The tree is down but all the presents still aren’t put away. A Nerf football and a remote control helicopter litter the top of my fireplace mantle while others toys reside on the floor in my family room or on top of the kids’ dressers. Looking in my ten- and thirteen-year-old sons’ closets and dresser drawers is like participating in an archeological dig. Picture books fight for space alongside chapter books on overcrowded bookcases. One lone pair of Thomas the Tank Engine size-six briefs, unworn for years, is nestled at the bottom of a drawer filled with size ten plain white briefs. The label on the Imaginext Rumblin’ Rocks construction set on the top closet shelf tells me that it expired with my younger son’s eighth birthday.
It seems I’m not the only one with this problem. At a New Year’s Eve party, my hosts were musing about their son’s elaborate Geo Trax collection now stored in the basement. This series of interchangeable (and bulky) plastic railroad tracks, roads and buildings had given way to other passions their son was now pursuing, and was taking up valuable storage space.
I should’ve cleaned out before the holidays. I’m told by Shelley Franczak, owner of Little People Repeats, that that’s what most people do before Christmas to make room for the glut of toys that kids will be receiving from Santa and well-meaning relatives. Shelley would know. She’s been the owner of the consignment shop at 71 Main Street in Stockertown for almost 15 years.
The downturn in the economy has meant an uptick in Franczak’s business.
“People used to throw things out or give them away but now they want to make money.” she said.
If you didn’t do your deep cleaning of closets, dressers, toy bins and basement prior to December 25 don’t despair. Shelley is taking appointments from potential consigners on a rolling basis. In fact, she’s still scheduling appointments for spring and summer name-brand clothing, newborn through teen, along with toys and baby equipment now. Shelley has a study influx of shoppers – daycare center owners, grandparents, new parents and her regular weekly shoppers.
“Everyone seems to buy a ton of spring and summer clothing in February, March and April. When the weather gets hot it’s done. My slow times are June and July when people are on vacation and they already have their summer stuff.” said Franczak.
This is when most traditional retailers also start rolling out their spring and summer collections. It was a bit shocking when I went into Target to score some bargains on Christmas wrap and Santa Claus hats (ninety percent off) and passed by the bathing suits displayed in the kid’s section. Although merchants would like us to all believe that it’s a balmy eighty degrees and hot and sunny, the reality is it’s still January in the Northeast with blustery weather given to fits of flurries.
Therefore, a garage sale during this time of year to get rid of accumulated stuff is out. That’s why resale shops are so perfect. With minimal work on our part we can bring the items we want to sell, where they price it for us, display it on racks, deal with customers, and when our merchandise sells send us a check.
Even when the weather gets warmer you can get more money selling your goods at a consignment shop.
“The price on it is the price. No one bargains with me. Consigners will get at least fifty-percent more for their stuff at my consignment shop than selling it at a garage sale.” said Shelley.
So instead of waiting for spring, the clutter throughout the house is making cleaning (and calling Shelley) a priority now.