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How to Resell Your Used Items and Buy Second Hand: Using Your Resources

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Resell Your Used Items and Buy Second Hand | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

As a mother of twins, it goes without saying that money is tight. With my guys getting further and further apart in both weight and height, that challenge is now increasing exponentially as the volume of items they are able to share gets smaller and smaller. Thankfully this opens up the possibility of hand-me-downs from one twin to the other, but the result always seems to be that the larger twin has a short supply while the smaller twin has a wardrobe that rivals my own packed closet.

How to Resell Used Items - Consignment Sales, Swaps and Yard Sales

Buying used clothing has pretty much been a requirement since they were born. Beyond gifts from family and some basic essentials from Wal-mart and Target, both their wardrobes and toy collections have primarily been sourced from other families. This not only helps us save money, it also gives me some peace of mind that if they totally annihilate some article of clothing (Have you read YUCK. Life with Boys?) there’s not too much of a loss.

Likewise, selling used clothing, equipment and toys has been a huge resource for our family and provides the budget for the next season’s needs. When it is time for me to buy for the next season, I usually round up last season’s gear and try to sell it first. That way when it comes time to buy, I have some funds already allotted and ready to go.

How to Resell Used Items - Consignment Sales, Swaps and Yard Sales

Here are the methods I have explored and tried to both source and sell used items.

1. Consignment Sales (Typically bi-annually or seasonally held, high volume and greater buyer “panic” – most items sell because of the “thrill of the chase” environment that these exclusive events generate.)

  • For the buyer: Use a website like ConsignmentSaleFinder.org or other local resources to find sales in your area. Many of these sales advertise on a variety of social media platforms, newspapers and local kid hangouts. (BONUS TIP: Be sure to follow their Facebook page if they have one. Most sneak peeks are posted here, plus tips and tricks for getting in early or the actual sale layout. Plan your strategy in advance!) Ask around to see if anyone you know has attended to get a feeling for the sale’s reputation and whether items are higher quality, clean, fairly priced, etc. Bring a friend. Divide and conquer!
  • For the seller: Reach out to the local sales and explore their consignor/consignee policies. Be sure to pay close attention to fees and/or the percentage you’ll take home from each item, any other restrictions or requirements, and whether you are responsible for hangers, tags, etc. Be sure to do the math and consider how you price your items so that all of these fees and potential responsibilities are taken into consideration and you come home with profit! If possible, join the hosting group and see if there are opportunities to contribute volunteer time towards planning and manning the sale. Oftentimes, you can get a greater percentage back on your sales for time served. (BONUS TIP: Be sure to ask around for appropriate pricing. You want to blend in with the bunch, and certainly not leave money on the table or worse yet, be the high priced seller whose items get left behind!)
How to Buy Bargains - Consignment Sales, Yard Sales, Craigslist

2. Consignment/Resale Shops (Constant availability, usually high traffic around the holidays and seasonal changes, but can be otherwise spotty in sales.)

  • For the buyer: Facebook is another great asset here. Local shops often post flash sales or the arrival of big ticket items on social media. Stop in to the store and develop a relationship with the owner. Let them know if you’re looking for specific items and sometimes they can source them for you or give you a special head’s up if inventory has arrived that would meet your needs.
  • For the seller: Pay attention! Different stores have different policies. Make sure you understand exactly what you’ll be getting when you hand over your used items and exactly what is required of you to consign. Sometimes you will get paid for items on the spot (generally the least dollar option but immediate cash), sometimes you will get paid a percentage when items sell (can be a higher value but patience is a must!) and sometimes you simply get store credit (great value, but make sure the store stocks items you might need/want so that you can put store credit to use!). (BONUS TIP: Take a good look at the store set up, community reputation, etc. Is the store clean and organized? Messy and cluttered? You want the best environment for your items to sell. Adding items to a disaster-area heap of a mess that potential buyers have to sift through is a recipe for your items never selling.)

3. Craigslist (Constant availability, online network boosts high traffic, but posts can be buried quickly in busy categories. Bigger ticket items usually fly at higher prices.)

  • For the buyer: Ask questions. Lots of them! Be sure to see pictures, ask about safety, recalls, age of the item…basically anything that might affect the quality and longevity of the item. Your best bet is to see items in person before committing to sale. Don’t be afraid to bargain on pricing, but don’t be cheap! It’s annoying and unfair and you wouldn’t want it done to you.
  • For the seller: Be specific (and honest!) when describing your item. Post high quality images. Make sure your tagline on your post is simple but draws attention to a high quality item. Be sure to list any requirements (i.e. cash only, must be local to pick up, first come, first served) that you may have before you sell. Be sure your price takes shipping costs into account if you’re willing to ship it. Post items with an anonymous email and don’t use your personal email address.

4. Facebook Groups (Constant availability, online network boosts high traffic, items sell quickly.)

  • For the buyer: Search for local groups in your area or check out national groups (I’m a big fan of Mothers of Multiples Resale and Mothers of Multiples Resale: Singles Edition.). Read the policies carefully and start sifting through the albums. You will need a PayPal address for national groups, but local transactions may be in cash depending on the seller. If items require shipping, be sure to do the math and make sure the price + shipping is still a bargain. (BONUS TIP: If having items shipped, try to buy multiple items from one seller to reduce the shipping cost overall and add value to your purchase!)
  • For the seller: Double check the policies for any groups you join to be sure your items aren’t deleted. List location and pricing with high quality images with specific descriptors. If you have any requirements, like cash only or buyer to cover shipping or shipping included, be sure to specify on the post. If you don’t specify on the front end, you risk losing money and/or causing drama. Price fairly and consider selling groups of items together in lots, especially clothes. Pay attention to the group dynamics and avoid problem buyers and sellers. They are usually easily identified. (BONUS TIP: Ask in the group for shipping tips. Many of these people are seasoned sellers and have awesome tricks to minimize your shipping costs!)

5. Yard Sales (Your choice! Traffic can be hit or miss and value per item is significantly decreased.)

  • For the buyer: Unless I’m absolutely certain it’s not going to be a problem, I avoid clothes, stuffed animals and anything with cloth/fabric and such. With pests like dust mites and bed bugs alive and well and running rampant, I just don’t want to risk it, and yard sales are prime time lower quality/care hot spots. The good thing about yard sales is that items are typically cheaper here than anywhere else. I just make sure I purchase items that can be sanitized completely to my level of OCD satisfaction. Bargain to your little heart’s content. Yard sellers do NOT want their items coming back in their home/garage.
  • For the seller: Check with your local city office to see if you need a permit to host a yard sale at your home (lame, but it is what it is). Post on social media so that your friends can check it out and share with their friends. Make sure signs are in high traffic areas with the least amount of words possible. WRITE BIG! Use arrows! Organize yourself and have items priced ahead of time. You will have early birds that arrive while you’re setting up. Be ready! Postpone if the weather is bad. It kills sales. Be sure to have change at the ready.

6. Network with Moms with Older and Younger Children (WIN! WIN! WIN! Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Happy Mama here!)

  • This is the power house option that will save you time, money and sanity in the long run. The benefits to buyer and seller are the same! If you have a relationship with another parent or a small group of parents that have kids both younger and older than yours, you have immediately set up your pipeline to sell them your used items and to buy their used items. Or simply trade! When the seasons turn, I always reach out to a specific list of ladies with kids older than mine with a “Hey, I’m looking for anything fall size 4T. Got anything to sell?” Likewise, I’ll reach out to my go to parents with a “The kids just outgrew a bunch of stuff sized 3T. Want to come take a look?” I also often get requests for items other parents are seeking. There is great trust in those types of relationships, ease of transaction, the assurance that items will be sold and no legwork or staging to prep items for sale. Seriously, I have one gal that just comes over and digs through my kid’s closet!
A few basic safety reminders! This is IMPORTANT! 
Safety Tips for Bargain Buying and Selling

1. Always meet in public places. No homes! No night time pick ups unless it is in a super well-lit, highly populated area. Make sure people know where you are going and when you are expected to return. Bring a friend or spouse if possible. You can never be too careful these days.
2. Always do sales in cash or money order (no checks!). Or PayPal if you do it online. Point being…do it securely and always make sure money is collected before you ship. Never hand over items without payment unless you plan on generously donating to their cause. Likewise, when paying for items, pay in cash and have money ready to hand over when they arrive. No purse/wallet digging!
3. Don’t give people your home address. In fact, keep personal information to an absolute minimum. The less they know, the better. It’s just safer that way.
4. Trust your gut. If something feels off, walk away. Fast. You know the feeling. No bargain is worth tempting fate if your insides are sending you a red flag warning.

Stay tuned for another post on How to Store and Prepare Your Items for Sale! Coming soon!

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Organizational Tips

Top 10 Family Safety Tips from @GetReadyNowPack

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Family Safety Tips

Life as a busy working mom is more than hectic! The best way to combat the crazy and chaos is to do our best to prepare in advance whenever possible. Emergency preparedness is one area we often skimp in, leaving us stressed and scrambling when disaster strikes (sometimes even by our own doing!). Our friends at Get Ready Now have a few simple routines, habits and family safety tips that will keep us in control when life strikes back.

Family Safety Tips

Regular Car Check Ups

We’ll admit, guilty as charged! We often overlook the basic maintenance that keeps our car running and in tip top shape. Then, when our car decides to bite back with a little reminder about how much we’ve been neglecting it, we’re stuck in all the wrong places at all the wrong times. If you have trouble remembering to give your car some much needed love, be sure to download our Google calendar reminder list!

Keep Your Phone Fully Charged

Oops…guilty as charged again! We hate hunting down our phone chargers and have a really bad habit of tossing our phones under our pillows instead of plugging it in at night, which usually means it’s teetering near death right when we want to make an important call the next day. Invest the few dollars to keep phone chargers handy. One in the kitchen, one in the office, one in the bedroom, one in the car. Do your best to stay charged up so you have some mileage on your phone’s battery when you need it!

Stay Tuned to Weather and Disaster Warnings

We all have our phones within reach around the clock, so be sure to sign up for phone alerts or download your favorite weather app to stay in the know and be ready to move and take action when regional warnings are issued!

Have an Evacuation Plan in Place

This is a big one. Whether it’s talking about your family plan to exit the house in the event of a fire or learning your local evacuation routes and shelter locations, take time to sit down with your family and make sure everyone, young and old, understands exactly what you’ll do, where, when and how should you need to evacuate your home for any reason. This can feel like a scary conversation, especially for little ones, so we often avoid it and then reality is much, much scarier when emergency strikes and we are not prepared. Bite the bullet, map out your routes and practice it as a family!

family safety tips

Know How You’ll Reconnect With People Who Matter

If your phone died right now, would you know how to reach the most important people in your life? Yup, us too. Busted. Memorization not your thing? Make sure you store contact information safely in a few different places so you can reach out to friends and family in the event of an emergency from wherever you are. When it comes to evacuation and fire escapes, set up family meeting points where you will all head should you get physically separated. Plan for the worst case scenario!

Learn What to Do if You’re Caught Away From Home

This is more about having a plan A…through double ZZ. Emergencies breed fear and fear breeds panic, so our best defense is a good offense. Spend some time thinking through the different scenarios that might result in your being stuck somewhere you don’t want to be, unable to get somewhere you do what to be. What will you do? Where will you go? Confronting your fears, establishing plans and considering your options will empower you to act with clarity and purpose when life goes awry.

Have an Emergency Kit (or Ten) and Know How to Use Them

An emergency preparedness kit is only helpful if you know where it is, can easily get to it, know what’s in it and how to use it. Thankfully, our friends at Get Ready Now can help us there. They have vehicle packs, grab and go packs and have thought about everything you’ll need in an emergency from start to finish. Their bags are waterproof (win), clear (double win) and the supplies inside are good for 5 years (triple win!). Their website has complete lists and even videos detailing exactly what is in your pack and why it’s important. Use the code FREESHIP for free shipping! Woot! Woot!

Don’t Forget to Plan for Your Pets

Many of us overlook preparing in advance for what will happen with our pets in an emergency. We adore these beloved family members and can hit a wall of panic when disaster strikes and we realize we have not accounted for their needs along with our own. Make sure your emergency kits have extra pet food and include your pet care in evacuation planning and practice.

Stay in the Know and Sharpen Up on Your Emergency Skills

Are you CPR certified? Do you know how to safely perform the Heimlich Maneuver? Do you know how to start a fire outdoors? Consider signing up for a local safety or survival skills course. When disaster strikes, our knowledge base fuels our ability to stay calm and act effectively, which can save crucial time in an emergency or even save somebody’s life!

No Cheating! Check Those Smoke Detector Batteries Regularly

Admit it. We’ve all done it. It starts beeping, out of love to let us know that something’s up and it’s not in prime shape to save our lives. And we beat it to death with a stick, rip out the batteries, and cuddle back up in bed. And then leave it. And then leave it. And then leave it some more. NO MORE. Get those batteries in, set calendar reminders to test all smoke detectors regularly and keep your family safe, starting in your home, today.

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Use the code FREESHIP for Free Shipping on Your Order!

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Blogging Resources

How to Add Custom Facebook Tabs to your Business Page

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Custom Facebook tabs are a great way to spiff up your business page with touches all your own. In a visual flow format that’s mostly controlled by the social media platform itself, making the most of these tiny advantages and calls-to-action can be pivotal to expanding your reach. Take steps to prompt your audience to actively engage and direct visitors on your business page to your areas of greatest interest (i.e. subscribing or following you on social media). Custom Facebook tabs give you the opportunity to plant a tiny seed of interest by highlighting applications that otherwise tend to be ignored.

Implementing custom Facebook tabs starts with activating the appropriate applications on your business page. Connect your TwitterPinterest and Instagram feeds directly to your business page (Did you know you can set up your Instagram to post directly to your Facebook business page?). Explore your email subscriber tool for Facebook integration. If you’re using LeadPages via WordPress, activate the auto-Facebook tab (amazing!).

Search Facebook for App

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Your next step is to order your Facebook tabs so that your top 3 (the ones you plan to create custom Facebook tabs for) are at the top of the list. You can do so easily by navigating to your business page, clicking “More” on your top tab bar, and then selecting “Manage Tabs.” From there you can drag up or down to order your list and even delete tabs that serve no use for your page.

Click -More- and -Manage Tabs.- Then

Now we are ready to create your custom Facebook tabs. This feature is kind of hidden…which is why most people don’t customize their tabs! The phrase we hear most often when introducing this to our clients is “Wow! I never even knew that existed!” Click on your page Settings and then navigate to Apps, which should show a complete list of the programs you just integrated with your page. Click “Edit Settings” on one of your apps and there it is! You can accomplish two special customizations here. You can change the tab name (i.e. from LeadPages to Free Motivational Planner) and upload a custom tab image. Yay!

The appropriate size for custom Facebook tab images is 111 pixels wide by 74 pixels high.

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Customize your Tab Name AND your Tab

And there you go. You now have custom Facebook tabs that can drive traffic to subscriber portals, other social media profiles and more. Make sure your custom Facebook tabs are in line with your brand style and message. Maybe try a few different styles to see if any convert more than others. Take the opportunity to make the page your own and entice your audience to take the next step by clicking through.

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Blogging Resources

How to Make Custom Pinterest Board Covers and Upload Pins

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There are so many little ways you can personalize your online profiles and increase engagement with your market simply by improving your visual presentation. This week, we’re introducing a few ways to sharpen your Pinterest profile. The most visual of all the social media platforms out there, and second only to Google for searching for just about anything…Pinterest is an application that no small business owner can ignore. The case for Pinterest and how to maximize market engagement could be a whole blog in and of itself. We’ll have more tips and tricks to share later, but for now, let’s start small. Today, let’s talk about how to make custom Pinterest board covers and how to manually upload and edits pins (without hitting the “Pin It” button).

Custom Pinterest board covers create a strong visual consistency in your profile that can help visitors understand your brand, intent and authority in your area of the business (or blogging) world. To create them, you’ll need to understand how to manually upload and edit pins, so we’ll start there.

Log into your Pinterest account and open one of your boards. See that nice little “Add a Pin” button? Click it!

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Once you click that button, you’ll have two options. Add from Web or from your Device. When you click from Web, it’s going to remind you that you should just use a “pin it” button (and they’re right). For this lesson, let’s click from your Device. It will prompt you to upload a photo and you’ll browse your device (in this case, my computer hard drive) and choose the image to upload. It will automatically trigger the pin box and you’ll be able to choose your board and add a pin description. Voila!

What does your head shot say about you-

You’re probably going…something is missing! Where does the newly created pin take you? And you’re right. We’ve got one more step. Once the pin has been created and uploaded. Click to edit the pin and then add the URL that you want your audience to click through to in the Source box. Now…ta da!!! Voila!! You’re done!

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The process for adding custom Pinterest board covers is 90% what you just learned and 10% PicMonkey fun. Click “Custom” to get started.

The magic dimension size for custom Pinterest board cover is 217 pixels x 147 pixels. 

Once you have your board covers created, you’ll upload each of them via the process above. You don’t have to add a source URL to click through if you’re just going for Pinterest pretty, BUT…our recommendation is to take the opportunity to link through to your website wherever you can! So, if you have a landing page on your website that relates to the items on your board, link your custom board cover through to that page! You never know who might click! To assign the new custom boards as the cover images in your profile, click “Edit” and then “Change Cover” and you’ll be able to scroll through to the new cover image. Click “Save Changes” and you’re done!

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