Spring Consignment and Yard Sales–Tips and Tricks for Getting the Best Deals

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Spring is around the corner and this is the most exciting time of the year for my frugal family–consignment sale and yard sale season! I have been faithfully consignment shopping and yard sale-ing for my family for over 8 years now (my husband calls it an addiction) and have come up with some tips and tricks that might help you find the best deals.

Before shopping, think ahead to what your children might need for the upcoming year: rain boots, jackets, snow boots, hats, mittens, sunhats, and items that could be put together for Halloween costumes all make great deals.

Other ideas to consider: You may have an infant now, but will you or your child want to play with Trains, Legos, Duplos, Puzzles, Board Games or other “classic” toys down the road? If you see them at a consignment sale or yard sale for a great price, buy it now to put away for later. Sometimes you can find toys and games still in the original packaging that you can put away for gifts.

Now is the Time to Plan for Consignment Sales and Yard Sales

Most Parents of Multiples clubs will be having a consignment sale which is a great way to make a quick bit of cash on last year’s outgrown clothes and those toys that were holiday “misses.” Check with your local group for information on how to participate in their next sale. Often you can volunteer in exchange for shopping before the sale opens to the public, and/or receive a better rate of return on the items you are selling. Because they sell only infant or children’s items and sometimes maternity clothes, they are usually well organized and target what you might need with young children.

Some cities host consignment sales that are open to the public, but be prepared to pay to sell or pay to shop. There is a wide variety of children’s merchandise, but I often find (in my area) that sellers overprice items to recoup the costs involved.

Yard sales are a great way to find toys, clothes, sports equipment and other odds and ends that your children need without breaking the bank. However, there is a little bit of skill, as well as a lot of luck needed to be successful:

  • Search multiple sources for listings. Craigslist is a great resource, as well as your local paper. However, some of the best yard sales I have found have been just driving up and down the main residential roadways looking for signs.
  • Look for multi-family or neighborhood sales to get the most variety in items for very little time and effort.
  • If you are shopping for kids clothing, know your brands. If you know an Old Navy 4T shirt costs between $7-9 in the store on sale, and as low as 3.99 on clearance, then don’t pay $4 for it at a yard sale! Shoot for between .50 cents to $1 a piece for baby/toddler clothes and $5-8 a pair for shoes. Be ready to bargain, especially if you are buying more than one item. Name brand clothes will command higher prices, but still less than the consignment sales.
  • When at a yard sale, have a price in your head that you are willing to pay and walk away if the item is priced too high and the seller won’t bargain. Things to keep in mind: Wood toddler beds generally go for around $40. Dollhouses sets complete with furniture and dolls–$25. Hannah Anderson play dresses between $10-15. Anything Playmobil is a bargain if it is less than $20. Thomas, Brio and other train sets range from $10-25. Books and videos are one of the best bargains at a yard sale with books ranging from $.25-1.00 and DVD’s for $1.00-5.00.

Do you use consignment sales or yard sales to save money with multiples?

Leslie H. is a freelance writer and parent to three children who grow like weeds–justifying the hours spent yard sale-ing each spring. It is a sport.

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5 thoughts on “Spring Consignment and Yard Sales–Tips and Tricks for Getting the Best Deals”

  1. No, because I am blessed enough to have four sets of grandparents for our twins, and they are exceedingly generous with gifts and clothing. I know, I’m lucky.

    BUT I do have a sale every spring and every fall. I’ve made enough at these two sales to fund our summer vacation (beach rental for 10 days…) I have “regulars” that I keep in touch with every spring/fall that come to my presale, and I probably make between 200-300 on my presale alone.

    My tips for those considering selling is to not sell crap – make sure it’s clean and well taken care of. I’m also very organized as I store stuff, so it saves time when I go to sell. My prices are reasonable, but I don’t short change myself, either. Know what others charge, and make sure you’re not out of line. This post was interesting to me, because it confirms that I’m pricing things right. :)

    Last but not least, NETWORK! I always publicize prior to my sales on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the MOMS club, so word gets out and I get a lot of foot traffic. Timing is everything, so know when other sales are taking place so you aren’t competing with them.

  2. I’ve had great luck participating in consignment sales. It’s a lot of work to get things ready, but it’s so worth it to me…getting some decent money back for things we no longer need, and feeling like they’re going to a home where someone really wants them. :)

    I price my things to sell, too. I could probably get a little more money here and there, but I bank on moving more volume when things are priced to sell.

  3. I would add another tip–get there early as the good stuff goes fast! This is the second year that I’m chairing my twins’ high school yard sale fundraiser. We fill an entire gym with furniture, clothing, books, housewares–you name it–and within a few short hours, most of it is gone! It’s crazy fun.

  4. I don’t. I can’t decide if it is because I’m too lazy or because I feel like I should give it away for someone in need. I also receive a good deal of hand-me-downs and those items obliviously would be wrong to profit from. So I give everything away. Except for our super awesome stroller. That I sold. However, I admire moms who take the time to list and set up and stand behind a table. And the ones who hunt for good deals in the neighborhood.

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