De-babying my house: Lessons learned from my first consignment event experience

We may or may not be done having kids. There. I said it. In the most non-committal way possible. At the very least, I am done living in our modest house with so much baby stuff that I may or MAY NOT ever have a need for, ever again. Now that I’ve been around the baby block twice, I know that 90% of the crap we had was completely unnecessary. I’m talking to you, Baby Swing, Bouncy Seat, Changing Pads #2 & 3… We only have two kids, WTF?!?!

This frustration with STUFF led me to sign up as a consignor at one of our local big consignment events, Bella Kids. The spring event was held the last weekend in March and believe me, I was overwhelmed by the 8-page packet of consignor instructions, but it was so worth it. Here’s how my process went in-a-nutshell.

Step 1: Collect all of the things
I pretty much went into the attic and started collecting all of the big baby gear items. I also went through all of the girls’ toys and threw every loud, annoying toy or toy they had grown out of into a bin. This included ball poppers, activity mats, walkers, and other battery-operated toys that were activated when we walked across the hardwood floors. Many tutus were also collected (because I just can’t with the “Mommmmmmyyyyyy, my tuuuuuutuuuuuuu”s anymore).

First lesson learned: Go through every single box of clothes! This weekend, I found a ton of Spring/Summer 12 months clothes that Lillian is too big for and I now cannot consign until August. That was a real blow to my payout!

Step 2: Start entering the items into the online tag-creation system
This was an ongoing process. I would periodically go through the girls’ clothes to pull things they were growing out of and enter them into the system. I found it really important to just bring my laptop up to the room where the stuff to consign was so that I could enter all of the details without having to rely on my awful memory for sizes and brands. I also tried to make the descriptions specific so that I could keep straight which item was which price. For example, instead of “Carter’s short-sleeved onesie,” I would enter, “Carter’s SS Purple Floral Onesie” because some items were worth more money to me than others.

Mass organization is not my forte, clearly.

Mass organization is not my forte, clearly.

Step 3: Print out the tags and prepare items for the sale
Probably for a more organized person, this is more than one step. I literally printed out all of the tags, punched holes in them for safety pins, cut the tags out and then took a day off of work to affix the tags to the items. I started with the big baby gear items because that was easy. Just tape the tags on and you’re done! The clothes were a pain to prepare because I had to hang each item on a hanger, then affix the tags, then separate by size and bundle with garment bags (small garbage bags) that I labeled by size. It took forever and was tedious.

Step 4: Volunteer to get that extra 10% payout!
Aside from the actual payout (that I am still waiting for… thanks, EASTER!), this was my favorite part. My first shift, I was on receiving duty. It was during consignor drop offs, and I got to make sure everything was in acceptable, working condition and get it out of the receiving area so that the volunteers inside could get it ready for the sales floor. I learned a lot during this shift about what items were and weren’t accepted and which rules could be ignored.

Second lesson learned: Make sure everything is clean! Next time, I will probably just run everything through the wash once before I start tagging, because the volunteers will find every booger, food stain, spit-up collar you think will get by. They won’t! It’s going to get donated, and you’re going to lose the sale. 

My shift during the sale was on 50% off day and there were still tons of bargains available in the store. Almost everything gets discounted, but some consignors don’t discount because they know they can probably sell the stuff that doesn’t sell on eBay for more money. I was assigned to the rear section of the store, to organize the clothes on the racks and to make sure there weren’t any items on the floor. This part of the store also happened to be where 3T and 12-18 months were, so I do admit to shopping during my shift and hiding stuff on the racks that I knew I would go back for after my shift.

Step 5: Collect your earnings!
I sold more than 70% of my stuff. So much sold that I didn’t even go back to pick up the items that I didn’t want to donate. It just wasn’t worth driving out there to pick up a dozen onesies that I would then have to try to eBay. My payout was much more than I expected, and this year Bella Kids has added a PayPal option, so consignors don’t even have to wait for a check to arrive in the mail.

Overall, I learned a lot from this experience, and my payout will be going into our “McDermotts Meet the Mouse Fund,” so needless to say, I will be doing this again in August! One other thing I discovered on my seasonal change over this past weekend, was that I found a bunch of accessories for items I sold. Take a lesson and make sure that you have every single bag, bolt, allen wrench, additional straps for things, etc. I feel kind of bad about finding the bag for my pack and play and imagining the person who bought it thinking, “THIS is how I’m supposed to carry this thing?!?!” Yes, dear person, that is how we always carried it. I never even knew there was a bag. #SoSoSorry

More stuff the noise machine said

Hey, remember that time I confessed that I heard a robotic voice that says weird phrases to me when the noise machine is on in the kids’ room? Click here to reminisce with me about my crazy.

Me attempting to be terrified

Me attempting to be terrified

It is still happening. Not as much as in the past, since I’ve been spending less time rocking the kids, but still… It hasn’t gotten much better. Here are some of the latest sweet nothings it has been whispering to me in the dark.

  • One percent is yours. One percent of what you crook?!? I don’t owe you anything.
  • Don’t you have to potty? No, but thanks for asking. I’m a big girl. It’s called a toilet.
  • When you’re right, you’re right. Now you’re talking! You’re starting to make so much sense.
  • Bedtime for littles. Right on, noise machine! It sure is. I like it when you agree with me.
  • I need your flavor. Getting scared again. I don’t know if I want this thing talking to my kids. Nor do I want them being tasted by it.
  • Maria-ria. That’s not my name. Is it channeling ghosts now? You guys! I’m freaked out.

Not only am I terrified, but I feel like this freak show should have a name if I am going to publicly acknowledge that it talks to me.

Update (03/23/15): And her name is Maria-ria. Val, you are the winner!!! Send an email to newestmcdermott@gmail.com so I can get them to you. Thanks for playing!

Just a thought on: The ideal number of kids

I was reading a message board thread on BabyCenter.com yesterday (how I got down that rabbit hole, I have no idea) about how people can afford a third child and one of the responders said something to the effect of…

When you have two kids and they are fighting, you then have to manage two whining kids. When there are three, most of the time two kids are happily playing together and one is left out. It’s less being outnumbered, more a levelling of the playing field. 

This perspective absolutely blew. my. mind.

It’s so true! I remember from my own childhood having an older brother and a younger sister. We would either all play together or play in a pair, with one person doing their own thing. Lots of times my sister and I would play and my brother would do his own thing. There were plenty of times when my brother and sister wrestled while I turned the family bookcase into a library.

Now if we can just win the lottery, we can start talking about that third kid…

Third child?

Frustrating Night

As I sit here rocking my writhing baby who is pulling my hair, scratching my face, and screaming at me, it once again occurs to me that I need to breathe. 
Breathe in, breathe out. Okay, that’s a little better. I am always on a time crunch these days. We have to get out the door, I need you to get to bed at a decent hour, we have to get home… On and on. 
So I take another breath. In and out. And I remember that if I can just calm down and stop being so stressed out, they will too. If I stop fighting them at every pass, maybe they won’t push back so often. If I say yes more and no less, they will need to challenge my authority less. And stop yelling. 
So I take another deep breath and she falls asleep. I look at her face as she snuggles into my arms and kneads her blanket with her hands and my decision is made. I’m not in a rush. We can slow down, take breaths and stop yelling. 
And we can just enjoy each other. They can be kids. For as long as childhood lasts.

Every Day is the Same

“Yeah, I’m making a mess at 7am. Wanna fight about it?”

I am SO over the morning routine.

I think the morning is even worse than bedtime.

Add potty-training to the mix and the mornings are just 2.5 hours of arguing with a toddler and pulling an infant out of harm’s way… all before I even have to go to work. Most days, by the time I get to work, I am sweating, harried, and disgruntled from all of the running around, organizing and nagging I have to do.

I could probably reduce some stress by preparing the night before, but who has the energy to do that?!?!

In addition to all the arguing and resistance to do the same things they are required to do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. there is the mess-making and insanity-inducing repetitive singing of a two-year old. I actually feel like I am going crazy some mornings after hearing, “ABCDEFGHIJKABC!” over and over and over…

And Lillian’s scream is something to behold. It will stop you in your tracks. One of her teachers at daycare goes out of her way to avoid known triggers for her outbursts. I can’t avoid them. Diaper changes = screaming. Putting on a coat = screaming. Getting her in the car seat = screaming, I would almost prefer hearing Gabby incorrectly sing the alphabet at maximum volume.

Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity NOWWWWWWW!

Half-birthday Update

6 months old and sitting in a chair!

Happy half-birthday, Sweet Lilly-girly! At the 6 month mark, Lillian is army crawling, pushing up onto her knees, teething like a MONSTER, and sweet as pie.Complete strangers are constantly commenting on what a happy baby she is. She even smiles first thing in the morning when I go into her room to free her from her crib. 
Lilly’s stats:
16 lbs 6 oz (64th percentile), 27.5″ (94th percentile)
She is long and lean, and loves to be in motion. When I am holding her, she is always wiggling her way out of my arms. She is just really ready to bust some moves. 
Hold me. I’m soon going to be chasing two of them…