Used Clothing, Toys and Gear for Kids
Back in the early days of motherhood, when I had just one little wolf cub to care for and we lived in Montreal, my neighbour introduced me to the wonderful world of second-hand twins and triplets sales.
Contrary to what I’m sure none of you are thinking, this is not the sale of twins and triplets whose families have tired of them, but rather the sale of gear once belonging to twins and triplets. Organizations of parents of multiples (POMs in our parlance) hold these sales annually or biannually to help their members sell their no-longer-needed gear (often in dupli-or-triplicate), help member-POMs and members of the public save money on gently used kids’ items and raise money for their organizations, which help support local families with twins, triplets (and more).
When we moved to Calgary, I was happy to discover that my new hometown also had a POMs organization with a semi-annual sale, and I first attended with my newborn (singleton) daughter. Never in a million years did I ever imagine that I would be any more than an attendee at a TTMAC (Twins Triplets and More Association of Calgary) sale. Sure, I wanted one more kid, but that “one more kid” would turn out to be two more? Well that was not on my radar.
Since the only way to get early access (and first dibs) at a TTMAC sale is by being a member (or the one chosen friend of a member), and the only way to be a member is to have twins (or more), I suppose the universe figured that twins would make sense for me, the eternal bargain hunter. So, here we are: my twins are turning two next month and the spring TTMAC Sale is fast approaching—thanks, universe!
How does it work?
Members of TTMAC who wish to sell their children’s gear register for a spot and meticulously inventory all of their sale items. Every item at the sale will have a tag with a barcode, just like at a store. The sizes and prices of items will be clearly marked.
Clothing is carefully sorted by size and gender (and continuously replaced and refolded) by TTMAC volunteers throughout the sale. Toys, shoes and books are all organized in their own sections. You can carry your prospective purchases in a big shopping bag, a wagon or a suitcase on wheels, and there are tables where you can sort through the items you’ve chosen and leave any you no longer want for volunteers to return to the correct section.
When you head to the checkout, a volunteer will scan your purchases, and the system will credit those purchases to the appropriate seller. Remember, it’s CASH ONLY!
Why shop the TTMAC Sale?
For the environment: I have been a passionate and boastful second-hand shopper for years. Thrifting is getting more and more popular, especially as more and more consumers become more conscious of the environmental footprint of constantly buying new.
For the savings: I am proud to say that a solid 95% of what my children own has been purchased second-hand. Kids are expensive. I can’t feed them second-hand food or register them in second-hand dance classes, but I sure can dress them in second-hand clothes, read them second-hand books and give them second-hand toys. Prices at the TTMAC sale are set by the individual sellers and are typically as much as 90% off retail price.
For the community: When you shop the TTMAC sale, you’re putting money back in the pockets of Calgary’s parents of multiples, as well as supporting the amazing work that TTMAC does for our community.
Tips for Shopping the Sale:
- Arrive early for the best selection! Members of TTMAC and one guest can shop from 7:30-9:30 a.m., and the general public can shop from 9:30-1:30 p.m.
- Bring something to transport your purchases: one of those giant blue IKEA shopping bags or a wheeled grocery cart will work great!
- Make a list of what you’re looking for and in what sizes. For shoes, I bring a tracing of each of my kids’ current, properly fitting shoes. There is usually less selection for older kids, so if you need sizes 6 and up, start in those sections before going to the toddler and baby sizes.
- Bring cash. Every time I head up to the cashier I’m convinced I’ve over shopped and haven’t brought enough. And then I’m shocked when I find out my incredibly low total.
- If you can shop sans kids, it’ll definitely be easier, so if it’s possible to leave some or all the kids at home, do it. If you can babywear rather than use a stroller, you’ll have an easier time navigating between tables.
The TTMAC Spring Sale is Saturday, April 23 at the Genesis Centre, 7555 Falconridge Blvd NE.