We are back and getting settled in! My list of to-do’s for this week is a mile long. . . augh! That’s the one tough part about vacation: getting back.

However, the up-side is definitely seeing our baby again! Ali had TONS of fun with Gramamma and Pop, of which I’m sure Mom will provide me pictures and commentary to share with you sometime in the near future.

Last Wednesday, mere hours before we left for our trip, I finally got the chance to shop at Kid’s Market. Ali and I had gone on Monday, but immediately turned around and walked back out.

NO SALE was worth those lines.


Especially with toddler-in-tow-and-no-stroller-rules. So I went back on Wednesday, right after I dropped Ali off with Mom, and it was ideal.

For those of you who aren’t local, Kid’s Market is a bi-annual, unbelievably-blow-your-mind huge consignment sale. It fills up a WHOLE former grocery store building – back warehouse and all.

And so, since I get asked at least once a week where I buy Ali’s clothes, I decided to share that information, along with my Kid’s Market finds and strategies (which I have learned the hard way over the last few years).

First: Where do I buy Ali’s clothes?

I rarely, if ever, buy anything for full price. I am a bit obsessive about feeling like I get a good deal. In fact, I can’t really enjoy any purchase unless I feel like I saved a ton of money. It’s the game in me.

I typically shop for her at Children’s Place, the Belk clearance racks (she had a ton of dresses this winter that were actually summer dresses that I bought for 90% off and just stuck a turtleneck under them, since that was the style anyway), Target (they really have great kid’s clothes), and the Gymboree outlet store or clearance racks.

And, of course, Kid’s Market.

So, on to Kid’s Market.

I am by no means a KM expert, seeing as I don’t even contribute or work it to get the “real” perks. So I would LOVE tips and strategies from those of you who do. And, since I only have one kid, my KM complications are very low.

However, Here’s what I have learned the hard way over the past few years (which would apply to any consignment or even garage sale environment):

  • I go REALLY quickly. I am a quick shopper anyway, but I move through KM racks with toddler-on-the-loose-in-a-crowded-mall speed, because what I’m looking for before I even pause long enough for a half second glance is non-washed-looking material. I don’t like buying anything that looks pilled, washed, faded, stained, etc.

    Which means, of course, that I pay a bit more for that, but I know that I’m more likely to use it if it looks new. Plus it is a good way to narrow down 80% of the stuff on the racks.

  • I look for outfits – not necessarily sold together, but I have to MAKE it into an outfit before I can buy it. The first year I did KM, I came home with all of these cute pieces, but had nothing to match them. I never used them.
  • I DO discriminate based on brand names. It goes back to thinking I’m getting a good deal. I really do believe that at least some brand names are made better than non-brand names, so if I CAN buy brand names, then I feel that I’m getting better quality for less price. Last fall’s Kid’s Market sparked this debate over the value of brand names – and I came out on the shallow end. Proudly.
  • Last tip, but this is an “in general” tip: I don’t buy anything for Ali that looks like it will need ironing. Because I hate ironing. And, I’m pretty sure (I wouldn’t know since I’ve never done it) that the only thing in the world that would make me hate ironing more is to attempt to iron itty bitty toddler clothes. Please make me do all of the dishes for the state of Alabama before making me iron toddler clothes.

So, without further ado, here’s my ultra-dorky Spring ’09 Kid’s Market Stats:

I bought 22 items, for a total of $118, or $5.36 per piece. However, included in that price was a brand new (still tags) Easter dress for Ali that was $20. Normally I would NEVER pay so much for an item at KM, but I knew I wasn’t going to get many chances to shop before Easter, and it was a good price in “Easter Dress Terms”, so I went for it. All that to say, if you pull the Easter Dress out of the average, it ends up being $4.67 per piece.

Of my 22 items, 6 still had the tags on them. I am pretty sure that people have started buying off of the clearance racks when stuff is 90% off, then selling it at KM for a slight markup.

And, since I love clearance racks, I love this strategy. I don’t mind paying an extra $1 or $2 for their clearance rack finds. Especially since they sell them during the CORRECT season, opposite of when they were on clearance.

So here’s the whole stash, minus the rain coat that Ali used liberally while splashing in mud puddles with Gramamma over the weekend:.
Here’s the Easter Dress, which I’m sure you’ll see Ali modeling on Sunday:

While I was going through the racks, I came across this shirt, which is similar to several shirts that I have:I decided that she had nothing to match it, and it was a bit grown-uppy anyway, so passed it by.

Until, a few racks later, I ran into this silk skirt and bloomer set:
And I KNEW it was meant to be with that satin shirt, so I ran back and found it. And the first outfit was created.

Then I found another shirt that would look cute with the skirt as well:

Here are a couple more outfits that I created (that weren’t sold together):

I also found a cute pair of blue cargo pants, and several shirts that would go with them:
And you know that I can’t write a blog about this sort of shopping without sharing the most insane item I saw, right? That might should be my last KM tip: take time to smell the roses and enjoy the crazy pieces.

So, I present to you, Baby Phat jeans, bling and all, for a two year old:

And no, I PROMISE you that I did NOT, nor anyone else most likely, buy these pants.

So, how about you? What are your Kid’s Market (or other sale) strategies? How did you do this year? What was your favorite item purchased? If you wrote a blog about it, be sure to give me the link of it as well!

14 thoughts on “Kid’s Market and Shopping for a Toddler

  1. I go on saturday.. 50% off.. but i know you had to go out of town.. but its still worth it.. you get even more off your clothes and there are still great finds..you just have to have a little more time to look through the clothes..
    other tip: if you have time to shop with a kid during the first part of the day, put your clothes in a pile that you find (with a sheet that says “this pile belongs to:” they have them at KM) and then when hubby comes home swing back by (sans kids) and go find your pile and then stand in line and pay for them then. Its a much better time saver if you don’t have a choice about taking the kids (I did that last year).

    cute clothes, Rachel.. good job!

  2. Looks like you did great. I did the same thing as you on Monday. Walked in looked at the line and walked right back out:) I have done that line a couple times before and it was CRAZY! So I went back on Wed. alone and was able to get 17 items. I am just like you though…in and out. I like that they have shopping carts this year. That was MUCH easier than dragging something or carrying the clothes.

  3. I became a contributor AND a shopper of KM for the first time this year, thanks to the encouragement of a good friend. I discovered that I even enjoyed getting the clothes ready for the sale, knowing that I would get some money back… as well as some good deals.
    Sadly, I went to shop on Saturday (a contributor day, not the 50% off day), and I had to put everything back. The lines were IMPOSSIBLY long… like hours of waiting long. I was miserable. I had so many cute things that I could not buy.
    So… I went back on Friday (25% off day) and I found 22 things for right around $70. Hooray!
    Now I just hope that when I get my check, I made more than $70! ;)

  4. Looks like you did great at the sale. There was a big kids clothing sale thingie going on, here, a few weeks badk, but we didn’t go. Just didn’t have the money. I’m hoping the next time it comes around, I’ll be able to go, they normally have great deals.

  5. Wow, that sounds so great! We don’t have any like that in the Northwest. I like to shop on e-bay but the shipping prices negate the savings in most cases. We have a couple good consignment shops but they rarely have more than 50 items per size…and most of them aren’t in that great of shape.

  6. I can’t say that they have anything like that here. I wish they did, though. I kind of shop here and thereat different stores and get things as they need them.

    When we take trips back overseas we shop at stores like Kohl’s, Childrens Place, and Penneys and take it back with us. To help in that effort, I pack one suitcase inside the other a couple of times to have the needed extra space.

    On a different note, I received the beautiful earrings I won on your blog. They are gorgeous. A great big thank you from me to you. :-) I love them and appreciate you having the giveaway. Yay to you!!

  7. i went to kids market in the fall and we were out of town for this last one, which was fine by me because i wasn’t looking forward to fighting the masses. i have only bought Sara one new piece of clothing and the rest of her wardrobe is made up of gifts and hand-me-downs. i feel very fortunate! Especially since i hate to shop and lack the patience to hunt for bargains.

  8. I love Kid’s Market! That’s one of the things I miss the most about not living in the ‘Ham anymore.

    I always bought ridiculously large outdoor play equipment there. I seriously don’t know how I hauled that stuff through there and got it in my car. You have to go in there with just the right mindset to get in, get deals, get out. It’s a fine art!

  9. I’m pretty happy with my finds this year. I spent about $350 (a small fortune, I know), but I got Eli’s entire spring and summer wardrobe, quite a few things for Tessa Kate (yes, that is now officially her name!), a double stroller, a new nursing pillow, lots of toys and books, and about 10 items of maternity clothes. Unlike you, I went on the first day and went through the line TWICE since I had too much to carry on my first trip. I really loathe shopping, so I’ve decided to limit the torture to twice per year at KM and get everything I need then.

    My strategy didn’t work as I had planned it. My priority was the stroller so I went straight there when the doors opened on Monday morning to find that they were already all gone. Then, I went back for half off day on Saturday and found the perfect one (though not half price, unfortunately). I guess someone grabbed it first thing on Monday to use as a buggy and didn’t end up buying it. Oh well. At least I ended up with it!

  10. I am planning on doing a KM post, complete with pictures this week! I’ll let you know when it’s up.

    The thing about Monday – the lines are insane for the first half of the day, but after lunch it dies way down. However, for the smaller sizes, you still find lots of great things throughout the week, as you have proven. Cute clothes! I hope I get to borrow some when Ali outgrows them! :)

  11. Sounds like everyone got some good deals. We don’t have anything like that down here but my sister went to a church yardsale and got some good deals this weekend for Alex. Mostly books and toys but she got a new carrier for him. He is getting too big for the other one.

  12. We have a huge biannual consignment sale here, called Rhea Lana’s, that I’ve tried twice, both on ‘early bird’ days for new or expecting mothers. The lines and crowds overwhelmed me! And as a new mom with baby in tow, I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle my hypothetical finds. The clothes selection was great, but I just couldn’t hack it. I’ve cut my losses and moved on to resale shops, which are always open and rarely too crowded for comfort. :)
    Looks like you made some great finds, though! So many cute outfits!

  13. Wow, KM sounds amazing! We don’t have anything like that here. I usually shop at Ross for Flowergirl…I am like you, I CANNOT pay full price for anything and I love sales.

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