Saturday, March 8, 2014

Let's Go Thrift Shopping...

When we found out that we were having a little girl, I knew that things could quickly get expensive.  It is easy to go overboard with buying dresses, rompers, bloomers, bows, jumpers, smocked tops, headbands, onesies, shoes, whew, the list goes on and on. 
I have recently jumped into consignment shopping.  I know, not technically thrift shopping but still a good deal and a nice way to save money.
A friend who consigns was nice enough to share a pre-public shopping pass with me as well as some advice.  I've been to another consignment sale since that one (also getting to shop prior to it being open to the public, thanks to my mother-in-law!), and have some additional advice and lessons learned.

Don't over think in the beginning.  Grab anything you think you like, halfway like or just sort of like.  Remember, just because you pick it up, doesn't mean you have to buy it.  Once you've looked over all of the selections, find a place to sit and re-evaluate your picks.  Lay out everything in front of you, and go through them all with a fine tooth comb, so to speak.  Look at condition, brand, and price (see below).  If you change your mind, that's ok!  Volunteers will be happy to take your items or there may be an empty rack near the check out line to place your "rejects."

Check for stains. I once picked up a cute pink warm up suit with white Georgia G's embroidered on it. The jacket was perfect but the pants were attached to the hanger under the jacket, so they couldn't be seen.  During my "re-evaluation" time, I unzipped the jacket and closely looked at the pants.  I was so disappointed to find a stain on the seat of the pants.  I had to put the cute outfit back, but I was so glad I checked! On this same note, be weary of white.  Check white clothing over very closely, especially collars. What appears white may actually have some faint yellow milk stains.

Check for brand names or tags.  I have found a few clothes or outfits that are brand new, and they still have the tags on them.  These are no-brainers.  A safe assumption is that these pieces were never worn or even washed.  To me, these are the diamonds in the consignment store rough.
This smocked dress with pigs and polka dots still had the tags on it! Also, scoring a brand name piece is always fun, like this Ralph Lauren dress (smocked and seer sucker, I couldn't resist!).

Price.  While prices at consignment sales are generally great, be sure you really think about each piece.  Is that pink smocked dress worth $20 or do you like the yellow one just as well for $12?  Some people place a limit on what they are willing to pay per item.  I prefer to look more globally at a piece, taking into consideration the quality, condition, brand, and "cuteness factor."  Sometimes you just fall in love with an adorable outfit, and sometimes a price just isn't appropriate for used clothing.

Plan your trip.  Consignment sales are usually seasonal.  You will likely either have a summer/spring sale or a fall/winter sale.  Have in mind the size your child will be in for these seasonal clothes.  I didn't want to buy 6-9 month clothing that was all seer sucker and sleeveless dresses....that will be December, January, February, and March for Collins!  Also, to me, these consignment sales can be overwhelming.  There is more than just clothing and shoes.  You'll find toys, high chairs, strollers, furniture, and so much more.  Have a list in mind of things you want and need and what you are willing to pay for these used items.

At the last consignment sale, I found a double jogging stroller for $40.  If I had 2 children, I would have snatched it up!  You can find great pieces and great deals.

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