When our eldest was born, I laughed when people suggested I buy secondhand anything for my precious firstborn.
The secondhand market for baby items is a minefield. Once you get the hang of how things work, it can be both an invaluable source of savings as a buyer and earn you some extra cash as a seller.
1. What are baby items safe to buy secondhand?
Every family will have different views on this. We are an allergy family, so items must be from a smoke and pet free home before we purchase.
Mattresses shouldn’t be bought secondhand. Remember to consult the Lullaby trust which sets out the safe sleeping guidelines.
A car seat could be bought from a trusted secondhand source. This is because you need to be 100% certain that it has not been in an accident.
Apart from the two exceptions above, everything else is pretty much safely available on the secondhand market.
2. How can I get a quality product on the online secondhand market?
The online secondhand market place has its own language. Make sure you get familiar with the terminology before you buy anything secondhand. By doing this it will be easier to get a quality item.
This is some of the common terminology used on eBay and Facebook selling groups:
- BNWT – Brand New With Tags
- BNWOT – Brand New Without Tags
- EUC – Excellent Used Condition
- GUC – Good Used Condition
- Playwear – suitable for nursery, it is probably already been ‘pre-stained.’
Smoke and pet-free home is another key term. As I said above, we are an allergy family, so this is a massive deal.
eBay or Facebook selling groups try to review the comments against the seller in their profile or see what else they have sold in the group to get a feel for how they sell their items. One of the main reasons I like the specialist Facebook groups is because they are well moderated. This means if there is any trouble with buyers and sellers, they are excluded.
3. Where do I look online to buy secondhand items?
My favourite places for quality specialist clothing brands is Facebook selling groups. If I am looking for something from Frugi, I will look at a Frugi selling group; if I am looking for a Next PJ bundle, I will look at a Next selling group.
There are plenty of specialist twin groups, so you don’t need to go looking for matching items.
Toys, bikes, nursery furniture can be found on eBay (see what is local to you) or Facebook Marketplace. At this point you probably don’t want to be travelling all over the country to buy bits of secondhand nursery furniture, so try to stay local for your sanity.
4. Where do I look for secondhand items that are not online?
There is a variety of specialist nearly new sales, car boots and charity shops that are a treasure trove for great condition items.
Nearly new sales take on two primary forms; they can be set up like a car boot with sellers specifically selling off their pre-loved baby items. Or they are like a huge market where you browse the items you are looking for and pay once on your way out.
The best nearly new sales are run by Mum-2-Mum Market and your local NCT Nearly New Sale. We are lucky to have a Gold Standard Sale close to us, which means strict criteria have to be met before an item can be sold. These are two safe ways to buy secondhand items for your baby. This is because you can see upfront what you are getting before you make payment.
5. I’ve found something online, how do I pay?
The golden rule is to pay via PayPal Goods and Services. Never pay via PayPal Friends and Family or Bank Transfer. PayPal Goods and Services protects you if an item doesn’t arrive or there are issues with it. Always insist on it as a payment method.
If you have bought something you need to collect, try to go in daylight hours. Remember, this helps you get to see the item you paid for is what you have received. It is possible to pay via PayPal on the mobile App as you are collecting the goods. Try to avoid paying cash if you can.
6. I have bought something second hand, how do I clean it?
Car seats, and prams/pushchairs back to their skeleton, which means the covers can be hoovered or washed (please check the care label first). Pram/pushchair wheels and frames can be scrubbed to get them looking as good as new.
Local Facebook groups often advertise specialist ‘valets’ who will get them prams and car seats looking as good as new.
Cots, highchairs, bouncer chairs, and toys can be washed or wiped down with hot soapy water then finished off with some Dettol anti-bacterial spray.
Clothing can be washed in your washing machine on a regular wash with your washing powder and maybe a cap of Dettol Laundry disinfectant.
Once you are done with your items, provided they are still in good condition you could relist them and let another family grab a bargain while you earn yourself some cash for the next bundle of things your family needs.
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