Why I Take My Kids to the PT Sale or Why I Own a Purple Fur Armchair

The Parent Talk Used Clothing, Equipment, and Toy Sale is coming this Saturday, October 17, 2015!  If you have ever seen me at the Sale, you know that I am often accompanied by my daughters, aged six-and-a-half and four-and-a-half.  I have brought them to the Sale for the last few years.  Why do I give them each five dollars, brave the Sale crowds, and try to maneuver the three of us around the full, fun, and frantic basement of Christ Episcopal Church in Needham?  Here’s why:

Christ Episcopal Church basement full of Parent Talk Sale clothing.

  • I believe that it’s freeing for my daughters to hear, “It’s your choice,” rather than “No” and “Put that back,” which is typically what they hear from me at a toy store.  At the Sale, their eyes light up when they realize that they have so many options and independence to choose and buy (staying within their budget, of course).  Baby doll stroller (even if we already have five)?  Balance board with monkey face on it?  Tinkerbell costume that is probably too small?  It’s up to you, kiddo.

  • They can bring home stuff that they love.  It is pretty much a rule that I am not allowed to say “no” to a Sale item that they choose to buy, unless it is unsafe or broken.  Trust me — I have been tested — particularly by the furry, purple armchair with Disney fairies all over it that my daughter had to have.  While it is my least favorite thing in her room, it is a treasure that she has adored for years.  The hours of reading that she has logged in it has more than made up for my initial distaste.  (So, thanks to whomever donated it to the Sale).

    Toy Room at a Parent Talk Sale

    • It’s a treat.  I don’t make my girls use their allowances for their Sale purchases, but I do talk with them about the good behavior that I will need to see in the week or so before our shopping trip.  I tell them how busy it will be while we are there.  That advance preparation and the promise of a dip into the candy bowl at the end of Sale shopping has been an effective deterrent to bad behavior about two-thirds of the time.

    • The girls can buy back a toy that I sneakily donated to the Sale.  (Seriously, this has happened).

    • Sale shopping is a chance to do some basic math.  I ask them, “If this book is two dollars and this toy is four dollars, how much is that together?” 
    “Let’s play shop!” by Sarah Joy

    • I want my daughters to know that when we are done with using something, someone else can still use it.  Also, just because someone else has used an item does not make it any less useful to us.

      • Lastly, I want my daughters to understand, at the level that they can, what the Sale is about.  Our family has benefited in huge ways from what Parent Talk provides.  I want my girls to see that the reducing, reusing, and recycling at the Sale funds Parent Talk, and Parent Talk in turn organizes the Barn Babies event that they enjoy each spring, subsidizes the Needham playground monkey bars that they swing from, and provides connections to our village of friends

      Happy shopping!  I’ll see you there . . .


      About the author
      Katie Alwart is a former Board member of Parent Talk and a Needham mom.  She works outside of the home three days a week and tries unsuccessfully to declutter her house during the other four days.


      If you have questions about shopping at, consigning or donating to Parent Talk’s upcoming Sale, ask them in the Comments section below!

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