Marley is ready for back-to-school in a Disney outfit pairing a pair of polka dot leggings and an embellished Minnie top. Marley's outfit goes for $7.25 at Again! Again! Photo by Melanie Savage. (August 21, 2014)

Why shop consignment for back-to-school? As Again! Again! owner Laura Kobylanski points out, there are many good reasons. Kobylanski's shop is located in Colchester, and carries gently-used children's clothing size preemie to junior, shoes size 0 through junior size 8, and kid-friendly items such as toys, books, videos, strollers and games.

"Kids grow fast," said Kobylanski. "Top brand names are available for pennies on the dollar on consignment." Kobylanski carries all the hot brands such as Justice and Gap, and a large variety of styles. Consignment "is eco-friendly," said Kobylanski. Reusing clothing means fewer new items manufactured, which equals a smaller ecological footprint. "And consignment shopping is fun," said Kobylanski. It's fun to look for bargains and keep track of savings.

Kobylanski offes several helpful hints for consignment shopping. "Look for the store's weekly sale and discounted items," she said. Again! Again! Currently has two large rounders full of 50-percent off items. Watch for big sales. Again! Again! recently held its large, annual 75-percent off sale. Ask if you don't see what you're looking for.

"Consignment shops usually have a lot of items in a small amount of space and will have to put items where they will fit," said Kobylanski. That perfect sweater might be hiding somewhere in the store, and the owner will know just where to find it! And consignments often have brand new items with tags still attached. "Check for those too," said Kobylanski.

Again! Again! offers a play area, community bulletin board, everyday sales of 15 to 50 percent off, and new items consigned daily, said Kobylanski. And if you consign with the shop, your sales can be applied toward an account at the store. "So you might end up getting that back-to-school outfit for our own child for free," said Kobylanski.

Similar policies apply at Once Upon a Child, with several locations statewide, including Manchester and Enfield. The stores carry clothing, shoes, accessories, toys and games. Once Upon a Child carries clothing through size 16-18 youth. Its sister store, Plato's Closet, carries clothing and accessories for teens and young adults. Sizes range from 0 through 15-16 for women's bottoms, and from XS through 1X for women's tops. Men's sizes range from 28 through 40 for bottoms, and from XS through 2X for tops. Both stores carry all the top brands, including Old Navy, Gap, Abercrombie, Aeropostale, P.S., Justice, UnderArmour and Nike. The stores also try to carry a large selection of khakis and polos for kids attending schools with dress codes. "We do our best to carry as many as we can," said Central Connecticut District Manager Amy Motes.

This time of year, the stores carry a mix of about half spring/summer and half fall/winter. "A lot of moms shop summer for back-to-school," said Motes. As August advances, more people will be looking for all seasons, according to Motes. "At the end of the day, they're just looking for a bargain," she said. At both Plato's Closet and Once Upon a Child, "our prices work out to be about 50 to 70 percent off of retail," said Motes.

Below is a list of consignment shops carrying children's clothing in towns within the ReminderNews distribution area, listed in alphabetical order by town:

Salvation Army Store

28 Happy Hill Ln.

Ashford, CT 06278

(860) 429-6840

Salvation Army Store

570 Providence Road

Brooklyn, CT 06234

(860) 779-1970

Twice-As-Nice

95 Lebanon Ave.

Colchester, CT 06415

(860) 537-1213