Five Top Tips For Finding Second Hand Baby Bargains

30 May 2011

Sell It Mama Nearly New SaleOne thing about baby clothes and equipment is that they are about the best thing to buy second hand. Quite often they've had no more than about three months use.

So equipment is often in pristine conditqion. And, it is unlikely that a two month old baby is going to wear out clothes in the same way that an 18 month old will.

With a bit of shopping around, online and also schlepping about second hand sales, you can probably get everything you need. You'll have somewhere between six and nine months to get ready. I hope. There's always the exceptions, no matter what your age. After two children a friend of mine was still caught out when the doctor told her she was seven months pregnant with number three.

Sell It Mama dressesI would keep two things in mind though, if you're thinking you can get all your baby stuff second hand either for free or for a fraction of the original price. First, you may not find it all. Items at baby sales in particular, such as those run by the NCT, can go very quickly. Some sales offer a 'bump the queue' option for mums who are pregnant, so it is well worth checking this out. Otherwise, get there early!

Second, the nesting hormones that set in take a very different form in everyone. You may think you're fine about it now, but may have a very different response to using used items later on. I'm only cautioning on this because I know people that this has happened to, who were simply had to have everything brand new even though they'd always laughed at those parents before.

And something similar caught me by surprise too. I was OK with anything second hand, but until my son was a year old I couldn't go to any of those soft play places. The thought of all those plastic balls that had been drooled over by goodness knows how many little mouths actually made me physically gag.

And then when he was a year old, or thereabouts, it was like someone flicked a switch. And I thought, oooh good way to build up the immune system!

Freegle1 The Obvious

First off, I'm just going to point out a few places that, if you're a canny PlayPennies parent you'll already know about. But, you never know, sometimes we just don't think of the obvious answers, and we don't all know everything!

Keep an eye out on freebie sites like Freecycle or Freegle. For buying cheap used stuff, there is of course eBay and Gumtree. And car boot sales, of which there seems to be one in just about every spare carpark or field these days.

2 Nearly New Baby And Mother Sales

Sell It Mama cakeThe NCT, a leading UK charity for parents, runs nearly new sales and other events around the country. You can find out where and when sales are taking place on their website.

You might be like me though and discover that hey, your area is covered by the NCT. The nearest one to me was, on public transport, two bus rides and a good walk away.

However, other groups may do something instead. One mum in my area started her own version, and in fact there's one this coming weekend. Even though I don't have a baby anymore I go along to the Sell It Mama events for the cake and to pick up toy bargains for my son. But mostly for the cake.

There isn't an easy way to find out when events like this are happening in your area. Search online, and check out noticeboards in cafes and the library. Also ask other mums. Best of all, ask at your local SureStart Centre. These often arrange their own sales too.

Sell It Mama

3 Charity Shops And Table Top Sales

My best mate called me up one day absolutely thrilled to bits with having just got 30 brand new items of clothing for a 0 to 3 month old, for the princely sum of £5. She found them all on the rack in a charity shop.

Is it just me or does it seem to be pretty slim pickings these days in charity shops? I have picked up some fabulous toy bargains in the last few years, but there's never much in the way of clothes.

Is there a trick to this that someone can let me in on, or is it just that stuff is being snapped up really quickly? Perhaps trying a charity that specialises in children might help, like The Children's Society.

Here's something that never occurred to me before having kids, because these things are simply off your radar when you're child free. Many primary schools and nurseries run table top sales aka jumble sales throughout the year.

4 Parent Forums

We've all heard of Mumsnet, even if we don't have kids. It seemed to get almost as much attention during the last election as the politicians did. It is the biggest of all the Parent Forums. But not the only one.

Nappy Valley is a site dedicated to getting parents together so you can buy, sell and exchange baby items locally. NetMums has a nearly new section, where you can trade second-hand equipment and clothes.

Preloved5 Classifieds

You can browse the classifieds of most newspapers online these days, and there are dedicated classified sites. Celebrating the joy of second-hand is Preloved.

Both AdTrader and Loot have sections for children's items. Friday Ads is a national classified newspaper that you can also search online. The advantage here is that you can search locally, or cast your net further afield if you're willing to travel.


  • Luschka O.
    Fara Charity Shops have dedicated children's shops that also sell fantastic clothes at great prices. I used to go to the one in Clapham every few weeks or so, just to see what they had, and being an affluent area, got stunning outfits and wooden/soft toys for next to nothing.
  • Lynley O.
    Cool! I hadn't heard of them. Having googled I now know that they're a charity for disadvantaged children in Romani, and are located in south west and central London. It hadn't occured to me to look for LOCAL charity shops! Nice tip thanks.
  • Andy
    Thanks for the tips Lnley. I pick up a few bargains off ebay. Try searching for misspellings e.g. Monson instead of Monsoon. This site is handy for that . Also, the best eBay bargains I’ve found have been at silly times e.g. late at night or very early in the morning. Avoid weekends (unless you are selling of course, in which case list for ten days, starting on a Thursday, so it covers two weekends and ends on a Sunday) as prices tend to shoot up at weekends. Also, bid at the last minute (or second). It cuts out any shill bidding, which I am sure goes on constantly, behind eBay’s back.

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