When I was pregnant with my first child way back in 2008, a co-worker asked me if I would like to join her at a consignment sale. I really didn’t know what she was talking about, but when I heard the keywords kids’ stuff and cheap, I knew I had to see what it was all about.
After we arrived at the church in Vestavia and I saw all the things, I knew this was my kind of place. As I began filling my basket, I wondered “How did I not know about this?”
The obvious reason is because I didn’t have kids yet, and I hadn’t made the mom friends to tell me about them. Well, if you have kids, or you are pregnant, or you’re even thinking about having kids, I want to be the mom to tell you about consignment sales and encourage you to give them a try.
If you haven’t shopped a consignment sale before, or you haven’t consigned your kids’ items, here are some things you need to know:
Carve out some time.
It is a time-consuming process. Gathering all the clothes, sorting them, hanging them, tagging them, dropping them off … yes, it will take some time. But they’ll be out of your house and not taking up space, so think of it as de-cluttering.
After years of doing this, I have streamlined the process. My biggest time-saving tip is this: when converting closets from one season to the next, put all the clothes that will be too small the next season into a large bin. Label it with the child’s name and size. When the next sale rolls around, you’ll have the sorting done.
Have your supplies ready.
There are just a few things you need, but make sure you have them before you start prepping so you don’t have to make multiple runs to the store. Besides the clothes, here’s what you should have on hand.
- Wire hangers. Use what you have, ask friends or neighbors, or drop by a dry cleaner who may give you some for free (or for a small fee).
- Safety pins
- White card stock paper. Most sales require tags to be card stock, but if not, it’s still thicker and will hold up better than computer printer paper.
- Computer. All the sales I know of currently use a great site called MySaleManager.net that lets you input your item details and print out tags.
You can make money.
Each sale varies in the amount, but consignors typically get from 50-75% back on the items they sell. Some years, I’ve done really well and almost broken even with what I made versus the amount I spent on “new” clothes.
You’re helping others.
With the money the sale makes, most of the host churches or organizations support their missions, children’s ministry, or their MDO/preschool program. It’s also tax-deductible on your taxes under donations.
You can shop early.
Whether you consign clothes, volunteer, or serve on a committee, you can shop before the sale opens to the general public. Most sales are Friday or Friday/Saturday, but early shoppers get to shop a preview sale, usually on the night before or a few hours before it starts. For most sales, the more time you volunteer, the earlier you get to shop. I’ve been doing the early shop for years, and you can get first dibs on the best stuff.
It’s not just clothes.
Clothes are my favorite thing, but consignment sales also offer shoes, accessories, dance wear, coats, baby furniture, strollers, car seats, high chairs, costumes, books, toys, and more. You can always find things in the fall sale to put under the tree at Christmas and things in the spring sale for Easter baskets.
Nine years later, I still get just as excited when the sales roll around every September and February. When the list comes out, I print it out and get the dates on my calendar. Most have a minimum number of items and also take out a seller’s fee.
Some of the sales have already passed, but look for their spring sales in February. Here are a few left this fall that you can check out.
Kids Market & Mom (Eastwood Shopping Plaza)
For a complete list, just do a Google search for “consignment sales birmingham, al.”
Share your favorite bargain tips in the comments below!