10 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales (with a Giveaway!)

10 Tips for Shopping at Consignment SalesIt’s that time of year again–consignment sale season! Last fall, I went to SIX different consignment sales. Whew. It was kind of exhausting. But worth it in the name of research – check out my Guide to DFW Consignment Sales. Today, as a further result of that research, I’m sharing my strategy for this spring, tips for shopping at consignment sales, and a giveaway!

First off, my strategy. This spring I’m only going to ONE consignment sale.

“Which one?” is of course the next question.

10 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales

The biggest one! After trekking all over town last fall to different sales with varying degrees of success, I’m simplifying this year and just going to the Just Between Friends Fort Worth sale. Even though it’s an hour away from me. I’ve marked it on my calendar already. I’m just going to take a Saturday morning to drive across town, purchase Jaye’s summer wardrobe at super discount prices, find a few gifts to save for her birthday, perhaps stop for lunch all by myself, and be done. I have not found a kids consignment sale that can top JBF Fort Worth. It’s the biggest sale with the best selection.

Where: Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Center – Amon G. Carter Exhibit Hall.

When: February 26 – March 9th, with the first public shopping day on March 1st (plus a handful of presales!)

What: Texas’ LARGEST children’s and maternity consignment sale!

So that’s the details about my strategy and the one consignment sale I’m planning on attending. Keep reading for 10 Tips for shopping at Consignment sales. These tips apply to any type of consignment sale, not just JBF Fort Worth.

10 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales

10 Tips for Shopping at Consignment Sales

 1. Plan your strategy.

Whether you are going to follow my lead and just go to one, or explore several different consignment sales, figure out what the dates are and get them on your calendar. Here’s a handy calendar of Spring 2014 DFW Consignment Sales.

2. Don’t forget about Pre-Sales.

Most sales have special pre-sale shopping times for volunteers, consignors, and first-time parents. So check each sale’s website to find out what pre-sale times you might qualify for. You will usually need to register or sign up for these early times beforehand. At JBF Ft. Worth, you can shop early as a first-time parent, volunteer, or consignor. (Registration for the JBF Ft. Worth First Time Parent Sale ends on Feb. 27).

3. Check on parking and admission prices.

Some sales charge an admission price, so check the website beforehand so you are not surprised on the day of the sale. I have often found coupons for reducing or eliminating the admission price to a sale on that sale’s website or Facebook page. So don’t forget to look there. If you are planning on going to JBF Ft. Worth, be aware that the main parking lot in front of the JBF Ft. Worth sale is owned by the City of Ft. Worth who charges $8 for parking there. My strategy is to drive around looking for street parking and then just walk further to get to the sale. But, JBF Ft. Worth has a new Frequent Shopper program that can reduce your parking fees if you come back for a 2nd visit, like say on 50% off day! Check out their website for details.

4. Bring a laundry basket.

You are going to need something to carry your prizes in. Some sales offer those big blue Ikea bags, but I’ve found that those quickly get heavy and full. A laundry basket works better. Tie a rope or belt around it and you can pull it behind you instead of carrying it.  “Canton carts” work great if you have one.  Do NOT waste your money on a cheap rolling rack — JBF Ft. Worth warns “They don’t hold up and often don’t even last for one sale and we see them in the Will Rogers’ dumpster.”

5. Make a list.

Making a list really helps me save time and money when I’m shopping. I know exactly what I need and don’t make so many extra impulse purchases. I like to go through Jaye’s closet before the sale, sort the t0o-small clothes out, and really assess what she needs.

6. Allow plenty of time.

Consignment sales are big, can be hectic, and always take more time than you think. I don’t like to be in a rush because then I get stressed out. The JBF Fort Worth sale is so huge that it needs extra time. Divine Consign is an especially busy, crowded sale, so shopping there also takes more time.

7. Size up.

Remember that you are buying used clothes that have already shrunk and plan what size you need accordingly. Looking for a few items in the next size up is handy in case your kiddo has a growth spurt before the next sale. For example, Jaye has already outgrown all the winter 2T clothes I bought for her in the fall. Now we are trying to limp through the last (hopefully!) days of cold winter with all of her leggings looking more like capris. I wish I’d bought a few 3T items last fall.

8. Food and water.

Shopping is hard work. You’ll need nourishment and most sales don’t have any type of food or concessions available. I like to bring a water bottle and a couple of granola bars (KIND are my favorite). If you are shopping with the kids, don’t forget plenty of snacks for them as well.

9. Know brand names and prices.

Doing a little bit of research on clothing brands and their typical retail prices can help you spot the best deals and avoid paying way too much for a lower-end brand.

10. Shop the sale, then shop your basket again.

When I first go through the sale, I select a lot of different things off the racks, anything I think I might buy. Then once I’m done, I sort through the items I’ve selected in closer detail. I like to do it this way so I’m not spending forever in front of a clothing rack looking for stains or wear on a garment. Plus, something that looked great at the beginning of a rack of clothes, might not be as awesome in comparison to some of the items you find later. Often sales have big tables set up so that you can spread out your items and make your final decisions.

11. Bonus Tip. Win a giveaway.

The cheapest way to shop, obviously, is for free. Look around in the month before the sale for a giveaway to your favorite kids consignment sale. Checking out the sale’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) is a good way to see if they or someone is hosting a giveaway.

Speaking of which, enter below to win a $15 Gift Certificate to Just Between Friends Fort Worth.

This giveaway is sponsored by JBF Fort Worth. Giveaway ends Feb. 11 at midnight. I’ll pick a winner (randomly via Rafflecopter) on Feb. 12 and contact that lucky duck via email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before I declare them a slow poke and have to pick another winner. The winner will pick up their prize (and redeem it!) at the JBF Fort Worth sale, so make sure you’re available to attend on one of the dates (3/1 through 3/8 are all public shopping days with various admission rates).

Winner may not be another blogger affiliated with JBF Fort Worth. Real Life Notes is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winner will have to pick up their prize in person at the JBF Fort Worth Spring 2014 sale.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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