Dress your best for less…make money while you’re at it!

It’s no big secret – having babies changes a woman’s body.  Unless you are a Victoria’s Secret freak-of-nature model,  your body changes. Not only does having a baby change a body, it empties your wallet. In the days P.B. (that’s pre-baby), money was not much of an object for me. I made a decent enough salary and had only myself to worry about.  My money was spent on me, myself and I.  So long as electric and car insurance were paid, I was good.

Fast forward six years and two kids later. My wallet is drained and my closet is filled with nice clothes that I had the money to buy,  but can no longer wear. With kids it became imperative that I save and scrimp every dime I can. Unexpected expenses, along with the normal expenses of kids, come up every single day.

When the kids were first born, a friend of mine suggested shopping at consignment stores as a way of saving money. I had heard of them and had visited a few, but I wasn’t enthralled. Everything I bought had to be new even if it was expensive. But, once the reality of kids really set it, and seeing all the expenses and the expensive toys that were destroyed in a matter of minutes,  I decided to give consignment stores another shot.

I was hooked! Like-new Sperry shoes for my son– $10. Heartstrings dress NWT (that’s New With Tags) – $12. Melissa and Doug puzzles for a few dollars. Waterford crystal for $20. How can you beat that?

My kids would wear nice clothes that didn’t fade or fall apart after three wears or washes  and I could buy decent clothes at a fraction of retail prices.  My mother would have the vase she wanted (or darned near close to it) and I would not be broke. What about me who has a closet full of clothes that I can no longer wear? How about a BCBG Max Azria sweater for a mere $15? I’ll take it!

So now, what do I do with the mountains of clothes that my kids barely wore and grew out of and what do I do with the clothes that fit my pre-baby body? I had donated a lot, diligently recording everything I donated just to be able to write off a few hundred bucks on my taxes.

Given that babies drain a wallet, I needed a way to come up with more money. So, I started having yard sales. I sweated and worked. Got up at 5am, dragged all the stuff to the front lawn, posted signs days in advance, all to make fifty bucks (on a good day) for next-to-new clothes that people wanted for free or fifty cents. It wasn’t worth the sweat.

I considered selling at traditional consignment stores, but then I saw an ad for a seasonal clothing consignment sale for kids.  I wasn’t quite sure how they worked, but I was promised 65% (or more if I volunteered) of the sale of my items. The sale was accepting baby gear (including the $150 exersaucer that I had to have brand new and that my babies grew out of in two months.) I set my own prices and I would receive my check within two weeks, not waiting a month for my stuff to maybe sell at a traditional consignment store.  I gathered all the stuff I still had (and it was a lot), tagged all of it and dropped it off to the sale. Holy cow, I could not believe my eyes. This sale was HUGE. It was a warehouse full of next-to-new baby and kid stuff that was priced extremely reasonably.

I will admit that during the first sale I participated in I spent more than I made, but both of my kids were entirely clothed for the next season and I was able to buy a few birthday and Christmas presents too, all for less than $200.  I could not help myself!

Seasonal sales for kids have become my way of making extra money three times a year,  extra cash for vacation and Christmas, from the stuff that my kids have outgrown. But what about a sale for me?  I needed a way to clean out my closet of all those next-to-new pre-baby clothes while shopping for some new stuff for myself. I had forgotten how good it made me feel to have a new outfit. I’m not talking about new duds every day, but once in a while it was nice to have a new shirt and nice pair of jeans.

When such a sale was started, every person who came was so happy with the quality, variety and price of the items available for sale. Not only that, so many people expressed how they dislike going to thrift stores. They hated having to dig through stuff to maybe
find a treasure.

With consignment, all the items for sale are pre-sorted and only the best things are available for sale and presented in a retail-like setting. No digging through dusty, dirty boxes filled with 1979 wallpaper that is half dry rotted.

If you are a bargain shopper or enjoy having some extra pocket cash, consider visiting your local seasonal or brick and mortar consignment shop. You never know what kind of treasures you will come up with!

Melissa Krawczyk is a full-time biologist , full-time mommy and owner of  Maryland Fashion Exchange, a seasonal clothing consignment sale for women. She lives in Jarrettsville with her two children and dog.

Do you have items you’d like to consign or maybe you’d like more info. on the upcoming October Sale…contact MarylandFashion@gmail.com.


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