There’s no doubt that the modern mom (or dad) has to be creative and entrepreneurial. Even those not in business for themselves are constantly looking for ways to maximize on their investments – – and save a little cash.
Baltimore native Robyn Rutland, founder of the regional TotSwap, is the definition of creative entrepreneur. Not only did she create TotSwap to fill a service void in the Maryland area and give her career/family flexibility, she’s helping moms and dads throughout the region sell their children’s no longer needed items and acquire new ones. Cost effectively.
What is TotSwap? It’s the crème de la crème of consigning markets. (Think upscale tag sale with automation. No haggling. No adding totals on a calculator. No handwritten receipts.) If your living room is starting to feel like an overstuffed storage locker for toys, you may want to consider unloading some of those no longer used items at the sale. If you’re in need a spare stroller to stash at your in-laws, it’s a great opportunity to get a quality stroller on the cheap! No need to scramble for cash – – they take all credit cards. (Sorry, no checks).
TotSwap is kicking off it’s first-ever SUMMER SALE next week, from Friday July 30th through Sunday, August 1st at the Timonium Fair Grounds. Wanna hit the coveted pre-sale on Thursday, July 29th? You’ll need to consign, become a sale volunteer, or register for their new mom sale.
I’ve never consigned before, but Robyn has me convinced to try it once we’re ready to unload some of our baby items. It seems pretty painless through her company. All I need to do is create an account on TotSwap, pay a $10 fee, enter and price my ‘sale’ items through their online inventory system, print pre-generated barcoded tags for my items, tag the items and drop them off for the sale. TotSwap handles the rest. After the sale, they cut me a check for 65% of the income my items bring. That’s 15% above most consignment stores. AND – – I won’t have to sweat it out in a stoop sale and pray a mom-to-be passes by and falls in love with one of my three exersaucers. (Yeah, three. One for my house, one for my office and one for my parents’ house… and yes, the Bug grew out of them at 11 months…)
Want to maximize your TotSwap consigning experience? Volunteer. One shift you gets you an early shopping pass; two shifts gets you 70% of your items’ income and you are invited to shop first; three shifts gets you an early shopping pass, 70% AND your registration fee refunded. According to Robyn, volunteering is fun and painless. You’ll have a chance to network with other local parents (mostly moms), munch on some snacks, and assist parents hoping to outfit their kids for next season or pick up that toy their two year old has been coveting.
All quality children’s items – – tots to teens and everyone in between – – are accepted! The largest consignment check Robyn has cut a consignor from a single sale was $1500. Not too shabby.
Toys are the expected hot ticket item. Especially Little Tikes’ products like Cozy Coupe and backyard play items. Books (sometimes bundled – – $1 for the bundle!) are always a great item, as are puzzles. High end clothes like Lily Pulitzer and Ralph Lauren go quickly. New baby items like high chairs, strollers, and pack ‘n plays are sure crowd-pleasers, too. A good quality exersaucer can go for as much as $40. Please don’t consider consigning your drop-side crib; TotSwap is no longer accepting them due to the massive recalls.
TotSwap has created a handy pricing guide if you’re not quite sure what to charge. After all, you want to be sure your items are priced to sell!
If your items don’t sell, you have two options: pick them up or have TotSwap acquire them. All items NOT picked up during the designated pick-up time become property of TotSwap and may be donated. If you pick them up, you always have the option of trying to sell them again at another sale.
It’s not too late to consign at next week’s sale! You have until 2:00 PM on Thursday, July 29th to create you online inventory, tag your items and drop them off. Be sure to check the website for drop-off times and allow at least thirty minutes – – TotSwap staff screen for quality. (So leave the well-worn pants with thinning knees at home…)
If pulling things together for next weekend seems improbable or overwhelming, keep their fall sales in mind. They’re hosting sales in Gaithersburg, Frederick County, Columbia and Timonium.

Not interested in consigning but want to know more about the sale? Check out our Ten Tips for Newbies Navigating the TotSwap next week!
Images courtesy of TotSwap.