Twice a year, Parent Talk hosts its Used Clothing, Toy, and Equipment Sale. I have been shopping, volunteering, donating, and consigning for (gulp!) the past eleven Sales, and I’m preparing for my twelfth Sale on Saturday, October 17th, 2015. A month or so before each Sale, I initiate my beautifully crafted, tested, and wonderfully organized system. I’m quite proud of it, and I’m going to share some of my secrets with you. My system works for me, and it may work for you. Here is my process.
I always keep empty bins in my attic, designated as “consign” or “donate.” Whenever one of my children complains of an item not fitting properly or not liking it anymore, it goes straight to one of these bins -- no questions asked. (Okay, to be honest, it sits on the bureau in our guest room for a few weeks first). Once in the bin, it cannot be taken out. That is a house rule that we honor.
|"Box O' Happy!" by davidd|
When I am ready, I bring the items from my donation and consignment bins to my staging area. I do this on a daily basis until Sale day. My staging area consists of three chairs (one for me to sit on and two to use as staging areas), a box of hangers (yes, I collect children's hangers throughout the year), a folding table with my computer on top, a tagging device, fasteners, safety pins, a pad of paper and pen.
First, the process for donations is easy. There are two ways you can donate, and I highly recommend either choice: (1) drop off your items at the PODS (which is located conveniently in Needham) or (2) drop off your donations to Christ Episcopal Church beginning at 9 o'clock on Friday, October 16th, 2015, the day before the Sale. Once your donations are dropped off, Parent Talk's team of amazing volunteers will work diligently to price, tag, hang, and display the items for sale.
Although I donate many items, there is an alternative - consignments. People often ask me how to price consignment items. I try to think about what I would want to pay for the item, and then I add a few dollars. I base the price on each item's brand, quality, and supply and demand. I thoughtfully price my items so that they will sell quickly. Shoppers want a bargain, but I always remind myself that this is a fundraiser for Parent Talk, so I want to raise money.
|A group of volunteers tags clothing.|
Once I price six items, I print the corresponding tags. I bring the printed sheet directly from the printer and put it on top of the six items it matches. There are small six-item piles all over the staging area. Once I accumulate a few piles, I start cutting the tags and then tag each item. The tagged items go into new piles that I sort by gender, size, and type. This helps to keep things organized so that I can quickly put them on hangers and pack with a method. If I have carefully categorized my items, it will be much easier to unpack and display them for the Sale.
|A member of Parent Talk's Sale Committee puts clothing on display.|
Parent Talk's bi-annual Used Clothing, Toys and Equipment Sale has become a part of my life. Twice a year, I clean out my closets, search for items that are no longer used, and talk with my children regarding the importance of being a part of a community that cares for, commits to, and serves others. They understand my process and often help me gather items to be donated or consigned. We have made it into a game. In order to bring more things into the house, we have to make room. My children who are six (almost seven) and four-and-a half years old, playfully search the house for donations. I love how they say, "donate-consign-trash" with confidence.
Sometimes they make very thoughtful, mature choices. Other times they grab whatever they can fit in their arms and dump it on the floor in front of me. I always ask them twice whether the item is really one that they no longer want. I follow their lead, but sometimes it drives me crazy when they want to "donate-consign-trash" a barely worn item, each other's clothing, a favorite book or beloved toy. Sometimes I learn why this tiny-itty-bitty-thing that I step on every day needs to remain a part of our playroom. Their tears, frustration, and explanation help me to recognize that some things are meant to be kept. This chance to watch my children's reactions and talk with them helps me to understand what is important to them and why. Without this exercise or such a conversation, I would miss this opportunity to learn and grow with my children.
I love Parent Talk, I love the Sale, and I am honored to be part of this community. Not only does Parent Talk help with making connections, playgroups and activities, but it fills my closet, my bookshelves, my playroom and my heart.
Nikki Amara Myers is a Needham resident, a parent of two children, an independent educational consultant specializing in the college admissions process, and owner of Nikki Myers Photography. She has lived in Needham since January 2011.
If you have questions about consigning or donating to Parent Talk's upcoming Sale, ask them in the Comments section below!