Mom-to-mom sales offer great deals— if you know what to look for

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published July 15, 2015

 Kim Kiefer, of St. Clair Shores, shows a miniature football jersey to her granddaughter, Lexi Kiefer, during the Roseville event.

Kim Kiefer, of St. Clair Shores, shows a miniature football jersey to her granddaughter, Lexi Kiefer, during the Roseville event.

File photo by Sean Work

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METRO DETROIT — No two parenting styles are alike. You’ve got your helicopter parents, your attachment parents, your free-range parents — the options are seemingly endless.


But one thing most moms and dads can agree on is that raising a kid ain’t cheap. Learning how to save a few bucks can become an important component of everyday life.


Mom-to-mom sales have become increasingly popular events for that very reason. Think of them as pop-up resale shops devoted just to items for little ones. Parents bring things their own children have no use for anymore and sell them to other parents looking for a bargain. Why pay full price on a romper or a highchair when you can get a gently used one for less than half the price?


That’s what Julia Davis was thinking when she started shopping at mom-to-mom sales. The business manager at Rockpointe Community Church in Sterling Heights said she liked being able to find basic items like clothes and toys, and big-ticket items like strollers and cribs, for way less than she might pay at a store.


“Times are tough, and a lot of the things people sell at these stores are like new,” said Davis. “I’ve gotten outfits from people that weren’t even worn. It’s a great place to save money.”


The church will hold its fifth annual fall mom-to-mom sale from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 26. Proceeds go to support church activities like mission trip scholarships. Which is good, because the sales draw huge crowds, including those in need of larger items that can cost more than a pretty penny brand new.


“For just one more dollar (admission), we allow early bird shoppers to come in half an hour early. They usually go right to the big-ticket room, where they can really save money on strollers, cribs, pack-and-plays — instead of spending hundreds of dollars in the store.”


But those are precisely the items that Dr. Ami Hatta, with Kids First Pediatrics, said customers should buy with caution if they’re secondhand. The pediatrician said that sometimes larger items that have been recalled for safety reasons will be pulled from store shelves — but there’s no one monitoring for recalled goods at resale events.


“At least make sure the manufacturer is clearly labeled on the product. That way, you can hop online and check to see if it’s been recalled,” Hatta said. “Also, inspect for cracks or missing parts.”


Children’s items like drop-side cribs and crib bumpers have long fallen by the wayside in stores for their safety hazards, but parents who bought the items when they were still considered safe might not know of the dangers they could pose and may pass them on at a sale.


Hatta said that safety items more than 10 years old should also be avoided.


“There have been lots of developments and improvements over the years,” she said. “Like car seats. Buy those new, because they’ll be better and safer.”


Lastly, Hatta warned against toys that help children to sit upright when they’re not ready, or walkers that can help little ones scoot around the house more easily. She said it’s best to let kids grow into those milestones instead of essentially providing them a crutch.


“They’re really a no-no because gross motor skills are actually slowed down,” she said. “(Walkers) help them get to places they cognitively aren’t ready to be going.”


But for smaller supplies like clothes and choke-safe toys, Hatta says go for it — she understands the appeal of a good deal.


“Clothes you can always launder in the washer on high heat. And of course, any toy you get you should just inspect it first. But if it’s plastic, just wipe it down with any baby-safe disinfectant or even alcohol,” she explained. “Just look for cracks, pointy edges, and try to get BPA-free plastic if you can. It can be hard to tell, but a lot of times it will say ‘BPA free’ on the bottom.”


Tableware and clothes are great items to get at mom-to-mom sales, Hatta said, because they can so easily be cleaned and tend to be expensive in stores.


Davis agreed, adding that clothes for infants and toddlers are especially in demand since kids grow out of them so quickly.


“If it’s a name-brand outfit, someone might price it a little higher. But a lot of times, people just want to get rid of clothes. They might put a sign on their table that says ‘All clothing $1-$2 apiece,’” said Davis. “You can get a whole outfit for a couple dollars, where you might pay $20 at Gymboree for the same thing.”


But shoppers at mom-to-mom sales start to push their limit, Davis would estimate, when kids get closer to 7 or 8 years old.


“After that, kids start to wear clothes longer and they get a little more beat up,” she said.


To learn more about the Rockpointe Community Church mom-to-mom sale Sept. 26, visit www.rockpointe.org or call (586) 939-8590. The church is located at 38100 Utica Road in Sterling Heights.


Kids First Pediatrics is located at 624 E. Nine Mile Road in Hazel Park. Doctors can be reached at (248) 397-8031.


Is your organization hosting a mom-to-mom sale this fall? Be sure to add it to our Community Calendar.

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