What’s on Your PT Sale Shopping List?

In the weeks leading up to the Parent Talk Used Clothing, Toy and Equipment Sale, my living room and dining room become staging areas.  Donations and consignments go out the door to Sale in order to make room for purchases coming in the door from the Sale.

Once the donations have been made and the consignments have been tagged, it’s time to pull together my shopping list for the day of the Sale.  I make a mental list of what each child needs in several categories, including seasonal items, toys, equipment and my favorite — what I call “back-up” items.  I also keep my eyes open for what I call “jack-pot” items.
Seasonal Items

 At the Fall Sale, my list always includes the following items: 

  • Halloween Costumes —  Last year, I was able to buy three or four costumes for each for my twins.  Even though the twins did not end up wearing any of them for Halloween, they now have a very full dress-up closet with which they play all of the time.  This year, I am on the lookout for the makings of a pirate princess costume.
“Who dressed YOU?” by Juhan Sonin

  • Winter Gear  — I almost always end up picking up a few winter gear items, whether they be back-up items for daycare (more on that later) or “new” gear for the slopes.  I always look for tried and true name brands like L.L.Bean and Lands’ End.  I know that items from these brands will stand up to being used by several kids, and the companies’ return policies are extremely generous in case a zipper breaks or a seam pulls after years of use. This year, I am on the hunt for snow pants for my older son.
  •  Holiday Outfits — If you think about it, it never makes sense to buy holiday outfits new when you can buy them worn once or twice for a fraction of the cost!  This fall, I am looking for a dress for my daughter and coordinating sweaters for my boys.
“Had a little Christmas session.” by Tanner Smith


This year, my family has been really focused on getting the toys out of the house and reducing our clutter, so I don’t need as many toys this year.  When my kids were younger, however, I got some amazing toys from the Sale, especially toys for the newborn through toddler age range.  These toys don’t get quite as much wear and tear as toys for older children. I have picked up many nearly new items, including walkers, musical toys and Tonka trucks!  This year, my list is short, but it does include some key items:

  • Board Games – My kids are starting to play games cooperatively, with little support from Mom and Dad.  At the Sale, I am hoping to pick up a few new games to add to the rotation.  The Sale is always well stocked with everyone’s favorite games, so if you see Apples to Apples, save it for me!
  • Coloring/Activity Books – My daughter is a coloring fiend right now. If she could, she would color for hours every day.  My boys love activity books with mazes and “spot the difference” pages. I am hoping to pick up a few of these to stash in our family car so that when we go out to eat, travel, or go on car trips there will always be something for me to grab that is new entertainment.
“coloring book” by Julie Rybarczyk
  • Music – Similarly, I am planning to keep an eye out for a few CDs.  We mostly listen to streaming music at home, but we do have a CD player in the playroom and in our minivan.  I love to pull out something that  we have not listened to when we are into the fifth hour of a road trip to see the in-laws!

Back-Up Items
Okay, here’s the deal.  This is where you can really make out at the Sale.  Even if you prefer to buy new for your kids, you can always use a back-up of something, right?  Whether it’s an extra Pack ‘n Play for your mom’s house, a second jogging stroller for the beach or an extra set of winter gear for daycare, why pay full price?  Your kids will use these items only a fraction of the time, and with all the great brands and quality items at the Sale, you can’t go wrong!  This year my list includes:

  • Winter Gear —  My kids all go to daycare and instead of schlepping boots, hats, mittens, coats and snow pants back and forth each day, I just get them a second set of everything.  This year,   I am on the lookout for a second set of winter gear for my younger son. 
  • Rain Gear — How many times have you left for school when it has been sunny and then the day takes a turn for the worse?  Again, it’s easier just to have back-up rain gear that you can leave at school for the season.  My daughter needs rain boots (size 11, if you see them)!
“running in wellies and raincoats” by Sarah Offley Photography Wirral
  • Baby Gear — Just kidding! Nothing is on my list for baby gear this year. I am purging baby gear these days, but in the past when I was expecting twins, I got great deals on strollers, a second swing, and a second high-chair.  Last year, I got a great deal on not one, but two Razor scooters.  Look for Pack ‘n Plays, extra sheets, a second baby carrier (adjust one for mom and one for dad, and no need to readjust ever again) and second (or third) strollers.
  • Jack-Pot Items —  Last but not least are what I call the jack-pot items. This is the brand new Mini Boden shirt in your son’s size for $8, or the pink Pottery Barn kitchen for a fraction of the cost, new.  While I don’t put anything specific from this category on my shopping list, there is always something that catches my eye at every Sale.  At this year’s Spring Sale, I picked up several brand new crew-neck tee shirts for my daughter for under fifteen dollars.  Last fall, I got a nearly new pair of pink Kamik boots for her, which she wore nearly every day from January to May!   

What’s on your shopping list?

About the Author
Wendy Todd lives in Needham with her husband, Aaron, and three kids aged eight, four and four. She started volunteering for the Parent Talk Sale in 2008 and has been on the Sale Committee for the last four Sales. She plans to stay on the Committee until her very last bargain is found! She previously served on the Board of Directors of Parent Talk as both Playspace Chair and President.

Editor’s note:  One of the best ways to score an item on your PT Sale shopping list (especially those jack-pot items!) is to volunteer for the Sale. Volunteers can shop early, before the start of the Sale.  Help is especially needed on Sale Day, Saturday, October 17, 2015. If you are interested in volunteering, please sign up at SignUpGenius.  


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