Tuesday, September 17, 2013

10 Tips for Shopping at School Uniform Consignment Events

At the beginning of the school year, many schools have some type of exchange program or uniform locker where you can purchase second hand items.  These can be a great opportunity to save a bundle and cut some expenses from your Back to School Budget.  You can look for items in your child's favorite brands and styles in the next size up to have on hand for the next growth spurt.  If you have a younger child that is still mastering the potty, you can pick up some inexpensive items to leave at school or in your child's backpack for emergencies.

Beyond, gender and size, here's a list of things to keep in mind when shopping at a uniform exchange program or consignment.

  1. Check the tag and look for brands known for quality items.  Better made items have reinforced seams, while seams tend to loosen and may fray on inexpensive items.  
  2. Check for excessive wear which is likely to show first on the hem or cuffs.
  3. Check for stains.  If you find a stain, leave it behind.  Even on a white polo or t-shirt, some stains are so set in they don't come out even with the handy bleach pen.
  4. But don't just look at the outside of the item.  Look for signs of yellowing under the arms. Ick factor!  
  5. Check the color(s) for excessive fading.
  6. Check the zipper and the buttons.  Make sure the zipper is functional.  Check that all buttons are in tact.  Loose buttons can be tightened if you're proficient with a needle and thread. 
  7. Check for signs of wear or dry rot on elastics.  Remember to check the elastics in the waistband on items with an adjustable waist.
  8. Check for signs of alterations.  With pants, check for indications that may have been hemmed.  I found a smart tip from Fruggalissa who recommends that you measure the inseam on your kids current pants beforehand and take a tape measure with you so you can check the length. This tip can also works for girls skirts and scooters.  If your daughter has to pass the fingertip test, measure the length from her waists to her fingertips and note her number for reference as you shop. 
  9. Many retailers sell certain items as unisex.  Basic polos and t-shirts are a great examples. So don't be afraid to check out items from both racks when items are separated by gender.
  10. Even if the sales rep or volunteer tells you that items have been laundered, it's common sense to launder all items when you get them home in your preferred detergent.