It’s amazing, isn’t it, the amount of stuff our kids can generate… and outgrow, under-use, and even just plain ignore. You know it’s a shame to let the usefulness of so many items go to waste… so you’ve decided to get all those underloved, gently-used items together and let them be loved by another family.
Congratulations, you’re over half the way to passing on previously-enjoyed items to another family…and to fattening up your family’s budget at the same time.
If you’re like most Moms, you want to get the most monetary return out of outgrown clothes, toys, and gear…but where to start? Sometimes it can be overwhelming, so let’s look at it step by profitable step:
Gather your items up gradually. If you’ve put a basket or bag in each child’s closet or the laundry room to collect outgrown clothes and a basket in the family room or basement for no-longer-played-with equipment, you’re ahead of the game. You have your batch all collected up.
If not (what Mom is ever as organized as she’d like?) start with the most obvious places first, the places where you store things you’re no longer using. From too-small clothes to past-interest sports gear, attic to basement to garage, these are the items which might need the most freshening up. Then venture into closets, toy boys and bedroom shelves. Visit your local consignment or resale shop or check their web site online at The Professional Resalers Directory to see what they can sell.
Okay. Now it’s all in a pile and you’re ready to make your items best sellers!
First, of course, is cleanliness. Freshly-washed clothing sell best. And that means freshly-washed within the last few days, not when you packed them away. Using a fragrance-free detergent and fabric softener is safest, since many families have sensitivities to scented washing products.
Next is wrinkle-free. Wrinkle release spray works on minor wrinkles. If they still don’t look as great as they did new, take a few moments with an iron or garment steamer. The more brand-new your clothing items look, the more they’re worth. A touch of spray starch on a crisp shirt or dress can sell an item lickety-split!
And spot- and stain-less. Next, as you’re hanging or neatly folding (each shop has its preferences), hold each garment parallel to the fluorescent lighting in your laundry room or kitchen. These lights show color variations indicating spots, stains, and fading. Work on removing stains (my favorite online stain removal chart is on Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing web site.) If stains or fading remain, put these items aside for donation to your local charities.
Check zippers, buttons and fasteners. Clip any loose threads and make sure hems are secure and pockets hole-free.
Is the outfit complete? If you have accessories that match an outfit, they often enhance the value of the item.
Shoes are good sellers in most shops, but they need to be sparkling clean. Magic Eraser is a must-have tool. Baby wipes do a great job on most shoes. Be sure to clean the soles as well as the sides of shoes to give them a fresh appeal. Replacing shoe laces can turn a so-so pair into a sure sale.
Spiff up gear. That same Magic Eraser will also work wonders on toys and equipment. (And a regular eraser in hand as you page through your children’s books can up their value!) If you’re refurbishing a bike or metal ride-on toy, remember auto polish. That extra sheen means extra dollars for you.