Kids grow quickly. In the blink of an eye, your baby will outgrow the cute outfit you waited so long to put them in. How many of us were raised on hand-me-down’s from our older brothers or sisters? If you were part of a big family, it was not unusual to inherit things that were on their second, third or (gasp!) even fourth go-round. These days, family sizes tend to be smaller and so never used and gently used items are often bought and sold rather than passed down.
You can save A LOT of money with used baby gear and kids’ items, but not everything can be used twice. As a parent, it’s hard to know what’s safe to buy secondhand and what you should be buying brand new. Here, we break down the secondhand items that you can find without worrying that you’re a bad parent.
Kids sometimes seem to sprout up 2 inches overnight, and suddenly that adorable dress they only wore once no longer fits. Babies and toddlers in particular grow so quickly that seasonal and special occasion clothes are hardly worn before they’re outgrown. Buying gently used clothes is one of the best ways to save money.
Here are some of the items that offer the best opportunities for savings and are generally safe to buy secondhand:
- Baby clothes and shoes
- Winter coats and boots
- Formal and party clothes
- Dress up clothes and costumes
Always be sure to inspect clothing items to make sure they are in good condition before purchasing. If you’re buying clothes for babies and toddlers, make sure there aren’t any loose buttons or small parts that could be choking hazards.
Have you ever noticed how enthusiastically your kids play with their friends’ toys? “New to me” toys are just as fun as brand new toys out of the box, and are a great way to save money.
Most modern toys are safe to buy secondhand, as long as they are age-appropriate. Many baby and toddler toys can be easily cleaned and sanitized before you give them to your little one. Before buying used toys, be sure to check a recall list to make sure the model hasn’t had any known issues. If the toys are vintage, be sure to check for loose parts and safety concerns like lead paint.
Many parents take buying a stroller as seriously as they do buying a car. Strollers are a major investment, and buying a secondhand stroller can help you save big bucks. However, like used cars, used strollers need to be carefully evaluated.
Strollers made after 2007 are safe to reuse. Be sure to examine shoulder straps, and parts of the stroller that are vulnerable to wear and tear, like the wheels and handles. Walk around with the stroller, and consider putting something in it to simulate pushing your child around in order to make sure it has a smooth ride.
4. SPORTS EQUIPMENT
Does your kid take up and drop sports as easily as they flip through channels on the TV? It often makes sense to hold off on investing in brand new equipment until you’re absolutely sure that little Johnny is as passionate about baseball as he claims.
Most sports equipment can be safely reused if it’s in good condition. Helmets should generally not be reused as even minor impacts can lessen their effectiveness. Bikes should be closely examined to make sure they are in proper working order.
Who doesn’t want to encourage their kids to read more? But books can be expensive, especially if your child is in love with a series that seems to be never-ending. Books are almost always safe to buy secondhand or pass down to friends and family. Just be sure that pop up and interactive books don’t have any loose parts and are age-appropriate. Most baby books can be easily wiped down and sanitized, because it’s safe to assume that they will end up in your baby’s mouth.
Keeping these guidelines in mind will ensure that you can confidently save a bundle, while knowing that your bundle of joy is safe and sound.
Ready to start saving? Check out your local VarageSale community to easily buy and sell new and gently used items in your area.