Just like other young moms I always wanted my children to be well dressed. Just one problem. Have you seen the prices at the mall lately? No, thank you. I wanted my kids to have cute clothes but we also wanted to eat and live indoors.
Shopping at the mall was simply not an option. So I tried consignment and resale shops. I was astonished at the prices.
One popular second-hand children’s shop in our area charged such high prices that I could go to the mall and get better sale prices on new items!
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So I came up with a solution.
I had heard about a lady at my church who had a massive second-hand toy sale the first weekend of December every year. It was a way to serve other parents and help them find toys in excellent condition at bargain basement prices just in time for Christmas. There was no reason that I couldn’t do the same basic thing but with clothing and baby items.
Thus began my foray into communal garage sales.
The short and simple version is that I invited my friends to join me in selling children’s clothes and baby items. The clothing had to be stain free with no rips or tears. Basically, it needed to be in excellent condition. The baby items also had to be in almost brand new condition or they would not be accepted. Each individual who participated signed up to work at the sale and got to shop in advance.
Each seller placed a tag on their item with their name, seller number, and the price for the item. When a customer would come up to make their purchases we would simply add up the price tags and take the total amount. We never negotiated on the prices. There was no way I was going to negotiate prices for someone else’s stuff.
At the end of the two-day sale, we would divide up everyone’s tags and add them up. That was the total owed to that seller. I took 10 percent of everyone’s sales to cover the costs for advertising the sale online and in the local newspapers.
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The best part? Everyone who participated by contributing items to the sale got to shop first! And of course, as the organizer, I got first pick over everything.
I didn’t buy new clothing for my children for YEARS because of hosting this sale!
It was amazing to pay less than $10 for the most beautiful brand name dresses for my daughter and dress clothes for my son that would have cost a fortune at the mall.
Talk about a win/win. It felt great to provide a way for other young moms to earn extra money from their children and baby items. We all benefitted by getting amazing clothing for our kids at super clearance prices.
If that wasn’t enough we all walked away with cash in our pockets from the sale itself. Twice a year our group of 20 or so young moms would sell between three and five THOUSAND dollars worth of second-hand clothing.
We had people come from all over the city to buy clothes. Other parents were thrilled to have us as a resource!
My favorite memory from those years involves a young couple who stopped by just as we were starting to pack up everything on a Saturday afternoon. Most of the moms were there helping gather things up and putting their unsold items into their cars.
The couple were foster parents and had just picked up three boys who were quite neglected. The boys only had the ragged clothes on their backs. Not one of them had shoes.
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By the time they left that day each boy had play and school outfits, shoes, books for reading and a couple of toys. All donated by the moms who were there.
The foster mom just stood there and cried. She had no idea how they were going to provide everything those children needed to be able to go to school the following Monday. All the rest of us cried with her. We were so thankful to have been of some help.
If you’re planning to organize a sale this spring, I would love to share some tips with you here!