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5 best places for second hand baby stuff

Babies inflict very little wear and tear on things, so there’s not much it’s worth buying new; here are some great sources of second hand items.

Buying new things for your baby is bad for your bank balance, bad for the planet’s resources, and probably bad for some exploited workers in developing countries. Getting second hand stuff for cheap or free lessens all that badness. And second hand kids’ stuff has so often never even been used.

The chances are you’ll start getting given cast-offs from friends and family from the moment they hear a child is arriving, but here are some other great places to look.

Freegle/Freecyle etc

Oh, the politics between Freegle and Freecycle. The potted history seems to be that Freecycle got a bit franchise-mad, and Freegle was set up as a more chilled alternative. (This is only hearsay, and I have no vested interest or malicious intent) Whatever the background machinations, you need to get yourself on your local group of whichever, or both. Sign up, and receive either several email a day or a single digest with things people are giving away in your area. You can even post requests – asks for specific, expensive items tend to be frowned upon, but general requests like ‘baby clothes’ can get lots of responses. On our local Freegle, I’ve got: a cotbed, reusable nappies with bucket, swim nappies, toys and more. All great quality.

Tip: Answer posts with a friendly manner, telling the person why you need the item. Short ‘Do you still have this?’ posts come across as abrupt – remember the poster is going to choose who to give their belongings away to.

Charity shops

I love charity shops. I may have a charity shop problem. I buy pretty much everything I buy from charity shops, and spent my entire pregnancy trawling them for bits and pieces for my baby.

They’re great for maternity wear, too; not necessarily clothes sold as maternity (these are easier to get from online markets), but floaty clothes you can repurpose/upcycle

Tip: Charity shop prices can vary widely. If prices seem a bit high, try a smaller town or a different suburb.

Second hand children’s markets

In Scotland, the big ones are Jack and Jill markets. You pay to get in, but then they’re full of bargains. NCT Nearly New sales seem to be English equivalent.

I got Christmas presents for nearly all the kids in my life at a Jack and Jill market one September.

Tip: If you go at the beginning, you’ll have your pick; if you go at the end you’ll pick things up even cheaper.

Ebay, Gumtree and other online markets

EBay is pretty much guaranteed to have what you’re looking for, though prices can get high, especially if you get drawn into a bidding war. Spend a bit of time watching things to see what they realistically go for. Gumtree and other online markets are a bit more hit and miss, but you get a friendlier relationship and easier haggling.

I got a changing table delivered to my door the same day, when circumstance meant I needed one.

Tip: Look out for bundles, especially on eBay. You tend to get more for your money.

Facebook

There are niche Facebook groups for all kinds of things: slings, nappies, fancy slings, cheap slings, shoes; then you’ve got groups that cover a broader range of items but within a smaller geographical range. Some are strictly community and no selling, some are very focused on selling. if you use Facebook, join a few groups and it’ll suggest more to you.

Tip: Be part of the community on Facebook groups. Then you not only buy the item, but also get loads of advice on how to use it and a ready made market if you want to sell it on again.

Giving back

The second hand economy keeps going because people put into it. Remember to offer your stuff when you’re finished with it. My personal tenet is that if I got something for free, I give it for free. Plus, giving stuff away is much lazier than selling it. But if you do want to recoup spendings, people have made a decent amount selling second hand.

You’ll probably get given some new things as gifts, too – or buy things just because you can’t resist. Putting these out into the second-hand economy means there’s also always enough new stuff to keep it going when things eventually wear out.

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