Sunday, April 13, 2008

Deep Thoughts

I originally didn't intend for this blog to be only about Esther and Ruthie. I really have had some cool experiences at the thrift store or because of Craig's List and I like putting that type of good karma out into the universe. This past weekend was a busy one for me in the secondhand arena. The town children's clothing co-op had their twice annual sale on Saturday. It's a group that was started in the late seventies as a way for women to sell their own "gently used" children's clothing and to also buy clothing from the other women. A couple years ago, I started out volunteering as a cashier in return for early shopping priveleges, then I was a substitute seller (meaning I sold clothes and could also buy) and now I'm a full fledged member. This means I always get to sell things at the sale (substitute sellers only get to sell if there is a need for what they are selling) and I am also conscripted to a particular position helping at the next sale, based on the total dollar amount of items that I buy and sell.

It's a lot of work to get things ready for the sale. Obviously, the things that look nicer sell better. Every item has to have a tag pinned on it, and the tag includes a description, size, and price. I started a week ago (while decluttering the basement) by getting all the toys ready that I wanted to sell. Some of these toys were duplicate gifts, some I bought and later decided weren't necessary, and some just weren't big favorites of Esther's and I assume Ruthie won't care for them either. When I'm at the thrift store, I keep on the lookout for really cool toys that they may play with in the next couple years or so, and then I just store them in the basement. Well, after doing that for a year or so now, it looks like my basement has exploded. I decided to limit myself to ONE (1) shelving unit of "out of circulation" toys. These toys are out of circulation for the following reasons: they're too old for Esther, they're too similar to other toys that are currently in circulation, or sometimes, they are duplicates that I bought on purpose of toys we love (e.g., Little People). I sold all of my "excess" toys except for a couple small things and I also sold about 20 "excess" books and just a few outfits that are too small for Ruthie. You're only permitted to sell clothes for the upcoming season, so most of my clothes that are too small for Ruthie are fall/winter clothes. I also tried to sell my maternity clothes. I brought home a good number of my maternity clothes but only a couple of the other things. I was pretty excited.

But the buying, oh the buying! There was a self-admitted compulsive Gymboree buyer whose daughter WEARS 1 SIZE LARGER THAN ESTHER and she was selling a lot of her daughter's old clothes! That's right people - God clearly rewarded me for doing so well on my Lenten sacrifice (excuse the blasphemy). I really restrained myself, only selected a few things that I knew we'd get a lot of wear out of. Most of them were 3 piece sets, and I love sets. I also got one dress for $.75 for Ruthie. But my best find of all? It was clearly, without a doubt, this:
I was in a conversation with my friend Julie when I saw the little gas pump across the room. I left her mid-sentence, leaped over a table, and may possibly have knocked over a pregnant woman. And it was worth it, because Esther was so excited when she saw it. So far, she's just played with it inside, but I'm hoping it will be warm enough on Tuesday for her and "ah-doe" (aka, the neighbor Theodore) to take it outside and use it to gas up all of their ride-on toys.

A really cool thing about the sale is that a lot of the moms with tween-aged kids bring them to help with setting out the clothes and packing them up afterwards. It's neat to think that Esther and Ruthie will be helping me one day. I wonder if we'll offer them an incentive, such as "you get to keep half the money from any toys you agree to sell, IF you help me" or whether it will just be the Breipohl standard that my sisters and I heard growing up, "What do you GET if you help? You get nothing, because we are a family and this is part of your responsibility of being a member of our family."

After the sale is over at 12noon on Saturday, there's a business meeting that evening where announce the big sellers and hand out the "envelopes." The envelopes detail how much you bought, how much you sold, and if the former is less than the latter, how much cash is in your envelope. I still brought home enough cash to have made the work worthwhile, so I was happy.

I also had an appointment with a Craig's Lister to come and look at maternity clothes on Saturday afternoon. When she didn't show up by 30 minutes past the appointed hour, I called her. She had been sleeping and came over an hour later. She bought a few pieces. If I can just get one more buyer to get a few things, then I'll be totally comfortable giving the rest away to some of my many pregnant friends. The problem is that they are all taller than me so the pants will do them no good.

If Ruthie is agreeable, we are off to the thrift store tomorrow. My friend Silvia is pregnant with twins and has agreed to let me be her personal shopper. I can honestly say that shopping for others at the thrift store is more fun than shopping for myself because a) I like helping people and b) I don't have to find a place in my house to put the things that I buy for them!

I'm hoping it will be easier for me to post pictures soon. I went through all the cameras and took everything off and got a portable storage drive to back them up. It seems much less daunting now to have to take a picture and then post it right away.


sleepy_mama said...

Wow! That is some system you described regarding the consignment sale. Fascinating. I've never heard of any used clothing sale that extravegantly organized. We're so country down here in SC! We're lucky if the clothes are sorted by size! I might need to plan a trip someday to tag along.

Sandy said...

What?? Getting rid of your maternity clothes? No more little David or Ellen's in the plans? :-)

Thrift Store Mama said...

Oh yes, I'm selling off ALL the maternity clothes. Life is barely manageable now and we aren't tempting fate!

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