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Better Deals Than Back to School Sales

Find out how you can clothe your kids for less at area consignment sales.

Photo Credit: Patch.com file photo
Photo Credit: Patch.com file photo

Written by Lucy Bennett

Moms and dads know that as your child grows, so does the hole in your wallet. And just because your child may grow out of the clothes in a matter of months does not mean the clothes are less expensive.

Consignment sales, which generally happen in the spring and fall, offer parents an opportunity to buy gently used clothes for far below retail. They also offer parents an opportunity to make some money on those clothes after they are outgrown.

Where Does the Money Go?

Each sale works differently. Some benefit a cause or an organization while others are run by people as a small business. But in general, the money goes back to the sellers. How much money goes back to the seller depends on the sale and frequently on how many shifts the consignor works.

Sales are generally staffed with volunteers. The benefits of volunteering are different for each sale, but generally volunteers make a higher percentage on their sales and they are invited to a presale before the sale opens to the public. 

Are the Prices Really Worth It?

It all depends on the sales. Most sales let you price your own items, which means some consignors may price items higher than others. It’s not unusual to see the same item for two different prices.

Many sales offer a half price sale for the last hour or longer of their sale on some or all of their items. The half price sale is usually on some, but not all items, so be sure to find out the rules of the sale you are attending.

What Can I Buy?

Most sales sell kids clothes, as well as pregnancy clothes. In addition to every day clothes, you can find coats, shoes and boots and sometimes even Halloween costumes or holiday clothes.

They sell toys, books and other baby and child items, ranging from strollers, high chairs, bouncy seats and tricycles to outlet covers, bottles and diaper bags. Each sale has its own set of rules, which can usually be viewed on its website.

How is This Different From a Consignment Store?

A consignment store is open like a normal store. These sales are usually events that happen for one to two days a few times a year.

In my experience, the prices are better at consignment sales than at consignment stores.

Insider Tips

  • If you go early, the sale will be packed with more merchandise and harder to navigate, so leave your child with a babysitter, or use a carrier, because some sales ban strollers, while others allow it, but it can be a nightmare.
  • Bringing your own bags can be helpful not just so you have something to take your items home in, but also as you walk around the sale. IKEA bags or something that size can be ideal. You never know when you’re going to see that perfect, but large toy and you still have to go through a number of clothes racks. Being able to put that toy in your bag with everything else rather than having to juggle can be a lifesaver.
  • Not all sales take credit, so check beforehand and make sure you have enough cash if you’re going to need it.
  • Going early does mean you’ll have better selection, but don’t think there will be nothing left at the end. It all depends on the sale, the consignors and the other shoppers and their tastes. I’ve seen plenty of really nice things at sales that never sold, despite great prices.
  • Kids grow, and sizes are not uniform. Take a string and get the inseem of a pair of pants that fit now and tie a knot in the string. Tie another knot for the length arm. I've started also tying a knot for his waste in case pants aren't adjustable of elastic. Then you have one piece of string to take with you and you know you want it to be that size or up to an inch bigger for the next season's clothes.
  • Do you have any great insider tips? Please share them in the comments area below.

Area Consignment Sales

Sept. 6-8

Just Between Friends

The Sportsplex

1331 O’Reilly Drive

Feasterville, PA 19053

Hours:

Sept. 7

Mothers of Multiples Club Sale

United Sports and Training Center

1426 Marshalton-Thorndale Rd.

Downingtown, PA 19335

Hours:

  • Saturday 9 a.m. - Noon

Sept. 7

Growing Express Consignment Sale

Trinity Episcopal Church

Bethlehem Pike & Highland Avenue

Ambler, PA 19002

Hours:

  • Saturday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Half Price Sale Noon - 1 p.m.)

Sept. 12-14

Just Between Friends

Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Hall C

100 Station Ave.

Oaks, PA

Hours:

Sept. 13-15

Just Between Friends

BucksMont Indoor Sports

2278 North Penn Rd.

Hatfield, PA 19440

Hours:

Sept. 13 -15

The Clothing Tree

Palmer Township Community Center

4100 Green Pond Rd.

Easton, PA 18045

Hours:

  • Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Sunday Noon - 4 p.m. (Half Price Sale)

Sept. 20-21

Simply Kids Sale

Norco Fire Co.

144 W. Schuylkill Rd.

Pottstown, PA 19464

Hours:

  • Friday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Saturday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Sept. 20-22

Kids Kloset Swap

SMG Sports Plex

654 York Rd.

Warminster, PA 18974

Hours:

  • Friday 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Sunday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Half Price Sale)

Sept. 20-22

Just Between Friends West Chester/Media

Brandywine Youth Club

41 S. Thornton Road

Glen Mills, PA 19342

Hours:

Sept. 21

Main Line Moms of Multiples

Monsignor Bonner High School Gym

Drexel Hill

Hours:

  • Saturday 10 a.m. - 1p.m.

Sept. 21-22

Smart Moms Sale

Lower Providence Volunteer Fire Co.

3199 Ridge Pike

Eagleville, PA 19403

Hours:

  • Saturday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Sunday 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Half Price Sale Day)

Sept. 24-26

Twice is Nice Consignment Sale

Church of the Good Samaritan

212 West Lancaster Ave.

Paoli, PA 19301

Hours:

  • Tuesday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday  9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Thursday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Half Price Sale)

Sept. 27-29

The Kids Clothesline

Allentown Fairgrounds, Ag Hall

302 N. 17th St.

Allentown, PA 18104

Hours:

  • Friday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Half Price Sale Day)

Sept. 27-28

Second Time Around Kids Consignment Sale

Marple Presbyterian Church

105 N. Sproul Rd

Broomall, PA 19008

Hours:

  • Friday Noon - 6 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Half Price Sale: Noon - 2)

Sept. 28

Valley Forge Mothers of Twins and Triplets

Green Tree Church of the Brethren

1078 Egypt Road

Oaks, PA

Hours:

  • Saturday 9 a.m. - Noon

Sept. 28-29

New2U KidStuff

Barren Hill Fire Co.

647 Germantown Pike

Lafayette Hill, PA 19444

Hours:

  • Saturday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Sunday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Half Price Sale Day)

Oct. 4-5

All Children’s Sale

Heritage School

Church of the Saviour

675 N. Wayne Ave.

Wayne, PA 19087

Hours:

  • Friday 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m. - Noon

Oct. 4-5

The Saturday Club Women & Children’s Consignment Sale

The Saturday Club

117 West Wayne Avenue

Wayne, PA 19087

Hours:

  • Friday 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. (Preview: $10 admission)
  • Saturday 8 a.m. - Noon (Half Price Sale: 11:10 a.m. - Noon)

Oct. 5-6:

Rubber Ducky Kids Consignment Sale

Brookhaven Municipal Center Gym

2 Cambridge Road

Brookhaven, PA 19015

Hours:

  • Saturday: 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Half Price Sale: Noon - 2)

Oct. 11-12

Take 2 Consignment Sale

St. Luke Greek Orthodox Community Center

35 N. Malin Rd.

Broomall, PA 19008

Hours:

  • Friday 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.
  • Saturday 8:30 a.m. - Noon (Half Price Sale Day)

Oct. 12

Bucks Mont Mothers of Multiples

Trinity Lutheran Church

1000 W. Main St.

Lansdale, PA 19446

Hours:

  • Saturday 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Oct. 16-27

The Charlestown Sale

Kimberton Fire Co. and Fairgrounds

61 Firehouse Ln., Phoenixville, PA 19460

Hours: TBD

Oct. 19

Stepping Stones Kids Sale

St. Katharine of Siena

S. Aberdeen Avenue

Wayne, PA 19087

Hours:

  • Saturday 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Half Price sale: 1-2 p.m.)

Nov. 8 & 9

Spring Chicken Holiday Toy Sale

Armenian Martyrs' Congregational Church

100 N. Edmond’s Avenue

Havertown, PA 19083

Hours: TBD

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