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It’s that time of the year! No, no, back-to-school already happened and Halloween doesn’t begin until October 1st (at least in my book). All of the pumpkin everything can just take a little chill pill. Except for you, Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’m coming for you.
Next week I’ll be shopping the Just Between Friends fall consignment sale (PSL in hand). Just Between Friends is a national children’s and maternity consignment sale with local events throughout the United States and Canada. Most of the sales near me take place in the Overland Park Convention Center, conveniently just down the street. A huge warehouse of a room is jam packed with clothes, toys, books, nursery decor, pack n plays, swings, bouncers, and every other type of necessary (and not so necessary) baby gear you can imagine.
In addition to all of the consigned items, there are vendors selling boutique items like pretty hair bows and headbands, fun beauty loot for moms, and Thirty-One personalized totes. The tables of discounted Melissa and Doug toys and puzzles are my personal favorite. I have my eye out for Melissa and Doug playtime fruits and a set of lacing beads lacing beads during my fall shopping pursuits.
Just Between Friends sales are usually three to four days long, plus an additional preview day for shopping early. First time parents and grandparents, foster parents, parents of multiples, military spouses, and volunteers all have opportunities to shop early. If you don’t fall into one of these categories, $10 will get you in before everyone else. I haven’t paid the higher cover price yet, but I think it would be worth it if I was looking for multiple big ticket items (i.e. a pack n play, high chair, stroller, or exersaucer), because the ones in the best condition tend to go fast.
The first official day of the sale has a $2 entrance fee, but I always find a coupon to get in free in JBF emails or postcards. I started to received both of these after registering on the Just Between Friends website. This first day is my favorite time to shop. I try to go right when they open for the best selection. I start by scanning the clothes racks for team colors or other needed items, like footed jammies, sleepsacks or baby rash guards depending on the season.
I’ve had lots of luck finding baby clothes featuring our local university and professional sports teams during the first day of a sale. My husband always wants Baby to represent, but I hate paying extra for a team logo. I can usually find new clothes on sale or clearance for the same price (or less) than most of the consigned clothes available, but team licensed apparel is one major exception.
A JBF sale can also be a great place to find out of season clothes for a fast growing baby… like when mine went through a growth spurt in February. We needed bigger fleece sleepers because it was still freezing outside, but all of the stores nearby and online had already flipped to their spring inventory. I found some at a winter Just Between Friends sale, after trudging through a foot of snow to get there.
Next I’ll go scout out the toys. I start with a wish list of toys I know I want, while also keeping an eye out for items in great condition or that baby will be ready for in the near future. If there are multiples of the same toy, check the tags because each one could have a different price. I usually find toys in excellent condition for about 75% off of their original manufacturer’s price.
After toys, I walk through the bigger baby gear section before spending way too much time looking at books. We read a lot, so I always love to find some fresh material. Price-wise, books are definitely cheaper at our local library used-book sales, but most books at the JBF sale are still at least 50% off the cover price. If I find a good book (or many), it’s most likely coming home with me.
The final day of a sale is half-price day. Once I waited until then to shop in hopes of getting the best deals, but there was almost nothing left. The racks of clothes were bare, and toys left behind reminded me of the Velveteen Rabbit. But if you have extra time for a second trip, it’s a great day to canvass the book section again or shop the (still originally priced) Melissa & Doug toys or other vendors without fighting large crowds.
Just Between Friends advertises the sales as a great moms day out, but it is easy to shop with little ones, too. Baby came with me to at least three different sales and shopped like a champ in his stroller or Ergobaby carrier. I imagine he would act a little different in six months or so as a full blown surrounded by so many toys. My faithful sidekick might need to stay home or hang out with Grandma this winter, but I will definitely be back for more.
How do you find great deals on baby gear? What are your best tips for shopping at Just Between Friends and other discount or consignment sales?
I wish there was one of those huge sales near me! When it’s time to shop, you can always find me at the thrift store or browsing the clearance racks!
I’m a new follower, from BlogLove #BLTribeDare. Can’t wait to read more
Hi Holly! Welcome to Reflective Mama I’ve had less luck at thrift stores (excluding used book stores), but doesn’t keep me from trying! Clearance racks always seem to be calling my name…
Kaz @ Melting Moments recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up – Pure Heart Kids Books – Healing Stories for Difficult Times
I wish to be in the States to take advantages of these sales. Once in a moon the PX has sales and since I live in a small military post in Germany we have to hunt for deals. visiting from #shinebloghop
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I really hope that I can get connected with a big consignment sale in the near future! My family and I recently moved from Arkansas to Florida, and I’m still getting my bearings as to what may be coming to our area! Thankfully, we get great used items handed down from my elder sister, so that has saved us a TON! Thank you for sharing your tips! Stopping by from the Blogger’s Digest on Pig and Dac! Check out my post on Gifts ideas for kids that give back to good causes — HERE: http://www.mitchaeljourney.com/2014/09/frugal-21-gift-ideas-that-give-back-for_5.html
Hand-me-downs are the best! Almost all of Baby’s clothes and most of his toys are from my big sister/my nephew.
This may be your first time visiting, but you must already know me well to recommend a post about giving back! Heading over to read (and pin) now!
Oooooh, it’s PSL season! Whoop, whoop!
I’ve never heard of Just Between Friends sales. Sounds awesome!
I actually buy most of my children’s clothes from thrift stores. I’ve found some great items and we have a lot of thrift shops to choose from. Plus my mother-in-law regularly goes to garage sales, she’s always on the look out for clothes and toys for us.
Thanks so much for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).
Wishing you a lovely day.
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…SHINE Blog Hop #16
I need to get better at thrift store and garage sale shopping! I often see garage sales while out walking, but I’m guessing they don’t want my pup jumping all over their stuff. :-/