NCT Nearly New Sales have long been a popular way of getting your hands on good quality baby and childrens clothing, toys, books and equipment, for a fraction of its original cost. Locally, the NCT Aberdeen branch have 3/4 big nearly new sales every year, where parents come in droves to browse through the rails, racks, and rows of bargains on offer.
The NCT Aberdeen sales are ticketed sales, meaning that sellers prepare their items for sale, drop them off to volunteers the night before sale day, and then the branch volunteers sell them on your behalf. So you’re not having to man a stall, nor set up/take down your items yourself – all the hard work is done for you! Some branches will operate a table top sale system, so it’s worth checking in advance which kind your local branch does.
I asked Claire and Kirsty from the Aberdeen branch about what happens at a nearly new sale, and what their top tips for buyers and sellers are. Between them they have years of nearly new sales experience – what they don’t know about a sale just isn’t worth knowing! If you want to get the most from your local NCT sale, whether you are buying or selling, then read on….
NCT Nearly New Sales – what are they all about?
‘….there is an awful lot more to NCT Nearly New sales than the 1 1/2 hours that we open…..our sales are something more. Everyone wants the very best for their children, it is a natural instinct. However, having children is expensive and the ‘essential’ items that they need (especially in the early years) are sometimes only used for a limited time eg highchairs, bumbos, jumperoo’s, door bouncers etc
A nearly new sale is not just about grabbing a bargain/having a clear out. Those involved genuinely believe in both recycling and allowing other parents to kit their children out. You may buy an item that normally retails at £100 and buy it for £20 and wonder why……that item may have been bought for £100, sold on second hand for £60, then been to a nearly new sale for £40 then sold again at another nearly new sale for £20 and there is your bargain – yet it has probably only have been used for a limited time by a few happy previous owners.
Nature means that although you have a wardrobe that is predominantly pink first time round, second time round it might need to be blue and our sales are an easy way to re jig that wardrobe with minimal outlay. Also (from personal experience) your elder child might declare ‘that’s mine’ regarding baby toys – I sold a lot of our baby toys at a sale and purchased entirely different but similar ones to avoid sibling rivalry/fights (worked a treat).
If it’s first time round, please don’t be scared! Our volunteers wear purple polo shirts or navy aprons and they are full of top tips as to what you need (and don’t need). Do look in the plastic tubs and bag a bargain, buy as many newborn Babygro’s and sleepsuits in a neutral colour as you can find – yes your baby will be that small, and yes you will need that many to avoid washing three times a day (pee, poo, puke and operater error are the prime suspects). Also for older children those plastic boxes can hold some real bargains in plastic bags – swimsuits, pj’s, shorts, entire outfits……..
We have rails and rails of clothes, and those in the bigger sizes sell particularly well.
Our sales are entirely run by volunteers, but you might be wondering why on earth would you volunteer to spend a Friday evening (1730 -2130 ish) and a Saturday giving up your time away from your kids? Well we like to think that our sales are more than just a ‘kids sale’ – it’s giving something back to parents in the community, with the chance to grab a bargain or two while you’re there!’
TOP TIPS FOR SELLERS
- Make goods appealing and visible ie don’t put large items in black plastic bags!
- Take time to put your item together, eg an amazing dolls house is more likely to sell if constructed rather than flat packed in a brown cardboard box.
- Make sure that everything is clean, a quick wash or spray with anti bacterial spray removed dirt/stains/dust which makes items more appealing to carers of young babies.
- Items of clothing must have a clothes hanger but please put a couple of tshirts together, pair a nice top and jeans etc to show off outfits.
- Your hangers will not be returned so why not ask supermarkets/shops for any free ones or go to Poundland, home bargains or Asda where you can pick up a pack of 12 for £1
- If you have lots of baby gros, sleepsuits, girls tights, hats, socks or swimwear then bundle them together in zip lock bags. We have plastic boxes split into different age categories and sex that these can be put.
- Use the asterisk sign in the label template if you wish to donate your goods to charity, rather than pick up unsold goods after the sale
- No electrical items please, used bottles or open system breast pumps. No mattresses unless machine washable (some Moses baskets) for hygiene purposes.
- Think about what you would be willing to pay. People are at a nearly new sale are looking for a bargain so if it is designer clothes you won’t get eBay prices!
- Make sure your toys have all the bits and any loose pieces are well attached with sellotape, cling film or in a zip lock bag. You don’t want them being detached from each other during the sale
- Character clothes sell better than normal clothing
- Boys clothes over 1 year sell well as usually less of them at each sale
- Clothes in season sell particularly well – so for a winter sale, snowsuits, thick coats etc will be in demand
- Lowest multiple for pricing is 25p
- Better to sell lots of items at lower price then just a few items at higher prices as your aiming to sell and clear out
- Bumbos, high chairs, booster seats for tables, baby changing stations, travel cots, bouncers, play mats/gyms in good condition all sell well, as do ride on items and outdoor toys like slides, see-saws and mini trampolines
- If you have questions or not sure how to price drop your branch an email, they are there to help!
TOP TIPS FOR BUYERS
- We are NOT a jumble sale! We are a one stop pop up shop where we group similar and same items together. There is no haggling the price on ticket is the price you pay. It’s more like a supermarket experience where you walk around and if you don’t like it, don’t pick it up
- We accept card payments, so no need to carry cash to the sale
- If for anyone reason you decide you no longer want something, please put it back or hand it to a volunteer as we have a duty to our sellers to try the best to sell their items.
- Make a list and ask a volunteer to point you in the right direction.
- Utilise our reclaim area to leave large items whilst you continue shopping.
- Pregnant? Check out the maternity clothes for some gorgeous bargains, often overlooked
- Are you an NCT member? Bring your membership card for express checkout and jump the queue!
- Have a look at your branches Facebook sneak peek pictures the night before the sale to see what’s on offer
- Don’t take kids and buggies if you can avoid it as kids get excited by all the toys and want to play. Sales are busy and space can be tight pushing a buggy. Wear a sling!
- Be prepared to queue and get there early if you are after something in particular. If not the queue may be long but once the doors open it disperses quickly as it’s a large hall and there are plenty of items for everyone. You won’t miss out!
- Check the plastic tubs marked age and sex for bundles of clothes, hats, tights, socks, swimwear as some of the best bargains are here
- Everything is nearly new and we do our best to make sure standards are high, rejecting items we spot that are stained or too worn.
- If you really really need something specific, volunteer at the sale, as the perk for all the hard work is some early shopping time. We ask that you do 2 out of 3 shifts but we try to make it a fun social experience.
Thank you Claire and Kirsty for your time and tips! If you’re interested in the next NCT Aberdeen Nearly New Sale, you can pop over to their dedicated Facebook page, or pop them an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be able to find details of your local NCT Nearly New Sales at www.nct.org.uk