Friday, February 29, 2008
As a child and even a young adult, I was never all that concerned with whether or not I had new or used or hand-me-downs for apparel. We frequently shopped at garage sales and also got to go to the departments stores to pick out new school clothing. I often borrowed or was given clothing from my mom, sister and aunt.
Maybe it stands to reason then (or fies in the face of reason - who knows!) that once I found out I was pregnant, my desire for all the cute NEW gadgets and clothing for my little baby was unmatched!!! My husband is much thriftier than I (thank goodness!) and strongly encouraged me to either find a less expensive route to cute clothes or stop buying them.
After a few $100+ purchases at Babies R Us, my Mom redirected me to resale shops and I never looked back. Next to garage sales, consignment and resale shops are the least expensive way to purchase your child's apparel.
Here in the KC Metro area we have chain type consignment stores such as Children's Orchard and Once Upon a Child (see links on this site to the left) in addition to private consignment shops and large scale twice-yearly consignment sales like Just Between Friends (look for JBF in your area here). JBF charges consignors $10 and they have a few strict requirements about the clothing, the way it is tagged and how it is handled after the sale but it's a wonderful opportunity to sell to a large customer base without spending money or time advertising (like a garage sale).
My children (a boy and a girl) wear many name brand items (things I could never afford to buy new) and I've never paid more than $5 for an item (other than a coat). The clothing is always in top condition as the respective shop owners/coordinators are pretty picky about what they will purchase from you or sell for you. The JBF sale requires me to be more organized because I want to buy as much as I possibly can when I have the opportunity! I always go through all the clothes in the house the week prior to see what they need. You can also find some great deals on used toys, baby swings, gates, exersaucers, strollers...you name it!
eBay is great place to buy large lots of clothing in one or two sizes or...what I use it for...TOYS and SHOES (Stride Rite, Robeez, Pediped or other name brand shoes). My son has worn nothing but Stride Rite for 2 years now and we've only paid for one pair new. Usually I can get a couple pairs in his size for about $10-$15 each with shipping (or less if I find someone selling two pairs in the same size and can combine shipping). It's a luxury we can afford thanks to eBay!
There is also a growing network of online swap and recycle communities. These forums bring together parents with 'extra stuff' with parents who need 'stuff', best of all it's FREE!! CafeMom, Freepeats and Freecycle all have forums in various regions set up to facilitate the swapping of baby and children's items. My local Mom's Club (and others in my area) have set up clothing and toy swaps either in person (you bring your items to a central location to swap for items you need) or online (i.e. hosted by Yahoo! Groups, we list things we have or need and wait for a reply!).
In the consignment sales and face-to-face swaps I've participates in we typically suggest that the clothing be donated after the sale - this saves everyone time cleaning up. A few people volunteer to drop everything off right after the event.
I am thankful that there are people who want to spend the money on new clothing...I don't have the funds to support all of my shopping urges so I go for resale!
The JBF Spring sales are gearing up (ours in next weekend!) so check the website above for dates in your area and try it out! You'll be glad you did!