By Wendy Powell, Founder and Owner of Childish Things (Estimated reading time: 4 minutes)
While it may feel like fall is just beginning, the winter holidays are right around the corner. Often, the holiday season is a time when families have the biggest spending outlay of the year with special events, school concerts, shows, family pictures, gifts, etc. It all adds up quickly if we aren’t careful and the bills come calling in January.
From holiday outfits for school events, theater, family photos and gifts, there are many simple ways to reduce your costs while also lowering your impact on our planet.
If you need outfits for the holidays, an event, or family photos, consider choosing gently used clothing. Special occasion wear is generally very gently used, sometimes worn only once or twice. Finding those gently used outfits is pretty easy in our area – check your local Buy Nothing Facebook groups or your local children’s resale shop. Online shopping sites like eBay or Poshmark also provide a plethora of options as well for gently used items. Just allow time and check measurements so you don’t end up with something that doesn’t fit or doesn’t arrive in time. Consider that shipping times are going to be longer this year due to the pandemic.
Young children do not know the difference between a gently used toy and a new toy. The packaging on new toys only serves to frustrate everyone involved. Exactly how many twist ties are required to hold that toy to the box?! Consider limiting the number of new toys and focusing on gently used gifts instead. Having conversations with family about gifting your children one-on-one time and experiences is another great option.
Another option to off-set the financial burden of the holiday season? Consider selling your outgrown, unused items through online portals or local resale shops.
Before you scoop up the toys on the playroom floor into a trash bag and lug them into a resale shop, I recommend taking the time to follow these steps to maximize your experience and payout:
- Understand the difference between consignment and resale. Consignment pays you after the merchandise sells, resale buys the items directly from you.
- Take a look at the local businesses’ websites to see what they buy and their selling policies. Check even if you have been there before. Policies can change.
- If possible, make a trip to the store in advance to see what types of products they resell, and the condition required.
- Clean the toys. Check to make sure batteries are working.
- Make sure toys, games, and puzzles are complete.
- Check for recalls on the items you’re considering reselling
- Do it now! For the best payout, get things in early. Holiday outfit sales are at their peak at the end of October/early November. December is too late. Toys sell year-round, but stores experience a downturn in toy sales after Christmas so they may be less willing to carry the inventory if it’s brought in too late in the year.
Other things to consider are whether you are looking for cash or exchange. Exchange is always a better deal offered by stores, but if your child has their eye on a special item, cash might be the better answer.
The end of the year is a time for reflection, rest, and hopefully in these pandemic times, some quality time with loved ones. Getting prepared now to clear out the clutter and perhaps turn that into some savings can mean more time to create memories that you whole family can cherish.