The Unpaved Road to Kid’s Market.

This has been my permanent position this week.

IMG_0123

Because I’ve begun the process of consigning. For the first time in my life. With eight years of children’s clothes to wash, sort, match, pin, tag, and tape.

Take special notice of the container of apple juice on the coffee table, where children have begun to resort to helping themselves (and not returning things to the fridge) along the mixture of animal crackers and Play-Doh, a sure sign that I have given up all appearances of parenting.

In Birmingham, the mainstream way to get rid of kid’s clothes is through the giant semi-annual consignment sale, Kid’s Market.

But oh, the process. The pain. The detail.

As I’ve learned the many correct steps of proper consigning, I’ve come across some memories, and some difficult questions and realizations.

I began the journey by going through my returned girl’s clothes from my sister-in-law. I was amazed at the memories tied up in those garments, like the time I had to convince my former boss that Ali wasn’t a production killer, but a morale booster when we came into the office. And if you really want to be convincing, well, you need a t-shirt.

IMG_0131

And the shocking resurgence of vivid images when, upon seeing this outfit for the first time in six years, I recalled the car-destroying blowout (and poo-clapping) that Ali had in it.

IMG_0129

(Maybe I shouldn’t sell that…)

(At least the skirt was brown.)

A few hours after that memory crashed into my consciousness, I came back downstairs after putting the kids to bed only to ACTUALLY SMELL THE POO.

It was like the Ghost of Watery Craps Past had come to visit me.

I was shocked and horrified. Could the power of memory be that strong? Or did that outfit never quite lose its special scent?

Then I walked into the kitchen and, with relief, saw that the smell was actually caused by the fact that Chris had gotten halfway through cleaning out the fridge and had bailed to put the kids to bed.

Then the questions began.

Like, was this mysterious item my garter, my sister-in-law’s garter, or an especially disturbing newborn headpiece?

IMG_0130

And whose glove was this? How long had it been exiled to the bags of children’s clothes, mourning the loss of its soulmate?

IMG_0132

Then the real agony began: the tagging.

Items must be…

1. Safety-pinned onto wire hangers,
2. Masking-taped with my ID number, and
3. Labeled with a barcode price tag, also safety-pinned on.

I quickly learned that I am not safety-pin proficient – at least when stabbing large-yet-dull safety pins through mounds of clothing – and began wondering if my fingers would ever be water-tight again.

(WHY is it a rule that the bigger the safety pin, the duller its point? The bigger the safety pin, the more I need it to function properly, PIN COMPANIES.)

I also regretted the fact that I wasn’t diabetic, as I had plenty of finger pricks to go around. I could have known my glucose levels down to the millisecond.

And how do I keep from bleeding on everything? It seems like a blood-streak through the middle of a price tag might deter purchases, but my fingers looked and felt as if they’d gone through the meat-grinder.

Several garments in, my heart had a panic attack when I realized that I might be doing it ALL wrong. What if I were hanging all of these clothes, so painfully stretched to fit a newborn shirt onto a full-sized adult hanger and then double safety-pinned to boot, in the wrong direction??!

This thought was horrifying. My fingers were already tracked worse than Lindsay Lohan’s arms. I could not bear the thought of having to redo it all.

So I called My Friend The Expert – this was worthy of more than a text, even – and asked her to please explain to me which way the hangers should be facing.

“They should look like a question mark. And yes, you have to get that right or you’ll have to turn everything around.”

“Like a question mark. When they’re facing me?”

“Yes.”

“Wait a minute…”

(I had to draw a question mark. Then look at it twice to make sure I’d drawn it correctly. These are the pains of being left-handed.)

“Okay. It’s a miracle. I’m doing it right!!”

Halfway through the first day of pinning, hangering, stabbing, and barcoding, I decided that I should hire my babysitter to do this for me. But then realized that would defeat the point of my frugal endeavor, and I had no Workman’s Comp to offer her and she would quite likely contract tetanus which I was sure I already had in eight out of ten fingers.

After day two, I had 82 hangers full of clothes, most containing two or more items bundled together.

IMG_0136

And yet my to-do piles were hardly diminishing.

IMG_0139

Of course, because the only thing that makes life fun is turning it into a spreadsheet, I’d tracked the prices of my hangers and tallied the value of my work thus far. I tried to convince myself it was worth my future in Finger Rehab.

As I laid in bed, my fingers throbbing as they shriveled up and died like a Wicked Witch’s feet under a house, I had the thought that perhaps I should save these clothes instead – so that Ali could see all the precious outfits I dressed her in as a baby.

I slapped myself and pointed out the 100,000 photos I took of her before she turned one, and fell asleep to the comfort that I had snapped them while I could – because my fingers will never be able to push buttons again.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. Sarah R in WI says:

    That is a lot of work! Do you have a Once Upon a Child somewhere? I love ours. You just have to wash the clothes and fold them into a large storage container, then drop it off at the store. They price everything and pay you upfront in cash the same day. Anything they don’t want stays in the storage container so I go directly to Goodwill to donate it. Maybe you would get more money at the other consignment sale though.

  2. I hope that your efforts end up being worth the time!! LOL I only tried to do this type of sale 1 time and at the end, I did not sell enough to make it worthy my time! Best of luck! :)

    • I’ll publish my full financial report plus analysis, along with a comparison to my foray into ThredUp (where you just fill a bag with clothes and ship it away) after Kid’s Market is over. :-)

      • I’ve done the local consignment store route and ThredUp. ThredUp is the lazy persons consignment exercise and I totally adore it. Between my stuff and the kids stuff, I’ve made $600 this year, And NO PRiCING!! I tried to do one of those big sales a few years ago and I just gave up. Couldn’t hack it. So good for you for getting stuff out there. I’ve done ok at my local consignment store, but their appointments book up so fast I can never get in. And once I decide I want this stuff out of the house, I want it out now!

        • I’ve experimented with ThredUp – I sent five bags a couple of months ago, and my feelings are mixed. I’ll include it in my full report.
          However, a lot of my stuff is brands they don’t accept (Carter’s, Children’s Place), so I’m going to have to do SOMETHING with all those anyway…

  3. Wow you are brave. We have a sale called Just Between Friends that is the same idea, but I’ve never had the desire to do it! I just give my unwanted things to my mom’s mission garage sale every year. It’s for a good cause and doesn’t cause me hours of work! Of course I don’t give away much because with three girls things just get passed right down the line. The stuff that A is too small for goes to their new little cousin!

  4. I need to know how this goes for you. I am considering an attempt at the same endeavor.

  5. You are a brave soul.

  6. Where did you find that many wire hangers? I haven’t even seen once since I watched Mommy Dearest in high school and proceeded to make my mom restock all our closets with plastic ones.

  7. dannyscotland says:

    I do a twice yearly consignment sale, and they don’t allow us to use pins at all, for the very reason you so painfully describe. They recommend tagging guns, like what stores put price tags on clothes with. I was thinking you might want to recommend that to the group that runs your consignment sale. I hope your sale goes well!

  8. Your post has perfect timing as I just got a growl from my husband as the consignment pile has taken over our love seat for longer than it should. OK… For two weeks. I’ve consigned twice a year, every year since She was born & she’s 8 now. And every 6 months, even with only one child, my den looks exactly like yours.
    And for at least 2 nights, there’s no dinner.
    Sometimes I wait so late before turn-in, I actually fake a sick day from work to finish. (Confession really does feel good!)
    Oh, and I cry Every Stinkin’ Time because it reminds me how fast this is all racing by.
    So good luck to all us crazy consigners, happy pinning, and don’t bleed on your tops…the “clothing inspectors” will reject them.

  9. Lindsay D. says:

    I applaud you. I am WAY too lazy for all that. I give away everything.

  10. Jennifer Paxton says:

    I do this every year as well. Although I haven’t gotten brave enough to do Kids Market. I do Kingdom Kids, which is through Gardendale Mt. Vernon Church, Smaller scale, but still tons of clothes. I usually sell as much as I spend and my kids think I spent a ton on them because of the amount of clothes they get. This year will be interesting. I’m currently 35w5d pregnant with our third and the sale is Tuesday. I’m dilated 3cm, but I’m bound and determined to make it through the sale…lol.

  11. I donate mine and itemize them on my income taxes as a donation. Turbo Tax has a calculator as to how much each item is worth. You would be surprised how that adds up. Find a good charity.

  12. Ah. I did Kid’s Market every year, sometimes twice, for several years. So much fun, but I only have a boy and suddenly one year, BOOM, everything he outgrows is stained or shredded, and since one pair of dress pants and two Oxford cloth shirts is the total wearable in his size at the whole sale, you know the other moms are in the same boat. Goodbye KM&M!

Speak Your Mind

*