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How To Make More Money Selling Your Kids' Stuff

03/19/2014 05:20 EDT | Updated 05/19/2014 05:59 EDT

Life is expensive. Life with kids -- rife with activities, lessons, school trips, fundraisers, outgrown clothes and the latest gadgets -- gives "an arm and a leg" new meaning.

So it's no surprise that stores and websites that specialize in selling used children's clothes, toys, equipment and furniture are quickly growing in popularity. Parents need solutions to offset the high cost of raising kids; after all, once you have kids of your own, you soon realize that kids grow out of clothes and gear faster than they wear it out.

But before you head to a consignment store or place an online ad, here are five ways to maximize the money you can make from selling your children's stuff. (And I'm talking any kind of stuff: toys, strollers, baby carriers, furniture and clothes...oh, the clothes):

1. Sell items as soon as your child grows out of them or stops using them.

Shifting consumer preferences mean that colours and types of clothes and baby equipment go out of style quickly. Items have the most resale value within three years of their original purchase date. If you're sentimental or want to pass down items to the next child, choose a few keepsakes. Sell the rest.

2. Sell items at the right time of year.

There is more demand for snowsuits in October than in March. Strollers sell quickly in April, and slowdown in October. Playpens and booster seats sell more quickly during travel periods like summer vacation, Christmas and spring break. Resale stores want your spring/summer clothes in December and your fall/winter clothes in June.

3. Consign popular, trendy items rather than doing immediate buyouts.

Consignment stores pay a higher amount for items because consignors get paid when the item sells. Stores that offer cash on the spot pay a lower amount for items, because they take the risk that the item won't sell. Typically, resale stores will pay cash for items at 10 per cent or 20 per cent of what they sell for, but they will pay commission of 40 per cent or 50 per cent on consignment. If you have an item that is in hot demand, it'll likely sell within a week of consigning it; and that means you'll make more money.

4. Clean and sort your items before bringing them in.

Many resale stores limit the number of items they'll look at during a single customer visit. A good rule of thumb is to bring no more than 20 items. Maximize your sales potential by sorting effectively at home first. Choose the most popular brands and recent styles, and make sure items are clean, without obvious wear, and include all original pieces or attachments. If toys or equipment require batteries, they need to include them to prove that the thing actually works.

5. Sell lots; sell often.

One of the secrets of retail success is having a broad and continuous selection of popular items for sale. Treat your children's items the same way. Commit to selling off the items that your child doesn't use anymore each season. If you're enterprising, you may even "flip" children's items by picking up high quality children's clothes, equipment and toys at garage sales and doubling your money through resale stores.

Parents who invest the time and effort to sell their kids' stuff earn hundreds and even thousands of dollars each year. These tips will help you do the same.

What are your tips for making money selling your kids' stuff?

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