table totsAt the end of last year Table Tots asked me if I would do a review of them in exchange for a table at one of their sales. At the time I was heavily pregnant and as we knew we were having another boy, I wasn’t ready to part with any of my baby gear. We did set up a date for after I’d had Ted and this is how I spent one of my Saturdays this month.

So what is it?

I’d first heard of Table Tots after seeing those fluorescent posters paving the way on my nursery school drop off route. You’ll have probably seen them yourself poking out of grass verges.

table tots timetable

The concept is simple but extremely effective. Table Tots book out large indoor spaces (so the weather is immaterial) and charge a fee for stall holders and entry to shoppers. Owners Andy and Jude are proud to say they have built up Table tots and organise 63 sales a year across Yorkshire.

Why bother?

As part of my #maternitymillionaire mission, I’ve been keen to source out new ways to make extra money on top of my maternity pay. I’m actually attempting to earn more on maternity than I would in my full time job. I want to prove that just because you have had a family doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your standard of living. In order to do this though, I knew I would need extra income streams to keep up the lifestyle I enjoy.

The clear out…

Ted had turned six weeks so I was ready to part with all my maternity clothes. (Yes that chapter of my life is officially over. No, please don’t ask me if I’m going to try for a girl. No, you definitely don’t need to give me that pity look. My boys ARE enough and I consider my family perfect too.)

Anyway, by six weeks Ted had also grown out of lots of clothes so they were ready to be sold too. There were also lots of clothes I was ready to sell which I had been handed down from various friends and family. If you’re one of these people, please read to the end before you get annoyed with me.

I bundled my decluttered stash into my car (seriously I could have booked a van there was that much stuff!) and drove on down to my local Table Tots sale.

On arrival…

Parking up, I saw how much stuff people had brought with them. I wouldn’t have looked silly with a van at all! There were clearly lots of people who had done this before and had taken the time to label all their items up and price them individually. One of the assistants was surprised I’d not brought my own hanging rail. To be fair, I could have done with one!

After booking myself in I was allocated my table and set to laying everything out. Thankfully I’d planned ahead and taken my lunch with me as this laying out worked up a real appetite. I quickly realised that spending a bit of time beforehand sectioning everything into different sizes would have paid dividends. Nevertheless, my table was fairly acceptable but definitely more of the jumble sale end of the spectrum as opposed to the very professional looking table next to me. That one was full of handmade dresses and knitwear.

What sells?

I had a chance to have a quick look around before the queuing hoards of shoppers were let loose on us. I couldn’t believe the low prices on things but as a parent, I appreciate how quickly baby stuff accumulates. With babies changing clothing sizes every few months (if you’re lucky), the mountains of clothes multiply. Fully appreciate how these sellers feel for just wanting their space back.

table tots bargain

I noticed that my maternity wear didn’t sell very well at the sale. I wondered if this is because you’re more likely to know about these sales once you actually have children yourself. For me, actual things sold much better than clothing. Fortunately for me, a lot of the non-clothing items were things I had got for free off Amazon to review. This meant from my first sale I was in profit.

What did I learn?

  • Arrive early so you don’t have as far to walk from your car carrying your gear.
  • Take a packed lunch and drinks.
  • Have a sufficient float with various coins.
  • Categorise the clothing into different sizes.
  • Price up your belongings with labels.
  • Think seasonally. There’s no wonder I couldn’t sell my newborn sized Christmas outfits. Those babies hadn’t even been conceived yet!
  • Be prepared to reduce your prices. Just because your granny knitted it doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.
  • Take a friend or make friends with your neighbouring stall holders. This is essential for toilet trips!
  • Take a roll of bags and bin liners. Buyers will ask you for a bag and won’t expect to pay an extra 5p either.
  • You can choose to book for a future sale on the day and save 20% off the table fee.

What did I earn?

I made a very satisfactory £65 from 16 buyers in the 90 minutes it ran for. Buyers know that they’re just going to be seeing baby and toddler stuff for sale. Therefore this is far more efficient than a carboot. It was great fun, not a lot of time out of my day and I had an empty loft!

All my takings from this sale have been donated to Comic Relief.

table tots sale room

ThriftyMum Introduces: Table Tots Sales
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