Buying and selling gently used clothing and products isn’t new—it’s actually pretty commonplace (cue Macklemore’s Thrift Shop) and can come with some major benefits. Scoring higher-end leather goods or even a piece of vintage luxury jewelry at a secondhand store is considered a huge win, and you’ll find at least one hand-me-down in just about every kid’s closet or toybox. Still, when it comes to baby clothes and gear, many parents are quick to scoop up the latest and greatest product, no matter the price tag, without even considering the more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly secondhand options. And, honestly, we’re missing out.
In all fairness, finding quality used baby products can be challenging. New and improved gear comes out practically every day, and it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the recalls on products that were deemed “must-haves” even a year ago. Not to mention, babies are messy by nature, so used clothing free of stains can be hard to come by. You have to be committed to the secondhand game in order to win, but given the environmental impact of discarded textiles and other merchandise, it’s a worthy cause.
According to GoodBuy Gear’s 2023 sustainability and resale report, an estimated 100 million baby and kid items were thrown away in 2021 alone, and 28.5 million were just left out on the street. Similarly, in 2022, 12 million car seats were discarded into landfills. The report also highlights that over 12 million tons of furniture are thrown out annually, and 75.5% of all plastic ends up in landfills. These stats are obviously disappointing (especially given the state of climate change), but there is some good news in the report, too! It turns out that parents with kids under the age of 2 are the most active secondhand shoppers, which means there is a big market for selling and buying gently used baby products—you just have to know where to do it.
Buying and Selling Secondhand
Toys and gear have some of the highest price tags, so it’s nice when you can get a little of that money back by selling gear you’re no longer using or when you can get some quality products for a fraction of the cost. GoodBuy Gear and Stork Exchange are great places to shop for gently used, name-brand gear. You’ll find everything from strollers to car seats to bouncy chairs and beyond, and both companies have high standards for the products they’ll accept, so you can rest assured that anything you buy will be in excellent condition. For clothing, there are a handful of places where you can both sell and buy secondhand baby and kids’ clothes, such as thredUP, Poshmark, Kidizen, Mercari, Once Upon a Child, and eBay.
For selling your used baby products, there are a few options. First, do a quick Google search to see if you can find resale companies specific to your area (for instance, Stork Exchange will sell products nationwide but only buys locally). You can also look out for local consignment events, which often buy tons of gear and clothing from the public to then turn around and sell to shoppers. Then, you can also keep it classic with a garage or yard sale or Facebook Marketplace (which are also good for buying secondhand but don’t come with the same quality assurance).
Trade-In Events and Programs
You can get some old baby gear off your hands and stock up on something new for your babe through trade programs. You can’t go wrong with Target’s popular trade-in event for car seats. The company offers this great event a few times a year (it’s going on now through April 29), where anyone can bring in an old, expired, or even damaged car seat to be recycled in exchange for a 20% off baby gear coupon that can be applied towards a new car seat, stroller, or other qualifying baby gear purchases. If you have an old car seat that needs to be tossed and you’re out of the baby gear stage of parenthood, offer the seat up to a friend or neighbor during one of these events—this way, you can get rid of a clunky baby product responsibly so other parents can save some money on a high-ticket item they need. Win-win!
Car seats are only the tip of the baby gear iceberg, though, and GoodBuy Gear’s trade-in program with buybuy BABY is great for the many other products you’ll want to get off your hands as your kiddo grows. Simply look at their list of accepted items (which includes a variety of brands) and their trade-in value, bring the product into a nearby buybuy BABY for inspection, and if it’s approved, you’ll get a gift card for the total trade-in value of all the gear you hand over. You’ll get the card right on the spot, too, so you can turn around and purchase whatever gear you need next. (If you’d prefer to sell your stuff for cash, check here to see if GoodBuy Gear offers this service in your area.)
Baby Gear Rental
Since a lot of baby gear is only needed for a short time, renting is another great way to reduce waste and save a bit of money. For example, the SNOO bassinet is basically a miracle baby product, but it’s also costly for something that can only be used for up to six months. Instead of paying the hefty $1,695 price to buy it outright only to turn around and discard it, you can rent it through Happiest Baby for around $160 per month. Other gear that is often expensive and short-lived includes newborn-specific strollers, carriers, car seats, exersaucers, high chairs, and even some high-end toys. These kinds of products can also be rented through companies like BabyQuip and rents4baby, again saving you money and ensuring one less discarded baby product in our landfills.
The cost of baby clothing and gear adds up quickly, and each piece of fabric or plastic thrown out impacts our planet. Selling your gently used products and buying secondhand is a small way to have a big impact, and it’s so much easier to do than you think. So before you start shopping for the latest and greatest model, check out one of these sites or a local consignment event to see if you can find it there instead. You may be surprised by how many amazing deals you can get (and by how good it feels to shop sustainably).
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