Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Buyer Beware

I'm finding out that a big part of having kids seems to be getting rid of their stuff.  At some point you realize you have too much stuff, or you're not going to have any more kids, or for whatever reason you just decide you need to purge the toys, clothes and general junk that is taking over your house.  From what I can tell, there seem to be a few different ways of handling this.

  • You can sell it to a store.  I'm a big fan of Once Upon a Child.  They sell new and used kids stuff, and I find them to be pretty reasonable.  The stuff is always good quality, and the staff has always been super nice.  If you want to sell your stuff, you drag it all down there, they go through it all, offer you a price, you take it and walk away.  Seems simple, right?  I think that would be the way I would go.  I've been told by the staff that it's not uncommon for someone to drag all their stuff down, have the staff spend a couple hours going through everything and adding it up, then being unsatisfied with the price and packing everything back up and leaving.  I know you could probably make more money by selling your stuff in various other ways (see below) but really, is it worth the effort if you have that much stuff to get rid of?
  • You can post it on Kijiji, where people will respond, offer you less than what you're looking for, maybe they'll show up, maybe they won't - who knows!  It's a bit of a jungle out there.  I love Kijiji, and I consider myself to be a good Kijiji shopper.  I show up when I say I'm going to show up, I buy what I commit to, I pay in correct change.  But there has been so many times that I've bought something from someone who says, "I just want to get rid of it.  I get a dozen emails a day about it and no one ever shows up."  You have to deal with flakes and strangers coming to your house.  Maybe that's not your deal.  
  • The other sell it yourself option is Facebook.  It seems like there is constantly a new group being posted which is the same idea - you post your pictures of the stuff you want to sell, then deal with all the flakes.  I keep joining these groups and then leaving because it's just too intense and pointless.  Girls will call dibs on piles of stuff, but then you invariably see a pissed-off seller leaving posts on the wall (I've seen angry posts about "Don't sell to so-and-so, she never shows up."  Or, "Where were you?  I waited for a half hour and you never showed.")  My favourite is the person who will say they want loads of stuff, then post that they can't pay for it for a couple of weeks.  I get it - maternity leave is rough.  There's lots of times where I have no extra money until baby bonus time or the next employment insurance payout, but you know what?  I don't commit to buy things if I don't have the money.  If I really want something, I'll tell them, "Look, I'm interested, but I won't have the money until Tuesday.  If it's still available, I'll get in touch with you."  I would never ask someone to hold something for me, but some of these other girls sure will!  I don't know, maybe I'm being catty - I find these groups to be really hard to handle.
  • Maybe a good old fashioned yard sale is more your speed.  Of course, yard sales are a lot of work.  I think the last time my mom and I had a yard sale we figured out that we made like $3 an hour for all the time we put into it.  And you can always be left with a bunch of stuff which doesn't sell, and then you're just back to the start of selling it to a store or on Kijiji or Facebook.
  • A Mom-To-Mom Sale.  Have you been to one of these yet?  They're basically big (often indoors) yard sales.  You can pay to rent a table and set up your stuff.  I've had pretty good luck shopping at these, but I find some stuff can be over priced.  If you're going to a mom-to-mom sale, I'll recommend this - don't bring your kids.  These sales are usually crowded, and you may have to wait in line before getting in (There's a big one that happens in London that's hosted by the Multiple Births Association.  Last year I think I waited in line for an hour and a half to get in).  No one needs to be bumped in the heels by your stroller or have your kid touching everything they want.  Leave the kids.  Also, take a good look around - some of the bigger sales (like the one in London) will have a drop-off area for bigger items.  If you find something big that you like and want, you can leave it in an area so you don't have to drag it around with you.  Follow this rule, don't hit me with the playpen that you insist on dragging around for an hour.
  • Load it up and donate it.  The donation boxes are always overflowing after a big yard sale day.  And if you take this option, then I may have the good fortune of picking something up at a great price at my local St. Vincent de Paul.  You may not make money this way, but it's definitely easy.
Or, you can just give it to me.  I rarely turn down a freebie.

What's your favourite way of shopping or unloading stuff?  Have you had negative or positive experiences with mommy groups?

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