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I’m not typically an incredibly frugal person, but I do know that kids, especially young kids, go through clothes at an alarming rate. Not only do they grow fast, they stain and wear out clothes fast, so it makes sense to have a lot of options available for your little ones to choose from.
I also know that kids’ clothes are expensive. My secret to getting a vast wardrobe for my girl without spending vast sums is to frequent consignment sales, which are large and plentiful where I live.
The biggest and best is Rhea Lana’s, which has spring and fall sales in two locations in Northwest Arkansas. The Rogers sale (which is the really big one) is coming up August 21-27 at the Frisco Station Mall, and I’m super excited. I think the weather has me thinking that if I’m shopping for fall clothes, that means fall is soon, right?
I’m also kind of excited because this year is the first time I’m consigning. I’ve meant to in the past, but never found the time to get my stuff together. Now that the girl is in daycare, I feel like I have the time and mental energy required to get everything in place. I started this morning, so I’m proof that you can do it even if you haven’t gotten started yet.
The consigning system seems like a big hassle until you actually start doing it. The key thing is to do some organizing before you sit down at your computer.
Step One: Gather Your Stuff
Rhea Lana’s takes kids’ clothes of all sizes, maternity clothes, toys, books, DVDs, even some home items like couches and dining room sets. Your work will go a lot faster if you scavenge the house first and then sit down to work. I got together all my clothes and sorted them in my hallway staging area. I will admit I don’t have all the toys collected yet, but I was pretty sure I was going to need more than one data-inputting session anyway.
Step Two: Hang (and Tag)
Once you have everything sorted by size, it’s time to hang things on hangers. Be sure you have a lot of hangers on hand (I’ve always kept mine from when I buy stuff, so I had a good stash, but you can buy them, too) and some safety pins, if needed, to make pants hangers out of regular hangers or hold two parts of an outfit together, for example. You’ll need a bunch of safety pins for the tagging step, too.
Rhea Lana’s asks that you put tags on all your items with safety pins (pinned to the left shoulder or side of garments), and it really does speed the process if you do this before you do your data entry. I didn’t start out with things pre-tagged, but the last batch of stuff I did today I did pre-tag and it went a lot faster.
Write numbers in consecutive order on the tags; that will be the order you put things into the system.
Step Three: Data Entry
The Rhea Lana system requires you to go through “training,” which is just a way to get you to read and understand the policies of consigning (don’t bring soiled stuff, charge crazy-high prices or expect your stuff to be returned to you if you don’t come pick it up, for example). Then you get your ID number and can begin putting in items.
You can use up to three “search terms” for each item (things like color, type of clothing, brand, or a descriptor of your choice), then add the size, your price and whether you’re willing to let it go for half price on the half price days. That’s it. Repeat, repeat, repeat (up to 150 times).
Keep your items in the same order that you input them and you’ll have a much easier time of things on check in day.
Because this is my first time, and because I didn’t have things hung or tagged when I started out, it took me about an hour to enter 25 items, but I’m sure the rest will go faster now that I know what I’m doing.
In addition to the benefits of earning some cash (consignors get 70 percent of all sales) and clearing out your closets, consignors also get a chance to shop early (if you also volunteer to work you can shop even earlier!) and get the best stuff.
I’ll keep you posted on how my experience goes. If you’ve been on the fence about Rhea Lana’s, I think it’s worth giving it a try. You have until Aug. 17 to get your items in the system. Drop-off days are the 17th, 18th and 19th, with the early sale on the 20th and the sale opens to the public on the 21st.
The sale will be restocked on Monday; items go to 25 percent off on Thursday. Workers, consignors and guests can shop the half-price sale early on Thursday night; the sale is open to the public at half price on Friday and Saturday. Sellers can pick up any unsold items they don’t want donated to charity for them on Sunday.