(This post was previously published March 2022. I’ve since updated it for the upcoming sale.)
Have you been to a Just Between Friends event? Just Between Friends is the area’s largest pop-up consignment event for children’s items and maternity, usually taking place twice a year – in early spring and early fall. (Although last year, they also added in a holiday event in early December!)
The Back to School Fall 2022 event takes place August 4 – August 7 in the former Sears space at Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne. Since I’ve been to several of these events and will be attending on Presale day (August 3), I thought I’d share a few shopping tips that might help others attending.
1. Look at the different sale days.
The Just Between Friends events span several days. If your schedule only allows you to go once, your decision is easy! Otherwise, you might want to take a look at the differences between each day. If you know there’s something really specific you want or you’re hoping to get a lot, it might be worth paying the $10 to go to the presale. Otherwise, admission is FREE during most other times, but you’ll still want to get your ticket online in advance to guarantee entry. If you’re just casually shopping and only interested in the BEST prices, then wait until the last day when the majority of items are marked down 50%. If you live close, you might even want to go more than once! To find out about ALL of the shopping options and get your ticket, click HERE.
2. Go with a plan of what you want to get.
If you have the time, walk the whole sale space, but it can be overwhelming. So it helps if you have an idea of what your top priorities are so you know where to go first. (Clothes, toys, books, baby gear, etc.) With this sale, I’m looking for Halloween costumes. I actually found some great ones in the spring, and this sale is sure to have a bigger selection because of the time of year.
If you’re having a baby, this sale is AMAZING. Many baby items are useful but aren’t used often (so you can find them used in great shape), so you don’t like to spend a lot of money on them.
3. But think outside of the box, too.
If you have a limited time or budget, look for what you need and then head to checkout. But if you don’t need anything in particular, I still think it’s worth a look around. At past sales, I’ve found a few surprise items that I wouldn’t have even known to look for – sleds, birthday party decor, tights, and more!
4. Know your prices.
Just Between Friends promotes that you’ll find items at 50-90% off retail. So chances are good that whatever you see will be a good deal. BUT, it’s still a good idea to know what an item would be if you bought it new so you can make an informed purchase. I have found that my internet isn’t always reliable in the building, so look up items you might be interested in ahead of time. Or at least have general prices in mind. (For example, I DON’T want to spend more than $X on a shirt if you know you can usually get that price when you shop a sale at your favorite kids’ store.)
5. Know your sizes.
You probably know you’re kids’ overall sizes, but this might change if you’re shopping for something you don’t buy as often (like shoes), different brands than normal, or it can just be different when it’s used. For example, I tend to buy up at least one size when I’m buying something that I can tell has been washed/dried. (You’ll also find some clothes are new with tags!) Some fabrics tend to shrink a lot (pajamas!) if you put them in the dryer, so it’s a good idea to buy up in size. It could help if you bring a tape measure or measure your child’s inseam/length of favorite shirt using a piece of yarn or something similar. For shoes, trace a pair of your child’s shoes on a piece of paper to bring with you to compare.
6. Check an item’s condition before focusing on the price.
We all love a great deal, but don’t get caught up in buying just because something is cheap. While Just Between Friends does state that clothes will not be accepted with stains, you always want to inspect your items before purchasing. (No returns!) Check for pilled fabric, missing toy pieces, matted hair on dolls … anything that might bother you or your child when the initial shopping thrill wears off. I’ve been really lucky and found things in sealed packaging or new with tags, but many things will be used. When it comes to used clothing, I find that dressier clothes tend to be in the best condition because kids don’t usually wear them often before growing out of them. On the flip side, consignment can be a great way to grab a few outfits for those messy play/art days where you don’t want to worry about the kids ruining their clothes!
7. Think BIG. And small.
The Just Between Friends event is a great opportunity to pick up big ticket items that can ordinarily cost a lot, but your kids outgrow them quickly. Think strollers, bikes, high chairs, bouncers, dollhouses etc. It could even be a great time to pick up a duplicate of something. (Need an extra for Grandma’s house?)
It’s also a good time to pick up those small items that you “need,” but know they may or may not be forgotten about quickly – Easter basket or stocking stuffers, restaurant/road trip distractions, potty rewards, etc.
8. Bring cash or credit card.
Just Between Friends does not accept checks, Venmo or any other kind of mobile payment. If you’re worried about going nuts and overspending, limit yourself to cash. If you’re not sure what you might want, make sure you have a credit card on hand.
9. Bring a stroller, wagon or even an easy-fold beach cart if you’re planning big shopping.
Just Between Friends does provide reusable shopping bags to use while you shop. (You trade them in for plastic at checkout.) But if you’re anticipating a big haul, it can help to have something on wheels as you make your way around the sale. (Note, there IS also a space you can take items for them to hold while you finish shopping.)
10. Make sure you have room in your car.
If you have more than one vehicle in your home, bring the bigger one if you can. And clear out the random stuff you have in your trunk. You don’t want to find that perfect item you weren’t counting on and have to pass it up because you don’t have anywhere to put it in your car.
11. Don’t bring your kids (if you can help it.)
Besides for the presale day, kids and strollers ARE allowed at the sale. But I personally wouldn’t recommend it unless you can’t attend without them, or you really want their opinion on something. The shopping experience can be a bit more cumbersome than typical shopping because there’s so much to go through. I think most kids would become pretty impatient. PLUS, the sale is a great time to pick up some surprises for them!
12. Follow me on Social to see a preview!