It started with a drum. Just your average plastic electronic drum that I purchased on my neighborhood Facebook tag sale group for $5. This same drum will provide hours of joy for my little guy for a season and eventually get thrown in the “do I keep this?” pile.
I just bought it from someone else’s “pile,” and it feels good to somewhat lessen our family’s carbon footprint by buying this item used. As I walked away from my purchase with my daughter in tow, I suddenly said, surprising myself, “Don’t tell your brother – this is going to be for Christmas.”
Despite giving used books as gifts throughout the year to my little ones, I would never have thought to give my children second-hand items for Christmas presents. However, during my moment with the drum, I became open to the idea. Mainly because with two children, the collection of shiny, plastic piles seems ridiculous at times, but also, because I feel the urge to have a greener Christmas. I haven’t been able to buy too many second-hand things, but for the few I have – it’s a start.
Since I purchased the drum, I have noticed many posts on the Facebook tag sale groups that read “ISO Barbie Dream House” or “ISO Skylander Figures“ popping up during this hectic month of holiday shopping. (For those that aren’t tag sale group savvy, ISO stands for In Search Of).
It seems that others are also embracing the idea of second-hand shopping for holiday presents. It is better for our environment, and it is also a heck of a lot cheaper, too!
In addition, these groups are an awesome place to find retired toys. Does your child have a love for Barney, and you have noticed his lack of popularity in the stores? Someone may have retired toys of favorite characters that you just can’t find anywhere else!
If you haven’t ventured over to the tag sale sites on Facebook, it is usually quite easy. Do a search on Facebook “Insert Your Town Tag Sale” and ask to become a member of the group. For some closed groups, you may need to be invited by a friend. Besides belonging to my own town’s group, I also belong to Fairfield County Mom’s Tag Sale Group which covers – you guessed it – all of Fairfield County.
The growing popularity of these groups versus Craig’s List or Ebay is, in my opinion, due to the neighborly feel of the exchange. Almost makes me feel like I am back in the good old days of bartering. Because the sellers (and buyers) have Facebook pages, you get a feel for who they are and the groups also have administrators to somewhat protect you from deals gone wrong. Some of my friends meet in public places like supermarket parking lots, but I have made exchanges at people’s homes even leaving money in an envelope and retrieving an item from the front porch. I also had a nice private message conversation with a grandmother who bought my daughter’s “Big Sister” shirts which helped make letting go of these special pieces of clothing a little bit easier.
The way it works is that you need to be the first person to comment on an item and express an interest. If the person above you passes, then you become next in line. A word of warning, there are some hardcore buyers out there just waiting to find a deal! American Girl Dolls are a favorite, and fitness machines seem to be a difficult item to get your name in first.
To be honest, I don’t have the extra time to stalk the site for these hot items, but I do find it a handy place to look first when I am in need of something. Now if only I could get my act together to start posting some of my own kids’ things for sale.