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Blog | Karen Stone Photography | Knoxville, TN

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Thank you so much for stopping by! I am a Knoxville-based photographer, specializing in maternity, newborn, and baby photography. And we love the family photography that we get to do as your family grows! I want to make sure these times in your life are remembered fondly for YEARS to come!

Consignment Sale Tips, Knoxville, TN

12 Consignment Sale Tips

Some shop consignment sales out of necessity, and others shop them simply because they love a good bargain! The truth is, shopping children’s consignment sales is such a smart idea, because kids grow fast, play hard, and dang…they are messy!  #amiright??

little girl playing in dirt

I’ve been one of the vendors at the Jack and Jules Consignment Sale for the past 3 years, and I’ve had my fair share of experiences and observations at this particular sale!  I wanted to share my favorite tips on how to most effectively shop a children’s consignment sale!


Tip #1 – Be a Consignor!

Seriously.  Do it.  It’s a lot of work if you have a lot you want to consign, but even if you just do a few items, it’s totally worth it.  First of all, you get money back from what you sell!  Second, being a consignor gets you an early shopping pass!  

Go through all your kids’ clothes, and make a pile of consignment clothes and toys (too small, etc.).  Be sure to check the consignment sale’s site as to which season they’re looking for.  

You’ll need hangers, safety pins, gallon sized baggies, zip ties, color-coded index cards, Avery 5160 labels (or same size), and a lot of patience!  Here’s a list of all the details and instructions for the Jack and Jules Sale.

Tip #2 – Make a List of Your Kids’ Needs

I usually start out by categorizing my kids’ clothes.  Pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, vests, jackets, winter coats, shoes, socks, undies, etc.  Then, write a wish list for toys – Jack wants Legos, and Julie wants Shopkins…

Personally, I like to have enough of everything to make it to the next laundry day!  This usually includes:

  • 5-8 pairs of pants (3 of those being jeans)
  • about 12 shirts (5 play shirts, and the rest for school)
  • a couple of dressy outfits
  • 1 light jacket and 1 winter coat
  • 2-3 sweatshirts or zip ups
  • 3-4 pairs of shoes (2 pairs of sneakers, 1 pair of dressy, and 1 slip on)
  • 8-12 pairs of socks & undies (how many orphan socks do you have??)

Tip #3 – Know Your Kids’ Sizes!

Write down your kids’ CURRENT sizes, then what you think they will NEED in 3-5 months from the consignment sale.  Be sure to actually measure (like with a measuring tape) things.  Here are some of the things I like to measure:

  • Sleeve length (from shoulder seam to end of sleeve)
  • Shirt length (from shoulder seam to bottom of shirt)
  • Pants inseam (from crotch to end of pants)
  • Pants waist (lay pants flat, then measure from left to right at the top)
  • Dress length (from shoulder seam to bottom of dress)
  • Shoe length (measure on the bottom of the shoe lengthwise)

Tip #4 – Work the Sale!

Consignors get an early shopping pass, but volunteers get an earlier pass, AND they get more back from their consignment proceeds!  Woohoo!  

Tip #5 – Budget!  

Decide what you’re going to spend ahead of time.  It’s that simple.  If you don’t, you will inevitably spend more than you meant to, and while it may have been a good bargain, spending more money defeats the purpose!

Tip #6 – Leave the Kids with Dad…

I promise, you’ll be a better mother for it.  It is brutal out there.  But really, only if you bring your kids with you.  If they are chatty like mine, you can’t formulate a sentence, much less a full thought without being interrupted.  This will go SO much faster if you leave them with Dad!

Tip #7 – Bring “Help”

If you have a friend or maybe even Grandma, they can be really helpful!  They can help you sort through the chaos, but they can also stay with things while you run and grab that Ninja Turtle costume you decided your budget did in fact have room for.

Tip #8 – Bring Something on Wheels!

I can’t stress this enough…grab a wagon, a stroller, or even one of those garage sale clothes racks!  You may feel silly, but I guarantee you that you’re in good company!  Otherwise, your arms are going to be jello in the morning.

Tip #9 – Decide What to Shop First

Personally, I go straight for the shoes first.  My kids are 5 and 3, and they play HARD.  I don’t want to spend $40+ on brand new shoes they’re going to put through the ringer.  I think others have the same idea, so that’s always the first on my list!

If you have a baby that’s not walking yet, skip the shoes, honestly.  Unless you see a really stinkin’ cute pair that you just can’t possibly live without.  If you’ve got a photo shoot coming up (*ahem*…hollar at me!), you probably don’t need shoes anyway (hello, tiny baby toes!).  But if it’s cold outside, then by all means, grab some cute shoes for your tiny tot!

Next, I would say to shop any other necessities you have high on your list – like baby bottles, a high chair, baby furniture, etc.

Lastly, do your best to shop girls’ clothes before boys’!  Girls’ clothes are much more fashion-sensitive, and it’s a mad dash from all the moms to the cutest and best quality clothes out there!

Tip #10 – Grab MORE Than You Need 

You’ll be sorting all this stuff anyway, and it’s hard to keep track of.  So, if you even think it might be a possibility, go ahead and pull it out!  You can hang it in a special section later for volunteers to put back on the racks.

Tip #11 – Find a Spot and Sort…

You’re going to want to sort into a few stacks:  LOVE, LIKE, & NOPE.

Now, go through each item and check for stains or tears.  People are supposed to only put in “gently used” clothes, but some people don’t follow rules, so it’s up to you to sift through!  If it doesn’t meet your standards, put it in the NOPE stack.

Next, go through and measure every single piece of clothing!  If it won’t fit in 3-5 months and you don’t absolutely need it now, then put it in the NOPE stack.  

Check off your list to make sure you got everything, and try to put outfits together as you sort.

Lastly, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What makes an outfit?
  • How often can they wear this?
  • Will this be for play or is it more dressy?

Tip #12 – Those Pesky Vendors… 😉

You know them.  The vendors that are strategically placed at the checkout line.  You walk by and avoid eye contact at all costs.  Eek!  She saw me!  Pretend you dropped something…pull out your cell phone and just start scrolling…

I know.  I’m an introvert too.  But, I promise, they (we) want to help you!  And they won’t be offended if you don’t want their product or service.  Just say “Hi!”, and if they ask if you want to buy something, take it into consideration, or grab a business card.  Enter yourself into their drawing.  What can it hurt?  And if you’re just not at all interested because it’s someone that’s selling bags of rocks, then politely say “No thank you” and give them a sweet smile.  🙂

By the way…you’ll see me at the Jack and Jules Sale!  Come by and say “Hi!”  I promise not to sell you a bag of rocks.  😉

And if you want to beat the crowd, I will have a special offer at the table!  If you want to be an early bird and hear all about it, here’s a link to enter the drawing online!  *I know…fancy schmancy*.  And if you just have questions, feel free to send me a message below, and I’ll answer any questions I can!


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