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

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!

My Top 5 Favorite Toddler Toys

Number one best toy EVER! #howweplay

Since we are just getting through birthday-mania 2014, I thought a post about the toys we McDermotts love the most for toddlers. These are some of my favorites right now. I will preface this list by mentioning that Gabby is really into pretend play, water and sand play, and puzzles – so that would explain her obsession with these particular toys. Anyway, here are our top 5 best toys for toddlers:

  1. Gabby got the Step2 Fixin’ Fun Outdoor Grill for her birthday this year and she absolutely loves it. It runs around $30 and is a very simple toy. We also bought the Step2 Stack ‘N Stay Hamburgers Playset to go with it because it only came with one measly hot dog to cook. The grill is very sturdy and also has an oven which is great storage for all of the accessories. The grill also has a sink and stovetop, so kids can cook a full meal. There is lots of room to add accessories, but Gabby is just happy to cook the same hamburger for 20 minutes or longer. 
  2. We got the Hape Gourmet Kitchen for her first birthday, and this toy has been her number one toy for a full year now. It was great when she was just learning to stand, it is even better now that she is running. She likes to load up her shopping cart with food from the kitchen and cook it all over the house. She loves to pretend to wash her hands. Hape also makes a TON of food playsets that go with this kitchen, it is really hard not to buy them all!
  3. Step2 Water Wheel Play Table – With her water obsession, this is an obvious choice. She likes scooping the water and dumping it all over herself. This is a very sturdy table and was even great when she was just starting to stand. I also love this toy when it’s really hot because I pull up a chair, prop up my feet, and Gabby pours water all over my feet and legs. Life doesn’t get much better than that!
  4. The VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is an awesome toy to help early toddlers begin practicing their steps, but it is also a great activity center for not-yet-mobile babies. The songs are not annoying, the volume has two settings, and the activities can all be done by a one year old easily. Great toy!
  5. The Melissa and Doug Wooden See-Inside Alphabet Puzzle made me really impressed with my kid. She would not do puzzles on her own and then one day she came home from daycare wanting to do puzzles and she was doing puzzles perfectly all of a sudden. My mother bought this puzzle and not only could she immediately do a 26 piece puzzle, but she started learning her letters and SO. MANY. WORDS. Just amazing. 
So, that’s my list of our top 5 toddler toys. What are your toddler’s favorites?