Monday, March 30, 2015

Momma Mondays: Children's Consignment Sales: F-It or F-Yeah?




The spring consignment sale season is in full swing around here, and I know a lot of you are probably wondering if it's all worth it. That answer probably depends on if you're consigning or just buying, but I thought I'd share my experience as a first-time consignor at the Just Between Friends sale. While Lori and I both live in the Philadelphia area, JBF is a national sale, so you can probably find one in a city near you.

Last September, Lori and I went to the JBF sale for the first time and while it was a bit overwhelming (we've never seen so many toys in one room) and we had to wait at least a half hour in line to check out, we got a ton of great deals like a Lands End winter coat for $7, a brand new Gymboree Christmas outfit including dress shirt, sweater vest and pants for $6, Nike sneakers for under $10, a Mrs. Potts Halloween costume (that was for Lori!) ... the list goes on.

Someone was selling a QUADRUPLE F'ing stroller. 
After hearing how a lot of people I know sold hundreds of dollars of clothes and toys, I thought why didn't I do this? So for the spring sale, I signed up as a consignor and tackled the giant bins of baby clothes that have been sitting around our house for years. Here are my consignor pros and cons (this is all based on the Just Between Friends sale only):

Pros:


  • $$$ Obviously this is the big one. Consigning is a great way to earn extra money, especially for extras like vacation, summer camp, dance/music lessons or whatever you're saving up to do. My goal was to sell enough to cover what I bought, and based on my estimated check (it takes a few weeks to arrive) I did that, plus made an extra $30. Honestly, I thought I'd make a little more, but since I earned what I set out to make, I'm happy enough.
  • Clearing out space: This is especially important if you live in a small house/apartment, or you're moving and don't want to bring every single onesie your kids have ever worn with you. If you're not using those old clothes and toys, why leave them sitting in your attic or basement taking up room? I didn't have time to sort and tag all of our clothes, and some of the nicer or sentimental items I wanted to keep, but I did make a pretty good dent in what we have stored, and now I have room to put the larger sized clothing away that's been sitting in the back of the closet.
  • Early access to the sale: Because I was a consignor, I was able to go to the sale a day earlier than the public. This means a much bigger selection and a lot of the higher end brands are still there. JBF also gives you a pass to bring a friend. I was able to purchase a ton of spring/summer clothing, including a bathing suit and rash guard, two Ralph Lauren dress shirts and a polo shirt, four or five pairs of dressier shorts, several Carter's polo shirts, two pairs of Keen sandals (one brand new), a pair of Pediped sneakers for $3.50 (they retail for $55), a Phillies jersey, a couple of Gap tees, a Disney Princess tea set, and a toy vacuum. Grand total: $116! My friend Gena bought a ton of stuff for her three kids and spent just under $250, which included a $100 Joovy double stroller. Only con of presale: no kids, so because of this Lori couldn't come. Even though I got there at noon on presale day, a lot of things were already picked over, so Lori opted not to go during the public sale and I just grabbed Nolan some shoes instead. 
They give you a handy rolling rack to bring your clothes from the car.

Cons:


  • It takes a lot of time: Yes, you have to sort through all of those clothes, toys and baby gear, but you also have to go online and enter them into the JBF tagging site, which entails writing a description, deciding on a price, choosing whether you want to reduce or donate the item, etc. Then you need to print the tags, which also means formatting the margins correctly to fit tags on the page (my printer kept F'ing things up). Once you print them, you have to cut out all the tags and either safety pin them to your clothing or use a tagging gun. Finally, hang them up and make sure your hanger is facing the right way so it looks like a question mark. I was selling about 90 things and it took me several weeks to tag all of my items, doing small batches at a time. Plus, you really can't do this if you have a baby/toddler who gets into everything, especially with pins, scissors and a sharp tagging gun around. I mostly waited for naps or bedtime, or weekends when my husband was able to keep him occupied. 
  • You'll need to spend some money upfront: I bought the tagging kit from JBF for $30 which included a tagging gun, tagging barbs, 100 hangers, and cardstock to print the tags. I figured I didn't have time to run around town looking for these different things, and it was just easier to get it shipped right to me. I also had to separately buy safety pins, because you need to attach bottoms to tops with pins, and if you have something like a dress or sleeveless top that could slide off the hanger, you'll need to attach those to the hanger with pins. I know many people ask local stores for hangers, but our Carter's store wouldn't give me any, and again, I don't have time to be looking all over creation for free hangers. It was easier to just purchase them.
  • You'll be making the drive to the sale site at least three times: If you don't live super close to the sale location, this is kind of a pain in the butt. You have to go to register and drop off your things, then again if you want to attend the sale, and then finally to pick up anything that didn't sell (if you're not donating them). It's not a terrible drive for me (15 minutes) but if you're not around the corner, this can be a consideration. 
  • You have to do a lot of the work yourself: Once you get there, and check in, they give you a huge rolling rack to take to your car and you have to actually go and hang up all of your clothes, walking all over a massive warehouse looking for the racks with your particular size, or tables selling the type of toy you have, etc. If you don't have a lot of things, this shouldn't take too long, but if you do ... and if you made the mistake of bringing your kid ... you'll be there a while. Plan on being there about an hour from parking to leaving. Same routine when you pick up your clothes, but you have to search through the racks for your stuff. I donated everything except five or so things that were more expensive, and honestly I'm not sure it was worth it to drive back there.
    Helping hang stuff, aka pushing the rack like a maniac, before the sale.
The final verdict: F-yeah! There were definitely some things that annoyed me, but overall, the money I earned made it worth it. Just go into the sale with realistic expectations, don't take it personally when certain things don't sell (or sell for way less on the 50% off day), allow yourself PLENTY of time to prepare your items (at least a month - I'll actually allow myself several for the fall sale), and don't force yourself to sell anything that you'd regret. Oh yeah, and get a sitter! 

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