Monday, April 27, 2015

Strategic Shopping at the Parent Talk Sale

So, the much anticipated Parent Talk sale is only a few days away, and you've probably been seeing many emails asking you to volunteer your time or donate your unwanted children's clothing and toys, BUT I am here to talk about what the sale can do for you. I know there are many members of the community who have yet to shop at one of the sales, but even if you have, perhaps you've never thought of how much easier it can make your life to strategically take advantage of the deals waiting to be had.
A bag of 'new' toys for the car makes for a happy ride! photo
Grab Bags to Ward off Meltdowns
Think about situations that may be challenging with your children: a long car ride; going to church; a sick day at home; a rainy day; eating in a restaurant---just to name a few that come to mind---now grab a gallon ziplock bag and a sharpie and write these situations as labels on each bag. Next, bring your bags with you to the sale and fill each one with toys, games or puzzles that your child has never seen! Resist the urge to use them when you get home and find a good place to keep them until that occasion arises. Voila! Meltdown and crisis averted for very short change!
Messy play? No problem with extra clothes at the ready. photo
An Outfit for Every Occasion (or accident)
Think of all the situations that arise when you need a different outfit for your child: spills; water table at a play date; didn't make it to the potty; impromptu night at grandma's; change of clothes for school or camp---not to mention how nice it is just to have extra play clothes so that you don't have to do laundry quite so often. I stopped carrying a diaper bag pretty early on and found myself in a few scenarios when I wished I had clean and dry clothing to change my preschooler and toddler into. I plan to make a list of these occasions and put these extra outfits together from the many well organized choices that await you on the clothing floor, downstairs at the sale. Then, put the outfits in bags and place them where they can be easily accessed (a permanently packed bag for the pool; emergency supplies in the car etc.)
Clothes that fit for little $$$ (photo)
Did you grow again?
It's also very savvy to think ahead to the next season, or even to the end of this current season and buy a few things that are one size larger. I never like to do this at retail prices because I'm afraid I'll get it wrong and returns are such a hassle, but at just a few dollars per article of clothing, you can't go wrong by planning wardrobes ahead when you shop the sale. My mother used to keep huge appliance boxes at the top of our attic stairs filled with hand-me-downs from our cousins and with each new season, we went up and tried them on to see what fit. Why not even buy a few sizes ahead if you see a coat in excellent condition? Just label it and pack it away for later. The $10 bag sale is an excellent time to stock up on clothes that will fit later.
You may find something unexpected! photo
Spruce up that bedroom
You may not think of the sale as the place to look for decorative items for your child's room, but the middle room (between the toys on the first floor and the downstairs clothing) often has unexpected treasures. I found a beautiful sterling silver frame of the Make Way for Ducklings statues, decorative shelves from Pottery Barn, precious book ends, and photo albums, to name a few. It's nice to peruse the sale often if you can shop early for the things you need and come back later to take a more relaxed approach and let yourself notice things you may have missed the first time.

We hope you can pop in for a little while on Saturday, May 2nd between 8:30 and 1:00 at Christ Episcopal Church, 1132 Highland Avenue in Needham (across from the library.) AND, if you'd like to shop early with your list, there is still time to sign up for a shift to volunteer for a two-hour shift, just click here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kicking-off Playground Season!

Though the ground is a bit soggy and most of us still have a dirty snow patch somewhere on our lawn, we can finally be certain that the days will only continue to get nicer. This winter has certainly taught us not to take the spring and summer for granted! I am ready to get started with outdoor living now. One way we are getting a jumpstart on taking advantage of local open air offerings is by helping out this Saturday in the town-wide clean-up.
I can't wait to revisit our favorite playgrounds, where we can gather effortlessly with friends and playgroups and meet new faces. But, just like our own backyards and flower beds, before we can enjoy them, we need to do some sprucing! The same thing goes for the local parks and playgrounds that we share. This weekend, the town of Needham is hosting a community-wide clean-up and we thought that if Parent Talk took part, it would be a great kick-off to playground season and a nice chance to get outside and see people!

This Saturday, pack a picnic lunch, put on your play clothes and bring the whole family to Greene's Field playground where we will have supplies ready for you to pitch in and get the park spruced up and ready for lots of action in the coming months! We will plan to meet around 9:30 and finish up in time to enjoy lunch together at the picnic tables. Please register and join us!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Let's Purge Toys for the PT Sale!!!

Are you in the mood to purge and create space? Does it feel like the toys you've been staring at (and picking up) for the past few months have lost their appeal? After enduring a long and snowy winter, (I guess we are still enduring the snow) most of us are itching for change. It will still be weeks, hopefully not months, before the playgrounds are ready for our children to run and climb but we can make some changes indoors that will give us all the mental cleanse we need. You may have guessed what I am getting at---The Parent Talk Clothing, Toy and Equipment Sale is around the corner!

Learn more
I have already started preparing in two ways:

1. When I am playing on the floor with my kids and they aren't looking, I grab an opaque bag, like a plastic grocery bag, and rummage through toy baskets, tossing in items that are no longer relevant to them (or me!) We have had holidays and birthdays that have dumped many a plastic play-set and random figurine into the mix, and you know how the saying goes, less is more. Remember that if you would prefer to see some return for the items you give to the sale, you can request a consigner's kit.
Toys aplenty to renew your collection (after you clean it out, that is)
2. I am making a mental list (which needs to materialize soon) of what I think my kids 'need' to further their play at this stage of the game. My husband looked at me last week and said, "You know how some people are crazy cat ladies? Well you're a crazy toy lady." He's right, I love toys and spend a lot of time organizing them and trying to find new ways for my kids to play with them. But, even I have to admit that before I can bring more toys in, I need to clear some out. 
Buy wardrobe staples for the spring and summer and save $$$
This is what I love about the Parent Talk Sale: it comes at the perfect times of year when wardrobes and toys need an overhaul and it is one stop shopping to accomplish 'out with the old and in with the 'new.' 

Here are some items for Spring that most of us will need and will likely find amid the myriad of items donated and consigned to the sale:
  • rain coats and rain boots
  • spring and summer clothing
  • outdoor ride on toys
  • games and puzzles your child has not seen
  • toys to save for a rainy day
  • books to freshen up your bedtime routine

The Spring 2015 Parent Talk Sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 2

Plenty of room for your donations!
1. The POD has landed, so donations are being accepted! Email for the drop off location and any further information.

2. If you are interested in shopping before the general public (and finding all the best deals!) schedule a 2 hour volunteer shift (anytime between Thursday, April 30 - Saturday, May 2). To register for a volunteer shift, click here

3. For those interested in consigning, please email to activate or renew your seller's number and ask for a current seller's kit (includes blank tags.)
If you have any other questions or need further encouragement to get involved, please email Seema and Diane at or visit

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