Thursday, March 1, 2012

Consignment Baby Shopping - How To's

YAY!!!!  I'm so excited!  I just got home from another baby consignment sale and I scored big!  I mean, really B-I-G : )  I wanted to share what I scored and also some tips for anyone else considering shopping at sales like these.

1) I had never heard of baby consignment sales before moving out here.  I read about them in the paper and heard about them on the radio.  It's kind of like a wedding expo - yes, some of them are that big.  However, there are also more local ones.  Tonight I went to one in Dillsburg, PA.  It was the first year that these sisters were doing it and they did a GREAT job!  I talked to their dad as he was helping me load up my car (yes, their father helped me load my car - great guy) and he said they are planning another one in the fall... let me get my calendar out now!  If you want info - visit their website here:  The sale goes until this Saturday.

2) I found out about this sale and other sales in the area by using the website  You can set a mile radius you're willing to go for a sale and then your search will show you upcoming sales with websites linking you to further information.  I was sad when I searched for sales back in Iowa... nothing came up in my search.  I think it's time I go back there and show them how it's done!!!  My mom and sister and I would rock that!  Maybe the Dillsburg sisters could give us some tips?!?

3) If you are pregnant or are a new mom, usually within the last 12 months, you can register with a lot of these sales to shop early.  (They know we need the most stuff).  I've always found registration to be free, but sometimes they will close once so many shoppers are registered.  You're also usually allowed to bring a guest shopper with you.  One thing I've noticed (and this is just my opinion) - husbands are better to take than mom's.  Now my mom is in Iowa, so she hasn't ever gone with me... and she is a die hard shopper (like me - she trained me), so this isn't really meant towards her.  But when I go to these sales, the husbands are great at spotting FUN things for your baby/kids and also help a ton with carrying things.  Maybe it's because the good husbands go (I've got one of those).  The moms (also known as Grandmas) do a lot of ooohhhing and ahhhhing over little outfits.  They have missed the message that if you wait on something or take too long to look at it - you've missed everything else.  You do NOT go to these sales for onesies.  These sales are all about speed, planning and strategy.

4) Strategy.  Yes, I said strategy for a baby consignment sale!  Here are what I consider my go-to strategies:
- If there are specific things you're looking for, make your list ahead of time and have your "shopper friend" keep their eye out for key things.  If you have a lot to get - divide and conquer!  Meet back in the middle after you've scoured the sections for what you're looking for.
- Look up prices on specific things you want ahead of time.  For example: if you know the pack-n-play you're eying in the store brand-new is $139.99 and you see one at a consignment sale for $40, but it doesn't have all the bells and whistles the one at the store does - you can make an informed decision about whether or not it's a good deal.  (Think extra's on these things for daycare of grandparents houses!  If we lived closer to our parents, I would have snatched up extra of these tonight).
-Buy things that you can wash and/or wipe down with Clorox wipes.  I totally stay away from any sort of stuffed animal or pillow or anything else.  I've found things to be very clean and well organized at all of these sales - but who knows what kind of germs are on any of them.  Better safe than sorry. 
- Leave the clothes shopping for the 1/2 price day (usually the last day or last few hours of a consignment sale) or other garage sales in the spring and summer.  I've found a lot of the consignment prices for clothes are overpriced at these sales.  I'm not sure why that is, but it just is.  I usually only go for things if they are $3 or less unless it's a bigger item, like a coat or a new pair of shoes or a really expensive brand.  But even then, I usually only pay $5 at most for any one thing.  Maybe as Aiden gets older and stays a size for longer than a hot minute, I'll be willing to pay more.
- Double check ahead of time what kind of payment they take AND if you are allowed to bring your own bags/baskets or if you have to use theirs.  Each sale has a different policy.  I went to one last spring when we just found out we were pregnant (totally unprepared) with my own shopping bags (not allowed at that sale) and very little cash (they only took cash... boo!).  Tonight's sale - you could bring all your own bags you wanted and/or use the wonderful baskets they provided and you could pay with credit/debit/cash or check.  Did I mention - I loved tonight's sale?!? 
- Don't bring your kids.  There I said it.  I'm a new mom and apparently a "mean" one.  These sales are crowded.  The last thing I want to do is ask a parent to have their child get off the toy I want to buy for my son.  It makes me feel bad (but not bad enough that I won't do it!).  If you do have a young infant (like we do right now) - bring them in a baby bjorn carrier or have your "helper" hold them (although, they wouldn't be much help at that point to you).  Strollers at these things do NOT work.  They just don't.  And it will limit your shopping ability.  My advice is get a sitter (it will more than pay for itself), ask hubby to hang with the kids or have a family member/friend watch the kids while you go do some serious shopping damage.
- Finally - bring a big enough vehicle with you.  You never know what you're going to find at these things.  There was an adorable slide and outdoor play set at the sale tonight that I just LOVED!  I knew Aiden would love it in our big back yard too next spring and maybe even this fall.  I didn't get it because I was at this sale by myself and I hadn't done my research on pricing.  The nice slide was going for $40 - not sure if that was a deal or not, but you better bet I'll do my research for the fall sales so I can scoop those up!  I hope we have a van by then, but if not - I'll plan to borrow someones to take to a sale just so I know I can load up if needed (and I drive an SUV people!).

Alright - this momma is getting tired.  Real quick - here is the comparison of prices from what I got tonight.
Busy Zoo Activity Toy.  Retail: $89.95 (newer version)  Tonight's Price: $18
Baby Bjorn Carrier - original black. Retail: $89.99   Tonight's Price: $15
Eddie Bauer Travel Bed.  Retail: 39.99  Tonight's Price: $15
Mega Blocks Wagon. Retail: 29.99  Tonight's Price: $7.50
V-Tech 3-in-1 Smart Wheels.  Retail: 49.99  Tonight's Price: $10
V-Tech Spin-n-Learn Top. Retail: 15.99 (newer version) Tonight's Price: $4
Fisher Price Mirror. Retail: $16.99 (newer version)  Tonight's Price: $1.50
Sassy Crib and Floor Mirror.  Retail: $19.99  Tonight's Price: $1.50
5 Pk of Body Suits (New).  Retail: $25.99  Tonight's Price: $5.50
Carter's Joby Shoes.  Retail: $10.99  Tonight's Price: $2.00
Carter's Shoes. Retail: 11.99  Tonight's Price: $2.50
Bruin Stacking Cups. Retail: 4.99 Tonight's Price: $3.00 (Boo, I thought the cups retailed for more than that!)
Carters footed sleepers (x2).  Retail: 31.98 for both  Tonight's Price: $3 for both
Baby Gap Rain Jacket (not currently on website)  Usually Retails around $24.95  Tonight's Price:$5.50
Carters 2 piece short set (not currently on website)  Usually Retails around $15.99  Tonight's Price: $1.00

Total Retail: $479.76  Tonight's Total: $95  80% savings!!!

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