Ah, springtime in central Texas! Contrary to popular belief, springtime doesn’t just mean adorable bluebonnet pictures and unbearable allergies… it also means spring cleaning!
Before the advent of the vacuum cleaner, households all across America would celebrate the springtime months by cleaning their homes from top to bottom- taking advantage of the warmer weather and spring winds as the perfect time to shake the dust from their rugs and drapes. Fast forward 100 years or so, and spring cleaning is a much more loosely defined practice. For some it means doing those awful chores like wiping baseboards and cleaning exterior windows. For others it means organizing the garage and renting a carpet cleaner. For me, it means cleaning out the junk drawers, purging all the messy closets and getting rid of excess clutter!
I love ridding our home of all the things we don’t use anymore. It seems like as our family grows our house feels smaller and smaller every day, so clearing up space little by little really does make a huge difference. My husband on the other hand is a total packrat, hoarding everything out of sight in the attic “just in case”. So how do I get him to agree that its time to get rid of certain things? Cold, hard cash.
I’ve been selling old junk for a few bucks here and there on Craigslist for years. But kid stuff is a whole new ballgame for me. Because so much of our baby gear barely even got used before the kid either outgrew it or stopped caring about it, I’m pulling in some good money selling it to other parents or trading it in at resale shops!
Below I’ve listed out some tips to help you get some some spring cleaning done AND line your pockets with a little extra cashola. My hope is that you free up some space in your home, and make a few extra bucks you can
put into savings blow on more kid gear or mommy happy hour!
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#571b33″]1) Consolidate your efforts[/typography]
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got boxes, bins and bags of kid items in every closet of the house. Plus random collections of unused kid stuff in a drawer in your bedroom, in a corner of the office, and in totally weird places like under the bathroom sink. Instead of randomly stumbling across something and taking the time to sell it one-by-one, I suggest spending a few hours with the sole purpose of hunting down stuff you no longer need. Designate a single area or box to collect all the things you want to get rid of, then room by room set your sights on clothing that hasn’t been worn or doesn’t fit, toys that the kids don’t even notice anymore, and gear/supplies your kiddos have outgrown. Once you’ve got everything all collected up, it will make the process of cleaning it and prepping it for selling that much easier/faster.
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#571b33″]2) Take the time to give your items a fair shot[/typography]
No one wants to buy the exersaucer that is covered in a weird sticky substance, or the bumblebee costume that is missing both the wings and antennas. Increase your odds of getting your items purchased by doing a few easy things: make sure all your items are freshly washed/cleaned, iron any clothes that are super wrinkly, pair matching clothing items together, remove anything that is broken/stained/holey, and include batteries or instructions for baby gear if you’ve got them.
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#571b33″]3) For quick cash, try local resale shops[/typography]
Local retail shops that buy used baby gear can be a great option if you need some quick cash in your pocket. Swank Baby Boutique is one of Austin Moms Blog’s favorites! You round up your items, take them to the store, and (hopefully) walk out an hour later with money in your pocket. Some stores offer you the option to either take cash for your items, or take store credit for a higher amount (a great option for shopaholic moms!).
While these shops will buy baby gear as well, the best things to sell at resale shops is clothing, hands down. Clothing is a pain in the butt to sell on Craigslist; you have to sort through the clothes, take pictures, create individual postings or lots, and meet strangers… all for a few bucks. With resale shops I can just toss everything in a bag and leave the sorting up to someone else!
That said, when you hand over your clothes to the store buyer you pretty much relinquish control over how much money you’re going to make on those items. If you end up with a picky buyer, you could walk out of the store with everything you came in with. And even when they DO buy some of your items, be prepared for the fact that they will probably offer you way less than you would have wanted. They are out to make a profit by reselling those items and they are assuming the risk of having to sell it, so they’re going to try and fork over as little cash as possible. It’s just the way the business works. The way I see it though, making a little less money is way worth the convenience and speed of selling this way.
PS- these stores usually buy used maternity clothes, too!
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#571b33″]4) Try Craigslist or Facebook, but be careful![/typography]
If I’m selling furniture or larger kid items like playpens or bicycles, I always use Craigslist or local Facebook “garage sale” groups. People are more likely to meet up to purchase a larger item than they are something that is listed for a few bucks, and with those bigger items you don’t necessarily want to be shipping them by selling them online or carting them across town looking for a resale shop to give you a decent price for them.
Now for the most part, people that are buying used kid stuff on Craigslist are most likely other nice moms and dads just like yourself. But the world can be a freaky place these days, so any time you are selling something in person, please please please follow some general safety guidelines:
- Whenever possible, meet in a public place. Having a bunch of people around will hopefully deter your buyer from kidnapping you.
- If you have to meet someone at your home, do it when your significant other or a friend is home. And for extra precaution, have said friend holding a baseball bat and a cell phone with the numbers 9 & 1 pre-dialed.
- If you live in an apartment complex, give your address but not your apartment number and meet the buyer in the parking lot first. That way if you meet your buyer and they give you the creeps, you can always bail without giving away where you live.
- If and when someone comes into your home to buy something, leave the door and a window open so if there is any sort of problem others can hear you. Its pretty unlikely anything would happen, but you just never know these days.
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#571b33″]5) Other online options take time, but may pay better[/typography]
For those of you who don’t want to deal with the shame of having someone at a resale shop turn you down, or who don’t trust Facebook or Craigslist… there are other options! eBay remains a pretty good option for maximizing the money you can potentially make by selling used items. For me personally though, I feel like eBay is sooooo last decade so I haven’t used it to buy/sell in well, a decade. Instead, I have been LOVING the variety of new websites that fill this need:
- Swap.com – Online consignment for kids and women’s clothing. You send in your items, they iron and photograph them, then you create your listings!
- StorkBrokers – Another buy/sell website for kid items, with the added bonus of social components like discussion boards and product alerts. The website is currently on hiatus while they improve their offering, but check back soon since I’m sure its going to be great!
- ThredUp– I am so addicted to ThredUp! You can buy/sell all sorts of clothing and accessories, and get either cash or store credit. The best!
The other thing I did was set up an Amazon Seller account. This is probably the EASIEST way to sell things from the comfort of your home- but for the most part, the items needs to be new. There are exceptions, most notably of which is selling books. You can sell books of all types and conditions, and people buy them! I have made over $100 in the last month selling off all those pregnancy books I never read. ☺ With the Amazon Seller app, you can create your listing, upload pictures, and even print shipping labels. Easy peezy.
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#571b33″]6) Check out local swaps and sales[/typography]
Swaps and mega-sales can be a great option if you have a bunch of stuff to get rid of, want to knock out all your selling in a day or two, and want to mingle with other Mamas while at it. Its super easy to host a swap with a group of friends, or you can sign up to participate in some of the local mega-sales we have around town like Fairytale Threads or Just Between Friends. These sales are like giant garage sales, with a couple hundred other families. A great option if youre also in the market for new gear.
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#571b33″]7) Know when to just let it go[/typography]
You may think that little onesie is still adorable despite the weird stain left by that banana your kiddo smashed into the crotch of it (what the heck is in bananas that makes them stain clothes so badly, BTW?!), and you might think that miniature piano could still be fun for a toddler even if half the keys don’t work and one of the legs is being held on with duct tape and Elmer’s glue… but chances are, other people wont agree with you. Before you waste your time, ask yourself “Would I buy that? Would I really, really buy that?”.
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#571b33″]8. Donate and up your super-mom cred[/typography]
Sometimes, you just don’t have the time or energy to sell your used kid clothes and gear. And that’s okay. If you still want to get in on the spring cleaning bandwagon, collect all that unused stuff and either sock it away for a day you DO have time to sell it… or pass along your items to someone who can use them. There are lots of families in need here in the Austin area, and by donating your gently used gear you can not only positively impact their lives but you can also feel pretty darn good about your good deed. (Plus, you can get a tax receipt at most donation drop off sites so you’ll still see a little cash back in hand at tax time)
So there you have it! Happy spring cleaning, and good luck making some extra money while de-cluttering. What are some of YOUR favorite spring cleaning tips?