6 reasons I’ve ditched garage sales for consignment events for my kids’ clothes

by Angela Davis on April 10, 2014

6 reasons to shop at consignment sale events rather than trolling yard sales

Consignment Sale Tips

I used to be an avid garage saler. I’d strap the kids into the minivan and we’d get our bargain on almost every weekend. I scored  tons of super cheap, high quality clothes over two or three summers. I thought I had mastered this whole “dressing your kids for pennies” thing.

This worked well until I had my third child a few years back and I realized that my first two were really fake children — they stayed with me, didn’t mind riding the car for hours, and were all-around obedient. Don’t get me wrong, they could probably win a whining contest, but they were very tote-able. My third is what I call my “party-in-a-box” and driving around the streets of Portland all morning just didn’t work for him, so I had to quickly change my clothes-buying strategy (don’t even get me started on the fourth. Or fifth…).

Right about the same time, I discovered children’s clothing consignment sale events. These events are different from traditional consignment stores that function like a store — you can shop any time but the stock is unreliable and you may have to make multiple trips to find what you’re looking for. Consignment events are different — these sales take place over a weekend or more and they are absolutely PACKED with everything you may need (or want) for your kids.

Consignment Sale Tips

I’ve largely abandoned hard-core garage saleing, except for the occasional drive-by or neighborhood-wide garage sale. I now shop one or two consignment events in the spring and again in the fall.

Here are the 6 reasons why I shop consignment events instead of garage sales:

One-stop shopping. Just like Fred Meyer, but WAY cheaper (no kid’s club, though)! I can shop for all five kid’s clothing, shoes, toys, accessories, and related paraphernalia in one trip. Plus, garage saleing requires multiple car seat buckles. With three kids in car seats, I definitely factor this annoyance into deciding whether a car trip is worth it or not. And considering that getting my toddler into the car seat is now a full-contact sport, I’d rather not deal with garage sales at this point.

Consignment Sale Tips

Incredible variety. If something’s on my list, it’s usually at a consignment event because there are hundreds (or thousands) of families consigning. If I need a bouncy seat, there are at least ten to choose from and I don’t need to drive to people’s homes like with Craigslist.

Save on gas. With fuel prices floating around the $4 a gallon mark, it’s important to factor your transportation costs into your savings. I’d rather drive to one sale than spend a bunch of money driving around the entire city in search of super-cheap kids items.

Reasonable prices. Garage sale prices are hit-or-miss. Sometimes you score and find boxes and boxes of name brand clothing for 25¢ a piece (happened to me once) and sometimes you find someone selling their kid’s 10-year-old Target clothes for $3 each. Consignment sales make things easy — I can consistently find reasonably priced clothing for all my kids.

Consignment Sale Tips

Fantastic selection. Again, you have hundreds of families selling at consignment events, so there is an amazing selection. At most sales there are racks full of baby clothes. It’s better than Target or Walmart! As the sizes go up, the selection of reasonably priced, good quality clothing goes down (kids wear clothes longer in the bigger sizes so there’s less of a good selection) but I can still find a number of great items for my older kids.

Good quality. Most consignment events have a screening process and all items are checked for stains, holes, and unusual wear. You won’t be wasting your time wading through stuff that should be made into rags or recycled.

Consignment Sale Tips

As my family has grown and my obligations have increased, I’ve started to put more value on my time than I used to. I may be able to outfit my kids for less with garage sales, but my time is worth money. I would rather pay a bit more at a consignment event and not do the garage sale circuit each weekend.

Ready to start saving? Check out our extensive list of upcoming consignment sales in the Pacific Northwest here and plan to hit one up in your area!

Check out our other posts on children’s consignment sales:

9 tips to make the most of children’s consignment sales

7 items you might not expect to find at a children’s consignment sale

The benefits of selling your kids’ clothes at a consignment sale

Baby Gear Deals -- The best freebies & deals for baby!

Plus don’t miss our huge list of Baby Gear Deals!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff April 11, 2014 at 8:51 am

Nice write-up! I really wasn’t planning on reading the article but after you mentioned the 6 reasons why you choose them over garage sales had me hooked! We have two young kids and will probably look at something like this to save time and money. Many thanks!

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khrysthyne April 11, 2014 at 1:56 am

I use to go to consignments when i was pregnant 3 years ago, now i have noticed within the last year the sellers are getting way to nuts on prices,and some of the stuff i have seen i cant believe they allowed to it to be sold,just filthy. That at they are getting TOO crowded, it’s like black friday shopping. Im sticking with my garage sales,i go to the neighborhood ones and look for specific items on craiglists for garage sales to save on gas. Get way better deals for me & my 5 kids, and they like going to and not have to worry about getting knocked down by some shopper.They learn how to spend there money wisely too,one of my kids mentioned how nuts the prices were on a couple things at the consignment sales and i had to laugh. FYI, i have even ran into the lady that runs the baby bottom dollar sales in portland/salem at the garage sales,ya buy it cheap and resell it. it’s all about the money baby ; )

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Stacy April 10, 2014 at 7:33 pm

I loved consignment sales when my 3 year old boy was younger. There were more consignment sales. I miss the 3 that have closed and where I got the most stuff.

And as my boy gets older it’s much harder finding used clothes. So many girls clothes and better variety. I’m even finding garage sales harder and harder to shop

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Consignment Mommies June 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

AWESOME post! Consignment Sales are growing growing growing all over the country!

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Lanna April 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Amen to that. I have 3 (sometimes 4) part-in-a-box kids. I can’t even do the grocery store let alone garage sale-ing. So great when you can go by yourself, whip through the racks of clothes, and end up with two years worth of big boy clothes (oof, once you pass toddler sizes things get expensive and the gently-used pickin’s get slimmer and slimmer).

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Heidi April 25, 2011 at 8:04 am

Laughing my head off with the “fake children” comment. It’s true in my family too! I had 2 fake children and the last 2 were “feral” as I lovingly refer to them :)

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Maegen April 23, 2011 at 8:56 am

For Thurston County, WA readers, there is an LMNOP kids’ event coming up soon.

I love consignment sales, but I also love a good garage sale-especially for “play,” clothes.

I think consignment sales are the way to go if you’re brand conscious or want items in very good condition.

One other thing to remember if you’re thinking of eventually selling your kids’ duds, is that you will want to invest some time in keeping them nice. My friend dresses her kids in almost all Gymboree, and she has a laundry routine that I fine a little….’um….crazy, But she gets a lot of money reselling them. No one seems to want my stained stuff from the Target clearance rack-weird-lol.

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Lisa June 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Maegan, I just had to laugh at your last comment. My friend doesn’t understand why everyone can’t just soak their stained items in a rubbermaid in their bathtub for 3 days to get the stains out. (I told her I couldn’t cause we don’t have a spare tub or an empty rubbermaid.) I don’t have the time or patience for stain removal… I’m fine with my kids having a tiny spot they made in their play clothes, but when I buy at the consignment sales, it needs to be in great condition. Glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t resell many clothes. ;)

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Nanci April 23, 2011 at 8:01 am

Awesome post! Sometimes it helps to see something written in words that you are already thinking.
I have 6 children and there is no way I can go yardsaling like I used to with only 2! I haven’t shopped yard sales for years. My 3rd child is also extremely difficult (he’s in recovery from autism) so I totally understand.
I do find however, that with my limitations (including only having one vehicle which my husband has all week so I can only shop on evenings and weekends), my limitations turn into blessings, because when I am able to go shopping I ALWAYS find unexpected wonderful things on clearance. Or my neighbor will bring me over a box of clothes her son just outgrew.
God always provides!

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Jess K April 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Great article! I’m consigning at JBF for the first time and I’m so excited about it! I’m a little nervous about not doing things right… has anyone worked with them before? I used kid’s hangers (the plastic ones that the stores usually leave on the clothes when y0u buy them). I don’t know if for two piece outfits I should be pinning the shirts to the pants so they don’t get lost… and I don’t know if I’m pricing things too high or too low. The most I priced something was $6 or $7 and it was for a 3 piece NICE outfit. Just so nervous that I am putting all of this work in and I’ll get there and nothing will pass the inspection! Anyone have any tips/insights?

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Lesli April 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm

http://swapnplay.org/trash-to-treasure/

Free local Swap in North Portland this weekend!

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BB April 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm

The Just Between Friends Sale is the biggest local Sale with the most merchandise to choose from at the Expo Center…and the only one left this season! You would be doing yourself a disservice if you missed it.

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Coupon Savvy April 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Great post Angela! I agree the Mall 205 location was a bummer, unfortunaltly the Gresham Goodwill is now leased out…..Just heads up SuperKids is heading to Longview/Kelso in Sept! I will post the dates on Tuesday the 26th.

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~L~ April 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I am so stealing this….because it is true for my family as well…..

” My third is what I call my “party-in-a-box” “

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Brit April 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

OH, and check out other mothers in gresham, they have monthly sales on their imperfect clothes, quarter each… sometimes you can’t even spot the stain or missing tag!!

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Brit April 22, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Great post… Agree with GJ, didn’t get much at Super kids this time around, spend $24 and only really got shorts and rubber boots… venue was too crowded and NOT stroller or kid friendly… (but that’s probably why the recommended leaving kids at home, oops!)

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Laura April 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm

$24 for shorts & rubber boots? Ouch. I thinking Garage Sales might still be a better bet….. I’d never spend $24 at a garage sale for just shorts & boots

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kirsten April 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

JBF is the biggest nationally but square footage they are not the biggest nor do they offer the most merchandise – I work another sale and some of the volunteers went and checked it out.

Just like a garage sale you run into all kinds of pricing because the consignors decide what they want for their stuff. After a sale or two you learn what price point works and what doesn’t.

I’m hooked on consignment sales because it is one stop – sell your stuff and buy someone else’s stuff!

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RuthAnn April 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Agree with you on the 3rd child… what’s up with that?

Superkids at Mall205 was different this year. But, I still found great deals, and impulse bought less!! Yeah!
I do like the big warehouse feel over the mall/store set up!!

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Julie April 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm

lol…my third is a ‘party in a box’ kid too! great post!

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GJ April 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

Superkids resale used to be my favorite until they moved it to mall 205. I walked out with NOTHING, which never happens… They didn’t have as much stuff as when they were at the old goodwill store in Gresham.

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JL April 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

It’s like shopping at a consignment store only it’s just one week or weekend/season. I made almost $500 selling my used items at two sales this spring already. I look for sales where I can make 80% commission when deciding where to sell. Superkids Resale is my favorite and you can make 85% commission–woohoo:-)

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Laura April 22, 2011 at 9:35 am

I’ve never been to a consignment sale —- how are the clothes organized? are they all in sections by size? Or is it like a yard sale where each person has their own items for sale in their own area?

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Kate April 22, 2011 at 9:36 am

It’s very organized. It’s done by size and gender so there is hardly any digging.

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Angela April 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

@Laura: It looks just like a store. All 3T boys clothes are together and are all on hangers (no digging through boxes)!

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