Consignment For Baby

1.  Create a Detailed Shopping List
Before I shop, I always look through my kid’s clothes and figure out exactly what they need and then I make a detailed list for each child.

For example, my list for my son will note that he needs 3 pairs of good jeans, 2 pairs of jeans for playing at home, 3 short sleeve t-shirts, 1 Sunday dress shirt for the summer and one for fall/winter and 1 pair of dress pants.

You might even want to note which items are most crucial to find so that you can prioritize your shopping successfully.  (See #4 below.)

Pro Tip: It’s good to also think about what clothes your kids might need for the next season as well as upcoming special occasions/holidays.  And don’t forget all the toys, games and gear!  Check out this checklist of items that will help you save money as you prep for summer!

2.  Get Your Child’s Measurements
The same size in different brands can vary quite a bit and there’s nothing more frustrating than buying a piece of clothing that you love, only to realize that it doesn’t fit- and of course, with a consignment sale, you can’t return it!

The easy fix for this is to simply get specific measurements of each child (arm, inseam, length) and jot them down on your shopping list.  A friend also recently suggested tracing around your child’s foot and taking that tracing along to make sure shoes will fit well too!

Pro Tip: Make sure you put a measuring tape in your purse before you leave to shop, otherwise all your measuring will be pointless!  ???? 

consignment sale

3.  Go Without the Kids
Trust me, sorting through racks of clothing in a crowded space with lots of other people is just a million times easier if you don’t have little kids to worry about too!

4.  Take Along a Laundry Basket|Large Bag
This was something I hadn’t thought about the first time I went, but it sure makes things easier if you take along something to put your purchases in as you shop.  Many people like to take a laundry basket (you can even attach a leash to make dragging it around easier) or a large reusable tote.

I’ve even seen people use wagons or empty strollers as their shopping carts.  Basically, anything will work…you just want to go prepared!

5.  Go Early
The earlier you can shop a sale, the more chance you have of being able to find amazing deals and the things you really want.  In fact, I know a lot of people that have become regular volunteers at consignment sales just because it gives them access to pre-sale shopping and they can save so much more money as a result.  Also, if you consign, you typically can get into the pre-sale event as well, so that’s always a good incentive to declutter

6.  Prioritize Your Shopping
At the sale, start out by looking for the items you need the most first, that way you have more chance of being successful and finding your most needed items before someone else does!  ????

Pro Tip: It seems like there is typically way more girl’s clothing than boys, so if you are shopping for both, it might be good to start looking for your boy’s stuff first.  Also, big play items and toys like Legos usually sell quickly too, so if you are wanting those, keep that in mind. 

kids consignment sale

7.  Grab Potential Options and Sort Later
Like I mentioned earlier, the huge selection of clothing can be so overwhelming!  I’ve found that it works best to just collect anything that I think I might want to buy and then sort through it all later.  This helps me shop more efficiently and just make wiser shopping decisions all around!

8.  Sort Your Purchases
When I’m finished looking for clothes and other items, I find a quiet corner and sort everything.  I like to first put everything in piles by size.  Then I work through the stacks and make sure that each item will fit, using the measurements that I took as I talked about in #2 above.

Once I have that taken care of, I go through each pile again and divide them into a “Like” stack and a “Love” stack and then refer to my shopping list and figure out which items to keep and which to leave for someone else.

Pro Tip: Before keeping an item to buy, look it over very thoroughly.  This is used clothing and equipment, which means there may be things that you don’t notice at first glance.  Does the zipper work?  Are all the buttons there?  Are there any holes, tears or stains?

Consignment For Baby Gear

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Hand-Me-Down Must-Knows

Toy chest
GREG SCHEIDEMANN

Before you start accepting hand-me-downs or shopping at consignment shops, check out our tips for buying used baby items. Many gently used items are fine, but there are some things to avoid when buying secondhand.

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Used Baby Clothes

bright sweaters on expandable hangers in Ultimate Nursery closet

Buying used baby clothes is one of the best ways to save money. Babies grow so fast they usually don’t stay the same size for more than a month or two, and that means their clothes aren’t worn very often. When buying used clothes, avoid anything with drawstrings, check that all buttons, zippers, and clasps are secure, and make sure nothing is unraveling.

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How to Buy Baby Clothes on a Budget

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Reuse Shoes

Baby shoes
SCOTT LITTLE

Shoes are another item babies grow out of quickly. Infants especially barely need shoes, so if you want to dress your baby up in a cute pair of tennis shoes or sandals, opt for a used pair rather than investing in a pair that will be worn only a few times.

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Secondhand Coats and Hats

baby dressed in winter clothes
ISTOCKPHOTO

Depending on what season your baby is born and where you live, you might need heavy coats or hats. If you do need a warm coat to take Baby outside, look for one that is gently used rather than shelling out the money for a brand-new one. Chances are he will use it only a few months; then you can pass it on to the next baby.

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Used Baby Toys

baby playing

Did your family keep a box of toys you played with when you were a kid? Before passing it along to your child, check the old toys for chipped paint or loose pieces. This is especially important on toys that might contain lead paint. If it’s chipped or broken, don’t use it! Also watch for items with small parts that could be choking hazards. Before buying used toys at a yard sale or consignment shop, check our recall finder.

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Hand-Me-Down Playpens

Graco Pack 'n Play
BRYAN MCCAY

Before buying a used playpen, there are few things to check. First find out if it was made after 2013, as the last safety updates were issued in 2012. If its original mattress is snug and there are no dangling cords, it should be safe. Also make sure the mesh has no tears and that holes are smaller than 1/4 inch.

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Are Used Cribs Safe?

baby sleeping in crib
KATHRYN GAMBLE

The short answer: Do not buy a used crib.

The rules for how cribs must be made took effect on June 28, 2011, and essentially made most cribs sold before that date obsolete and, technically, unsafe. After hundreds of incidents, millions of recalled cribs, and an estimated three dozen deaths, the government stepped in and said that cribs were not being made to a standard that parents could count on.

Drop-side cribs, which had been the most common type, were determined to be particularly dangerous. They can no longer be sold in the U.S. You will see them at yard sales, though, but they are no more legal there than at a furniture store. Also, crib hardware and how cribs are assembled have been big problems—problems that are more pronounced with used cribs. Never buy a crib bumper pad, which the American Academy of Pediatrics says can put a baby at risk for suffocation and other hazardous injuries.

So, buy a new crib that meets the new standards. And, if you can’t afford one, safety advocates say a new portable crib—which are less expensive—is preferable to getting a used crib.

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Buying Used Baby Furniture

Baby nursery
GREG SCHEIDEMANN

Aside from the crib, you might need additional furniture for your baby’s room. Save money by purchasing gently used baby furniture such as changing tables or rocking chairs. Always make sure the used furniture meets safety standards, hasn’t been recalled, and doesn’t have any peeling paint, chips, or missing parts.

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Secondhand Strollers

stroller

Strollers made after 2015 are OK to reuse. Safety standards since then address stability, impact, and shoulder-strap safety. Avoid any broken, loose, or missing parts when looking at a used stroller. Take it for a spin to make sure it has a smooth ride and is sturdy. You should also make sure it has its instruction manual.

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How to Buy Baby Gear on a Budget

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Used Baby Bathtubs

baby in bathtub
BANANASTOCK/ JUPITER

Baby bathtubs are fine to buy used as long as they aren’t moldy and don’t smell of mildew. Babies grow out of these tubs quickly, so if you want a baby tub, you should be able to save money on one that was barely used. Avoid bath seats, bath rings, or inflatable tubs that fit in the bathtub, as they can be dangerous.

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Hand-Me-Down High Chairs

baby in highchair
BANANASTOCK/ JUPITER

Voluntary safety standards require a high chair to have a five-point harness to prevent a child from climbing out and a fixed crotch post so he can’t slide out. If these two elements are in place, a hand-me-down high chair is fine. Avoid high chairs with removable trays or arms that lift the tray over the baby’s head.

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Best Sources for Used Baby Items

pregnant couple shopping for baby gear

Most essential baby items can be purchased secondhand. Look for quality used baby items at garage sales, kid-specific consignment shops, and thrift stores. Your friends with kids are another great source for secondhand finds.

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Tips for Buying Online

pregnant woman shopping online
ISTOCK/JUPITER IMAGES

Web sites such as Craigslist and eBay are great sources for used baby items, as well as social media venues such as Facebook Marketplace. Before buying anything online ask these questions:

* What’s the model number or product name? Go to www.recalls.gov to make sure it hasn’t been recalled.

* How much is shipping? Sometimes the price of shipping makes a good deal not such a steal.

* Does it include an instruction manual?

* When was the item made? How long was it used? Did the seller buy it new or was it used?

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Used Car Safety Seats

Baby Being Put in Car Seat
SHUTTERSTOCK

In many cases, buying or borrowing a used car seat is not a good idea, and some safety experts say that you never should. If you are considering a used car seat, look for a label with the model name, number, manufacturing and expiration dates. Car seats expire—typically in 6 to 8 years—because the materials can degrade over time and you need the name and number to check for any recalls. You’ll need to be aware of the seat’s entire history because you should never use a seat that has been in a moderate to severe crash. The seat should also come with the owner’s manual so you can be sure it’s installed correctly, and all the parts need to be present and in good working order. If a used seat does not meet all this criteria, pass it up.

Consignment For Baby Furniture

Baby Gear You Should Buy New

If you can’t resist a bargain, you might be tempted to buy all of baby’s essentials second-hand. But there are some baby products that should definitely be purchased new. “Parents should be careful with high chairs, bouncy seats, swings and play yards, as they are often the subject of recalls,” says Crosby. You should always buy these three items new:

• Car seats. A car seat is an essential piece of gear for new parents; they can be expensive, but this is one item that should be bought new. In order to comply with stringent crash safety standards, all car seats have expiration dates listed in their manuals (in general, they expire within six years, but it may depend on the manufacturer). To that end, purchasing a car seat without a manual is a major no-no. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents shouldn’t use a car seat if they don’t know its history. “A car seat may appear to be in good shape, but there is a chance it may have been in a car accident so its safety may have been compromised,” says Crosby. If you do opt for a used car seat, Crosby advises researching the expiration date, checking for potential CPSC recall notices and only purchasing one from someone you know and trust.

• Cribs, cradles and bassinets. Crib safety standards are constantly changing, so it’s best to buy one new. In June 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) adopted a slew of new safety requirements and banned the sale of drop-side rail models (so do not buy this type of crib second-hand or new). The AAP also advises against purchasing antique cribs. “Antique cribs may be appealing but they don’t conform to current safety standards, and may even be finished with lead paint,” says Crosby. Crib slats should be spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, the crib sides should be at least 26 inches above the mattress support in its lowest position, there should be no drop-down rails and headboards and footboards should be solid without decorative cutouts, explains Crosby.

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• Crib mattresses. A mattress of any kind should always be bought new. “A crib mattress could be worn, meaning it won’t provide proper firmness. Plus, it could be dirty and there is no good way to clean a mattress,” says Crosby.

Baby Gear You Can Buy Used

Wondering what products are safe to buy second-hand? You can buy most baby gear, “as long as it goes through a proper quality and safety inspection,” says Langenfeld. Here are three types of gear that are generally considered safe to buy and sell used:

• Strollers. Strollers don’t have expiration dates, meaning they are typically safe to buy used. However, it’s important to inspect secondhand strollers thoroughly and always check to see if that particular model has been recalled. Make sure its wheels and brakes are working properly, the seat reclines and that all of the straps are functional.

• Baby clothes. It’s okay to buy used baby clothes, but make sure they are clean, and check for choking hazards like drawstrings or decorations that could come off.

• Toys. Toys that are in good condition and are easy to clean can be bought secondhand. However, Crosby advises against buying toys with batteries that are easily accessible to children, as battery ingestion can be life threatening.

Safety Considerations When Shopping for Used Baby Gear

There are certain safety considerations you should be aware of when purchasing baby products that have been resold. Regardless of the product, “always look for signs or wear and tear [and] choking and strangulation hazards, and only use baby gear as directed per the product instruction manual,” says Crosby. Read on to discover more important safety tips.

• Check recall notices. A product recall occurs when an item has a manufacturing defect or poses a safety risk to the user. Before you make a purchase, check to see if the model has been recalled on the CPSC website or at Recalls.gov.

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• Purchase used baby gear from a trusted supplier. Local markets and online auctions can be a good place for seasoned thrifters to source second-hand products. But when it comes to baby gear, Langenfeld advises parents to buy from a trusted friend or third party: “That way, you know you’re purchasing from a reliable source, and can ditch the back-and-forth messaging and meet-ups with strangers.”

• Inspect the product for safety hazards. If you are shopping in-person, inspect items thoroughly. Keep an eye out for the following safety hazards: Peeling paint or rough edges on furniture, gear or toys with loose parts, plastic products that are cracked or damaged and garments with frayed or threadbare material. If you’re shopping online, make sure the product images are high-quality so you can get a sense of overall condition.

• Check for missing parts. Avoid items with missing parts as they may not function properly and replacement parts could end up costing you more in the long run.

• Clean products before use. Many used baby gear sites inspect and sanitize each product before posting it for resale, but some don’t—so it’s important to clean items before use. Some products have specific cleaning requirements, but, in general, you can use soapy water, a cleaning spray or an anti-bacterial wipe to sanitize an object with a hard-surface.

• Wash soft furnishings and clothing before use. Put secondhand clothing, cloth diapers, fabric baby wraps or any other soft furnishings in the washing machine as soon as you bring them home.

The Best Places to Buy and Sell Used Baby Gear

Ready to start your search? Here are six of the best places to find used and open-box baby gear online. From dedicated “recommerce” websites to online marketplaces, these destinations offer tons of options for savvy shoppers.

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Good Buy Gear

Good Buy Gear is a powerhouse in the world of recommerce. The online marketplace allows users to buy and sell top-quality open-box and gently used gear for babies, toddlers and kids. Launched in 2016, the female-owned company prioritizes safety at the heart of its operations. The site features top-rated brands like UPPAbaby, BabyBjorn and 4moms. Each piece of gear undergoes a comprehensive safety and quality assessment by a team of gear experts, who also check for missing parts, imperfections and cleanliness. If a product isn’t up to scratch, it won’t be accepted for sale, meaning parents can shop with complete confidence. Plus, each item listed on their site is cleaned using eco-friendly, child-safe products. Want to declutter your home and earn some extra cash? Good Buy Gear will collect used gear from your home and sell it for you—stress free! Commission rates are based on a sliding scale, meaning sellers keep up to 80 percent of earnings from high-end items. Bonus: Nationwide shipping is available for most items, and the company has a 14-day return policy.

Shop: GoodBuyGear.com

eBay

Next up is eBay, the original online marketplace loved by bargain hunters and thrifters alike. The site has a section dedicated to baby gear, and handy filters help you search by brand, condition, price and age. Shoppers can use the “buy now” button to purchase items with one click, or make an auction bid for the chance to score a major bargain. Listing an item for sale is super-easy, thanks to the eBay app. Simply snap some photos and write a title and product description, and you’re good to go. One major bonus is that eBay takes less than 10 percent in commission fees per sale. However, unlike many other sites selling used baby gear, eBay does not assess the quality of the items listed, so be sure to read the product descriptions carefully.

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Shop: eBay.com

thredUP

Update your child’s wardrobe on a budget with thredUP. The online consignment and thrift store offers huge savings on second-hand kids’ clothing. The site has high-quality standards, so items are only listed if they have no visible signs of wear and tear. Clothing is categorized by age and gender, making it easy to find the perfect outfit for your little one. Ready for a wardrobe revamp? Order a free clean-up kit, fill it and mail it back using the enclosed shipping label. When your items are sold you can cash out or get a shopping credit. Studies show that buying a used garment reduces its carbon footprint by a whopping 82 percent—so it’s an eco-friendly option to boot. The commission fees range from 20 to 95 percent of the sale price.

Shop: thredUP.com

Weepea

Searching for used baby gear in your local area? Check out Weepea. The online resale community helps parents connect to buy and sell baby gear and kids’ furniture. Shoppers can filter the site by location to find items for sale nearby, pay online via credit card or Apple Pay and then collect their purchase directly from the seller. The process is equally straightforward for sellers: Simply fill out a form to list an item for free, and Weepea will connect you with a buyer from your local community. Once the transaction is complete, Weepea takes a 20 percent commission from the sale.

Shop: Weepea.com

Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace is another great place to source used baby gear in your local area. It’s an online destination where users can buy, sell and trade items. There’s even an entire section devoted to baby and kids’ items, which you can filter by location, condition and price. Bonus: Anyone with an active Facebook account can list or buy items with no hidden fees.

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Shop: Facebook Marketplace

Rebelstork

Browse a curated selection of overstock, open- box items and gently used baby gear on Rebelstork. Before being listed for sale, all items are inspected by a team of trained experts and each product is categorized using the site’s handy condition guide. Need to offload stuff baby has outgrown? Contact Rebelstork via the website, and they’ll pick up your unwanted items, photograph them and sell them for you. Rebelstork’s commission fees vary depending on the price of the product listed for sale, but sellers can earn up to 80 percent of the sale price. One thing to note is that Rebelstork is based in Canada, and does not offer pickup or delivery in the US.

Shop: Rebelstork.com

About the experts:

Lauren Crosby, MD, FAAP is a board-certified pediatrician with La Peer Pediatrics in Beverly Hills, California. She is also a member of and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Crosby earned her medical degree from UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California.

Kristin Langenfeld, is the CEO and co-founder of Good Buy Gear. She holds an electrical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and has over 15 years of experience leading, building and launching worldwide products in mobile and tech start-ups

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