One of the best perks of being a member of my local Parents of Multiples Club is that I can participate in a huge consignment sale twice a year. I have scored great deals for my twins at these sales and made money off many items that they have outgrown.
I joined the group when I was four months pregnant and shopped my first sale before the babies came. As a club member, I got in an hour before the general public. An entire gym at a local elementary school was filled with everything you could ever need for a baby times 20. Every twin mom who consigned had two or more of everything. It was a sea of highchairs, strollers, bouncy seats, swings, bedding, potties, bikes, tricycles, toys, and books. Another whole gym was filled with expertly organized clothes of all sizes from preemie on up. Thank goodness I came armed with a list because it was very overwhelming!
At that first sale, I scored big. I bought four bouncy seats, two exersaucers, a double Snap N Go stroller, two pack and plays, a Baby Einstein floor mat/gym, a twins nursing pillow, a My Brest Friend nursing pillow, some nursing supplies, and some awesome baby clothes. The total cost was less than $150, and all of the items were in excellent condition. If I had had to buy all of those things new, it would have cost me hundreds of dollars, if not thousands.
As my twins grew and no longer needed baby things, I turned around and sold them at the next consignment sale. Then I used the money to buy all of the things I needed for the next phase of their lives—baby gates, music tables, outdoor toys, and babyproofing items.
I highly recommend the consignment route! Here are a few tips for being successful on both sides of a consignment sale.
The first time I went to the consignment sale, I had no idea what to expect. It can be overwhelming for newbies, so take some time to prepare.
- Bring a list of items you need or want. I keep a running list of the things I want to score at the next sale.
- Prioritize your list. If two tricycles are must-haves for your twins' upcoming birthdays, make a beeline to them when you enter the room.
- Find out how to pay before you go. Some sales are cash or check only; others take credit cards.
- Go alone or with your partner or a friend, but don't bring your babies. You will be more efficient this way. Most sales don't allow strollers inside anyway because of the tight quarters.
- Be early! Being early makes it more likely that you will get the items on your list before someone else snatches them up. At the sale I go to, shoppers line up an hour before the doors open!
I keep a bag in my kids' closet where I put clothes, books, and toys that I am ready to part with. When the next sale rolls around, I get the items ready for the sale floor. It's important to get your merchandise looking good. The better your items look, the more money you can get for them.
- Remove any stains from clothing. Combine 2 cups powdered Cascade, 1/4 cup of Clorox 2 powder, and 5 quarts of very hot water. Let clothes soak at least 24 hours and then wash as usual. This really works—even on stains that have been set in the dryer multiple times and on very old stains!
- Wash, iron, and hang the clothes you are selling. Button the buttons and snap the snaps! Put outfits together and sell them as sets. It's all about presentation!
- Fasten shoes together with a zip tie to make sure the pair stays together.
- Make sure electronics work. Replace the batteries if necessary.
- Wipe down toys and other items that have dust or grime on them. Go in with a cotton swab if necessary.
- Put puzzles and toys with many small parts in separate resealable plastic bags. With puzzles, I even tape the top on so the box doesn't open at the sale.
- Present like items as sets by grouping them in resealable plastic bags. Maybe you have three bottles to sell or 10 matchbox cars. They will sell better if they are packaged together.
- Pay attention to the specific consignor guidelines for that particular sale. For example, don't print your tags on blue paper when the guidelines specifically say white card stock. It will mess up the checkout process.
- Be realistic when pricing your items. Ask yourself what you would expect to pay for each item on consignment. Items priced too high won't sell.
Whether you are buying or selling, consider volunteering at your sale. There may be perks if you do. You may get to shop earlier than everyone else, or you may get to keep a higher percentage of your sales. No matter what, you will meet new friends who also have twins!
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