We may or may not be done having kids. There. I said it. In the most non-committal way possible. At the very least, I am done living in our modest house with so much baby stuff that I may or MAY NOT ever have a need for, ever again. Now that I’ve been around the baby block twice, I know that 90% of the stuff was had was completely unnecessary. I’m talking to you, baby swing, bouncy seat, changing pads #2 and 3… We only have two kids!
Last year, this frustration with STUFF led me to sign up as a consignor at one of our local big consignment events, Bella Kids, located at 4259 Transit Road. At the start, I was overwhelmed by the 8-page packet of consignor instructions, but it was so worth it. Here’s how my process went in a nutshell.
STEP 1: Collect all the things.
I pretty much went into the attic and started collecting all of the big baby gear items. I also went through all of the girls’ toys and threw every loud, annoying toy or toy they had grown out of into a bin. This included ball poppers, activity mats, walkers, and other battery-operated toys that were activated when we walked across the hardwood floors. Many tutus were also collected (because I just can’t with the, “Mommmmyyyyyy, my tuuuutuuuuu”s anymore).
First lesson learned: Go through every single box of clothes! Right after the event, I ended up finding a ton of clothes that my kids are too big for and now I cannot consign them until the appropriate season comes around. That was a real blow to my payout!
STEP 2: Start entering the items into the online tag-creation system.
This was an ongoing process. I would periodically go through the girls’ clothes to pull things they were growing out of and enter them into the system. I found it really important to just bring my laptop up to the room where the stuff to consign was so that I could enter all the details without having to rely on my awful memory for sizes and brands. I also tried to make the descriptions specific so that I could keep straight which item was which price. For example, instead of “Carter’s short-sleeved onesie,” I would enter, “Carter’s SS Purple Floral Onesie” because some items were worth more money to me than others.
STEP 3: Print out the tags and prepare items for the sale.
Probably for a more organized person, this is more than one step. I literally printed out all of the tags, punched holes in them for safety pins, cut the tags out, and then took a day off of work to affix the tags to the items. I started with the big baby gear items because that was easy. Just tape the tags on and you’re done! The clothes were more difficult to prepare because I had to hang each item on a hanger, then affix the tags, then separate by size and bundle with garment bags (small garbage bags) that I labeled by size. It took forever and was tedious.
STEP 4: Volunteer to get that extra payout!
Aside from the actual payout, this was my favorite part. My first shift, I was on receiving duty. It was during consignor drop offs, and I got to make sure everything was in acceptable, working condition and get it out of the receiving area so that the volunteers inside could get it ready for the sales floor. I learned a lot during this shift about what items were and weren’t accepted and which rules could be ignored.
My shift during the sale was 50% off day and there were still tons of bargains available in the store. Almost everything gets discounted, but some consignors don’t discount because they know they can probably sell the stuff that doesn’t sell on eBay for more money.
Second lesson learned: Make sure everything is clean! Next time, I will probably just run everything through the wash once before I start tagging, because the volunteers will find every booger, food stain, spit-up collar you think will get by. They won’t! It’s going to get donated, and you’re going to lose the sale.
STEP 5: Collect your earnings.
I sold more than 70% of my stuff. So much sold that I didn’t even go back to pick up the items that I didn’t want to donate. It wasn’t worth driving out to pick up a dozen onesies that I would then have to try to sell elsewhere. My payout was much more than I expected, and this year Bella Kids has added a PayPal option so consignors don’t even have to wait for a check to arrive in the mail!
Overall, I learned a lot from this experience, and my payout will be going into our “McDermotts Meet the Mouse Fund,” so needless to say, I am all set to consign at the next Bella Kids event in April!
Third lesson learned: I found a bunch of accessories for items I sold during my seasonal change-over this past weekend. Take a lesson and make sure that you have every single bag, bolt, Allen wrench, additional straps for things, etc. I feel kind of bad about finding the bag for my pack and play and imagining the person who bought it thinking, “THIS is how I’m supposed to carry this thing?!”. (Side note: That is actually how we always carried it. I never even knew there was a bag!)
Have you ever consigned at a big event, or do you have a local consignment store that you frequent? Feel free to share your own experiences in a comment below!
WRITTEN BY NICOLE
Nicole McDermott is a transplant to Buffalo from, well… all over the Northeast. She teaches college students about sexual health, chases after two little girls, and is potty-training two kids at once with one small bathroom. Keep up with Nicole’s adventures at newestmcdermott.com.