Get ready to score some BIG TIME baby bargains. Spring consignment sale season is upon us!
Consignment sales are a fabulous place to get started with your baby preparations. Starting this month you’ll find warm-weather items like shorts, tees, and baby swimwear. Expect to see lots of baby gear, too, from strollers to baby gates, to safety rails for toddlers’ beds. Items I’ve picked up at consignment sales include Bumkins bibs, toys, books, sneakers, baby gates, clothes, and footie pjs. The quality of the items varies, but expect it on the whole to be better than thrift store stuff, but with more wear and tear than you’d find on items at consignment stores. Prices should be along the same lines, slightly higher than most thrift stores but less than most consignment stores. And WAY less than retail.
Find a sale near you at KidsConsignmentSales.com, The Bargain Watcher, and local parenting magazines. You can also check your local Craigslist board for listings or Google the name of your town and “consignment sale” to locate nearby sales.
- Many of consignment sales have websites with details about the event, maps, and contact information if you have questions.
9 Things You Must Know Before You Head Out
- Think about what you need most and try to find it straight away, especially if you’re looking for baby gear. The best baby gear items go fast. It’s also a good idea to know what the items you’re after cost new in stores. That way, you’ll know whether you’re getting a deal.
- Avoid buying used car seats. You don’t know if they’ve been in a crash or not.
- Consignment sales can be crowded and hard to maneuver with a stroller or with kids in tow. Strollers are actually verboten at some sales.Go without the kiddos if you can.
- Get to the sale early, but check to make sure there aren’t “early bird” restrictions if you plan to bring your kids. Some sales reserve the first day or first few hours for child-free shoppers.
- Get there near the close of the sale for move-it-or-lose-it pricing. The last day or last few hours of the sale often bring half-off or “$5 per bag” type deals.
- Look items over well to make sure they’re in good, safe condition. If you have a smart phone, you can even check the recalls list before you buy. Baby Center has an easy-to-use recall finder.
- Take cash, although many larger operations take debit or credit cards.
- Take along your own shopping bag so you’ll have a place for all the goodies you find. I’ve seen a lot of shoppers with small laundry baskets.
- If you like the sale, ask if there’s a mailing list you can get on so you’ll be notified of next years’ sales.
If you’re interested in selling your gently-used baby and kid stuff, contact the sale organizer. Also, most sales have websites that can tell you what you need to know.
What great deals have you found at consignment sales? Any more tips for making the most of your shopping?
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Photo at right: SouthernBelle886 via Flickr