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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Thanksgiving is time to count our blessings. My heart is full of the gifts all my children have given me. I am especially thankful to have been given the gift of multiples. Having two kids at one time has stretched our family in new ways that we have never thought possible. I will fully admit–and friends will agree–that I was a not myself during the newborn days with twins an a three-year-old. But as the kids get older and relationships change, I am able to look back with pride and nostalgia for all that we have accomplished together, growing as a family, as well as look forward to fun years ahead.

In the book, “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are,” author Ann Voskamp encourages readers to look beyond the day to day grind of lives and to keep a counting of our blessings. These three children have given my husband and I so much to be thankful for–my heart is full. A recent counting of my families’ blessings include:

      • The ability to walk my older daughter and her friends to and from school. Pickups that become huge playdates with friends and their siblings
      • Legos and polly pockets and imagination games that all three can play
      • Loving the old dog

        Boys and dog in the stroller
      • Halloween and Holidays. Busy-ness and slowing down. Time flies
      • The ability to stay at home these beginning years and trying every day to remember to enjoy each minute
      • Wanting, needing, demanding time with Daddy, especially when it involves hitting golf balls or hammering nails
      • Kids Meetings (where they scurry away to have discussions and usually involve filched treats like potato chips or candy). I try to be mad because I think I *should* but it is just so cute!
      • “Mommy, I need to be outside, or I’m just going to die!” My nature-centric kids
      • That twins and an older sibling play together, love each other, need their time together without Mom or Dad interfering

From our family to yours, wishing you a heartful Thanksgiving Season.

Leslie H. is freelance writer and mom to a spunky seven-year-old and rambunctious four-year-old twin boys.

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