In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Consignment Shopping Mama

If you've kept up with my blog for any length of time, you know I'm a thrifty girl.  I like a good bargain!  I love Goodwill and garage sales!  My mama raised me this way.  I often think that even if I were a millionaire, I would still shop from my beloved thrift shops. 

I'm not a millionaire though, so when we found out we were having twins, I began to do my research on kids resale clothing options.  I would much rather buy gently used baby clothes for a fraction of the price, than pay high prices for one outfit, times two in my case, that a baby will outgrow in a few months!

I knew about Once Upon A Child (which I think is priced a bit high for resale items) and a few other local resale shops.  And then there is always garage sales, but I wasn't pregnant during garage sale season. And of course, there is Goodwill, but honestly I don't have much luck with children's clothes at Goodwill.  The only thing I have consistently found at Goodwill are sleepers.  

Two new resale options that I learned about when I became pregnant were Facebook resale groups and children's seasonal consignment sales.  For me personally, children's consignment sales have been a huge financial blessing for this mom of multiples!

Seasonal consignment sales are where parents come together in one place and sell their children's items.  I have several different consignment sales in my area.  These sales take place in the spring and in the fall.  You can find everything kid-related at these sales.  Equipment, furniture, toys, clothes, feeding supplies, cloth diapers, maternity clothes, Halloween costumes and more!  Sellers tag their items, so they choose the prices.  A portion of their sales goes to the consignment organization, but in return they are getting hundreds of buyers to come out and look at their items.  Buyers have to deal with crowds and long lines, but in return they are getting thousands of gently used kid items to look through in one place at reduced prices.  I try to only buy things that are about 75% or more off the estimated retail price.  My rule of thumb is that if I can buy it brand new from a Target clearance rack, than it is priced too high for a resale item.  Most sales are 3-4 days, but some are only one day.  A lot of the sales have a half off day on the last day, where any marked tags are reduced 50%.  Most sales take credit cards, but there are a few that are cash only.  So yeah, I have come to LOVE consignment sale season!

If you get nothing else from this post, get this next piece of information.  I found a website that list consignment sale information for each state.  If you are interested in consignment sales, save THIS LINK  in your files somewhere.  I keep it on the home page on my computer and on my ipad.  Information to the sales get updated every season.  Dates, times and links to all info can be found through the above link.

Ok, so now that I've shared that important bit of information, I'm going to share my experiences with consignment sales, and if you are local to Indy, I'll share the sales that are my favorite.  (Forgive me for the pictures.  These are just cell phone pics that I took on each shopping day.  I never planned on using them for the blog, so they are grainy for sure!)

One of my first real consignment shopping experiences was at the Southside Parents of Multiples spring sale, just before I had the twins.  It was there that I learned this consignment sale stuff was serious business. I arrived at 7:45am, and to my surprise found a line of a few hundred serious shopper waiting outside in the cold.  We're talking people with huge shopping bags and little red wagons waiting in line to get their deals!  It was like Black Friday for the consignment shopping mamas!

Did I mention I was 36 weeks pregnant with twins at the time.  Large, swollen, dilated and contracting the entire time, I think I was secretly hoping that going to that sale would put me into active labor.  But nope.  I would still have to wait one more week before my little guys would arrive.

Anyway, back to the sale.  This is a one day Saturday sale from 8-2.  I did not realize at the time that I could have gotten in to shop early at 7am, since I was a parent of multiples. I really didn't need too much that particular season, because we had quite a bit of newborn clothes from our baby showers.  I just went to check out the sale.....see if I could find any good deals....and walk around so I could maybe go into labor.  When I was able to find everything in the above picture, all 3mo clothes, for less than $20.....well, that's when I knew I was going to be one of those serious consignment shopping mamas.

The boys were born the following week.  They kept me a little occupied the rest of the spring consignment season, but I knew that when the fall season came around, I was going to be ready to shop.

{ FB status *** This is what $55 of clothes looks like.  We managed to find all this at the SSPOM fall sale:
8 sleepers (6mo), 3 sleepers (9Mo),  12 (6 pairs) matching shirts (6&9mo),  4 outfits (9mo), w pairs of matching jeans (6-9mo), 4 pairs of matching pants (9mo), 6 (3 pairs) matching/spring summer outfits (12mo), 11 bibs, Matching Carter Fuzzy Bear coats, 2 winter hats. }
When the fall consignment season came around, I put all of the sales in my calendar, and made an effort to go to as many as I could, so I could figure out which ones were worth my time in the future.  My season starts out with the the Southside Parents of Multiples Sale, and this time I knew I could shop early.  This sale is my personal favorite consignment sale.  It's a huge sale with tons of inventory, and the prices are usually great!  Best of all, I can find matching twin outfits for my boys for a fraction of the cost. Parents of multiples can shop an hour early at this sale if you show a picture of you with your multiples.  Volunteer workers and members of the Twins Club (south side or north side) can shop the night before, which I am seriously considering doing next fall. For this particular fall sale (seen in the above pic), my baby shower clothes had just about run out.   I was looking for six months worth of clothes (sizes 6-12 months), preferably matching or coordinating pieces for two twin boys.  I had great luck at the sale! I think one of my greatest finds from that sale was their Carter fuzzy bear winter coats for only $2.50 a piece! 

{FB *** Here are my finds from the half off day at Indy Kids Consignment sale this morning.  I spent $60 today, which means every article of clothing averaged out to be less than $1.25 a piece.  16 long sleeved onesies (6-9 & 9-12 mo), 4 sweater vest (6-9 mo),  2 button up long sleeved dress shirts, 3 sleepers, (9M) 2 pant/shirt outfits (9M), 3 one piece outfits (9M), 10 pairs of pants (6-9 mo & 9M), 2 jean overalls (9M), 2 knitted winter hats}
Another sale that I really like is the Indy Kids Sale in Noblesville.  This is a three day sale, but I've learned that showing up at this sale when the doors open on the last day (half off day), is the way to get the best deals, as my FB status from that day suggest.

I also go to the Kids Closet Connection sale, because it is really close to home.  This sale is smaller and less organized, but I've found a few things that have made it worth my time. The biggest tip I can give for this sale is to get there as soon as they open and get your shopping done as soon as you can.  The lines are not long, but they are slow.  Waiting in a slow line with two babies is not fun! 

Even though the line is slow, I only spent $20 on all of these clothes, so it was worth it!
Even better is when I find matching outfits from two separate sales!  That always makes the trip worth it!

Another sale that I always hit up is the Northside Twins and Multiples Sale.  Don't be's not as good as the Southside sale, but it is still worth my time. This is a one day sale, but parents of multiple can shop the night before.  

What I don't like about this sale, is that it is set up garage sale style, and sellers only accept cash at each booth.  This makes it really hard to find sizes, as you have to go around to each seller to see what they have.  Equipment is sold in a separate room, and credit cards are accepted at the equipment room.  

What I like about this sale is that it is another opportunity for me to find matching twin items.  A twenty dollar bill paid for all the items on the above picture.  The Halloween onesies alone, that I paid $1 a piece for, were worth my time at this sale.  Plus I found those rubber puzzle mats for $3....SCORE! AND they give out free formula for twin moms....can we say WORTH IT!!!  The cost of the formula was worth more than the $20 that I spent on clothes.  Other items that I have scored from my different seasons of going to this sale are matching boppy loungers, compact travel strollers and booster seats for the kitchen table.

One of the best sales is always last on my calendar.  Whale of a Sale Indy South has great reduced prices on half off day.  I think the prices for this  southside sale are way better than the Whale of a Sale Indy. I was able to finish my shopping season and get the following for less than $30: 8 onesies, 4 sets of pjs,4 2pc outfits, 2 sleepers and 2 pairs of pants.

When it was all said and done, my fall consignment season was a success!  I spent around $175, but I bought six months worth of clothes for two growing babies....AND most everything was matching or coordinating. I went to a lot of sales that season, but the above sales were my favorite and will be the ones I'm sticking with for future seasons!

{ FB status: 6 12mo 2 pc pajama sets, 2 18mo 2 pc pajama sets, 6 pairs of 12 mo pants, 3 pairs 12 mo shorts, 6 pairs 18 mo shorts, 4 12mo 3pc outfits, 4 12mo 2pc outfits, 4 12mo shirts, 3 12mo 1pc overalls, 2 12mo 1 pc outfits, 2 12mo t-shirts, 4 18mo onesies, 4 18mo shirt, 3 18 mo 1pc short outfits, 2 18 mo pc pant outfits, 2 18mo bib overalls, 2 18mo long sleeved shirts, 2 18mo Colts outfits, 2 colts hats, 2 18mo fall jackets }
I just finished up the spring consignment season, and by the time the spring sales rolled around, I felt like a consignment shopping pro!  I literally found just about everything that I needed for the boys at the first sale, my favorite sale....the Southside Parents of Multiples Sale.  That is 95 articles of clothing and a $2 potty chair for a grand total of $98!

And yes, one year later, I found myself being one of the crazy shoppers bringing a stroller to haul all of my finds in.  
For the record, the double snap and go stroller frame that we used when the babies were in infant carriers, has now become a great shopping cart for consignment sale!
{ FB **** I posted my ginormous haul from the SSPOM sale earlier. Here is my much smaller, but priced just as good, haul from the Indy Kids Sale. So thankful for all of our finds! $28 for the following: 5 18mo t shirts, 4 18mo onesies, 5 12mo one pc outfits, 2 12mo tshirts, 3 12mo onesies,4 12mo shirt/short pajama sets }
When I combined what I found at the SSPOM sale with what I found at the half off Indy Kids sale, in addition to what the boys got for their birthday, I was pretty much set for the next six months! 

One last little bit of info.  While consignment sales are in the fall and spring, there is a holiday sale in December that is mostly toys.  We bought the boys Christmas and birthday toys from the Whale of a Sale Holiday Event.  I plan on shopping this sale again for Christmas.

So that's it.  That's my experience with seasonal consignment sales, and let me tell you.....this mom of multiples could not be more happy that I have so many great sales to choose from, particularly two sales that are organized by twin clubs!  I can't promise that you'll find good deals or the items you are looking for if you try consignment sale shopping.  Even I get a little dissapointed at some of the sales, but I never know what I can find if I don't go out and try!

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