I shouldn’t make it sound as ominous as I did! Really, consignment sales and big consignment sale events can be a fun experience. There are a few tricks and tips I wish someone had shared with me before my first time- so if you’ve never done one before, I hope I can help you.
The first big consignment sale event I ever attended was in 2008 when I was pregnant with my first child. I was eligible for an ‘early bird’ admission because I was pregnant, so thought that I was pretty hot stuff. I didn’t really know what I was looking for- but was pretty sure that the perfect and ‘gently worn’ clothing would just beckon me to their area. That did not happen.
First wakeup call- the full parking lot and line of people waiting to get in. When they opened the doors, the other SEVERAL HUNDRED of us herded into the banquet room and bee lined for different areas. Some headed straight for the gear- others for the shoes. Some went right up to racks of clothing- grabbed the largest armful of clothes that they could handle- and found a spot to sit in the corner while they privately went through every item. I was mortified. I had no game plan. I had no laundry basket tethered to a belt or rope to drag behind me. I didn’t know what I was doing and to be honest I had no desire to ‘compete’ with anyone for stuff.
This kind of thing is pretty typical for these big events. The first day is after the members’ only/volunteer night (because those folks go first) and then it’s ‘invited’ guests, or what have you. The subsequent days the items are typically more discounted just to get rid of them.
About two weeks ago I went to my local Moms of Multiples spring consignment sale. This was the first time I had been to one of ours- but it was very similar to what I had seen in the past with a few exceptions.
First- it’s a smaller ‘event’. It was in a hotel banquet room and there weren’t as many of us on member night. Doors opened at 7pm and when I arrived at 6:30 there were already over 25-30 people in line. Second, when we went in, no one just grabbed an armful of clothes and ran to a corner. I can’t tell you how disgusted I was the first time that I saw that. I mean really people? You can’t shop like normal human beings but be greedy???!! I was really glad that no one did anything of the sort during our sale.
Third, I knew this time to head straight for the shoes first. If there was gear I needed I was going to scope that out, but I learned my lesson in that shoes go fast.
Our sale did not have an entry fee- although I have heard that some charge a small admission. Be prepared and always check the event website or Facebook page for information.
If you want to be able to shop early for the good stuff- either sign up to consign yourself, or be a volunteer. A friend of mine is a volunteer every year and she scores some really awesome stuff. Brand new things with the tags still on them. If you’re a mom made business person, you can advertise at an event and can often be invited to the member sale or volunteer night.
I still think the way you’re going to get the best haul is if you actually work the sale yourself. You know where the good stuff is, and you get first crack at it all. Personally- I am not that motivated- so I either go as a member or not at all.
So, to recap:
Come with a plan in mind. If there is something specific you’re looking for, head to that area first. Find out on Facebook or their website if they have a map as to where things are located.
Bring something with you to carry your stuff. Besides the laundry basket people are dragging, I have seen strollers used as carts- but depending on the event they are not always allowed. Always read the rules of the event! I use the reusable grocery bags. I don’t overbuy!
Prepare to stand in line before the doors open.
Don’t go crazy. Yes, prices might be really great but they also add up! Set a budget for yourself and try to keep track. You can easily, easily go overboard if you’re not careful.
Take a friend. Enough said.
I hope I was able to give you a few pointers on what a consignment event is like! At least in my area of South Carolina- this is typical of the ‘biggies’ around here. Happy hunting!
If you too have an experience, by all means share it! Even the good, bad and hilariously crazy ones. Especially those.
— East 9th Street (@East9thStreet) February 23, 2012
“Farrah is the only female in her house between the husband, 16 month old twins and 3 year old. She tries to keep her sanity and jot down adventures at her blog The Three Under when she can. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter as @Momofthreeunder“.