Vital advice no doubt, but I am most indebted to her for schooling me in the art of shopping at children’s consignment sales. When planning a weekend visit to see her several years ago, my sister warned me it coincided with Charlotte’s biggest, not-to-be-missed consignment sale.
Since I didn’t have kids of my own yet, she suggested I stay home with the nieces. But I asked to tag along, envisioning a girlish romp through racks of cute kid’s clothes, cooing over the darling outfits with lattes in hand, something like the Saturday afternoons we spent at the mall as teenagers.
My first clue that it was in fact an all-business endeavor was when she announced the night before we would be leaving at 6:45 a.m. When I stumbled down to the kitchen at the appointed hour and found her saddling up empty laundry baskets with leashes so she could tow them along behind her as she shopped, I realized I’d signed on for a marathon rather than a leisurely jaunt.
However, with several consignment sales of my own now under my belt, I can proudly count myself among the pros.
This week, the Duck-Duck-Goose children’s consignment sale will be in Waynesville Thursday through Saturday (Sept. 12-14) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. This amazing and well-run operation transforms the vacant store front in the Walnut Street shopping center into a bargain-hunter’s paradise full of children’s clothes, toys and gear.
Here are some tips for any novice consignment shoppers out there.
• Bring something to put your finds in. You’ll need your hands free to shop. A forearm saddled with a stack of clothes will not only slow you down but your aching elbow will prematurely drain your shopping stamina.
• Be friendly. Even if you saw the $9 Buzz Lightyear Halloween costume first, it’s not worth a tug-of-war. Actually, I love the mom camaraderie of consignment sales. I’ve even exchanged cell numbers with other moms for future play dates after becoming fast friends in the close quarters of the tightly-packed girl’s 5T dress section.
• If you’re a grandparent, consignment sales are a cheap way to stock your house with toys for the grandkids’ next visit, and pick-up some go-to gear like booster seats and strollers so your traveling relatives don’t have to do as much packing on their end.
• Shop without your kids along if at all possible.
• Budget time and money for browsing toys and games as well as clothes. I stock up on birthday and Christmas presents and squirrel them away in hidden places. It’s also nice to tuck away toys to pull out as a “new” surprise on a rainy day.
• Make a list of what you definitely want to walk out with. The deals are so plentiful, and so good, that you can easily get sidetracked. Sure I already have an easel, but wouldn’t a second one be nice in case a friend comes over and they want to paint together? And while a Scooby Doo hat isn’t exactly every day school attire school, how can you go wrong for $4? If you know you need a winter coat and snow boots, shop for those first.
• That said, some of my best scores at consignment sales have been the impulse buys. I snatched up a see-saw at the Duck-Duck-Goose consignment sale three years ago and it’s gotten more use than anything else in our toy arsenal to date.
• Prepare your spouse for the impending kid clutter that will be entering your home, and make sure they’re at the ready to help carry the bags in from the car ‘cause you’ll be beat.