Jess Reiche

Gone are the days of throwing out things you aren’t using anymore. The world we live in recycles, reuses, donates, lends, sells and re-purposes almost anything. Now, I’m not the best at recycling and my DIY skills are about as good as a 5 year old’s, but the lending/donating/selling part I’ve got a handle on.

I would love to say that I’m a minimalist but the truth is, I’m a bit of a wannabe. I’d love to get rid of everything and live off of love alone but I’m also a stay-at-home mom who tries to live realistically and comfortably. I know there are people who will get rid of all of their kids toys and throw out the TV but I prefer to teach them limits and life lessons. I’m not judging those with a ton of toys or those with 2, I’m just giving you a glimpse into how we do things around here.

I love that my kids have favorite toys and a ton of books.

I love that we can all sing the theme song to Sesame Street, name all of the Fresh Beat Band and make the voices of Yo Gabba Gabba characters.

We share a love for Pixar and Mario Brothers.

Our coffee table is now a Lego/Train table and that loud noise you may hear? Well, that’s a drum set in our basement.

But everything else is tentatively ours.

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Twice a year I participate in a local kids consignment sale, but let me back up. 4 years ago, big pregnant belly and all, I went to Be Green Sale’s New & Expecting Shopping Night to see what buying used kids things looked like – and I was hooked! We bought outfits with tags on them and baby Gap clothes that I swear are still in stores today. We discovered crazy low prices on books, toys, room decor, clothes, and so so so much more. That gave me a glimpse into what motherhood would be about — wasting a lot of money (if I wasn’t careful). The fact that this organization was able to fill 2 gymnasiums full of perfect condition used items quickly made me believe kids don’t need as much stuff as we think when we’re buying these items. Between baby showers, hand me downs, growth spurts and specialty items – the world of little kids is filled with excess.

Fast forward to today.

I have 2 kids: almost 4 and almost 2 and since my first shopping experience I’ve been a consignor at Be Green Sale. As a stay at home mom I’m always looking for opportunities to save money and make money and it’s been nice having a small income twice a year. I sell clothes they’ve outgrown and toys that are no longer used. I sell items people gave me that they don’t have time to sell themselves (and yes, I ask them first for their approval). I’ve sold strollers, baby equipment, high chairs, diaper bags and maternity clothes. It’s been an amazing blessing to our lives. But the truth is, I had no idea the impact it would have on my kids.

As my daughter has gotten older I’ve involved her in the process of consigning. Twice a year we go through her clothes and she helps me decide what we should sell and what we should donate to friends and Goodwill. We talk about why I hold on to about 5% of her items for keepsakes and how much fun it’ll be to look back at them one day. We dump out the toy box and pick out toys that aren’t her favorites. We map out the life of a toy: from the manufacturer to the toy store to our toy box to the sale to the kid who’s eagerly awaiting a brand new toy. She’s learning what it means to give and donate. We talk about kids who don’t have everything she does and mommy’s and daddy’s who would appreciate our help. We read about what the bible says and how Jesus would dump out his toy box for other kids in need. And she gets it. Not only doesn’t she get upset about items leaving our house, she gets excited. And that’s the best part.

Consigning and donating is such a great way to teach our kids about what’s important in life. She’s learning about money and income. She’s learning about being charitable and helping others. She’s learning about community. She’s learning about excess and necessities. And she’s also learning to enjoy the things she loves and take care of them while they’re here. So while I’m keeping our house (somewhat) organized and excess-free, we’re making a little money and learning some big life lessons in the process.

A lot of us consign and donate and do amazing things for other people. What I’d like you to do is include your kids in it. As mothers and aunts and cousins and friends we’re in charge of the generations to come – let’s teach them how to take care of each other and live with their hearts set on more than the next toy in the toy store.

Next up: a post on HOW I Consign and some tips! Got a question about it? Ask it in the comments below – I’ll make sure to answer it in the post!

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