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Tips for Shopping and Saving Money at Tot Trade’s Fall Sale

Each week, Columbia SC Moms Blog features ways for you to save money in our Sunday Saver series.

If you are outfitting one child or several, it gets expensive. And when they’re little, they rapidly outgrow all of their clothes and toys, so it feels like you are constantly replacing items. If you’d like a one-stop-shop where you can get just about everything you need for your kids from newborn and up, check out Tot Trade, which is going on at the Jamil Temple (206 Jamil Road, Columbia 29210) the second week in September (see Sales Dates and Times below for more information).

Details About the Event

If you see Kelly when you're shopping, say hello!

If you see Kelly while shopping, say hello!

Tot Trade was founded in 1997 by Kelly Graybill. Kelly, a former retail manager, was inspired to start Tot Trade after becoming a stay-at-home mom. The first year Tot Trade had only 36 consignors. This year, Tot Trade has several hundred consignors, and the merchandise fills the entirety of the Jamil Temple, including the outside space, and a separate space for strollers.

Tot Trade has something for anyone in search of kids’ stuff; whether you are a mom, dad, grandparent, or maybe you’re just looking to contribute toys to your church nursery. Clothes are inspected before they are allowed on the sales floor; only the best items are allowed at Tot Trade, and often clothes come in with the tags still on.

Tot Trade is a consignment sale. Consignors pay a small fee participate in the event, and sellers are responsible for pricing and tagging their own merchandise. You will find everything from bicycles to dolls to skateboards and homeschool supplies. The clothes range from Jumping Beans and Circo to Kelly’s Kids and other boutique brands. The floor stays organized by items (so folks looking for crib bedding can look precisely for bedding) and the clothing is organized by size and type (i.e. all 3T pajamas are hung together).

Tot Trade fills the Jamil Temple twice a year.  Go!  You won't regret it!

Tot Trade fills the Jamil Temple twice a year. Go! You won’t regret it!

Sale Dates and Times

First time moms and grandparents are invited to attend a pre-sale on Tuesday, September 9, but must register ahead of time for the event. First time moms can shop from 3-9 p.m., and grandparents can shop from 4-9 p.m. on this date.

Public sale dates are September 10-13.

  • Wednesday, September 10:  Open to public 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 11:  9 a.m.-6 p.m. All items are 20% off unless marked ND. (ND is short for “no discount.” The consignor chooses whether or not to let her items discount.)
  • Friday, September 12:  9 a.m.-6 p.m. All items are 40% off unless marked ND.
  • Saturday, September 13: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. All items are 60% off unless marked ND.

Tips to Maximum Your Visit

I’ve compiled a list of tips (with Kelly’s help!) for you to make the most of your trip to Tot Trade.

1.  Leave the kids at home. The public sale dates get very crowded, and keeping track of your kids is not something you want to do while you’re busy shopping. Now’s the time to enlist grandma and grandpa’s help to watch them.

2.  Wear comfortable shoes. If you are doing some hardcore shopping, then you want to make sure you have time to see EVERYTHING. You’ll be on your feet a lot, and the floor at Jamil will wear you out!

Filling a laundry basket is easy at Tot Trade!

Filling a laundry basket is easy at Tot Trade!

3.  Bring a laundry basket (or bucket, or large diaper box, or a Thirty-One utility tote) to carry all of your treasures in. Tot Trade doesn’t have shopping carts. I’ve even seen people get creative and attach a belt to a laundry basket so they can pull their load around without struggling to carry a giant, overflowing basket.

4.  Make a list. It’s helpful if you have specific needs in mind and perhaps how much you are willing to pay for the item. There may be half a dozen exersaucers on the floor when you go shop, and if you’ve done your research before you go, you will make an informed purchasing decision.

5.  Bring a friend. Shopping is more fun with a buddy, and your friend can help you decide if the shirts you’re purchasing will work well together for spring pictures.

6.  Bring an accepted form of payment. Tot Trade accepts debit cards, Visa, MasterCard, cash and checks.

Future Volunteer Opportunities

If you go and you love it, consider volunteering! Tot Trade is held twice a year, in March and September. Volunteers get to shop earlier than the general public and the shifts aren’t difficult work. Plus it’s yet another way to meet moms just like you! If you have questions about Tot Trade that haven’t been answered here, check out their website or their Facebook page.

* All photos courtesy of Kelly Graybill.

* This sponsored post is brought to you by Tot Trade, but the opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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