Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To buy or not to buy

that is ALWAYS the question!  With Kids Closet sale tomorrow, I have had this on my mind...a lot!

According to Facebook there will be a lot of new shoppers to Kids Closet.  Congrats to you!  Once you cosign, you always cosign!  You start to look at  kids clothes shopping in a whole new way.

Lets start with what consignment is...it is moms helping moms.  That is one of the main reasons why I keep going back to consignments shops and the bi-yearly consignment sales.  My money goes directly into other moms pockets.  Plus its a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle. Its the feel good event of the spring!

What consignment it isn't...a garage sale.  Consignment is one stop bargain shopping at its finest.  You don't have to go to 5 different bad garage sales to finally luck upon one good one.  So remember that when shopping.  Some things may be priced higher than what you expect, but remember what the sellers do...we wash, inventory, tag, get stuck by stray safety pins and bleed.  Consignment sales are clean, organized, clothes are majority stain free, and the toys work.  That doesn't always happen at your garage sales or thrift stores.  A mom makes a few bucks, and a mom saves a lot of bucks!  Its a win-win my friends.

Notice how I said majority stain free.  I'm sure you did.  Sellers aren't perfect.  We try, we do. But sometimes we just wash, look quickly,  tag, and be done.  And a stain, or tear may slip through our hands.  So here are some tips to catch our mistakes...

Stains:  Mesmerized by the cuteness of the front of the dress aren't you? The beautiful embroidery that is just screaming your little girls name.  Don't forget to look at the back!  Never know if that previous lil' owner sat in cherry pie.  A seller would never purposely sell you a dress like that, but, pie happens.  With dresses, look at the hem line, make sure no dirt stains or ripped seams on the bottom.  The dress may not be perfect, close enough is good, you just don't want half a hem undone.

Swimsuits:  People always question swimsuits at resale.  How many swimsuits have you bought your kid they wore once, and they tugged at it the entire time? or just didn't like it and wouldn't wear it?  Just because your kid didn't like it, or it didn't fit your kids body type, doesn't mean it won't fit someone else.  You can't return it, so you resell it.  Its fine.  No one is going to catch cooties.  What do kids do in swimsuits?  They swim in bleach water.  What do you do when done...you rinse it out.  No cooties my friends.  Its fine.  BUT you do need to be careful of two main things.  Chlorine wear.  Check the elastic bands.  Give a gentle tug on a waist band, or leg hole to make sure the elastic doesn't break apart.  I have fallen victim to a perfectly good looking swimsuit with bad elastic.  Always check.  Also the top may be perfect, but look at the bottoms.  One too many sits on the concrete makes a swimsuit look bad...don't get mesmerized by the cute ruffles...always check the butt!

Shoes:  Shoes are expensive.  I also like my daughter to have a pair for every day of the month.  This is another one of the many reasons I love consignment.  Dress shoes are a great buy at consignment.  Kids outgrow those before they can even wear them twice.  Boy shoes are tricky.  My boy wears one pair of gym shoes.  That's it.  He does not like variety.  When looking at shoes check the bottoms and the toe heel.  They don't need to be perfect, but you don't want them worn out.

Tears/Holes:  Some jeans have holes because that is the style that was bought, some have holes because your kid ripped the butt.  Check for wear in the inner thighs, hem line and around pockets.  Also check for pilling under the arm holes, and inner thighs of pants/shorts

Brand Names:  If you've been reading my blog, you know I can be a brand snob. But for good reason.  Quality counts.  BUT...I like me a really cute Faded Glory July 4th dress too.  So, yes, make sure the quality is there...but sometimes, cuteness wins over.  For these prices, cuteness can win.

Sizing:  Sorry, not a lot of help here.  My daughter doesn't grow and my son is the same size as his age.  So I buy accordingly.  Ok...here's a little help.  When my son was 1 year, he wore 24 months.  When he was 24 months he wore 24 months.  Get that?  Kids grow wide then tall.  I find this to be especially true during the toddler years.  I wish I could be more helpful, but my kids are older, and everything I once knew about sizing during the toddler years, has been thrown away.  One more good thing about buying resale...the clothes are pre-shrunk.

Toys:  Batteries should be in all toys, so make sure you press a few buttons to make sure it works properly.  Board games are a great buy at consignment.  Those things can get pretty pricey in a store.  Kids outgrow and get tired of games quickly.  Someones loss is your gain!

Books:  Used books are great.  You can find books that are brand spanking new for cheap!  Or gently used ones that still are perfect for your kids.  I have some favorite toddler board books, so thankful I didn't have to pay full price for so my kids can have their very own personal library.  Honestly, we have too many.

Consider the Children!:  When dressing baby/toddlers, its all about what you prefer.  Then they reach an age...where its about them.  I'm at that stage now.  So things are getting tricky at my household.  My daughter has yet to find a pattern that doesn't match.  My son a long-sleeve shirt that he wants to wear.  So, for you that are shopping for older kids, keep that in consideration.  You may still love your girl in baby doll dresses - she may not.  You may think Batman is still cool...your son...not so much.

Buyer etiquette:  I am not miss manners.  But I've been to enough of these to know some basics.

  • Please don't rip open bags or boxes.  If you have a question about an item in a bag or box, go to the front desk, or ask a volunteer to help.  At a Kids Closet sale they allow you to open a bag at the front desk while someone is with you to make sure everything is in there, and works.
  • Don't take 2 piece outfits apart.  Once, I had a boys dress suit I was selling, somehow it got separated...pants gone.  That was a bummer.
  • When shopping, people tend to grab and hold on to something for dear life, than after 2 hours realize, nope don't want it.  Did you ever really plan on buying it in the first place?  Its ok to hold onto things, and to change your mind.  Its all good.  Just remember that all the time a shirt you never really wanted was in your bag, it didn't sell to someone else.  If your a buyer & a seller, you understand what I'm talking about.
  • Listen & Talk.  I'm friendly.  The good thing about that, if I'm looking through shoes and I hear you saying your looking for a size 8 gym shoe, guess what?  If I find it, I'll say "hey...look what I found" so instead of one pair of eyes...you have two pairs of eyes looking for you.  

Consignment shopping is one of those mom things, that not everyone gets.  Not everyone understands that this stuff is fun.  We get together, shop cheaply, ooh and ahh at each others finds, and have a good laugh.  Then, we never have to see each other again, but it was good while it lasted.  So tomorrow, everyone have a great time!  Find some good deals, enjoy your shopping time, and hope to see you there!

From this to this....

And 5 boxes, shopping bag filled with shoes, and I haven't even got to finishing the toys!


Ginaj said...

Great advice!

I am passing your blog along to my sister. She is a first time new momma and just asked me today how the M2M sales work.

She's going to her first one this weekend. I wish I could go with her but she's in Michigan.

Anyway, good luck tomorrow!!
Can't wait to hear what you find.

Finders Keepers said...

Thanks! I'm not looking for too much, my girl needs nothing...my son could use some summer clothes. And always on the look out for more toys, because well, I'm a nut.

Its also good to volunteer at these sales, this way you get to go to the pre-sales, and get first choice on the good stuff. If she's looking for baby stuff...these sales are gold mines! SO MUCH STUFF...it can be overwhelming, especially if you go to a good one.

Also have her check out my Thrifty Reasons page, it also gives some good tips for general resale.