Disclosure: I received 20 Duck Bucks to use while creating this blog post. However, the statements and opinions contained within the post are mine.
I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a hardcore children’s clothing consignment shopper. But it has become the primary way I shop for clothes for Sadie. Aside from a few one-off purchases at retail stores, I mostly just wait for consignment sales, like Duck Duck Goose (Arkansas’s original consignment sale, apparently).
There are several Duck Duck Goose sales each season around the state: Little Rock, Jacksonville, Conway, Pine Bluff and Hot Springs. The sale in Little Rock is the BIG sale, and it’s held at the Hall of Industry at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds.
I went to Friday night’s half-off sale, where every item WITHOUT a dot is half off. You miss the best selection this way, but for someone like me who’s alright with that, you can really make out like a bandit shopping the half-off sales (this time, Friday from 7-9pm and all day Saturday). I tried to find someone to go with me this trip and couldn’t, but it was just as well, because unless it was someone who was going to help me carry, it wasn’t really a social event for me. I took pictures with my phone, so they’re pretty bad, but they do give you a sense of what it’s like if you’ve never been.
After shopping big consignment sales a handful of times, I’ve really kind of honed my shopping style. Here are some tips/ways to shop I find useful:
- Bring a laundry basket, empty stroller or at least SOMETHING to help you keep up with your load. This is where I fail miserably every time (I like to blame the forgetfulness on sleep deprivation). It’s exhausting to be filling up one arm while using the other hand to flick through items on racks. Some consignment sales are located in closed down big-box stores, so they have shopping carts available. The Hall of Industry, obviously, does not.
- If you’ve got a list of items you’re looking for for someone else, do that first. I was on the hunt for cowboy boots size 11 for a nephew (no luck), a particular bouncer for a yet-to-be-born niece (no luck) and an activity mat for the same upcoming niece (score!). Once I got those out of the way with, I could focus on Sadie.
- I like to start with gear first. I was looking for a jogging stroller on the cheap, but the only ones available were two-seaters. This is where shopping early might have worked best.
- Then I move on to furniture/decor. I usually find a couple of things I like, but then I remember it’s best not to buy such things impulsively. I get really annoyed at myself when I buy something I intend to paint or hang or something, only to let it pile up in my closet (Trevor’s got some sort of nickname for my closet… the pit, perhaps.).
- Next up is toys. We try to keep Sadie’s toy selection pretty moderate and well curated, so I don’t let myself go crazy here. I’ve been planning to add more furniture sets to her dollhouse, and I lucked into finding some for a good price.
- The bulk of my shopping is in clothes. There are rounders set up, marked with sizes by age. It’s important to know the distinctions in the sizes for infants and toddlers. Last time I went to Duck Duck Goose, I spent a bunch of time looking through the 24-month racks, only to remember that Sadie’s more of a 2T (there is, indeed, a difference).
- I’m pretty fast at getting through the racks, and I attribute this to my pickiness. I can fly through items, mostly passing them by because they’re too cheesy, too flowery, too fru-fru, or have licensed characters, large logos or annoying sayings on them. I pile up on my “free” arm what I like. Save the sorting for later.
- Once I’ve made it through all of the racks, I find a place to sort. I look for reasons to eliminate something from the pile, like an embellishment I missed the first time around, or having a trim that looks like it would require ironing to stay straight (you can believe I’m not about to iron Sadie’s clothes at this age).
- With my pile whittled, I add up the cost of getting everything. If it’s more than I want to spend, I go back to eliminating things. This trip, I really didn’t have to do that.
- I’m kind of weird about secondhand socks and shoes. I sometimes breeze through, though, to look for a hidden gem or some legwarmers (last time I scored four pair for $2).
I have a good handful of friends who actually sell clothes at consignment sales. Sadie’s pretty hard on her clothes (and I’m not the best at removing stains), so I don’t know if we’ll end up with much worth selling when the time comes. We’re still planning on Sadie having a sibling, so I’m holding on to everything for now, in case we have another girl. Who knows, though, maybe I can earn back a dollar or two.