What to do with baby’s old clothes: Garage Sale

What it is:  If you’re not familiar with one already, a garage sale (also known as a yard sale, rummage sale or junk sale) is an informal sale usually held in the front yard, driveway or garage of your own property on a weekend.

Photos of a yard sale sign and a table set up in a front yard selling various items

How it works: The key to a good garage sale is preparation. Once you’ve got a collection of goods that you want to sell (in addition to your baby clothes), decide on a day and time that best suits you to hold the sale. As a recommendation, early Saturday morning is best. Short and sweet is best, no longer than 3 hours or so, for example, 9am-12pm. The trickiest part is advertising your sale to reach the most amount of people. These are a few of your options:

Pros:  You don’t have to travel somewhere to set up your stuff. If you’re not using your garage to park your car during the week, you could have your stuff set up in there ahead of time to avoid setting up on the day. You get to be in charge of scheduling – you choose the day and time that best suits you.

Cons: Being limited to your garage for three hours (or more) at a time. Depending on your thoughts on privacy, you may not be comfortable with strangers visiting your property. Being reliant on weather to get a good turnout of people.

Value Potential: 2 out of 3. You get to be in control of how much time you invest in this and in comparison with waiting for your stuff to be sold online, it’s a nice option if you want to try and get rid of your stuff all in one shot. The money you can potentially get for the clothes is medium-high if you find the right buyer, but it can be hard to find this person unless you advertise your sale well.

Cost: The costs to hold a garage sale are minimal. At most you will have to pay for the materials to make your own signs (approx $2 for cardboard) or to buy ready made garage sale signs (approx $7 per sign)

 

pic via ohhappyday.com

What to do with baby’s old clothes: Resale Store

What it is: A resale store is different to that of a consignment store in that they are able to offer cash (or store credit) outright for any clothes that they offer to take.

Racks of childrens clothes

How it works: You do not need to make an appointment to visit a store and have your clothes looked at. Staff will review your items on the spot and you can wander round the store while they review your items, or you can wait up front while they go through whatever you bring in. Buyers will then pick out the items and make an offer on these based on the style, condition and the current stock levels in-store. If you accept the offer you will receive either cash or store credit. As a general rule for all resale stores, clothes over five years old will not be accepted. Typically, clothing with any holes, fading or pilling will not be considered. Below are some of the child-specific resale stores in the Durham region:

Pros: This option is perfect for moms that don’t want the hassle of selling their old baby clothes themselves. You’ll be saving time as it only takes one interaction with a store (not multiple interactions with sellers like you would get with Kijiji or Facebook buy/sell groups) and you are compensated immediately. You do not need to make an appointment to have your clothes reviewed by a buyer, so you’ll be selling on your own schedule.

Cons: Stores will pick and choose what items they want to take based on the kind of brands you have, what’s in style, and what stock they currently need. You will most likely be out of luck if you want to offload summer items at the beginning of winter. Not all stores will take certain items like socks or cloth diapers, so you may need to visit a few resale stores to get rid of everything or offload your remaining stuff another way. To save the most amount of time when you visit a resale store, you will have to prepare your clothes for easy sorting in advance. This includes sorting clothes by brand or by age group.

Value Rating: 2 out of 3. Your potential for cash is very low than if you were to sell the items yourself or take them to a consignment store, but if you value the time saved managing the sales on your own, then this is the option for you.

Cost: There is no cost involved to bring your clothes to a clothing resale store.

 

pic via brendawritesablog.com

What to do with baby’s old clothes: VarageSale.com

What it is: VarageSale.com is an online an online marketplace similar to Kijiji.ca and Craigslist with more of a community feel. It has the trustworthy elements that you’d expect to find in an eBay listing (i.e. seller reviews and profiles) and social elements of what you’d expect to find in a Facebook buy and sell group (strict rules on group/posting behaviour, moderation and the ability to start discussions with members).

How it works: All users (both buyers and sellers) must use their Facebook account to use the service. Once you have logged in and set your location, a list of Buy/Sell groups are displayed, and you can choose which areas nearby you would like to sell to. An organizer within this group will then review your request to join the group. Once you’re approved, you’ll see that listings are posted in a timeline much like you would see on Facebook. Users can rate each other based on how each person follows through on a sale, and these ratings are made public for other group members to view. Buyers are able to like and watch listings depending on their interest in an item, and these Like and Watch numbers will be shown publicly within the group. As a seller, your profile will have a summary displaying all items that you are currently selling. Buyers also have the ability to follow your profile to keep updated for future items that you list for sale.

Listing your items on VarageSale takes only three easy steps

Listing your items for sale with VarageSale couldn’t be easier with only three steps in this form

Pros: More personalized and secure than options like Kijiji.ca and Craigslist. This site comes with a set of rules for each community, similar to that of a Facebook buy and sell group. It’s a step up in terms of navigation compared to that of a Facebook buy/sell group, so in theory you’ll get more eyes on your items this way. This app or website (depending on how you use Varagesale) will walk you through every step of listing your items, making it easy to get over any feelings of procrastination when it comes to selling your stuff.

Cons: It’s yet another social media site to join / or app to download. It does a lot of the same things that a Facebook buy/sell group does with the exception of having a better browse and search function.

Value Potential: 2 out of 3. The mechanics of this community encourages buyers to interact with you more if they like the type of items that you sell. Listing your items is fast so you won’t lose too much time and you get control over pricing your items.

Cost: There are no costs involved with using VarageSale.com.

What to do with baby’s old clothes: Facebook Buy, Sell and Swap groups

What it is: There are multiple groups in the Durham area that have been created solely for parents that are looking to buy, sell and swap items that they no longer need. Items range from household items to furniture to baby clothes.

How it works: Locate and join the relevant Facebook groups and familiarize yourself with the rules for each group. Each group will have their own rules for how to post your listing so be sure to check this out too. Once you are satisfied with the photos that you have taken for your listing, upload the photos to a post within the group and include any information that you find relevant for potential buyers. Sizing, clothing condition, brand and asking price are all important to buyers.

Sample Baby Outfit Listing in the Facebook Buy Sell and Swap groups

As a general guide most Facebook listings will look something like this

Below is a list of all the Facebook classified groups for the Durham region:

Pros: You’re able to manage all interactions with buyers through Facebook. This is handy if you have the Facebook app installed on your phone so you can respond to any questions wherever you are. Interacting with someone else over Facebook is also great for security – being able to see someone else’s photo and profile helps screen sellers to make sure that they are legit.

Cons: The number of notifications you receive might bother you, selling through your account may be uncomfortable for those of you that like privacy, any posts you make on the group timeline will get pushed down (out of view) by other people in the group that post.

Value Potential: 2 out of 3. Time is an investment here. You may have to interact with multiple potential buyers asking questions about your items, also consider how much time you have to meet up with buyers to check out whatever you sell. The money you can potentially get for the clothes is high (compared to what you’d get in consignment or resale stores) if you find the right buyer, but it may take time to find this person.

Cost: Listing within these groups is free.

How to manage a baby meltdown when you’re not at home

Ah, we’ve all been there at some point with baby meltdowns. There comes a time when the cries begin to sound like requests rather than just noise. This is when you begin to hit your stride as a mom and realize you know your little one best. When a baby meltdown hits, I like being home to have everything I need handy. Nursing pillow is always near, there are lots of places to lay down for quiet time, and even a roomful of toys in case baby boredom has struck. But being out of the house with a meltdown on my hands? That takes a special kind of resourcefulness that only a mom can understand.

A baby crying

It takes time to build up the confidence to leave the house for any period of time with baby, especially as you’re learning that perfect mix of items to keep in your diaper bag to help you while you’re out. Here are a few strategies that I’ve learned from my many meltdowns so far:

  • Scan the area for a sympathetic face. If you’re somewhere public like a supermarket or shopping centre, someone will be empathizing with what you’re going through. See if your baby is interested in interacting with this person. The change in energy can lighten the mood for both baby and you.
  • Show baby an item they haven’t seen before. I bring toys with me for baby wherever I go but sometimes even this doesn’t work in my favour. There are usually plenty of items available out of the house for baby to see which always ends up being far more interesting than what I bring along. These don’t need to be other toys either – A kitchen spatula at a department store or a bright red fire extinguisher may catch the attention of those curious little eyes.
  • Consider removing or adding a piece of clothing. If baby is hot, then loosening a onesie or popping open a few buttons on a sleeper can help cool them down. If baby is cold and you don’t have extra layers on hand, consider using a sweater or shirt of your own to drape over them.
  • Find a quiet area to recharge. Overstimulation is tough on a little baby, and what calms them down will depend a lot on their little personality. Public washrooms may seem like a good idea but I’ve found that the loud sounds in a washroom (hand dryers, multiple toilets flushing) can be disruptive. Instead, ask an employee to direct you to a quiet area in a store or venue so that you can be alone with your little one and give them time to calm down.

What are some of your strategies for baby meltdowns? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you in the comments below.

 

pic via earlyinterventionsupport.com

Take time out for you with a comfort food cooking class

Whether we like to admit it or not, all of us need time to ourselves during the first year with baby. It’s exhausting being on all day for our families, no matter what our circumstances.  If you find yourself forgetting what it was like to have some fun on your own, now is the time to try something new. Focus on just getting out of the house alone (gasp!) and doing something just for you.

A woman chops carrots on a chopping board

For any moms that love to cook or perhaps want to try some new recipes with the help of an instructor, there is an upcoming President’s Choice Cooking Class that may be for you. The focus of the class will be to make comfort food meals using Fall ingredients – Dishes include Braised Beef Short Ribs, Arugula and Celery Root Remoulade and Apple Cinnamon Beignets. The class is taught by a chef who also teaches at the George Brown Chef School, so if you have any desire to continue developing your culinary knowledge, the chef should be able to tell you more about her program.

The President’s Choice Cooking Class, Upscale Comfort Food for a Cold Night with Chef Harrison, will be held Wednesday, November 12th from 6.30-8.30pm  at the Ajax Superstore location (30 Kingston Road West, Ajax)

Cost: This class is $35 + tax, per person.

 

For more information, visit the PC Cooking School website for details.

pic via meetup.com

 

Helpful tips for attending your first mommy meetup

Mom walks on a footpath with a child in the stroller

To help ease any worries you may have before joining your first meetup, here are some tips that I’ve learned along the way:

  • Find out where the group is meeting in the location that’s listed. e.g. If the meetup is at a playground, where in the playground will all the moms be?
  • Check out the profiles of the other moms that have RSVP’d to the event that you’re attending. Usually moms will include information here about the age of their babies and what they are looking to get out of the group. This is a nice icebreaker for when you arrive and you’re looking for a way to start a conversation.
  • Bring supplies. Having sunscreen or wipes on hand when another mom has been in need has helped me start conversations when I was feeling shy.
  • Take along a carrier or lightweight stroller. Unless you’re part of a mommy stroller group, having lightweight equipment to navigate a new space will help you to focus on spending time with other moms rather than worrying that your stroller is blocking someone’s way.
  • Check in first with the person who organized the event when you arrive. Let them know you’re there and that it’s your first meetup. Meetup organizers are usually passionate about helping other moms get out of the house and will be more than happy to introduce you to others within the group.
  • Give it a chance. Some weeks I went to meetups and I was zombie tired (barely functioning or talking) and other weeks I was buzzing from having such a good day with baby. The same goes for all the other moms there. Give them a chance before you decide if a certain meetup isn’t for you.
  • Lower your expectations. If you expect to come out of one meetup event with a playdate partner you may be disappointed. Focus on using this as an opportunity to get out of the house and be proud when you do it! It’s not easy to get out of the house like we used to when we have baby in tow.

Now that you’ve got an idea of how to get started and what to expect, you’re ready to take the plunge!

 

pic via pgeveryday.com

What to expect at a mommy meetup

When I first went to a meetup, I felt a little awkward putting myself out there. I desperately wanted to have some other mom friends who were also going through the same thing as me, and I had no idea where to start. For as long as I could remember, friends either just happened or developed through interests that I had outside of work and school. Finding a partner online has become the norm, but finding a friend online? This was a whole new world for me.

A group of moms stand together with their babies in strollers

In my experience attending meetups, I’ve learned that every mom has the same reasons for being there as you do. Many of them are dying to talk with someone who gets what it’s like to be a new mom, but they may not know how to begin a conversation about all that they’re going through.

Meetup groups vary in format because they are organized and hosted by moms who are all as individual as the next. Generally speaking, meetups are very informal. There aren’t name tags or introductions where you have to face the group and find the right words to avoid sounding stir-crazy. Meetups are usually held in public places and from the outside looking in, it can look like a big group of friends getting together. At first it may look like there are some cliques within the group and this is normal. The moms that know each other well are most likely the regulars which is a good sign the meetup is worthwhile. There’s a reason they keep coming along!

If the meetup you choose to go to is held at one location (like a playground, or cafe) then punctuality is not an issue. Being anywhere on time as a mom is tricky enough, so if you are running late, know that no one is judging you for it. There are lots of ways to start conversation but one of the best is to introduce both yourself, your baby and to mention your baby’s age. This often means there are a lot of names to remember at a meetup but, most moms there will do their best to get to know everyone there and learn their name. With conversation, you’re able to talk about anything so long as you reserve any judgement. What may surprise you is how easily you can talk about all the stuff you can’t say in front of your friends without kids. You can talk about diaper blow outs over coffee and most moms wont bat an eyelid. They’ll laugh along with you or nod in understanding.

If you find yourself enjoying spending time with another mom there, take the opportunity to ask her to catch up again. If you know of another mommy meetup, baby program or stroller trail, invite that mom to join you. She will probably appreciate the chance to do something different and get out of the house. Swapping phone numbers and keeping in touch over text is recommended before taking the plunge with a Facebook friend request. Do I almost sound as if I could be talking about dating? Well, it can feel like that. Most new moms will feel that way when they’re making new mommy friends!

If you’re still feeling a little hesitant, in my next post I’ll be giving my tried-and-tested tips for attending your first mommy meetup. Stay tuned for more!

 

pic via readysteadymums.blogspot.ca

Join a mommy meetup group

What surprised me most about having a baby and being on mat leave is how few people I had to spend time with during the day. When my partner is at work, and most of my friends are working too, it started to make sense why mat leave can sometimes feel so lonely. I was desperately missing adult conversation, and even felt guilty for needing it.

Three moms sit together with their babies

If you’re finding yourself at a similar point in your mat leave, know that every other mom on mat leave is also going through the same. And the crazy thing is, we can forget how to talk about regular adult things because we spend most of our day talking to baby. Interacting with other moms is the best remedy for these feelings and will improve your experience as you learn how to be a mom. If the thought of walking into a group of new people makes you anxious, know this – Having a baby is more than enough subject matter to relate to any new mom that you meet, no matter what your circumstances.

There are many ways to meet moms in the Durham region and these will vary from free groups (like Babyville) to paid groups. After spending the first few months of my mat leave cooped up inside, I joined a mommy meetup group on meetup.com. This website requires you to create an account to join, and once you do, you’re able to join many of the mommy meetup groups that Durham has to offer. Best of all, most of the meetups posted in these groups are free:

Joining these groups is the first step, and it’s a big one! In my next post, I’ll fill you in on what you can expect when you attend your first mommy meetup event.

 

pic via huggiesmominspired.com

Try a drop-in playgroup in Colombus

The Columbus Playgroup hosts a drop-in program every Friday, where you can bring your little one to play indoors out of the cold. If you’re thinking about daycare options, or even looking to socialize your little one in preparation for daycare, a drop-in option like this is useful. For only $2, your little one can tire themselves out on all the toys, activities and the large gym on site, while you get the chance to chat with other moms in the area.

The Colombus Playgroup Friday Drop-In Program flyer

Cost: $2 per mobile child.

The drop-in program is held every Friday from 9.30-11.30am at the Columbus Community Playgroup located at 3625 Simcoe Street North, Columbus, east of Brooklin and north of Oshawa.  This program is open to members of the public and runs from September 12th – May 29th, 2014 with the exception of all scheduled holidays, Christmas vacation and March break.

pic via Facebook