Ok, so I am a bit biased. I run nearly new sales so obviously I think they’re great, but I have loved nearly new for much longer than I’ve been running the sales. Before I had children, other than the occasional car boot sale (occasional because that was a time when Sundays still meant a lie in) I’d never really shopped nearly new. I suspect that’s the case for a lot of parents. Once you realise how much “stuff” a baby gets through, and how fast, nearly new starts to make a lot of sense. So here are some reasons second hand baby items are best and why I’ve kept on buying second hand with older kids. Further down you’ll find my top tips for shopping nearly new and a list of sources of nearly new things.
Second Hand Means Guilt Free Shopping
I love a nearly new shopping because it’s retail therapy without the guilt. You can go around, grab anything you fancy, come out laden with stuff and still have change from a twenty pound note. Plus you get the warm glow of helping the environment by stopping some “stuff” from going to landfill.
Second Hand Baby Items Have No Packaging
Plastic wrapping, tags, coat hangers. Getting clothes you’ve bought from the shop out of their packaging can take forever. Plus it leaves you with yet more rubbish, plenty of which isn’t recyclable. Toys are even worse, masses of cardboard, cellophane, cable ties, treasury tags and even screws are often involved. Buy it nearly new and someone else has already dealt with all that stuff for you, leaving you with a toy ready to play with.
Nearly New Creates a Sense of community
A sense of community is something that is often said to be lacking these days. Buying the things we need from other members of the parenting community who no longer need them makes you feel like we’re all in it together. I love nearly new because everyone benefits, sellers make money, buyers save money, it’s a win, win.
Supplying the Grandparent’s Houses
If you’re lucky, you have parents or in laws who tolerate you visiting. If you’re truly blessed and they let you actually leave the children there. It can make things much easier if you have some stuff at their house. In the early days it might be a travel cot and a highchair. As time goes on it’ll be more toys and books. It would be expensive to buy all this extra stuff new but if you shop nearly new you can have the convenience without the cost.
My Money Goes to Other Mums
If I buy some new toys in Smyths, I’m helping the rich get richer. If I shop nearly new I’m helping another mum have more money to spend on her family. Not to mention the fact that I’m kindly removing stuff that’s cluttering up her house so that it can clutter up mine instead. Warm glows all around.
I’m Always Prepared
Like a Scout, buying second hand baby items means I am always prepared. For the next growth spurt. You never know what you’ll find, when, so I always buy stuff I like when I see it so that it’s ready when they reach that size. Baby grow starting to pinch? Here’s a bigger one. Outgrown all of the T-shirts? Here’s 5 “new” ones. Trousers all making you look like Micheal Jackson? Here’s some longer ones. I should probably put a limit on how far in advance I buy, for storage purposes if nothing else.
And it’s Not Just Baby Items you Should Buy Second Hand
As my children have grown older, I’ve continued to buy second hand for them. At 8 and 10, they are still fine with this and I’m hoping I’ve instilled the value of second hand well enough that they will continue to feel the same way.
School Uniform is Expensive!
If you’re children are small then you have the joy of school uniform to come. It wasn’t so bad when it was just Boy Child in infants. He was quite happy to wear the uniform from the supermarket rather than the stuff with the school logo on.
Last year, things changed. He started Juniors, where they are required to wear a jumper with logo. They will lose these at least 3 times a week. This means you either have to have 5 or send them to school cold and be judged. Girl Child also started infants and insisted she couldn’t possibly go to school without the logo on everything she owned (thank god they don’t do knickers). This wouldn’t have been so bad if it were not for the fact that she likes to wear both boys and girls uniform. I now have a full, logo’d set of each. I wasn’t bankrupt by all of this only thanks to the wonders of the school’s uniform sell and swap Facebook group.
Dealing with Toy “phases”
Last month my daughter found some old playmobil. It was like someone had given her the Crown Jewels. She played with it for hours and begged me to buy her some more. While I’m always keen to supply any toy that will make them leave me in peace for 5 minutes to drink my tea I wasn’t keen to spend a fortune as I suspected it was a “phase”. We’ve had a lot of “phases” in my house. PJ masks, Sylvanian Families, those awful squishes, to name but a few. Luckily I had a sale coming up and was able to cheaply buy her some more Playmobil to test my theory. (Which turned out to be correct, she was back to Lego in a few days).
I Can Save my Money for Experiences
I would always rather spend my money on experiences for the children than things. Days at the farm, weekends at theme parks, theatre trips, meals out. Unfortunately my kids have the innate greed of children and want things, things and more things (at least I hope it’s innate and not just mine?). By buying nearly new the kids get their toy fix and we can still afford the fun outings that I know they love really.
Top Tips for Second Hand Baby Items
- There are few items that it’s safest not to buy nearly new, they key ones are mattresses (because it may increase the risk of SIDS) and car seats (because you can’t be 100% sure it hasn’t been in an accident).
- If you’re buying very old toys, bear in mind they won’t have had to meet today’s stringent safety procedures so you’ll want to check them carefully.
- Don’t be afraid to buy things in the next size up, and even the next few sizes up, babies grow fast!
- But, think about the season, will it be needed when your baby is that size? For example, winter babies will probably never need a winter coat in 3-6 months as it will be summer when they are that size.
- If you’re shopping nearly new before your baby comes, focus on onesies as it’s likely to be what they will wear most of the time plus you’ll likely be bought a lot of cute outfits.
- If you’re buying a pram, always ask the seller for a demonstration of how to fold it, they are all different and can be surprisingly tricky to work out.
- If you’re buying in person make sure you check the items carefully for damage or stains. If you’re buying on eBay, read the full description.
Places to Get Second Hand Baby Items
While buying second hand baby items used to mean a trip to the car boot sale at 6am on a Sunday, these days there are a lot more options to consider. Although as baby will probably have you up at the crack of dawn, car boot sales are still a pretty good bet!
Nearly New Sales
My favourite place to shop nearly new for babies and young children is nearly new sales. There are a range of companies who run them all across the country. I run Mum2mum Markets but there are others who may operate in your area, the Netmums listings are a great place to find them. You may also have a local NCT (National Childrbirth Trust) charity who run sales to raise funds.
Ebay is a great for shopping nearly new for baby clothes and other small items. You can often find “bundles” for a specific age group and these usually represent the best value, they also minimise the postage costs. The other way to minimise postage costs is to find a few items you like from one seller and then ask them to combine postage. It usually works well if you find a seller who’s taste you share.
Facebook marketplace is great for bigger items that you can collect because they are too costly to post. Think pram, buggies, cots, Moses baskets and Eve nursery furniture. Again, it’s always worth checking out what else someone is selling in case they have other things you need.
Friends and Family
If you have a friends or family with a child slightly older than yours, they can be a great source is second hand stuff. It’s likely they will offer you things but if they don’t it may be that they are holding on to it for future children. If that’s the case it can be worth asking if you can borrow some things instead.
You might also enjoy these tips about saving money on your family’s clothes.