With Christmas over, consignment season is here. And in the Upstate, it is indeed its own season.

In January, parents are bombarded with ads for weeks before the “spring” sales even start, and sales run through March.

With many weekend-only sales, choices can be overwhelming, so Upstate Parent interviewed local moms for their experiences. Here are some highlights to help you choose your shopping style.

In the search for deals for her infant daughter and preschooler son, veteran consignment shopper Rachel Beeson of Simpsonville has been to SwitcharoosWeecycled WearMy Child’s Closet and Here We Grow Again.

“Switcharoos and Weecycled are very large and have a wide selection to choose from,” Beeson said. “It can be a bit overwhelming to a first-time mom.”

Beeson said that although smaller sales have a more limited selection, there’s an advantage to beating the crowds.

“My Child’s Closet and Here We Grow Again are much smaller, but still I have found good buys — no lines either, which is nice,” Beeson said.

Beeson said there is often a better selection for girls.

“Boys clothes are harder to find because they tend to wear them out, especially in the bigger sizes,” Beeson said.

Moms seem to employ two main strategies for shopping the big sales.

One common strategy is arriving as early as possible, ideally using a volunteer or consignor pass. Traci Lake of Easley scored a new pair of Keen shoes for $8 for her toddler girl by shopping early.

The second strategy is to shop for half-price items on the final day. Hannah Siefken of Mauldin shifted to this dynamic as her kids grew older because she found fewer deals after her kids turned 2. Now, she seeks bargains on play clothes, although in the baby phase, she found “amazing deals on baby clothes and baby gear.”

Fair warning: Consignment sales do not allow returns! Some heavily-used, stained garments slip through the inspection process, which is typically staffed with volunteers. Experienced shoppers suggested double-checking sizes and scrutinizing for flaws before making purchases.

Local consignment shops offer alternatives to weekend sales

For those who can’t fit the big weekend sales into their schedules, don’t fret! Local consignment stores offer deals year-round, and many shoppers prefer them to the one-weekend-only sales.

Marsha Kennedy, a Greenville native with a 1-year-old daughter, is one mom who thinks the stores are more convenient than the weekend sales.

She has shopped at Whippersnappers, Kidsignment and Once Upon a Child, and she explained her preference for small-store experiences over the big, weekend sales.

“I like buying and selling (at shops) instead because the quality is already screened, and (when consigning items) I don’t have to deal with the ordeal of entering, labeling and hanging myself,” Kennedy said.

In addition, Kennedy said that the small shops have better parking and shorter check-out lines.

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