7 Tips for Secondhand Baby Gear
Are you getting ready for a newborn? Here are our 7 tips on how to consciously get most of your secondhand baby gear.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was absolutely over the moon! I couldn’t believe that I would have the opportunity to experience motherhood and bring such a pure and innocent little baby into the world. Once I started organizing the logistics of her arrival however, I felt a pit in my stomach: the shopping list for newborn babies was endless, and regular baby clothes were full of toxic chemicals. It weighed heavy on me to think of my sweet little girl having a gigantic carbon footprint and being responsible for environmental destruction before she was even born.

So I got organized. I was intent on using reusable diapers and getting her as many second hand goods as possible. I made a long list of everything that was truly necessary for her arrival. Her dad and I were meticulous in our preparation. We shared our preference with our friends and family about preferring gently used goods, and we became secondhand baby gear pros!
Luna's Secondhand Crib & Dressers - usually big ticket items
Garage sales, Craigslist, consignment stores, homeschooler groups, handmade gifts, gently used items from friends… the list goes on! We managed to get 90% of her baby stuff second hand. Here are my 7 tips on getting low carbon baby items:

1. Go to Garage sales

The first items we went crazy on were from garage sales. It’s when I saw a never-worn bear snowsuit with the $40 tag still on it going for only $2 that I knew we’d hit the jackpot.

Here’s what we found at the garage sales:

  • The bear snowsuit that started it all!
  • A Santa dress from a cute family of 3
  • Pants, shirts, skirts, booties, PJs, headbands and adorable socks going for 10 cents a pair from a French woman expecting her second baby – a boy.
Secondhand Bassinet, Blankets, Summer & Winter Clothes, Pyjamas, Shoes and Socks -- and so many more not pictured!
Secondhand Dresser, Lamp, Changing Pad and Cover, Diaper Covers and Blanket
Secondhand Stroller, Running Stroller, Diaper Bags, Carriers, Nursing Cover, Grocery Cart Cover and Car Sear Blanket
Secondhand Exersaucer, Baby Gym, Bumbo Seat, Activity Mat and so many Toys!

2. Search Craiglist

Her dad went crazy on Craigslist! Dakota and I ended up meeting people in the most random of places. We got:

  • a barely used Peg Pérego stroller for ¼ of the price from a new mom who was moving across the country,
  • a running stroller for a 1/3 of the original price,
  • a musical baby gym from a young couple,
  • cloth diaper covers from a man in an empty used auto parts shop (OK, a little sketchy! lol),
  • diaper Snappies from an old lady in a parking lot,
  • a changing pad from another guy in a parking lot,
  • and an exersaucer from a lovely woman who upon meeting Dakota decided to give it to him for free!

3. Go to Consignment Stores

Her grandma absolutely wowed us with the wealth of goods she found at consignment stores! There was just about everything we needed at stores such as Once Upon a Child. If you live in the Triangle, consignment stores to check out also include The Red Hen in Chapel Hill, Baby Bear Resale, and Kids Everywear.

Here’s what Luna got from consignment stores:

  • Organic onesies – yes, second hand organic! – from the Red Hen, gifted by my great friend Lindsay
  • Musical toys, blankets, a rattle, bibs, exersaucer, shopping cart seat protecting cover, nursing bras, nursing cover, diaper travel bag, activity blanket, bottle warmer, slippers, hair bows, onesies, socks, hats, hoodies, jackets, pants, baby books and PJs from her awesome grandma Boushay

4. Ask your Local Homeschoolers Group

A crib is one of the big ticket items for your baby! I wasn’t sure how we were going to get around this one until a wonderful friend of mine forwarded me an email from her homeschoolers group. A super generous mom was giving her crib away for free!

Here’s what she gifted us:

  • A crib
  • A crib mattress
  • Crib sheets… yes, at no charge!

5. Ask Friends and Family for their Gently Used Items

I was absolutely blown away at the generosity of my mama friends. I have to give a special shout out to my friend Mary. I met her and her baby boy when I was 7 months pregnant and she immediately offered to help out. She lent us so many much-needed items – I was so touched by her kindness.

Here are some of the items that Luna received from mamas, friends and family:

  • Automated rocker, bassinet, changing pad sheets, diaper bag for soiled cloth diapers, infant carriers, baby bath tub, blankets, hooded towel, and so many clothes from my friend Mary
  • More clothes, a car seat blanket and a sleeping bag from my best friend
  • Even more clothes from my sister!
  • A pediatrics reference book from my cousin Barbara
  • Back-up sleeping bags from my French aunt Germaine
  • A baby book from my French aunt Yvonne
  • Wooden toys and another carrier from family friends
  • A cute lamp and the perfect dressers to store Luna’s clothes and to use as a changing table from my awesome grandma Moo who was downsizing

6. Encourage Handmade Items

I loved to see friends and family pour their creativity into making gifts for Luna. She received:

  • A handmade carrier from our wonderful neighbor and game night buddy Erin
    An adorable handcrafted picture frame from recycled materials from the one and only Cristina
  • A hand-sown blanket and kimono dress from her Great Grandma
  • A hand-sown wall decoration from her Nani
  • A hand-built rocking horse from Luna’s uncle – I couldn’t believe my eyes when he unveiled it at Christmas! So much talent!

7. Customize your Baby Shower Wish List

I created a live Baby Shower Wish List in a Google Drive Spreadsheet. I listed all the items we still needed and asked people to either contribute to a fund for big-ticket items (like the car seat) or to try to purchase secondhand if possible for the remaining items. I also went with a separate less traditional Blessingway ceremony with a smaller group of girlfriends, celebrating my rite of passage into motherhood.

Beautiful non-traditional gifts we received

  • A labor photoshoot from a photographer friend of mine
  • Precious stones, beads, herbs and birth altar decorations to aid me during labor
  • Sage smudge stick to bless Luna’s room and our home
  • Words of wisdom, poems, songs
  • Aromatherapy and bath salts to aid me in labor
  • Handcrafted belly butter to prevent stretch marks from the wonderful Lindsay from EarthWise Wellness
  • Henna belly painting by the beautiful Jess
  • A belly cast molded with the help of my friends Meg and Rebecca
  • Fairy hair, skillfully mastered by Meg

What did we buy new and why?

We bought the following items new:

  • The car seat, because I really care about car safety and in fact I think it may be illegal to sell a used car seat.
  • Organic cloth flats. I went with reusable cloth diapers, because I didn’t want to send tons of Luna’s diapers to the landfill. I could have purchased used cloth flats, but it was my personal preference to get those new. I did, however, get the snappies and covers secondhand.
  • A handful of organic newborn onesies and an organic blanket. I cringed at the thought of immediately putting toxic clothes on her. Regular baby clothes, at least in the States, are full of carcinogens and hormone disrupters to ensure resistance to wrinkles, stains, static cling and water. I figured I couldn’t protect her from them forever, but that I would do my best during her first months. Following that, I used secondhand because the neat (and sad) thing about secondhand clothes is that a lot of those toxins have been washed out…  
  • A huge tree sticker for her wall. This was my special splurge and gift to her. I wanted her room to look warm and welcoming, and so I went for it.

How much money did we save?

Thousands of dollars for sure! While Cristina was seeing me prepare for Luna’s arrival, she said “I am not ready to have a baby, it’s way too expensive!”. Well, if you buy everything brand spankin’ new, yes! But getting cheap baby stuff is so easy – there’s no shortage of it, it’s everywhere. Babies grow out of clothes and toys within months. You can get quality baby stuff that’s barely been used for just pennies. If you’re having a baby on a budget, follow these tips and tricks to save thousands of dollars.  

Looking back…

For Dakota and I, it became almost a game to try to get every last item secondhand! ^_^ And as a new mama, my heart was SO full seeing the generosity of my friends and family and how they respected our wishes as new parents. We also received new gifts of course, many of them produced in an environmentally-conscious way, and we value them so much and will make sure that they will be passed on to so many more babies after Luna. 🙂 We had a blast getting ready for little Luna’s arrival and we met so many incredible people along the way. Thank you so much to everyone who lovingly helped us dive into parenthood!

I hope our experience gives you ideas on how to get ready for your baby! Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Love,

Christelle.

Permaculture principles applied:

  • Use and value renewable resources and services
  • Produce no waste
  • Use small and slow solutions
  • Use edges and value the marginal

 

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7 Comments

  1. Rebecca Lane

    Your energy is contagious, Christelle. I have no intention of having a baby anytime soon, (maybe even at all! Adoption is looking pretty likely) … but I still read all the way through this article because of how well written and interesting it was. I love that you’re applying your energy to helping others to know and understand permaculture principles. Your teaching methods are clear, concise and highly effective.

    Quite simply, you’re the bomb.

    Reply
    • Christelle

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Rebecca! And thanks again for accompanying me in early labor and for the beautiful labor photoshoot gift that is so precious to us <3

      Reply
  2. Mary

    You are sunshine in person form Christelle. I’m thrilled we could help. Community is everything and Luna is so very lucky you are her mama.

    Reply
    • Christelle

      Thank you, Mary! I’m so glad that our paths crossed last summer 🙂

      Reply
  3. Kuldeep

    I had just been looking for similar information. Upon finding this blog and its information, I’m overwhelmed with the content it has. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Cristina

      Thank you so much, Kuldeep! So glad that you find our content useful. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Kuldeep

    I had just been looking for similar information. Upon finding this blog and its information, I’m overwhelmed with the content it has. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

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