Monday, June 20, 2011

Saving the Moola: Garage Sale Edition, Part 2

Garage sale season is still in full effect in the United States and thriving here in Michigan. A couple weekends ago, Jason and I went out garage saling and found loads of great items. Items I was looking for specifically were items for my dear friend Rose's baby. I attended her baby shower this past weekend and am so excited for her and her husband!

At this point, some of you may be thinking: wait a minute, did she just say she was looking for baby shower gifts at garage sales?!?!

This is the whole point of Part 2. First, I'd like to share what exactly I was able to gift the new baby and his parents with this weekend:

All items, minus the alphabet blocks, are in varying sizes from newborn to 9 months. I bought three long-sleeved pajama-type onesies (one organic), five bodysuit-type onesies, four caps, six pairs of socks, nine bibs, and alphabet blocks. My total bill: $10.

Rose and Joel are first-time parents and as such, they probably need a lot of items (more than a second-time parent would need, I presume). They registered at Target, and I viewed their registry. I noted general items they had registered for, specifically bibs and clothing which are rampant at garage sales. I prepared myself to deal with buying off a registry, if need be, but hoped I could find nice, quality items at a garage sale.

Some of the items, such as the socks and the pack of five bodysuits, are brand new with the tags still on them. None of the items had stains or holes. These are things I would buy my own baby if I had one (and just to make a greater point: I would never, never buy my kid new items unless I absolutely had to. It just wouldn't happen.).

Some of you may be uncomfortable with gifting used items, and that's okay. At the end of the day, you have to do what makes you happy and what makes sense for you and your family. I could have spent $15 at Target and bought one hooded towel and one wash cloth for the new baby, and I'm sure Rose and Joel would have been thrilled with that. But, being someone who enjoys garage saling, I thought if I could spend $10 and gift them with a whole smorgasbord of other items they also need, I would be blessing myself and them. A win-win-win situation, since I'm also blessing a specific family (the family I bought the items from) by putting $10 in their pocket as well instead of handing $15 over to a huge corporation.

Rose and Joel seemed pleased with my contributions to their new family member, and at the end of the day, that's all that really matters. Here are a few rules I think are important to keep in mind about gifting already-loved items to loved ones:

  • If you don't typically buy already-loved items for your family (meaning you, your partner, your children, OR in other words: the people who actually live with you), it's probably inappropriate to do this for other people. Don't do to others what you wouldn't do to yourself.
  • Don't gift items, in any case with items from anywhere, that have stains or holes or, in other words, are not gently used. The idea is to prolong the life of an item already in existence, however, there is a life span to items. Holes and stains mean the item has come to an end (there are exceptions to this rule: if you yourself are okay with mending items for yourself or your family (please see definition above), knock your socks off. But you probably shouldn't attempt to mend an item just so you can give it to another family. This isn't cheap (well, it is, but the greater point is...), it's just uncaring. You should care enough about other people to gift them with items they can use for awhile and that are sustainable.
  • Never be offended if someone doesn't want the already-loved items. I'm happy Rose and Joel are happy, but if they went home at the end of the day and thought, hmm, I don't really think we have a use for these items and it's offensive they're used, I just hope they sell them at a garage sale, donate them to a thrift store, or give them to someone else who may need the items. I have to go to sleep at night feeling good about what I did with what God gave me (in this case, money), and this is what I felt was appropriate.


Rose said...

So, just for the record, Little Julian has about 5 garbage bags of garage sale clothes, ALL of his furniture is second or third hand from my brother and niece, and I even got his bottles, a dishwasher safe manual breast pump (it'll be sterile), fancy orthodontist approved sippy cups, etc. all at garage sales. All of that cost me or my mom about $200. It would have been a lot cheaper, but we got some really nice things that I was willing to pay $2 or $3 each for. The point is, I'd like to see someone do that at a "respectable" baby store. Or Walmart. I would have never known that those things you gave us were used unless I was poking around your blog and suddenly saw "garage sale," which is a magical phrase. Good job, Jess. XOXO

Jess and Jason said...

I'm so glad you were pleased and not offended!! Baby items are rampant at garage sales, and I'm happy you were able to score some goodies for Julian. I can't wait to see his first pics :)