It started with a drum. Just your average plastic electronic drum that I purchased on my neighborhood Facebook tag sale group for $5. This same drum will provide hours of joy for my little guy for a season and eventually get thrown in the “do I keep this?” pile.
I just bought it from someone else’s “pile,” and it feels good to somewhat lessen our family’s carbon footprint by buying this item used. As I walked away from my purchase with my daughter in tow, I suddenly said, surprising myself, “Don’t tell your brother – this is going to be for Christmas.”
Despite giving used books as gifts throughout the year to my little ones, I would never have thought to give my children second-hand items for Christmas presents. However, during my moment with the drum, I became open to the idea. Mainly because with two children, the collection of shiny, plastic piles seems ridiculous at times, but also, because I feel the urge to have a greener Christmas. I haven’t been able to buy too many second-hand things, but for the few I have – it’s a start.
Since I purchased the drum, I have noticed many posts on the Facebook tag sale groups that read “ISO Barbie Dream House” or “ISO Skylander Figures“ popping up during this hectic month of holiday shopping. (For those that aren’t tag sale group savvy, ISO stands for In Search Of).
It seems that others are also embracing the idea of second-hand shopping for holiday presents. It is better for our environment, and it is also a heck of a lot cheaper, too!
In addition, these groups are an awesome place to find retired toys. Does your child have a love for Barney, and you have noticed his lack of popularity in the stores? Someone may have retired toys of favorite characters that you just can’t find anywhere else!
If you haven’t ventured over to the tag sale sites on Facebook, it is usually quite easy. Do a search on Facebook “Insert Your Town Tag Sale” and ask to become a member of the group. For some closed groups, you may need to be invited by a friend. Besides belonging to my own town’s group, I also belong to Fairfield County Mom’s Tag Sale Group which covers – you guessed it – all of Fairfield County.
The growing popularity of these groups versus Craig’s List or Ebay is, in my opinion, due to the neighborly feel of the exchange. Almost makes me feel like I am back in the good old days of bartering. Because the sellers (and buyers) have Facebook pages, you get a feel for who they are and the groups also have administrators to somewhat protect you from deals gone wrong. Some of my friends meet in public places like supermarket parking lots, but I have made exchanges at people’s homes even leaving money in an envelope and retrieving an item from the front porch. I also had a nice private message conversation with a grandmother who bought my daughter’s “Big Sister” shirts which helped make letting go of these special pieces of clothing a little bit easier.
The way it works is that you need to be the first person to comment on an item and express an interest. If the person above you passes, then you become next in line. A word of warning, there are some hardcore buyers out there just waiting to find a deal! American Girl Dolls are a favorite, and fitness machines seem to be a difficult item to get your name in first.
To be honest, I don’t have the extra time to stalk the site for these hot items, but I do find it a handy place to look first when I am in need of something. Now if only I could get my act together to start posting some of my own kids’ things for sale.
I run the Danbury Kids Stuff ONLY tag sale. Not only have I gotten rid of unused stuff that just takes up space – something we don’t have a lot of – but bought some fabulous toys for my daughter. I got her a play kitchen for Christmas, complete with food, plates and silverware and other related items for a great deal. All of the items are slightly less than mint condition, but I paid 1/4 of the price!
That is awesome – how crazy it must be to run it. These groups seem to be the go to place this Christmas!
I had no idea these existed! I’ll definitely be checking these out. Thanks Shannon!
Elysa – you will be amazed at what you can find and how many people are on it!
I am a huge advocate of second-hand stuff for gifts. Many of Ellie’s toys over the years have been purchased at tag sales or been handed down (for free!) from friends. She doesn’t know or doesn’t care that someone else may have played with her toy first. She’s just happy to have the toy. And once she’s grown out of something, I usually hand it down to a friend in need. I love helping others out. A woman I worked with had a November baby a few years ago, so she’s gotten all of Ellie’s hand-me-downs and toys. I took good care of all the clothes and items, but I realized since we weren’t going to have another child, I didn’t need to save everything. Helping this family out continuously over the years has been such a tremendous gift… to Ellie and me! Everything from winter coats to play kitchens gets at least one more use. Ellie wore lots of hand-me-downs as well. Again, they were well taken care of by the person that gave them to me, and it really helped to not have to purchase a crazy amount of clothes while she was a toddler.
Hooray for getting and receiving hand-me-downs! I have gotten so much from others for Baby B it’s like going shopping in the garage each season!
I HAVE SOME ITEMS I AM TRYING TO SELL HOW CAN I POST THEM SO I CAN SELL THEM I LIVE IN FFLD,CT