This post is sponsored by Just Between Friends of Mercer County & Western Gloucester County. And while we were provided compensation for the article, the opinions contained herein are honest and strictly our own. We have been long-standing fans of the JBF franchise and below is an account of our personal experience.
While every school situation is different, classroom lists vary and the newest back-to-school trends parade in… one thing is certain: our children continue to outgrow the old and require the new. Shoes, tops, belts, pants and even sportswear all find themselves picked over as they grow tighter, inch shorter or fall out of style. They come and go, sometimes before ever being worn, because our ever-growing bundles of joy… just… keep… growing.
Back-to-school shopping can be a labor of love while sifting through circulars for the best deals, listening to the whining of your (or other’s) children, and of course, falling in love with that item that’s not in their size. Of course it’s not all bad and I do enjoy taking my daughter out for that splurge item (or four) but that’s because we take full advantage of the Just Between Friends consignment sale in Gloucester County and Mercer County… and yeah, it is totally worth the drive!!
Couple years ago I was introduced to JBF and I’ve been super impressed ever since. The selection of items, the ease of consigning… and the checks!!! Seriously, it is hard not to constantly log-in to watch your real-time sold items during the sale hours. Ok, ok… I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve had a few seasons of consigning and here are my tips for shopping the sale and my tips for consigning.
Okay shoppers, get your sneaks laced up… seriously, that’s tip #1: wear comfy shoes. You don’t want to miss a bargain because of blisters. This is what else I highly suggest:
- Get the pre-pass!! Yup, it’s worth it to pay the admission ticket price or better yet, become a consignor with volunteer hours and get in early. Just be there EARLY.
- Know what you are looking for. There is SOOOO much and it is easy to get distracted by an awesome deal that wasn’t on your watchlist, so know what you came for… and get it first.
- Budget your time. Expect to spend more time than you would a department store. With shoes, clothing, games, toys, sporting gear, outdoor play, infant supplies, furniture… this is kinda a “pop-up” department store. I would not expect to be able to adequately take advantage of the sale on a lunch break.
- Don’t forget the big ticket items. It is easy to see all the toys and clothing and not think ahead about the potential big ticket or bulky items until you walk in. Have a back-up plan in case you come across a must-have heavy piece.
- See something unique, priced too good to be true, or just calling your name… grab it… chances are it won’t be there by the time you walk back through. That being said, there are many items that are in multiples with lots of selection… for these I would consider the 1/2 off sale on Sunday. For instance, I look for shoes immediately but return on 1/2 off Sunday for costumes and books.
- Make sure your trunk is empty – sounds silly but I’ve easily bought 3 trash bags full of stuff and thankfully had the room in my trunk but not because I thought ahead. I just got lucky.
- Mark your calendar… yup, right now.
- Mercer County Just Between Friends… Sept 15-17 at Robinsville Field House
- Western Gloucester County JBF… Sept 29- Oct 1 at Total Turf Experience
Consigning vs Yard Sale 101
Not only do I personally shop the JBF sale but I’m a consignor. You should see my living room 2 weeks before the sale- yikes! But the good news is, that everything that hadn’t sold last sale is already tagged and ready to go this sale. I only really have to focus on the newest “good-bye” pile of clothing and toys. Keep in mind that the fall sale is for fall and winter clothing and the spring sale is for spring/summer clothing and items (with a few exceptions like baby clothing and maternity is fine all year round).
JBF makes sense if you have a lot of baby gear, children’s clothing, maternity, toys and games vs other household items. Consigning is my fate, for others it might be Ebay or flee markets or yard sales. For those that know me, know that I completely suck at Ebay. Logging on, taking pictures, creating captions… all while trying to avoid the temptation of buying somebody else’s stuff. The closest I’ve ever gotten to posting an item for sale on Ebay was the night my beloved husband proposed to me… in a former wedding gown intended to be sold online but alas never was posted. He was my destiny, Ebay never was. Flee markets are too random for my taste. There is just something about the flee market vibe that doesn’t make me feel like I would get the best value of my time or my belongings. I shop them, surely, but not interested in reselling my items for the haggled prices that are most definitely part of the experience.
And then there are yard sales…
Sure a yard sale is just out your front door BUT you don’t know what foot traffic your sale is going to get vs knowing that JBF Mercer/Gloucester County is definitely going to attract shoppers for children’s and maternity items. JBF also makes great sense if your items and clothing are in great condition and should sell for more than street change. Yes, the JBF sale is a bargain spot but you can price your gently used belongings at a reasonable price vs pennies on the dollar for a yard sale. Consignment shoppers expect to pay a bit more than a flee market or yard sale price for the assurance that sale items are in great working order and clear of any recall issues. And then there’s the weather. And oh… did I forget to mention that you have to man your yard sale but with JBF simply drop-off and pick-up your items… unless you choose to volunteer for an additional % of your sales.
More options, better payout… less work – JBF wins in my book. That’s not to say I’ll never have another yard sale… not true, but I won’t be selling kids’ books for 10 cents or Barbies for a quarter. #JustSaying
Taking consigning seriously… here are my top suggestions:
- Designate a space to hold items you organically come across that no longer fit or are no longer needed/wanted
- Review the JBF price guide
- Invest in stain remover for all your children’s laundry – I seriously saved many, many clothing items from horrible stains, which then meant I could resell them.
- Invest in batteries – toys and baby gear must be in working order which includes working batteries. Shoppers look for toys that they can turn on – it totally makes sense.
- Consider donating all or any of your unsold items to the charity Mercer County & Western Gloucester County JBF partnered with, The Unforgotten Haven. This is designated on your tags through the tagging system.
- Consider using the Valet Tagging Team if you don’t have time to tag. This is a great convenience for those consignors on a time budget. Valet consignors make 45% of their sales (after a $20 consignor fee). The items are dropped off to a VIP tagger who does all the tagging work and brings them to the sale.
Whether you are picking up back-to-school items, in need of sports equipment, getting a jump start to your holiday shopping or just looking for a feel-good bargain… Just Between Friends of Mercer County & Western Gloucester County IS totally the place to be. Mark your calendars, set your reminders and invite a friend or two. There truly is something for everyone and personally, I love sharing a great bargain source and encourage you to do the same by inviting your friends and family.
The one I went to a few years ago was a lot of fun and very productive! Love your recommendations and agree the comfy shoes are a requirement.
They are the best bang for your buck. You might spend more time than expected but it is definitely worth it.
3 in 1 — sell, shop, save hahaha — perfect! Best tips (if you ask me) are Know What You’re Looking For and Budget Your Time. Too easy to become overwhelmed otherwise. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Absolutely. It is easy to get distracted especially since you don’t know what you might find. I’ve gotten pulled into sections likes games and books without realizing it wasn’t what I was looking for. But it is all good since this is recycling at its best.