8 Tips For Shopping Children’s Consignment Sales

8 Tips For Shopping Children’s Consignment Sales

This past weekend was our local children’s consignment sale. This event takes place twice a year and I try to get all the clothes the kids need for the season here. In order to do this I have had to do a bit of planning before I shop.

The first time I went to the consignment sale I didn’t really need anything, Isaac was the only grandchild and was little and spoiled with clothes. I thought I’d just go and look around and shop. I walked in and was slightly overwhelmed. There is so much STUFF! I wandered around for a few hours and only left with a few things and a fried brain.

Thankfully I saw what an amazing opportunity this sale was, if I was prepared! So next sale I took mental stock of what clothes I had and what I needed. Then I got the the sale and forgot my mental list. To be safe I bought tons of clothes in various sizes for Isaac to grow into, but because I forgot what he actually needed, I still ended up having to buy him new clothes at full cost that season.

I finally learned I needed to be diligent and plan well, in order to get the most out of consignment sales. This season both kids were desperately low on clothes, so I had to be extra diligent, and it paid off. I got both kids a complete winter wardrobe for this year, as well as a few pieces for next year!


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1. Go Prepared

This may sound like a no-brainer, but some of us get busy and forget to prepare and pay for it later, literally. Now, I take the week before a consignment sale and clean out the closet and pack away too small clothes and see where there are gaps in the wardrobe. Last spring I didn’t get a chance to do this, so I mistakenly believed I had enough clothes for Vivienne for this summer… I did not.

2. Make a List

Once you know what you need, WRITE IT DOWN. If you are like me, once you walk in and see all those racks, your brain goes blank. I have a page in my planner that details the kids sizes, what they desperately need, and what toys that would like. I keep this in my planner year round, not just for consignment sales.

3. Set a budget

I will admit, this sale I did not stick to a budget. We desperately needed so much that I couldn’t handle trying to add up the clothes while I was shopping. Normally I have a budget, and I have a general idea of how much of the budget should be allotted to each kid and category of clothing. Now I am not as strict on the budget at consignment sales as I am in other areas because going over budget here might save me later. For example: if I see an amazing toy that was on the Christmas idea list I will go ahead and get it even if it pushes me over budget because it is going to be a lot cheaper and less stressful than trying to get it closer to Christmas.

4. Stick to Quality brands

Clothing and toys are areas where I am very brand conscious, not because I like labels, but because some brands hold up better than others. I try to stick to quality brands that I know will last and can be passed down from one kid to the next. Our consignment sale also tries very hard to stick with quality brands so if I see something very cute from a brand I don’t know, I’ll give it a try to see if it lasts, but the majority of my buys are trusted brands. The good thing about the consignment sales, is I can get those trusted, more expensive brands for the same cost I’d pay for those cheaper brands new in stores.

5. Buy Bigger Sizes

This is probably the first thing I learned, since I didn’t need anything during that first sale, I bought clothes Isaac would grow into and then the next sale I did the same thing because I hadn’t learned to write down my needs. Then by my third sale I realized, this was actually good idea because I had clothes on hand in case of ill-timed growth spurts and unsuccessful sales. The thing is these sales are based on what consignors are parting with at any given time. This season’s sale I racked up, I got Vivienne tons of cute dresses for this winter as well as next winter, but the past two years have been a bit hit or miss with her sizes. Last spring sale I barely found anything in Vivienne’s size and since I thought she had clothes, I focused on the size I think she will be this next spring. If the clothes are very season specific, like Santa Clause smocked outfits, I am a bit more cautious and only buy one for two items if its more than a season in advance. However generic clothes that can be worn a good chunk of the year, I’ll buy those up to several sizes too big. I can always throw a sweater over a short sleeve shirt and call it winter ready.

6. Bring a Friend

Usually I have brought my husband, so he can carry everything and add up the clothes to keep me relatively on budget. But he is not very helpful with the actual shopping. This sale my grandmother came with me, while it meant I lost my carrier, I had a much better shopping helper. She could look at different racks than I was looking at and we were able to shop more quickly and efficiently. It is helpful to have another opinion when you start to get overwhelmed by all the choices. It’s also nice to bring a friend to watch your stuff when you have to pop into the restroom.

7. Bring Water and a Cart.

There is nothing worse then getting tired and thirsty when you are on a mission. I learned the hard way consignment sales are missions, so now I eat a snack in the car, and bring water in with me. The past several sales I’ve brought my huge shopping bag with me to help me carry things my husband couldn’t carry. However without my husband holding half the stuff, the bag wasn’t actually helpful. I didn’t realize how much I depended on a strong set of hands, so next sale I’m going to take one of those rolling market baskets.

8. Volunteer

There are several reasons to volunteer at your local consignment sale, the most important is that they need volunteers to make these sales happen. Without volunteers the sales will fall apart and then we all loose a wonderful resource. Now there are other benefits as well, our sale has special consignor rates and early shopping times for volunteers. Also if you volunteer with set up you can get a sneak peek at what is out on the floor. I have tried to avoid volunteering during the main sale in the past because crowds overwhelm me and I felt like I couldn’t be helpful. By the time I went to sign up as a volunteer for this sale, the only spots available were during the main sale, so I reluctantly signed up. Turns out I loved it! I loved getting to talk to ladies as I was bagging their clothes and see what all they got. If you ever doubt the importance of sales like this, volunteer during the half-price time, I met several teachers and daycare workers buying toys and moms buying for friends who needed a little help with clothes.


I’m still learning with each sale I attend, and I’m sure more veteran shoppers can offer more helpful tips, if you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments below.

Elle

Just a Quick Update

Just a Quick Update

It’s been a long time since I have updated the blog, where have I been? Here and there, swamped by projects, and daily life.

When Vince and I discussed our goals for 2019, we realized the farm and our lives were moving in one direction, while we were still trying to push them back to the direction we “thought” was the best. When we took the time to step back look at things, we realized the direction things were moving, was actually better than the direction we thought we wanted.

Changes have been made. Priorities have been shifted. So far for the better.

We have spent the last few months finishing up some big farm projects, traveling to Paris, organizing the house, finishing some house projects, and trying to update our plans for the future.

Thankfully these busy months have left me with lots of posts, now to just sit down and write.

Elle

 

 

 

Yearly Goals Printable

Yearly Goals Printable

*Edit: I added two new versions. What can I say, I got bored with the dots.

Each year I like to write down my goals for the year. I like goals more than resolutions, resolutions feel restrictive, goals seem motivational.

I try to break it down by big goals for the year, then smaller monthly goals that help achieve the larger yearly goals, this year I also have a list a projects we need to finish.

Monthly GoalsSince I’m a bit of a nut, I tend to spend a ridiculous amount much time designing the page for the goals, it’s a relaxing “me time.” This year, in order to make myself feel a bit better about the time I spent, I decided to share it.

Projects PageI hope your 2019 is as productive as you desire!

Click here to download yours!

2019 Goals - Dots2019 Goals – Dots

2019 Goals - Plants2019 Goals – Plants

2019 Goals - Flowers2019 Goals – Flowers

2019 Goals

2019 Goals

It’s that time of year again, time to set goals for the next year!

Is it just me or is anyone else trying to figure out where 2018 went?

Oh good, I’m not alone!

This year my top goal is Joy.

I’ve gotten a bit bogged down by all the projects that need to be done around here that I lost sight of why we wanted to do all this.

Right after the pig fiasco, some of Isaac’s friends came over for a play-date. Seeing his pride in his animals and the looks on their faces as they played with the animals was a wonderful reminder or why we did this.

So, this next year we are slowing down and cutting back in areas. This means we are going to finish up projects that we have been putting off, and being more efficient with the time we have. In case you are concerned about the cutting back, this means roosters and extra hens, not completely getting rid of animals. This year we plan to add far less animals to the farm and mostly through purchasing hens from a hatchery to ensure we do not have an overflow of roosters like this year.

Its funny because as I was thinking how I needed to find joy in this farm, one of my favorite bloggers, Parisienne Farmgirl, started sharing how she was focusing on Joie de Vivre. I was scrolling through Instagram one day and saw her introducing her day planner and discussing Joie de Vivre and it was like she read my mind! And yes, I preordered that planner and not so patiently waited for it to arrive in the mail. It is beautiful!!! Its almost too pretty to use, which is perfect because I got it to write down all the life events and milestones from this year.

Her planner leads me to my second big goal for the year, be organized!

Last year I tested out The Happy Planner and loved it, so I had Vince get me another for Christmas and lots of fun stickers to decorate it with. I have to have routine and structure, but I also need color and whimsy. I sit down once a week and plan and decorate the upcoming week. Isaac likes to help place the stickers which is fun, with just a hint of stress to keep me on my toes. Its taken all year, but I finally found a system that works for keeping everything organized… at least in the case of my planners.

My house is the third goal of the year, it needs a major decluttering and reorganization, among other things.

We don’t have much closet space and our kitchen cabinets are useless and the attic is mostly unreachable. Yeah, I’m at a loss of what to do, but I am determined to fix that this year. I’m going to be honest, I won’t be surprised if I see this on my goals for the next ten to twenty years. I’m assuming that eventually my kids will stick me in a nursing home and then I won’t have to figure out the storage issues with the house.

I decided to join a home organization challenge that should help me get my home organized in 14 weeks… we shall see about that.

So what are your goals for 2019?

 

Vivienne’s Birth Story

Vivienne’s Birth Story

Three weeks ago we welcomed our sweet little girl, Vivienne Grace, to the farm.

I begin by saying she was born at home…on purpose.

She was born surrounded by her dad, her brother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother, the same midwives who caught her brother, and the same doula who assisted me during her brother’s birth.

People always say every pregnancy is different, and Vivienne’s last weeks of pregnancy and delivery could not be more different from Isaac’s.

With Isaac I had no “practice” contractions and when we went into labor, we went into strong labor than lasted 52 hours. Thankfully he was born after only a few pushes. He was also a home-birth with no pain-relief, so obviously it wasn’t bad enough to stop me from doing it again.

This time “practice” contractions started weeks before Vivienne’s guess-date. I was optimistic that this was a good thing and her labor would be shorter and smoother. About a week before her guess-date steady/strong contractions started, they were consistent enough to start timing and strong enough to lead us to question if they would turn into true labor. As the day wore on it became clear they weren’t going anywhere.

Fun fact, contractions can be triggered by changes in barometric pressure, so the terrible storms we were having caused all that.

Unfortunately, once the storms started the contractions, they continued to come and go for the next week. It was a fun week.

Easter came and we went to my mom’s for lunch and Easter Bunny. We get home to a couple missing chicks so we hunted them down, put the animals up, got the toddler ready for bed and we crashed. Being extremely pregnant takes its toll.

Monday was our guess-date and I was exhausted. After resting/ doing laundry most of the day, Isaac and I went outside to play while Vince worked. It was supposed to start storming the next day and we needed as much outdoor time as possible. Not to long into playing contractions started again and I cursed the stupid weather. We kept playing.

I walked down to check on a chicken and on the way back had to stop for a contraction. I cursed the super steep hill and trudged back up.

I tried to stand up and had to stop for another contraction. This time I texted the midwife to ask her if it was real this time. She told me probably and to go get some rest.

Well it was real and I tried unsuccessfully to get rest that night. My doula showed up about 9:30 Tuesday morning and we talked chickens, she is a fellow chicken owner, and laughed about the 46 chicks in the entrance hall.

The Midwife showed up about 10/10:30 to check and see how things were going. Things were going well enough that she stayed.

Baby girl was like her brother and turned a bit wonky, so we did exercises to turn her, then tied up my belly so she was forced to stay in a good position.

One by one the apprentices showed up and by mid-afternoon things were progressing but we were still waiting.

Around this time we decided I did want to try the birth pool so we set it up on the landing and my mom made a last minute trip to the store to get hoses to fill the pool. The pool was wonderful, and the view from the landing made me wish my bathtub was on the landing.

The rain had held off and the weather was beautiful and we had the doors open. We got to listen to the very proud crowing of the rooster right below.

In order to get things moving a bit more my doula decided we were going to take a walk. We went outside, I made Vince rescue the giant turtle stuck in the fence, Isaac showed off his goats, Vince put away the animals for the night, and we laughed about the stereotypes we were representing at the moment.

My kind doula then made me do lunges up the stairs, they worked. I finally told her I had to go back upstairs now or I’d never make it back up.

After That I never left the birth-tub. The storm finally arrived and we got to enjoy a bit of it until the wind started blowing rain into the house.

It was getting late and Isaac was getting tired and upset, and labor was getting much more intense than his ever had been.

Isaac was confused by all the people still being there, and didn’t understand why his nightly routine was so messed up. He knew something big was happening but he didn’t understand what. In the end Vince just held him so he could be close to both of us.

My water finally broke and things get a little bit more manageable, just as I began to push. I remember this part with Isaac and I thought it couldn’t get worse… little girl showed me how wrong I had been. She took quite a few more pushes than Isaac, and she decided to get her shoulder a bit stuck. The odd thing is that for as painful as it was the recovery after her was much easier than with Isaac. And even she hasn’t scared me away from any future home-births.

Vivienne finally joined us at 10:54pm Tuesday night, after only 28 hours of labor.

As with Isaac I bled more than was normal, this time enough to make me a bit light headed when I sat up, but after the midwives got it to stop and I ate a bit I felt much better.

Isaac stayed up way past his bed time, but was able to see his sister born, and even “helped” Vince cut her cord.

Her labor and delivery may be different, but she had her similarities. She was exactly the same length as Isaac (21 inches) and 2 ounces smaller (8 lbs 4oz) than him.

We are all absolutely in love with her, especially Isaac.