Consignment Sale Basics

The Budget Diet Girl meets The Consignment Sale Queen and thanks to her…I'm ready to tackle the next consignment sale, & you will be too!

Top 10 Things to do Before Shopping at a
Children's Consignment Sale.

By The Consignment Sale

Children's consignment sales are popping up all over the nation and with the current economy they are growing more and more in popularity. You can save $100's, but there are a few things you should do before you go shopping.

These will help save you even more time and money: 

  1. Find the Sales
  • Use a Consignment Sale Search Engine and search for local sales. Keep in mind date, time, location, type of sale and number of sellers. The last thing you want to do is drive 20 miles to a sale and find there were only 25 sellers and it's more of a glorified garage sale than a good children's consignment sale. If it's a busy weekend, you may want to plan a day trip and hit multiple sales.
  • Know the Sale Rules
    • Every sale is different. Most sales will not allow strollers the morning of the first day due to the lack of space. Some sales will not even allow children under a certain age. 
    • Some sale charge an entrance fee. Make sure you have cash ready at the door.
    • Know what kind of payment is accepted at each sale. If in doubt cash is almost always excepted.
  • Know the Sale's Discount Plan
    • Most sale will offer consignors the option of discounting their items on the last day. Most of the time it's 50% off. You can find some AMAZING deals if you shop discount day. 
    • Know how to identify discounted items: Usually it's a specific color highlight or the tag says “Discount? Yes”. Ask a volunteer at the sale to help you identify these items.
    • Decide if you even want to shop discount day. You may be better off shopping the opening morning to find the best deals.
    • Most of the time if you're looking for toys and equipment it's best to shop opening day. If you're just looking for clothing, then you're going to find better deals on discount day.
  • Invite a Friend
    • Not only is it more fun to have a friend or family member join you, it can make shopping easier. 
    • You can ‘divide and conquer', help carry items, or just have a second opinion.
  • Make a Shopping List
    • Just like when you go to the grocery store, you don't want to make any impulse purchases that will blow your budget.
    • Make a list of what clothing you may have from last season that still fits. 
    • Make a shopping list to fill in the holes and needs for a wardrobe.
    • Add any toys, equipment or other supplies you may need.
  • Size up the Kids
    • A lot of sales will not allow children during certain hours, or you may just decide to leave the kids home with dad. Either way you will need to know what size to buy the kids. 
    • You'll want to make sure you're buying the right size clothes. Never assume you child moved up a size, or that a Gap size 6 fits the same as a
      Cherokee size 6. Also don't forget they will probably grow a little bit more between the sale and the actual clothing season.
    • Measurements and Measuring tape: The most basic. Measure your child: Waist, inseam, height, sleeves, etc. If you have a girl you'll be
      buying a dress for you might want to measure from the waist to the knee and the neck to the knee. This way you make sure dresses and skirts are long
    • Drawing of your child: I've used this before and it worked great if you're shopping when there won't be a lot of other folks. I had my daughter lie down on a large piece of paper. Then I traced her and I trace her foot. I used this to hold clothes up to at the sale. Since there was enough room to lay the paper out and then put the clothes on it, it worked well. If you're shopping during a busy time or somewhere where there will not be much room, this may not be the best plan. It does make a great craft project once you get home.
    • Current clothing: Decide whether you will use something that currently fits them and then buy a little bit bigger, or something that should fit them and then buy the same size. Also make sure you're allowed to bring outside clothes. Usually you will just have to get these marked. I love to use this method for shoes.
  • Gather your Supplies
    • Comfortable shoes
    • A Shopping container
    • Folding stool
    • Water
    • Check out A Shopper's Checklist for a more detailed list of supplies.
  • Make a Game Plan
    • This is where having a friend or family member can come in handy. You can ‘divide and conquer' 
    • You can make a beeline for the large toys while your friend heads strait for the shoes.
    • Knowing what you're going to do can save a lot of time and help you find the best deals.
  • Make a Budget
    • If you're going to save any money you'll have to start with a budget and STAY with in a budget.
    • You never know what you're going to find at a consignment sale, so always budget a little bit of miscellaneous category.
  • Arrange Childcare
    • Even if children are allowed to shop with you, if at all possible I suggest you find childcare.
    • It's less stressful for you and the kids.
    • You're less like to make an unbudgeted impulse purchase due to “Please mom!”



    written by: Steph Seibert (aka The Consignment Sale Queen!)

    The Consignment Sale Queen, Steph Seibert, has been selling, shopping, volunteering and running Children’s Consignment Sales for the past 15 years. She now shares her experience and advice with other moms, dads, and grandparents at

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