Melissa Abercrombie: Just because times are tough doesn't mean that looking good goes straight out the window -- it just means that we have to reconsider the ways we shop and spend. That's why I wholeheartedly recommend that everyone out there consider buying resale.
Resale stores are stores that buy and then resell gently used clothing -- designer clothing like Baby Lulu, Baby Gap, Diesel, Burberry, and other really great brands -- and they sell them for really discounted prices. At times, they're dirt cheap! All you have to do is know how to shop.
The first thing I suggest you do is make sure to sign up for all your local resale store mailing lists, that way you'll be notified of all the sales and events. Keep in mind, most of these stores are a season ahead, just like normal retail stores, so you have to shop smart and think ahead. For example, if you see the winter ski jacket you've been wanting in July, pick it up even though it's the middle of September.
Next, consider this: you'll be able to get more for your money if you sell your kids' old clothes to the resale store and get store credit instead of cash. This will give you more bang for your buck. When selling your kids' clothes, keep in mind that they should be clean and stain-free -- after all, they are going to be resold, so stores will be more likely to buy your clothes if they look good.
One thing I should point out, so you're not surprised at the counter, is that baby clothes are harder to sell because stores always have a surplus of them. Clothes for 18-month-olds and older are easier to sell. Baby gear, pack and plays, and strollers are also easy to sell.
Toys are a great buy, and some of the larger resale stores actually take the time to make sure that the toy has not been recalled before selling it. Sometimes they indicate this with a sticker, so ask if the toy's been checked. Also, don't be afraid to become friendly with the staff. If they know you love True Religion jeans for your kid, and if you're nice enough, they may actually call you when they get some!
Here is my advice as to what to buy and what to stay away from at the resale store:
YES, buy resale: Clothes, toys, DVDs/VHS, books, strollers, high chairs, Halloween and dress-up costumes, dance outfits, seasonal clothing items, ski clothes, special occasion dresses (the kind of dresses your baby or kid will wear only once), diaper bags, slings, carriers, and Exersaucer. But don't forget to ask the store if they check to see if the items have been recalled!
NO, buy new: Car seats. You don't know the history of the car seat, if it's been in an accident, etc. In fact, just as an aside, the California Highway Patrol says if you have to dispose of a car seat, remove the padding before trashing it so no one can take it.
Don't buy cribs -- for safety reasons. It's hard to check if it's been recalled. You also don't ever want to buy underwear, pacifiers, bottles, etc. -- that's just gross! And finally, they may be cute, but NO stuffed animals. You don't know where, or with whom, they've been, and how are you really going to clean it?!
|By day, Melissa Abercrombie works on a news magazine show keeping track of Brangelina. But at night, she's busy planning Girl Scout meetings and obsessing over the latest baby and kid trends. Melissa's husband is the bass player for a multi-platinum rock band. They live in the Los Angeles area with their pre-schooler and baby.|