Please hold while I try to restrain myself…
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Let’s state the obvious. Raising children is not cheap. Even basic necessities start to add up. However, YOU are a savvy mom on the hunt for some deals (Hey, me too!). Shopping secondhand saves you money, gives another mom (or dad) a little cash, and cuts down on waste.
Look at us, we are just winning so hard right now.
What’s a Consignment Event?
*spoiler alert* I live in the Portland, Oregon area so I mention the specific events to that area. However, the overall info and tips apply to just about any consignment event anywhere!
The Portland area has A LOT of options when it comes to buying secondhand children’s items. I’m not just talking clothing; there are toys, bedding, carriers, strollers, furniture, accessories, and sports equipment. You name it and you can probably find it gently used for a fraction of the price.
If you haven’t attended a consignment event before, you are in for a treat. It’s like a pop-up shop but specifically for gently used kids stuff. The biggest appeal is that the consignors (the people trying to sell their stuff) get to set their own prices. This means other parents, who may be trying to declutter, can decide to sell their items at much lower prices than a traditional store. Additionally, everything being sold is inspected for recalls and quality (i.e. no holes or stains), which means you are all but
Tips for Shopping an Event
Shop Early for the Best Selection
Many of these sales have early shopping times for new/expectant moms, military, foster parents, teachers, etc. Even if you don’t qualify for early access, get there as close to the beginning of the sale as you can. The best deals go quickly (although you are still likely to find some hidden gems later as well).
Nearly every event has a discounted day. Typically the last day of the sale, it often mean 50% off the prices of most items. Consigners have the option of allowing an item to be discounted as a way to try and clear out remaining inventory before the end of the sale.
Look for clothing bundles
Especially when it comes to babies/toddlers, many consigners will put multiple pieces together for one price. This is a great way to buy complete outfits or stock up on basics like onesies, T-shirts, or leggings.
Be prepared to wait in line
These events are often quite large (which is good since it means more selection for you). However, getting through check-out can often take some time as the cashiers are often volunteers and there are only so many checkout stations possible. Be prepared to spend a bit of time in line (especially the weekend days). These deals are worth it.
It’s MUCH easier to leave the littles at home
Have I attempted shopping with my children before? Yes.
Did it go well? Not so much.
There are a lot of selections to look through and if you have to keep tabs on a mobile child, it can get overwhelming. I’ve worn the baby in a carrier as well, and while that’s certainly helpful, they get pretty heavy as I’m trying to look through ALL THE THINGS!
Bigger stuff goes first
Baby gear and large toys (like bikes) tend to sell quickly, assuming they are priced to sell. If you want something specific, like a stroller or rock-and-play, those tend to go quickly so plan accordingly.
Events are Gold Mines for Expectant Moms
These events have a lot of baby stuff. I think just about everything I bought for both of my children came from consignment events and stores. It saved us a ton of money and I still had a lot of the name brand clothing and gear that everyone else had.
If you are expecting, check out the maternity and nursing wear. Buying that stuff new is CRAY expensive (if you can even find it at all) and you are only wearing it for a specific amount of time.
If you are interested in trying something out (like cloth diapers for example) you can purchase a couple to try out before fully committing.
Buy for Now and Later
In addition to the sizes they are currently in, I always check out a size or two above for both of my kids. These will cover any growth spurts and eventually, they will fit them anyway. Depending on the time of year (my kids are summer babies) I’ll also look for potential birthday or Christmas gifts.
Where and When are these Events you speak of?
*Reminder* This is specific to Portland, OR. If you live in another area, a simple Google Search will usually lead you to the consignment events in your area. Of those liste below, Just Between Friends hosts events all over the country so they are worth a look.
Merry Go Round Resale
Vancouver, Feb 28 – March 2
Ever After Resale
Hillsboro, March 1-2
Corvallis, April 12-13
Hillsboro, March 9-10 & 15-17
Portland, April 4-7
Vancouver, May 2-5
Pass It On
Hillsboro, April 11-15
Just Between Friends
Portland, April 26-28
Vancouver & Salem events TBD
Baby’s Bottom Dollar
Salem, May 14-19
Check out one (or all) of these events and let me know what you think. Did I miss any sales? Do you have any additional tips that I should know? Leave a comment below.