Children’s clothes and equipment resales or consignment sales can be an incredible way to save some money as your kids grow.
Here are my top 12 tips for shopping at a kid’s consignment sale!
I’ve been shopping for my children at consignment sales since before my son was born over 7 years ago.
Because kids grow out of their clothes and shoes so quickly, buying gently used items is an amazing way to save tons of cash. Most of our baby and toddler toys and equipment were purchased at resales, and I’ve found lots of great deals.
With all this practice, I’ve come up with some tricks and strategies to save our family even more money at consignment sales.
Go in with a list!
By far, this is the most essential step when trying to save money shopping. If you don’t have a list, it’s very easy to be overwhelmed and purchase way more than you actually need.
In our area, the resales are usually in the early fall and early spring. So before that time rolls around, I go through my children’s clothes and shoes to see what still fits and what they might need for the upcoming seasons.
I like to simply list how many shirts, pants, shorts, etc., that I think I’ll need for each child and mark things off as I find them. Even a low-frills list seems to keep me on task as I shop.
Be prepared to shop a season ahead.
Because a lot of resales are in the fall and spring, there may be times when you need to adjust your list to items you might not need for a few months.
Making your list for a fall resale? Don’t forget to think winter coats, hats and boots. Shopping in the spring? Look for swim suits and sandals.
This might sound like a bit much to some, but hear me out.
When shopping second-hand, there’s not usually a return option if something doesn’t fit. And, since my son is now at school during resales, he can’t try items like winter coats on before I buy them.
So, I began to take measurements of his arms and then I make a note of the length on my list.
If I find a coat at a sale, I use my measuring tape to make sure the sleeves will be long enough to keep him toasty and warm.
I’ve done this for inseams on school pants too.
It takes away any second guessing about fit!
Know your brands.
My children have always been very long and lean. Because of that, I’ve realized that there are certain major brands that don’t fit them as well. I usually have to go a size bigger in Carters, but Target’s Cat and Jack tend to be perfect.
Even if the style is what I’m looking for, if I know the brand doesn’t fit, there’s no sense in buying it.
Resale shopping takes time. Time to comb through the racks. Time to wait on line. But you will have saved money when you’re through!
Look at different sizes.
Most kid’s consignment sales are organized by size of clothes. But, it never hurts to comb through the next size up, since items can be mislabeled or may have been put back in the wrong place.
Your resale might also have a spot where shoppers can put back items they’ve decided not to purchase. Don’t forget to scope out those treasures, too!
Bring a friend.
Sometimes you just need someone to help you make tough choices. And if you’re planning on bringing your children along to a resale, it can be helpful to have an extra set of hands and eyes when they get antsy.
Go with basics that can be combined into multiple outfits.
It can be so tempting to grab all the cute patterned clothes or character t’s, but that might limit the amount of outfits your kids will end up with in the long run.
Much like the capsule wardrobe idea for adults, if you focus on basics that can mix and match, you’ll find you can still create loads of outfits.
Have realistic expectations.
Like any thrifting experience, you can’t control what you may find. Keep an open mind, and be prepared to go with a plan B if you don’t find the exact item you’re looking for.
Above all, have fun! Resale shopping is an adventure!
Be ok with leaving without buying much.
This one goes hand in hand with the last tip. There are some sales that are just a bust. It’s disappointing, but it happens.
Plan ahead for holiday gifts
For years, I’ve been able to find brand new or gently used toys to give my children for their Christmas gifts. This works especially well when they were too young to really voice or write what they would like to receive on a list to Santa.
I still can find a something here and there, like a special book they might like or some LEGOs to sock away for a rainy day surprise.
Don’t buy it just because its a good deal.
This is the number one rule of shopping.
The price can’t be the only good thing about a purchase. It also has to solve a problem, have a purpose, or “bring you joy” in the words of Marie Kondo.
If you’re buying something just because it’s inexpensive but you don’t have a need for it, you’re just wasting money.
That’s it for my 12 tips for shopping at a kid’s consignment sale!
If you’re wondering if there are sales in your town, a quick Google search will tell you when and where. But the same tips work for other thrift stores and yard sales.
Do you shop second-hand for your children’s clothes, toys, and equipment?
I’d love to hear about your best finds. Leave me a comment below!
And, for more money saving tips, check out this post about shopping for craft supplies on a budget.