly save you a ton of money as well as the panic of "not having a thing for your child to wear this fall". Think big picture - I promise you, it works! (This approach works with grocery shopping, too, but that's for another post.)

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like to read
Yard Saling 101: How to Shop at Yard Sales:

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