The following is a guest post by Liz from Sturm und Mom.

As a Mom of six kids, I rely on hand-me downs to stretch my budget. But sometimes an item doesnʼt get “worn out” enough by the time the last child has outgrown it.  And what about the oldest — where can I get hand-me-downs for her?  The solution: childrenʼs consignment stores!

Consignment stores are gold mines for the de-cluttering Mom.  Buy and sell all types of childrenʼs gear: clothing, toys, footwear, swings, strollers, high chairs, books, tapes — in other words, the works. They are an fantastic place to get barely used childrenʼs clothes, often with the tags still on, for a fraction of the price.

Consignment stores work by selling gently used items for you, and keeping a portion of the price (usually around half.) Unlike thrift stores, they pre-screen and organize all the merchandise into a shopper friendly format, making them a super go-to resource for the frugal parent.

Here are some tips to make your consignment shopping and selling, something youʼll be doing again and again.

Research your Store’s Policies

Before you bring your items in, either phone or drop by to see what your local storeʼs policies are. For some stores you need an appointment, and others are drop in. Find out if they pay you up front for the items they take, or after they sell. Most stores have a limit on the amount you can bring in at one time, and the type of items they will take, so check ahead to avoid aggravation and a wasted trip.

Bring in Great Condition Items

Make sure the items you want to sell are clean, in good repair, freshly washed and folded (if clothing.) If itʼs been washed so many times that you canʼt read the tag, itʼs not suitable for consignment. Time your items to correspond with the seasons (bring in summer things during the spring, not November.)

Find Out of Season Clothing Easily

Camping trip in August and no warm sweaters that fit, or swimming birthday party in February but the swimsuitʼs bit the dust? Consignment stores are great places to get out of season clothing in a pinch.

Shop with a List

Come shopping with a list. Donʼt undo your savings by buying what you donʼt need.

Check Consignment First

I donʼt know how many times Iʼve ended up paying full price, only to find the exact same thing on consignment for significantly less.

Check Back Often

My experience has usually been that consignment stores have a lot of what I am looking for in stock, but not always. Supply can vary from week to week, so check back and donʼt get discouraged.

So, attack those kid piles! Your local consignment store is waiting and ready to turn your bursting drawers and over-flowing toy box into some money for your pocket.

Liz is a Mom to six kids 10 and under, who is always trying to get her dollars to go further, and do things better.  Her hobbies are cooking, reading and crafting.  She blogs about motherhood at

Reposted from January 2012