This Parenting on a Budget column is in the April 2013 edition of Monroe County Parent:

By Paula Wethington

It’s been about seven years since a Downriver garage sale format called Mom 2 Mom sale first appeared in Monroe County.

But the Mom 2 Mom sales have since become a staple in the local resale genre. And this spring is likely to be a busy one, if the notices already on file with The Monroe Evening News are any indication.

Mom 2 Mom sales focus on second-hand clothing, furniture and accessories for babies and children. There are occasional maternity or teen items, but the most common demographic is birth through grade school.

The sale genre and concept is promoted in southeast Michigan by the Mom 2 Mom List Web site – – where hundreds of sales are posted each year and experienced hosts explain how to host a successful event.

When I did a feature story on this trend for The Monroe Evening News in 2008, I interviewed Patty Zilinsky of Roseville, one of the co-hosts of the Mom 2 Mom List. She explained the idea started in the early 1990s when mother’s group in Macomb County decided to hold a multi-family garage sale — but focus on children’s items. Because moms were selling items to other moms, someone dubbed it as a Mom 2 Mom Sale and the name stuck.

Those who are selling would pay a table or space fee to participate, just as would be seen at a flea market or vendor show.

The tips for hosting a successful table – or finding the bargains – also are similar to other resale atmospheres: Make an offer if you would like a lower price, inspect items for missing pieces before purchasing, and have plenty of small bills and coins on hand for the transaction.

But the unique detail is that southeast Michigan Mom 2 Mom sales often feed customers to each other on a “pay it forward” basis. Twenty years ago, the network would promote upcoming events on a list distributed at each participating sale. The written lists still exist, but sales also are in the Web site database. This targeted marketing boosts the flier distribution, news media announcements, and now also social media, that many garage, flea market or vendor show organizers would use.

As a result, it is not unusual to have every vendor space sold out and dozens of people in line when the doors open. That’s despite the fact an admission fee for shoppers is common at Mom 2 Mom sales, and the fact that early birds pay a little more.

Sale notices sent to The Monroe Evening News are listed at our online calendar, under the category “Mom 2 Mom Sale.”

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