Consignment Sale Shopping Tips

We are well into one of my favorite seasons of the year, and no, I’m not talking about the weather.  I’m talking about consignment sale season!

If you’re a mom and you’ve never been to a consignment sale, you’re seriously missing out. They’re typically held in the spring and fall of every year, and one of the benefits of living in the DC area is there are TONS of them. The majority of Abbie’s clothes have come from consignment sales. I hit at least one every season, and usually more than one. They’re also how my mom clothed my little sisters! Since we’ve been going for so long, I’ve got a few tips for having a successful shopping trip.

Consignment Sale Tips


Bring a buddy, but not your child. Your buddy can be a friend, a family member, or your spouse. When you have a buddy with you, that person is essentially your teammate. They hold your stuff while you run off to a different section. You divide and conquer with the toys and big items. If one of you is done but not quite, the other can go ahead and get in the line (which always seems endless). They also see things you may not! As for not bringing your child, well, it just makes things easier on you. You then have the freedom to shop for what you need without worrying about them!


Know exactly what you are looking for, and prioritize. Need a high chair for Grandma’s house? Hit that first. Looking to score a wagon? Same. Really need to stock up on pajamas? Head straight for the clothes. Figure out what’s most important to you, and make sure you go in that order.


Be prepared. This goes along with number two, but make sure you have all the supplies you need so you don’t have to stop while shopping. Make sure you bring your own bags (I usually bring reusable grocery bags) so you can haul your stuff around. Make sure you have water. Make sure you hit the bathroom before you get there! Simple things, but if you don’t do them, it can distract you from what you need!


Set a budget. You have things you need, sure, but know how much you’re willing to pay for them. I recommend setting an overall budget as well as a budget for individual items. I may plan on spending $100 total at a sale, but I may also say I refuse to pay more than $8 for a dress, or $3 for a shirt, etc. Prices will definitely vary depending on the area you’re in and the brand of the item itself. My parents live farther from DC, so it’s cheaper to live there, and the prices definitely reflect that. My max shopping at a sale there is lower than my max when shopping close to DC (where I often find higher end brands in these sales).


Volunteer, consign, or pay so you can shop early. Most sales offer an option to let you come in early if you do one of these. Volunteers and consigners usually get the earliest access, then people who pay. I’m not at the point that I’m consigning yet, but I try to volunteer when I can. Since I’m usually at work during volunteer times, I often just bite the bullet and pay for early access. It’s been worth it every time since the sale isn’t picked over yet, and I always get better stuff!

So there you have it – my top tips for shopping at consignment sales. Do you shop consignment for your kids?

About Jess

About Jess

Jess Beer is a full-time working mom of two girls who writes about motherhood, wellness, easy meals and style.

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12 Responses

  1. Great tips! I’ve yet to make it to one. But, I do all Aria’s shopping at our second hand children’s store. Full price is way too full for my tastes…except shoes.

    1. Yes, this mama has no patience for full price! Like you, I do invest in shoes though. Bad feet run in my family and I’m not taking any chances with Abbie’s!

  2. I LOVE consignment sales and I totally agree with all of your points. I always consign Abigail’s things because they pull SO much more at consignment instead of a garage sale. I set item specific budgets but do allow some variance depending on the brand. Really there is only one big sale that happens here in the spring and fall and I always make sure to sell and go, but this past one was a bit of a dud(figures since it was the one sale that I actually needed to find baby things. ah well)

    1. You and I share that love 🙂 If we weren’t planning on having more kids, I’d be consigning Abbie’s stuff too! Sorry yours was a bit of a dud… is there anything in particular you’re looking for? I’m happy to look here and mail to you!

  3. I LOVE CONSIGNMENT SALES! I live in NC and I consign every year, twice a year. This may sound crazy, but I buy 90% of my kids clothes from consignment sales…we do what we got to do, right? Love your post and I agree with everything!

    1. 90% of Abbie’s clothes are consignment too! It’s just such a better way to get them clothes that they’ll just grow out of!

I’m Jess! I’m a working mama of two sweet sisters living in the DC area. This is my space to share inspiration, real stories of working motherhood, recipes, style, and more! I can’t start my day without coffee and always try to show the real side of motherhood – the good and the challenging. I’m so glad you’re here – thanks for following along on my journey!

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