Thursday, January 14, 2016

Swap Shopping & Consignment Sale-ing

Consignment Sale-ing (v.) to shop at consignment sales. Let's make this word a thing, ok?

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time you know I love me a good deal. What you might not know is just how many things, especially kid items, I purchase from consignment sales, Facebook Swap Shops, and even my favorite Goodwill. Everything below was bought from one of those three places and for a fraction of what they would normally cost. Some items were brand new with tags still on them!

So, how can you score great finds like these? Well I'll tell you! But before I answer some of the most commonly asked questions, it's important to know the difference between the different types of sales.

Consignment Sales:
These are local sales held in your community. They're typically at churches, expo halls, large meeting rooms, and I've even been to one at a fairground. With these types of sales, the sellers mark and tag their items with the selling price and then takes them to the venue to be sold. The sellers usually pay a small fee out of their profit to the company/organization putting on the sale. With these sales, the price is set and there is usually no wiggle room on the price point except for some 2 day sales who offer half off items the second day of the sale. 

Consignment Shops:
These are brick and mortar stores that sell and buy gently used or new items. These can include second hand clothing stores, vintage shops, and national kid/clothing chains like Once Upon A Child. I've found these can be a little more expensive than buying from a consignment sale or swap shop but there also tends to be a greater selection of items being sold.

Swap Shops: 
These sales take place on Facebook and are done through a group. The names usually involve the words mommy, mom exchange, mom swap exchange, etc. There are also several county/city exchange groups where items posted are more like garage sale items (household goods, appliances, etc) vs. just mom/kid items. With swap shop groups you often have to be added by the admin of the group and each group has it's own rules as to what can be posted, how often you can post, and when purchased items must be picked up. On most swap shops you also have the ability to negotiate a price with the seller.

Now onto the questions...

Where do you buy from the most ?
There is a great consignment sale in our area twice a year and I usually find some good stuff from it, but aside from that, most of my savvy shopping is done through Facebook. I'm a member of several Facebook swap groups and a new one that only allows people in the surrounding neighborhoods to post items which makes picking up items I buy super easy and I'm not driving all over town.

Is it worth it to drive somewhere to pick up a $2 shirt?
Yes and no:) If I'm getting an almost perfect pair of Sperry shoes for $10 then it's worth the little gas money for me to drive and pick them up. Am I going to drive all the way across town for a $2 play shirt? No. But people who want to sell their stuff bad enough are often willing to meet at a central location that works best for both the buyer and seller.

Do you go to stranger's houses? Do people come to yours?
The great thing about swap shops is that you can check out the people buying your items and who you are buying from. I always ask myself does their profile look legit, is the address in a good neighborhood, have lots of other people bought items from them before? There are times where I have not picked up something from a person's house and instead met them in a public place and same with people picking up items I sell. I don't let anyone pick up from my house that I don't feel safe about or have mutual real-life friends with on Facebook. Just use good judgment and common sense. Often times I buy from the same couple of moms over and over and it can be a great way to connect with other moms especially if you stay at home.

Is someone home when you pick up the item? What if you don't like it in person?
A lot of times people will do porch pickup which is where they leave the item in a bag on the porch and I put the money under the mat. I always look at the item/s before I leave the person's house and there have been times where the items are more worn, have staining, or don't look like the picture. In those cases I put the item back and message the person on Facebook that I came to get the item and it wasn't as described. 

Do consignment sales take cash only? What happens to clothes that don't sell?
In our area, sales take both cash and credit/debit but you often have to pay a small fee (2 or 3%) when using a card. Clothes that don't sell will go back to the seller or are often times donated to a local charity. 

I've gotten on a swap shop a few times and I'm confused with all the lingo?
I completely understand! Especially in the beginning it can be really confusing when people are posting ppu, euc, nwt, etc. so let me help you out with the main ones.

PPU=Pending pick up. The item has been been claimed and someone is scheduled to pick it up 
EUC=Excellent Used Condition
VGUC=Very Good Used Condition
GUC=Good Used Condition
NWT=New with tags
NWOT=New without tags
Next=if the person who commented before them ends up not picking up the item, it goes to the next person. I've seen instances on really hot items where someone is the 5th or 6th person to post next and ends up getting the item because for one reason or another everyone else passed
LO=little one

Have you sold items at/on all these places? Is it really a good way to make money?
Yes and yes! I sell most of my items on swap shoes from kids clothing/toys/shoes/bedding to my clothing, jewelry, shoes, to home decor. The great thing about selling items is it helps to declutter your house and it also gives you cash to buy other items you may see that you want. I've also sold things in a consignment sale and to be honest it wasn't worth the hassle of printing a label, tagging items, dropping them off at the sale, picking up, etc. I didn't make nearly as much money for the amount of work as I would on a swap shop. I've also dropped off bigger items (bassinet, toys, etc) to national children's consignment stores and feel they pay pretty well too.

Isn't it a hassle to take pictures, post a description, etc.
Not really. As I'm cleaning out a closet or going through clothes that the kids have out grown, I make a pile of things to sell, donate, and trash. As I put things in the sell pile I simply snap a pic, and upload it to the swap page from my phone. Once you get the hang of it and how to list items, it takes about 30 seconds. And 30 seconds of work for a $5 profit is pretty easy. I will say that in order to save time and hassle, I have people pick up from my house or another convenient location for me. Although I will drive to your house if I buy something, I'm not going out of my way for you to buy my item.

Anything you don't buy used?
Oh Yes! A good general rule is anything that can't be washed or cleaned I don't buy. The only exception with this is if one of my very close friends posts something. For example, a good friend was selling a ride on rocking horse toy that had a cloth/fur body. Although that part can't be cleaned, I bought it from her because I personally know her, have been to her house, and know she's a clean person. I wouldn't buy something like that from a stranger. Other things I don't buy:

-pillows
-stuffed animals that can't be thrown in the washer
-jeans (I have bought a few pairs, but I'm pretty picky about the style of jeans I like for my kids and since I save so much on their other clothes I don't feel bad spending a little more on GAP jeans. Used jeans also tend to have more wear in the knee and don't last as long)
-baby food, formula, other edible items
-undergarments
-furniture that can't be sanitized

This was a pretty long post but I hoped it helped you feel more confident to shop resale. If you still have questions about something I didn't cover just shoot me an email at ourfishyfamily@gmail.com and I'd be happy to answer that for you.

Happy swapping!


Linking up with Annie for Thoughts on Thursday

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