Cash It In
Consignment shops are a great place to buy your kids gear, but don't forget consignment works two ways! If no one near and dear is waiting for a hand-me-down bonanza from you, or if you could use a little extra cash, try to "monetize" your baby's outgrown duds.
Call ahead to see whether you need an appointment before you stop by with your inventory. The store can also tell you what types of clothes it currently needs (and which it may have too much of). Although "gently used" is a term you'll see everywhere, "like new" seems to be closer to the standard for having your stuff bought. Children's Orchard says, "If your gently used kid stuff is clean, fashionable, complete, in good working order, and less than five years old, we'll buy it, even when it's off-season. All clothing items should be freshly laundered, with no stains, rips, missing parts, or excessive fading." That's pretty standard. So get your selected items sparkling clean. For stains, some folks swear by an overnight soak in hot water with a scoop of Oxy-Clean; others in a concoction of dishwasher soap powder, nonchlorine bleach, and laundry soap. The woman who restored my antique wedding dress turned the lace from amber back to white with a soak in fresh lemon juice and pure Lux liquid, then hanging it in the bright sun! (Of course, that was yellow from age, not spit-up … but there are a lot of nontoxic solutions out there to try.) See Get Laundry under Control for more tips to conquer stains.
Choosy consignment shops are not the only choice for you. Local online bulletin boards like Craigslist are an easy place to post items for sale. It seems unlikely you're going to sell t-shirts in ones and twos by that method though, so organize your outgrown clothes into packets by size and season, and sell for a set price. Many parents would be delighted to buy, say, a carton of winter clothes for an 18-month-old boy for ten dollars. Include photos of a few items from each package. Unique, valuable, or specialty items—the mink bunting? The Prada booties?—can more likely be sold individually. The same holds true on eBay, if you're willing to deal with shipping and the other administrative aspects of an auction site.
Then, of course, there's the trusty yard sale. Many professional organizers say that the great yard sale in your mind is a terrible peril to organization and de-cluttering. They've got a point. Unless you have distinct plans for a yard sale within the next six months, you're better off choosing another of the options outlined here. If you're committed to the idea though, here are some pointers (gleaned from sweaty, in-the-driveway experience and thorough Web searching) for selling kid clothes:
- Clothes should be clean and presentable, even if not in as perfect condition as a reseller would have it.
- Group similar items together, but especially separate kids' stuff from adults'. If you have a lot, separate into boys and girls, summer and winter, etc.
- Hang clothes rather than stack, if possible. Garage sale experts seem to agree that clothes hanging sell better than clothes piled. Special promo: Include baby hangers with the purchase. Whoo-hoo!
- Price things clearly! Either individual prices written on bits of masking tape affixed to the item, or a large sign saying, ALL BABY CLOTHES - $1.00 EACH. Or whatever price you're asking.