After buying a good amount of used baby goods from mom-to-mom sales myself, I took my turn on the other side of the table yesterday at my Mothers of Multiples (MoMs) group sale. My twins aren't even one yet, but it sure doesn't take long to accumulate clothes that no longer fit and large items that have served their purpose, especially when there's two of everything.
Tip#1 While pricing, I set up my table in my basement just as I would at the sale. I tranported these piles in my storage tubs and set up my table at the sale in about five minutes.
Part of me did struggle to let go of the items that entered my home along with motherhood, but our house is only so big, and more gear is certainly on the way. I must confess that I did give in and keep a tub of matching boy/girl outfits. When I opened it, I was struck by the sense of relief I might feel down the road if we do go for another child and find ourselves expecting twins again (there's a good chance of both). Certainly those "what if" twins could be boy/boy or girl/girl, but I know I'll kick myself if I'm in the boy/girl boat again with nothing from the first round to help me along. It's silly, but peace of mind can be like that sometimes.
Tip#2 Price everything in multiples of 25 cents and have lots of ones and quarters on hand.
Getting ready for the sale was a bit of a challenge with Mike being out of town for much of the week before, but in true twin-mom form, I had a plan. I got the sale items ready over the weekend while Mike was still here, baked my required cookies for the MoMs bake sale after the babies were down one evening, and got the necessary child care help from my amazing mother-in-law and some sale help from my own amazing, coughing, antibiotic-loaded mother (this cold and flu season has been tough on her!).
Tip #3 Price to sell. Keep in mind that mom-to-mom shoppers like myself are no strangers to Old Navy and Target clearance racks where items can be found for a few dollars. You're competing with them, and your stuff is used. Forget what you paid for clothes, and keep everything under $5, most $1 or less per piece.
Having spent a number of weekends of my life in garages taking change for my old furniture and having had better success selling clothes and home goods at local consignment shops, I was leery about how the actual sale would go. I was pleasantly surprised, though. There was a steady stream of shoppers for four straight hours, and then it was over, unlike those long quiet garage sale hours of the past. I enjoyed breaking out my retail sales associate/bookseller/server personality once again and loved whole-heartedly recommending the goods on my table to buyers, especially to those expecting twins. I knew that deer in headlights look all too well and felt warm and fuzzy offering advice from experience and truthfully saying it all does work out.
Tip#4 Don't forget to bring bags. Despite reminding myself of this several times, I did forget. I managed, but I wished I could have recycled our bags and treated those who bought from me to that little luxury.
Apparently my sales experience paid off and I priced the clothes to sell, because I took three tubs worth of clothes there and came home with less than one. Unfortunately the big ticket area was not as successful. I took both bouncy seats and one Rock and Play Sleeper back home (one Rock and Play and theArm's Reach Co-Sleeper Mini sold). Factoring in the money I spent shopping at the sale myself, we made about $180, and just in time for somebody's first birthday...
Tip #5 This is not the time to ask a woman you don't know if she's expecting a boy or a girl (or more) only to find out she's not pregnant. Depending on what the shopper was looking at, I found that some variation of "Are you shopping for a boy?" was a good opener.
I'm not sure what we'll do with what's left. Perhaps a consignment shop. Perhaps the fall sale.
Along with filling me in on the history of twins in their own families, strangers in check-out lines and fellow passengers in elevators tend to wonder if I have older kids at home to chase after in addition to Michael and Sophie. When they ask me if these babies are "my first," I say yes.
While my answer is entirely accurate for what they're asking, there's part of me that feels crummy saying this.
There's an urge in me to point out that, yes, these are my first babies if you don't count the one I had when I was sixteen and for whom I picked out adoptive parents, the one who is seventeen now, intelligent, beautiful, kind, a source of great pride for me, and with whom I visit a couple times a year. That's a mouthful.
Part of me searches for a casual phrase to explain that once before I've watched a delicate newborn leave my body, and from the distance of an extended family member I've seen her grow into a chubby infant, giggling toddler, and on and on from one PBS kids show themed birthday party to the next. I've seen her become a big sister, learn to crawl, walk, read, and emerge into womanhood faster than I was prepared to witness. But a simple phrase to sum that up just doesn't exist.
Part of me knows that because I've enjoyed her similarities to me while imagining her future with a bitter-sweet mix of excitement and fear, that this is not entirely my first go at motherhood, that she is my first first.
But I just say yes, these two babies are my first. For the question they're asking, that's the true and appropriate answer. And elevator rides just aren't long enough for the truth, the whole truth, and for dispelling Lifetime movie cliches.
Then the nosey strangers ask if my husband and I plan to have more. Luckily "maybe" works just fine for that one.