|Photo by Beth Cardwell|
|Photo by Beth Cardwell|
|Photo by Beth Cardwell|
|Photo by Beth Cardwell|
|Photo by Beth Cardwell|
|Photo by Beth Cardwell|
|Photo by Beth Cardwell|
|Photo by Beth Cardwell|
I love finding new ways to recycle, especially when they benefit my family, and children’s consignment sales are one of my favorite ways to recycle. For those of you not in the ‘know’, children’s consignment sales are typically semi-annual sales, held in the spring and fall, where parents can either a.) sell gently used children’s items (clothing, toys, equipment), b.) purchase gently used children’s items at a fraction of the retail price, or c.) do both.
Shocked that many of my parent friends are unaware of consignment sales, I feel obligated to share this information with everyone. A friend recommended a great site with listings of family-friendly activities in my area, Playground Buzz, (thanks, Jen) and I find my consignment sale listings through their dedicated list. I’ve also done an internet search to find sales in the area where my family lives – a great excuse for a visit.
I’ve been to two sales this season, and have managed to procure an Easter outfit, shoes in D’s next size, pajamas, a baby gate, crib sheets, a ton of board books, a jogging stroller, and my absolute favorite find: an Ergobaby Organic carrier with rain hood and infant insert (mint condition)…all for under $200. I have two more sales that I’d like to check out, in hopes of finding a Radio Flyer Wagon with all-terrain wheels. We’ll see how it goes…Happy Shopping!
From my first sale, I’ve been a children’s consignment sale junkie! So, when I discovered Swap.com (and no longer had to wait for semi-annual sales) I was immediately sold. Well, addicted may be the more appropriate term (I placed two significant orders within the first two weeks using the site!). I wanted to share Swap.com with all of you, in case you’ve not yet discovered the site.
Not only am I a fan of the recycling aspect of shopping on consignment, but the deals are hard to beat. I receive so many comments on my son’s clothing, and it’s hard to admit that I only spend around $100 per size (yes, I said size, not season). I have a go-to thrift outlet where I’m able to buy most of my son’s clothing (Gap, Polo, J. Crew, Children’s Place, etc.), and I tend to shop on their 50% off days, which means that I get Gap and J. Crew sweaters and cords for my little guy for around $2 a piece (not kidding).
The remainder of my son’s shopping I do through semi-annual consignment sales; this is where I go to find high-end shoes, sandals and inexpensive pajamas for my son (we’re still going through a pair of pjs a night). We tend to find a lot of great children’s books at these sales as well, something you can never have too much of! I keep a running list of items I need for my son in the months leading up to each sale, but it’s a little nerve-wracking to make sure that I find everything in each shopping trip [knowing that I’ll need to pay full retail price if I miss something].
Shoes are super expensive, especially when you consider how little time your kiddo is in them (my son wears a new size every 3 months or so these days). I was able to purchase top brands — pediped, See Kai Run, Robeez, Stride Rite — for a fraction of the cost new (think $5-$8 a pair). Score!
Imagine my delight when I discovered online consignment store, Swap.com, and no longer needed to trek 45 minutes to my favorite thrift outlet or wait for a semi-annual sale! I stocked up on my first Swap.com purchase, outfitting my little guy for spring with a few key pieces. I’ve put together a few outfits to show you what I found:
I love this fun and funky outfit…and so does my son (who never really cares about his clothes). In fact, he insisted on wearing this outfit for the remainder of the day, and had a blast prancing around modeling it!
picked up this outfit in preparation for summer camp — D usually runs around in sweatpant material shorts all summer (or in the buff), so I needed make sure that I had at least 5 different nice outfits (read: not bummy or for fishing salamanders out of ponds) for him to wear throughout the week.
This year is the first time my little guy is attending summer camp, which lasts 5 weeks and runs from 8:30am-3:30pm. The best part about the camp is that it is at a Friends Meeting School approximately two blocks from our house. I’m already beginning to plan all of the things I’ll be able to get done in that time!
This is a fun spring pick and will likely be the outfit he wears for Easter. We channeled my husband’s 1980s preppy look with the layered shirt and popped collar (I’m bummed that I didn’t find a pink Polo shirt this year — that would have totally made the outfit!). The blue chambray pants are long, but the rolled cuffs give the outfit a less formal look — he’ll be wearing these light and breezy pants throughout the summer. The Vineyard Vines shirt my husband scored from the store clearance rack, not from Swap.com, but the clearance price was worthy of mentioning.
The items I did purchase from Swap.com — headphones tee, space needle tee, cargo shorts, chambray pants, polo shirt — I grabbed for a grand total of $19.50. It’s not often you can find quality children’s clothing, three complete outfits, for under $20.
Swap.com’s quality standards are high, and each item came individually packaged in ‘like new’ condition. I’ve been extremely pleased with my purchases so far (my second purchase was comprised of summer shorts and tees for the little guy), and actually send two large boxes to Swap.com for consignment. All of my maternity clothing and all of my little guy’s outgrown summer clothing and shoes are waiting to be photographed as I write this. It’s a heck of a lot easier to pack those boxes than it is to tag and enter 100+ pieces for semi-annual consignment sales! I’ll let you know how my consigning experience goes with them in a future update.
So, if you’re looking to grab brand-name clothing at clearance prices (they have women’s and maternity clothing as well), then you need to check out Swap.com!
*This post contains a referral link. I purchased items from Swap.com to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed are my own.
Books hold great importance in our family of avid readers, so creating a children’s home library was a given when I found out I was pregnant with my son.
Over the years I’ve discovered ways to support my voracious reading habit and build a nice book collection without putting a major dent in my wallet. Before I was pregnant with my first child, I began building a library of children’s picture books that I envisioned decorating the nursery and playroom (it helped that I had worked in bookstores and in children’s publishing). Some of my earliest and fondest memories involve the wonderful characters and worlds I visited through books. For my family, books make a house a home.
Once my son arrived, I realized that he needed an array of different books to keep his attention, as well as board books that he could handle (without the fear of him destroying them). I’ve built a children’s home library, comprised of 200+ titles, without spending a fortune and you can too. Here are 8 ways to build a children’s home library on a budget:
If you’re expecting, a great way to get a start on a fabulous children’s picture book collection is to add a few to your registry or, better yet, have people give children’s books in lieu of cards. Birthdays and holidays are also great times to suggest books as gifts (instead of toys).
Used Book Stores
This is a given, but I wanted to point out that you can find great deals on children’s books at used book stores. I am lucky enough to live near a used book distributor, who does the majority of its business online, that has small retail space set up in its warehouse. I’m able to grab children’s books for $1 each, and if I buy five, I get one free. You never know what you’ll find; I picked up a signed copy of Skippyjon Jones for one dollar!
Most public libraries have a small section devoted to selling used books to raise funds year round, in addition to annual and semiannual large sales/book fairs. I scored big last year when my local library was selling used children’s books for $.25. Even if you’re not looking for anything in particular, it never hurts to browse the section while you’re visiting the library, you may just find a gem or two.
Ebay and half.com
I’ve been able to find some of my favorite childhood titles (Carolyn Haywood’s Betsy books) on eBay. And just this past Christmas, after checking out Merry Christmas, Maisy from the library, my son fell in love. Out of renewals, and with a 17-month-old asking for “Maisy!” all day, we searched everywhere for this book! Local bookstores didn’t carry it, so we checked online retailers – all were on backorder. In a bit of a panic, I finally found several used copies on half.com and, after a mix-up, we now own TWO copies of Merry Christmas, Maisy (for the price of one new)!
Garage/yard sales may be one of the cheapest places to buy children’s books. People are looking to get rid of unused items and books often aren’t big sellers (trust me, I’ve tried selling mine at yard sales!). Because books aren’t big sellers, people price them to move at yard sales, which often means you can grab children’s books for a quarter or less. This isn’t the best way to buy children’s books if you have specific titles in mind, but you may come across an unexpected find.
Thrift stores are a great place to buy children’s books, as you never know what you’ll find! I’ve had great luck finding children’s holiday titles (Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving) at highly discounted rates. I LOVE holiday books because they are packed away for most of the year, which makes them special reads. Unpacking holiday decorations, and unearthing the holiday books, helps to build excitement for the season (some of my fondest holiday memories). I was able to pick up a few Halloween and Christmas titles last fall for $.10 each at my local thrift store.
And, my husband recently found a couple of vintage Star Wars board books to give to my son when he’s a little older; not only were they fun for my husband and myself to reminisce about, but they’ll make great books for my husband and son to bond over.
Bargain Book Sections
Most bookstores have a section for what are called bargain books. Bargain books are a combination of publisher overruns/overprints and budget publishing titles. These titles will be a little more expensive than the above options, and the selection not as great (budget publishing titles are definitely not award winners), but they’re new/unused books and it never hurts to take a look at what they have. If you care more about the story than the illustrations, then bargain book sections are a great place to find classic children’s stories.
Children’s Consignment Sales
The larger the sale, the better the selection. I’ve found many great books for our home library at biannual children’s consignment sales. If you’re super thrifty (like me), you grab your favorite/most sought after titles during the regular sale and then come back to browse the selection during the half-off sale time. Like a yard sale, people tend to price books to sell at these sales, often bagging multiple titles together (as books, again, aren’t typically highly sought after items) and offering an inexpensive price; I’ve typically purchased bags of four to six board books for $5 or less.
For our family, having an engaging and varied children’s home library is more important than toys. In fact, my son reaches for books before he reaches for toys! Building a nice children’s home library doesn’t have to cost a fortune, as long as you’re okay with used books and diving into mismatched bins and shelves from time to time. Toys come and go, but books create memories that last a lifetime.
What are some of your favorite ways/placed to find deals on children’s books?
I’ve shared how much I like children’s consignment sales, so here are a few tips for those of you who are new to consignment sale shopping:
Get started by finding a sale near you. A friend of mine recently sent me this site, which lists sales across the country (thanks, Nate): www.kidsconsignmentsales.com
Happy shopping…and be sure to stop back and share your great finds with me!
Cloth diapering provided so much for my little family — a cost efficient way to diaper my son, a gateway into the natural parenting community, amazing networking opportunities through blogging, and many more wonderful benefits. I’ve met SO many wonderful people through cloth diapering, and cloth diapering provided me an outlet for writing in those early days. I remain unbelievably grateful.
My husband and I have decided to be a “one and done” family, so it’s time for me to let go of my beloved cloth diaper collection and put them into the hands of others who will use them. If you’ve followed lo-wren for any time, you know that my decision not to have any more children has been a difficult one, marked by several losses and leading me to look deeper into myself than I have ever before. I’m incredibly grateful for my miscarriages, as they have taught me SO much about myself, and led me down a path to building a stronger me. That being said, my miscarriages are, by far, the most difficult experiences I’ve endured.
Because the cloth diapering community has given my family so much, I want to give back to an organization that helps cloth diapering families in need: Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. I’ve donated diapers in the past, and will be donating any diapers that don’t sell (or that are not in amazing saleable condition) to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. In addition to those diaper donations, I will be donating a percentage of the proceeds as follows:
To be completely transparent, the portion of the proceeds not donated will go into my son’s college fund. I sell my son’s outgrown clothing, toys, etc. at children’s consignment sales, and I’ve put all of that money into my son’s account as an easy way to save for the future.
So, what can you expect to find?
How will it work?
I’ll be posting an album with photos of all of the items, each with a reserve price. Bidders will post their bid amounts in the comments section beneath the photo of the item they wish to bid on. Highest bidder wins the item.
P.S. I’ve already de-stashed the cloth diapers that didn’t work [for me], so you won’t be seeing any duds 😉
I sold my husband on the idea of cloth diapering with the cost savings it would provide us. I began researching cloth diapers before I was pregnant with my first kiddo, so once I had my positive pregnancy test in-hand I immediately began building our cloth diaper stash. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on pee and poop catchers either, so I focused on purchasing prefolds and covers to build the bulk of our stash. Because the cost of prefolds is minimal, I purchased all of our prefolds new and found some great sales to add to our stash (an Econobum buy 1, get 1 sale was a memorable one, as they were prefold+cover sets). The expense of all-in-one (AIO) diapers was intimidating to me, knowing I would need at least 24 diapers to start, so I began shopping used diapers to try out different styles.
eBay – I purchased several used diapers through eBay in the beginning, and a HUGE diaper lot as well, but eBay is probably the last place I would look for used diapers these days (unless I’m looking to buy an entire lot of diapers).
Thrift Stores – I’ve not had the luck of finding used diapers while thrifting, but know that many people have found great deals on cloth diapers in thrift stores. Some thrift stores carry them on a regular basis, as some manufacturers will donate their seconds-quality diapers, so keep your eyes-peeled for a great cloth diaper deal.
Children’s Consignment Sales – In the past year I’ve been seeing more and more cloth diapers being sold at my local children’s consignment sales and I love it! While I’ve not seen any diapers I HAD to have, it’s nice to see cloth becoming more mainstream. The only downside to buying through children’s consignment sales is that they are typically only biannual events, so you have only two chances a year to grab cloth diapers (but it’s great for adding to your stash).
Craigslist – This will depend upon your area. Living in the Philadelphia area, I’ve had great success buying and selling diapers on Craigslist, as there is a large cloth diapering community here. However, while we lived in the Central PA region it was slim pickings. It never hurts to take a look, as you don’t have to bother with shipping (this is what I love most about buying & selling on Craigslist). Another great reason to buy cloth diapers on Craigslist is that you have the opportunity to look at the diapers before you purchase them — no surprises.
Local/National Buy, Sell, Trade (BST) groups on Facebook – Again, this is going to depend on your area. If you buy from a local group, and meet in-person, you save on shipping and can inspect the diapers before you purchase.
BST website – There are websites, such as Cloth Diaper Trader, devoted to listing cloth diapers for sale or trade, or buying diapers you are in search of. I’ve had success selling and trading a few diapers here. The one trade I did do was backed with a PayPal exchange, which I recommend doing to help protect yourself from dishonest people. Again, you’re dealing with strangers, so going this route can be a crapshoot.
Used Diaper Retailer – This is, by far, my favorite way of buying used cloth diapers and training pants these days. Using a cloth diaper retailer for buying, selling, and trading diapers is the smoothest way (and requires the least amount of work). Many cloth diaper/natural parenting retailers buy and sell used cloth diapers in their retail spaces, but if you don’t have one near you (or are looking for a specific diaper) a dedicated used cloth diaper retailer is the way to go. I use Re-Diaper.com and never have to worry about the condition of the diapers I am purchasing. I’ve purchased and traded several diapers through Re-Diaper and have been extremely pleased with my experience. When I’m finished with cloth, I can even de-stash through Re-Diaper without all of the work of trying sell each piece myself.
Buying used diapers is an economical way to build a cloth diaper stash, as well as being an affordable way to try different styles and brands of diapers. Do you/would you buy used diapers? Where are your favorite places to purchase used diapers?