I had previously blogged about how much I love children's consignment sales and the great savings you can get by shopping there. What's not to love when most things cost between 25 and 30 percent of retail?
I have been to quite a few sales since my daughter was born back in 2010, but I finally decided it was time to purge my home of unused baby items and consign for myself. Based upon a friend's experiences, I chose to consign with Cozy Tots, a semi-annual sale held at Bryn Athyn Church Elementary School, 600 Tomlinson Road in Bryn Athyn.
I went to their website to find out when they were opening registration for new consignors, put it in my calendar and then first thing on that day, I went to the website and registered.
For the spring/summer sale, registration started in mid-January. It cost $10 to register. Reading through the whole contract, a consignor gets 65 percent of the profits from the sale of their items. All terms were standard, judging from the other sales I've researched. The rest of the money goes to fund the advertising, securing the location, effort to get volunteers and all of the other work that goes into making a weekend consignment sale successful.
Once you are registered, then you receive access to the online inventory system. In the online inventory system, you enter a description of your item, asking price, size, quantity, choose if you'd like it to be discounted by 50 percent on the last day of the sale and then, finally, if you'd like it to be donated at the end of the sale.
If you choose not to donate unsold items at the end of the sale, you must pick them up after the sale closes on the last day. They will be placed in containers that you designate upon drop off, already pre-sorted by the volunteers.
After you enter inventory on their website, then you print your sales tags onto cardstock to be pinned or taped to your items. Clothing must be on hangers with the exception of onesies, which can be in a bag labeled to sell. Smaller non-clothing items can be placed in bags with tags taped to the outside, while larger items can have the tags taped directly to them.
Come the week of the sale, you take all of your items down to the location on the date specified, unpack them and then put them in the appropriate location. Most anything that needs to be assembled to demonstrate or show should be so that buyers can see its usable condition and that all pieces are present.
Items should be clean and have batteries so any potential buyers can test them, too. Clothing should be also be clean, stain-free and seasonal. The sales going on now, for example, are for spring and summer clothing. You may find off-season items but you'd most likely do better waiting for the fall/winter sales to sell those.
It's a lot of work and took quite a few hours to bring all of this together. I priced my items to move, so I stayed in the lower end of the suggested range. I didn't want to bring home anything at the close of the sale so I chose to discount all of my items on the last day and donate anything that didn't sell.
Things I learned that would have made my life easier if I had done:
- As your children outgrow clothing, wash and fold their items, then sort by season, size and gender as you go along. I use those giant Ziplock 20 gallon plastic bags to store them. I could easily use one per size and per season, though gender sorting is not necessary in my home. At drop off, you'll be expected to hang the clothing on the appropriate rack for the size so this speeds things up tremendously.
- Weed out any stained clothing and broken toys. Consigning is a good-faith endeavor and you want to put out clean, stain-free clothing and working toys. You would not want to be the recipient of damaged items for your child so don't put them out for others.
- Sort your items by type before drop off. At the sale, items are sorted by type, like: hanging clothing, onsies, feeding items, bedding items, mobiles, crib toys, puzzles, books, etc. If you keep your similar items together, your drop off will go much smoother.
- Keep children's clothing hangers from purchases or other consignment sales. I did not have enough and while adult hangers work for most things, they're not quite as easy to use. Note that some sales only allow you to use wire hangers, which are easy to bend to reshape, as necessary. This sale did not have that restriction but it's something to keep in mind should you consider consigning. From the sales I've seen, you can put 75 to 100 clothing items up for sale, so you can never have too many hangers.
- Keep safety pins. All price tags are safety pinned to the clothing. Plus, if you pair your clothing into outfits or it is loose on the hanger, you'll want to pin the items together and to the hanger so they don't get lost.
- Keep manuals and know where they are. If you have any original packaging or manuals, they make your item more attractive to the buyer.
- Bring a hand truck or wagon to unload. I had 108 items to bring in and it took quite a few trips out to the car to get it all. The total item limit for this sale was 300 per consignor, which includes the 75 limit for clothing. That sure is a lot of items to be carrying in, especially if your parking spot is suboptimal.
- Bring a friend. If you have items, bring a friend to help. It'll make it go so much faster. I had quite a few items to put together from pack n' plays to exersaucers. It took me 90 minutes to get in and out of there because I was doing it all by myself.
- Know how to assemble your items prior to drop off. If you don't have a manual, download one online. It took me 90 minutes at drop off because I was fighting with a pack n' play for 30 minutes. Seriously not fun.
- Don't let your young children see the pile of toys going away. Another not-fun thing is prying an annoying, obnoxious toy dog away from your 15 month old. Ok, I'll clarify, away from MY 15 month old.
- Don't wait until the last minute. Those last-minute things can result in very long nights.
Cozy Tots is the largest consignment sale I've ever seen and I've been to quite a few in this area. They're open on Friday, March 9, from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, March 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, March 11, (50 percent off most items that day) from 11 to 2 p.m.
I was very impressed by how well organized it was compared to other sales I had attended. Everything had a place and only at the end when tables of toys were filling up did I find it a little difficult to figure out where something needed to go. The volunteers were extremely helpful and enthusiastic about the role they played in pulling such a huge event all together. The consignors were equally enthusiastic and all very welcoming to one another.
I should mention that if you volunteer to work a shift at the sale, you get to shop two days early in their pre-sale on Wednesday. Just by consigning, you get to shop one day early on Thursday.
If you can't make it out to Cozy Tots this weekend, check out the ConsignmentMommies.com website to find other local sales in your area. At least a dozen sales are scheduled in this area between now and the end of April. Mark your calendars and I hope to see you there!