Spring Cleaning With A Mom Swap

DadCAMP appears every two weeks in The Calgary Herald Neighbours section. This was originally published the weekend of May 23, 2014.

As I rifled through my son’s drawers trying to pull out a short sleeve shirt for him to wear, I lingered over one and sighed. It’s just a shirt, and it’s now too small for both of our boys to wear. It’s been hiding in the bottom corner of the drawer for nearly a year now, unworn, but not unloved.

It’s a simple shirt featuring The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. It was the first song our oldest learned, and both of our boys were famous for marching around the playroom and blowing on an invisible horn with the band in the song while it played. This shirt has experienced many magical mysteries, but is now too small and I have to decide: does it “go to the box” or “go to the sale”?

“The box” is the one refuge my wife and I have allowed ourselves to save favorite books, toys, onesies, and tshirts.

“The sale” is the Calgary Mom Sale on June 7 at the Strathcona Community Association. Parent swaps are a big deal across Calgary. My wife discovered one in Okotoks 3 yrs ago and was thrilled to make more than $300 in half a day selling second hand stuff. Easier than a garage sale, these swaps are popping up all across the city.

Families rent a table and pile it up with everything they want to sell. People form lines at the door looking for bargains on strollers, maternity clothes, onesies, halloween costumes, books, toys, puzzles, and more.

If you’re looking to sell your spring cleaning finds, here are some tips:

The best sellers are maternity clothes and clean, unstained baby clothes (brand names sell quickly). Toys, puzzles, LEGO, trucks, dvds, strollers, gear, and furniture are also popular.

Give your things a wipe with sanitizing cloth, and give the clothes a final wash. Sort them by size. Some people stuff them in freezer bags so that they’re not all unfolded and messed up during the sale.

If you’re bringing toys, or accessories, make sure to bring manuals. Do not sell items that have been recalled or are broken and could be hazardous.

Buyers also need to be aware when they’re buying second hand. Do a quick search of items online to make sure for yourself that no recalls have been made for strollers, cribs, or other gear.

While these Mom Swaps are great ways to load up in one spot, some are also turning to Facebook to sell their spring cleaning.  Mom and Parent groups have popped up on Facebook for communities from McKenzie Town to Tuscany. In the group parents will gather to share tips on finding contractors, babysitters, and to swap and sell their outgrown baby gear. To find one near you simply type your community name in to Facebook.

But as I try and clean out our garage in this spring cleaning and sale season, I seem to be adding more things to the clutter than I am removing.

One of the items in the sell pile is a tricycle. My sons’ first bike. The one my oldest was so excited to help me build on the front steps. The angst gripped me as I moved it from the “keep” side of the garage to the “sell” side. I don’t want to let it go, but it’s just too big to sit around gathering dust. It needs to be ridden and loved by another child, so it goes to the sale.

Charlie's Tricycle

If you’re heading to the Calgary Mom Sale on June 7, be sure to look for my wife’s table. There will be lots of board books, some clothes, and a bright red, yellow and blue tricycle. There will not be a Yellow Submarine tshirt.

The Calgary Mom Sale is June 7 9a – noon at Stratchona Community Association. More info at calgarymomsale.ca

Calgary Herald DadCAMP - May 23, 2014

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