MSMThe Posh Closet’s annual consignment sale is THIS WEEK, August 1st and 2nd, at the South Charlotte Banquet Center.  If you’ve never ventured out to this sale before, you’re missing out: adorable, high end clothes, toys, books, etc. at a fraction of the cost (though, honestly, I’ll admit as a mom of boys – the girls clothing selection is usually much bigger and better!!)

If you’re not able to attend this week – fear not!  Charlotte is home to a number of awesome consignment stores that stock adorable, high end clothes at a fraction of the cost regularly.  Some of my favorites include: Once Upon a Child, Kid to Kid, Mommy & Me and the Goodwill.

First things first.  Why shop consigned?  

I know.  The idea of “used’ clothing might turn some people off.  But kids, and especially babies, grow really fast; it just doesn’t make sense to buy tons of new things at full price because they’ll grow out of them before they can wear them for any length of time.

I’ll give a personal example.  My firstborn weighed over 10 pounds and was 22 1/2 inches at birth, which meant all of those adorable newborn sized outfits we had for him were too small.  AT BIRTH.  He wore them for about three weeks before we couldn’t squeeze him into them any longer.  By 9 months he was wearing size 24 month clothing – which means in less than a year we flew through a lot of clothes.

Aside from the fact they grow quickly, babies tend to ruin clothes quickly too.  Between spit up, blow outs and pureed baby food, stains are plentiful.  And it only gets worse as they get older and rips, grass stains and other goop appears on everything.  Again, it just doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on things that won’t last beyond a season or two.

(Little known secret: you can find never-before-worn-clothes at consignment stores too.  I’ve bought quite a few Ralph Lauren shirts – tags still on – at consignment store prices.  The Goodwill also winds up with lots of brand-new Target clearance items).

Tips for Shopping Consignment Stores

– Go often.  New merchandise is added regularly and goes quickly, particularly at the Goodwill, where bargain hunting is a serious sport.

– Shop with an open mind and a sense of humor.  While it’s OK to go shopping thinking “I want a red Ralph Lauren polo shirt,” there’s a good chance you won’t find exactly that.  Instead, shop with less specifics and more generalities: “I want a red polo,” or “I want sweaters.”  I refer to shopping second hand as “treasure hunting” because that’s what it is – you don’t know exactly what you’ll find, but you’ll wind up with some real goodies if you put in the effort (like brand new Janie & Jack shirts or a Virginia Tech football jersey just the right size for my toddler).

– Know your brands and your prices.  Consignment stores price items based on a variety of factors, but the brand is the primary role in determining price points.  Higher end clothes will cost more, naturally.  Store brands tend to be less – Jumping Beans is Kohl’s brand, Garanimals is Walmart, and Circo is Target, to name a few.  While often times prices at consignment stores are less than in the stores, there are occasions where clearance merchandise (at a regular retailer) is cheaper.  For example, Target will mark down their Circo t-shirts to $2.50/each.  At a consignment store, those will usually be priced at $2.99.  The Goodwill, however, prices things at one price regardless of brand.  Baby clothes are $1.99 while toddler/kids clothes prices will vary up to around $4.99.

– Go there for your seasonal items. Why spend a fortune on a Halloween costume your baby can only wear once? Or a “Baby’s 1st Christmas” onesie that you can only use for a short period of time? Consignment stores are loaded with these goodies – along with things like Christmas dresses, Easter outfits, swimwear and more.

– Don’t forget to check the baby gear, toys and books.  These stores are full of great things!  More often than not you’ll find multiples of the same toys at these stores – because I’m pretty sure there isn’t a parent out there who doesn’t own this play table or this toy (both of which you can always find used).  You can usually also find shopping cart covers, tummy time play mats, and baby carriers, along with strollers, cribs, high chairs, etc.

– The Goodwill is a great place to look for kids books.  I’ve found some perfect condition Dr. Seuss and Little Critter books on my hunts – paperbacks are $0.99 while hardcovers are $1.99.

– Lastly: shop the sales.  On St. Patrick’s day, for instance, you have the chance to get 15 – 50% off your TOTAL PURCHASE at Once Upon a Child.  You can’t beat that!

Any consignment tricks or tips I missed?  Happy treasure hunting!