Tips for Baby Hand-Me-Down Happiness
A WHAT TO HAND DOWN & HOW TO STORE IT
1. Toys in good, working condition – remove batteries prior to storing.
2. Gender neutral clothing or clothing in good condition
3. Furniture- Cribs that have not been recalled –no drop rails
4. Strollers & Highchairs – in good working condition. You may want to bring your used stroller to an authorized dealer to ensure that breaks, tires and parts are all in good working condition
5. Gear and Accessories – again, any gear such as swings or bouncers that require batteries, remove them prior to storing. Diaper bags, slings, carriers, playmats are all great to keep, particularly if you can wash it.
6. Car Seats, provided that it passes the expiration date. Car seats are supposed to be no older than 7 years from date of manufacture. The Florida heat is so strong that it compromises the plastic and the integrity of the safety of the car seat after it sits in a car or a garage for a period of time. It’s best to store these in a climate controlled house or storage facility. If your car seat is really dirty or the color isn’t gender appropriate, think about getting a car seat cover. Car seat covers are universal and are available for infant and toddler seats.
WHEN TO GET RID OF CLUTTER
1. Articles of clothing with holes or stains. Also, you may want to consider breaking up matching sets. Only keep the pieces you know you will use
2. Storing clothing in cool, air-tight spaces… heat will dry rot elastic bands and fabric if stored more than a couple years- takes up space and wastes time.
3. Books with torn edges or missing pages that have been eaten
4. Shoes- soles that are very worn. Sometimes if you store shoes too long the insole starts to deteriorate
5. Toys with missing pieces. NOT fair to give a puzzle to your second child that they can’t ever complete.
6. Bath Gear & Toys, partially for hygienic reasons- ESPECIALLY squirt toys, like rubber duckies. These are big on my THROW AWAY list because you can never get all of the water out of the squirt toy and they harbor bacteria. Every child loves to squirt the water into their mouth.
7. Any strollers, cribs, gear or furniture that has been recalled. Contact the manufacturer and oftentimes, they will have a replacement part or a solution. If not, you will have to discard the item.
8. Area rugs- the glue on the back of certain rugs can rot and fall apart- also as rugs get older they emit off-gassing- not something you want in a nursery. It smells awful too
B) WHERE TO TAKE OR BUY “EUC”S – Excellent Used Condition
1. Ebay – PROS: Great for sellers because it puts your product in front of the most customers. Great for buyers because it has the largest selection to choose from, and a buyer protection program. CONS: Time consuming as a seller to place on Ebay. Not always efficient when selling very large or heavy items that need to be shipped. Sellers have to have to pay an Ebay commission, a Paypal commission, packaging expenses and shipping. Buyers have to rely on images and descriptions that are not always accurate. One person’s idea of EUC may ne very different than yours. Photos can misrepresent color or condition.
2. Craigslist – PROS: Great for sellers because it is free, and you don’t have to pay a commission. Great for buyers because Craigslist is local and you can see the product and test it before you buy it. CONS: From both the buyer and seller perspective, many people are wary of meeting strangers to look at products at other people’s houses. Especially for pregnant moms or women, I always suggest that you bring a partner or friend when you go to someone’s house. Better yet, if it is something portable, such as a stroller, ask them to meet you somewhere in public, such as a coffee shop or a stroller store. You can accomplish two things: 1 a stroller store can check the stroller for you to make sure it is in working condition 2 safety
Consignment Stores- PRO: Safety and convenience. As a seller, an industry professional will be selling or demonstrating your 1. product. Some consignment stores are authorized dealers and can offer an overhaul and an opportunity to purchase replacement parts. Furniture stores might repair pieces prior to selling them. As a buyer, again, safety and convenience. CON: Consignment yields less due to split commissions, but many times the consignee will ultimately get more for the product than you would through Ebay or Craigslist. Some consignment stores offer more if you take a store credit instead of a payout. Great way to upgrade strollers and gear for a growing family. May want to think about splitting up your items as certain items will sell better at certain consignment shops than others
2. Donating- PRO: Tax write off, feel good about yourself. CONS: in your heart of hearts you don’t know who got your favorite baby outfit!
Baby hand me downs can be fun, easy, and not only frugal, but profitable. Just remember to buy and sell safely, and manage your own expectations and others of used items.