It can be frustrating how quickly children grow out of those brand new clothes, and how quickly the toy they HAD to have becomes old news to them.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to make back some of the money you spent while helping other parents save some money, too, by buying the item used from you.
I never was much for selling old stuff until I had kids; now I literally make $100s each year by creatively “recycling” their old stuff.
Here are four easy ways you can do it, too:
1) Consignment Sales
These gigantic gatherings are the perfect place to resell barely-worn childrens’ clothing, toys and equipment. By taking the time to gather up your items, you can make a good amount of money in a single sale. The bonus: by consigning your items, you get to shop the sale early, too!
How it works: You tag items and add bar codes using the sale’s online program, which prints the scannable codes on address labels for you. You decide on the price. A general guideline is to set it at about a third of the price you bought it for. Some of the most popular sales in our area include Finders Keepers JAX and WeeTrade Kids.
Biggest Pros: They bring a big, local audience all into one place to peruse your items, and you can sell off a ton of items all in one sale.
Biggest Cons: You have to share some of your profit. The sale keeps about 35% of whatever you sell. There is also a consigning fee, although sometimes you can reduce or refund this by volunteering at the sale.
2) Yard Sales
Having folks come to your garage or driveway to buy your old stuff is as simple as it gets, right? Well, don’t over-simplify. The key to a successful yard sale is to plan ahead, organize your items so they’re easy to look through, and price them to sell. Don’t try to recoup half of whatever you paid for something. Just try to save yourself the trouble of carrying it back into the house! Make sure you have enough stuff to motivate people to actually get out of their cars and come look.
How it works: Gather, clean (if necessary) and price your items. Come up with a general idea of how you will display them. Set a date and announce it on free internet sites, such as Craigslist, and/or in the local newspapers. You can always post signs, too, if your community regulations allow it.
Biggest Pros: You’re right at home, so there’s no major driving and packing involved, you can negotiate prices on-the-spot, and you don’t have a lot of expenses. Every penny you make is yours to keep.
Biggest Cons: You have a limited audience and you have to wait until you accumulate a big pile of stuff in your house if you want to have a decent inventory for the sale.
Selling items on eBay is not nearly as complicated as you may think, and sometimes it can pay off in a way that selling locally won’t do. I save specific types of items to sell on eBay: name brand clothes I can group together into one lot, pieces to a popular set, unique items. I once sold a used Thomas the Tank Engine costume for $60, more than I had bought it for new the Halloween before, because the manufacturer had discontinued it. I recouped $40 on a set of used valances because they were from a child’s bedding set that was still popular. And I sold a set of clothing for a decent profit by gathering up items that had a common theme — in this case, neutral colors that would work for a baby girl or boy.
How it works: You upload photos of your item, write a description, and set a minimum price. You decide what to charge for shipping (If you get the bug for selling on eBay, you can buy your own postal scale for $20 or less). Once your item is online, people can bid on it for the set time period, and then the winner pays when the auction is over. You ship out the item, and the payment is credited to your PayPal account. You can either use the PayPal credit for your own online purchases, or have the money transferred to your bank account. Ebay charges a minimal fee for the service. They have a very user-friendly guide to selling at http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/howtosell/sellingbasics.html.
Biggest Pros: Worldwide reach makes items more likely to sell at all, and auction format often generates more money than local venues.
Biggest Cons: Posting your sales can get labor intensive, and so can mailing large items.
4) Consignment Shops
Selling old kids’ stuff to a consignment shop can give you cash in your hand the day you bring an item in, and there’s not much to it if your items are clean and in good shape to begin with. But don’t waste everyone’s time by bringing in something that’s damaged, faded or broken. They only take items that appear barely used.
How it works: Load up your items in a plastic tote, being sure not to wrinkle any clothes — the shops can’t accept anything that isn’t rack-ready. Plan on dropping the items off and returning when they’re done that same day. It will take them a while to look everything over, but they’ll want you to take the rejects back that day, or they’ll donate them to a charity, which of course is also a worthwhile way to recycle your kids’ stuff. Some local consignment shops include Wiggle Worms, Cradle to Crayons and the Once Upon a Child chain. Online consignors are also popping up, including a local business, Cute Kids Resale, which serves Nassau and Camden counties.
Biggest Pros: Available any time, rather than just certain times of year like consignment sales. You get cash in hand on the spot, or store credit.
Biggest Cons: If you have more than a few items, you’ll probably have to make more than one trip to the store in one day or spend a good chunk of time hanging around waiting for them to assess your items.