On Friday afternoon — coincidentally, my son's 32nd birthday — I took a little trip back through time at the Farmington Area Moms' Club Mom to Mom sale.
Held at , this twice-yearly event draws more than two dozen vendors to the church basement. The racks of children's and baby clothes, shoes, boots, outerwear, blankets and bedding, cribs, high chairs and more, brought back memories of those first awesome and terrifying days of parenthood.
Back then, I pored over garage sale listings, looking for the magic words: "baby and children's clothes." Got up at 6 a.m. to be the first in line, because those items were the first to go.
Mom to Mom sales sure seem like the smarter way to go. And people love them. Coordinators Peggy Latimer-Wilke and Lisa Bloch Holmes expected as many as 400 people to come through the doors, confident they won't have to push past old power tools or someone's collection of romance novels.
"You know it's all going to be kids' stuff," Latimer-Wilke said, adding that the turnout is generated largely through word of mouth. "It's actually a big network at mom2momlist.com."
Operated by a group of moms, the website posts information about Mom to Mom sales throughout southeast Michigan. The sales are always fundraisers; Friday's benefited the local Moms' Club.
For the last half of September, more than 30 sales are listed, including one from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 24 at , hosted by the Class of 2012.
The club uses proceeds from the fall and spring sales to fund events during the year, so everyone is expected to help. After setting a date, the club starts recruiting vendors who rent spaces for a nominal fee. Two rooms are set up to handle big items, which vendors can display for $1 each. Those who aren't also renting space pay a flat $5 fee as well.
"You can make some really good money," Holmes said. "Because of the list, moms know to shop here."
What vendors don't sell, they can leave on the tables for the church's next rummage sale, and what the church doesn't sell is donated, "so everything gets used somewhere," Latimer-Wilke said.
The club also pays a bit to the church for the use of the hall, and club members plan to leave leftovers from the bake sale for the church's pancake breakfast Saturday.
The event is easier for moms than organizing and hosting a garage sale, and it's more convenient — and probably safer — than selling things online. Moms' Club volunteers set up the space and take care of publicity. Because the event starts around the dinner hour, they also sell pizza.
What struck me most about the sale was watching this group of moms working together, supporting each other and, especially, encouraging reuse and recycling, rather than running out to buy new (not that there's anything wrong with that).
The way this is organized, everybody — the club, the church, the vendors, the buyers — wins.
How cool is that?