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September 22, 2015

thrifting for babies

Since Beatrice was born, life has become a bit busier and convenience is often the trump card in decision making and buying power.  However, in an effort to not only keep my bank account happy but also consume less and teach my daughter about secondhand living, I have found there are still ways where thrifting is totally possible and can be convenient.  To me, the key to avoid high costs and buying new is to plan ahead and strike while the iron is hot.  That is, stop at the thrift store when I have an extra 20 minutes without Beatrice, or plan a Saturday morning to hit up garage sales and stock up on clothes for the future.   And don’t get me wrong, I have had my (many!) times of frantically running to the store to buy a new pacifier, swaddler, sound machine or nightlight- anything to help her sleep through the night!  And of course I am certainly not advocating not providing well for your child’s needs, nor do I want anyone to feel judged by buying new, I am just offering areas where it is possible if you are into the secondhand thing.  So here goes! 

1.       Clothes!
Growing. Does. Not. Stop! My daughter has been swiftly moving up in sizes proving that clothing I have for her doesn’t fit for too long! This is the greatest area where thrifting has been relatively easy and successful, and after comparing price tags on new baby clothes, it is worth it to the bank account. Check local thrift stores or websites like  Check your local newspaper or Facebook page for events happening in your area too.  Westmoreland County is having a HUGE thrifting event for children’s items next weekend at our local fairground.  Clothes are easily washable and because kids grow out of them so quickly, thrifted clothes are often in good shape too. Secondhand stores often provide a rewards program as well that adds incentive to keep going back.
Tip: For the sake of saving time later and planning ahead, look through entire sections of kids’ clothing in thrift store. I’ve found a few outfits that we won’t need for 2 more years for 25 cents each!  This only works if you can predict the general size of your child during the season they’ll need the clothing.
2.       Toys
Much like clothing, kids’ interests and activities change so often.  We have been lucky enough to have friends and family gift us a lot of their old toys so we haven’t had to buy much for Beatrice.  She will eventually start to want specific toys, but for now, we are keeping her well entertained by rotating many of the toys that were handed down to us!  I’ve combed craigslist often for good toys/activities that she may be interested in as well, especially with the upcoming holidays and a first birthday around the corner.  The best thing about kids stuff: IT’S ALL WASHABLE! There has not been a toy yet that I haven’t been able to clean well.  With a little elbow grease, they’re as good as new!
3.       Furniture
Furniture is one of those things that everyone may disagree on. When you have a baby, you need a crib.  Newer cribs are obviously the most up-to-date on safety features.  Depending on how comfortable you are with having an older crib and mattress (assuming it still meets the safety recommendations), receiving/buying a used one is totally worth it.  We were fortunate to have been pregnant right when friends of ours were getting rid of their nursery furniture, so it worked out well.  But even if you don’t know someone getting rid of furniture, search garage sales, Craigslist, or newspaper ads for gently used ones.  You can also use or upcycle a dresser to be used as a changing table, or paint an old set of shelves for the nursery.  
4.       Books
This is one of my favorite things for Beatrice to have a full stock of! She loves books and reading with children is so important. We were given stacks of books from friends and family, and a local Goodwill is usually stocked with mounds of children’s books for 25 cents each. And those little teeth marks from strange children? Don’t worry- germs don’t live that long on the edges of books, and especially if they are board books, they can be wiped down pretty easily.  One of the other suggestions I can offer here is to check out the local library or used book store. Often there is a section of used books they are giving away for free.
5.       Pay it forward!
I know a lot of parents, and I bet many of you are already doing a lot of the above tips for the basic purpose of saving money! That is certainly enough motivation to buy secondhand, but cutting down on consumption is definitely an added bonus. So my last piece of advice today is to take care of the kids’ items you have and save what you can to give away to someone who needs it.  And really this goes for everything! Take care of your things so that if you find you don’t need it anymore, someone else may benefit. Use local secondhand shops. Sell on Craigslist. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!
**thanks for stopping by**


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