From oh-so-necessary items like a car seat to the less-crucial things like so many toys, little ones tend to accumulate all sorts of material items. But once they've outgrown those items, they may simply end up sitting around your home, taking up space, and collecting dust. Sure, you may end up giving some of them away to friends or neighbors, but if you're looking to actually get a bit of a return on your investment, there are smart ways to make money on all that unwanted baby gear.
Here, baby gear and personal finance experts share their best tricks for bringing in that extra cash. Though, before you dive into the baby gear marketplace, consider this word of warning: "First and foremost, make sure any baby gear you want to make some extra dollars from have not been recalled and that they are in good working and safe order and have all parts and pieces," says Julie McCaffrey, chief baby planner and owner at BabyNav Baby Planners. "And be aware that most places will not accept or allow you to sell used car seats."
1. Consider a consignment site...
Scherrie Donaldson, parenting expert with Romio (an app that lets people find and book local services based on recommendations by trusted experts) recommends checking out sites like Swap.com. "You ship it to them, and they will price it and sell it online," Donaldson notes. "You will receive a percentage of the sales when the items are sold."
McCaffrey agrees, noting that ThredUP is a particularly user-friendly consignment site. "If you want to sell old, good condition baby clothing or outerwear, check out ThredUP, because they make it super easy," she notes. "They will send you a big bag with a prepaid shipping label to fill out, and they will go through your clothing, take photos, place them for sale, and handle all the shipping. They will even responsible recycle anything they don't sell!"
2. ...or a consignment shop.
If you'd rather work with a brick-and-mortar establishment, you can look for local consignment shops, such as Once Upon a Child, McCaffrey shares. "This is great because you don't have to worry about meeting up with someone you don't know or having to ship items," she notes. One caveat about going this route: "You might make a little less money this way, as the store offers you a price based on what they think they can re-sell it for and only offer you a portion of that."
3. Use an app.
Various apps, like LetGo, make it easy to connect with local parents who may be interested in your items, notes Denise Courter, a family and parenting expert with Romio. THere are even apps that are geared to parents, like Kidizen, a consignment app for L.O.'s clothes, which allows you to take home 90% of the purchase price. Like eBay, you set up your shop, snap a photo or two of the item(s) you’re selling, and set your price.
4. Connect on social media (Facebook groups, Instagram, etc.).
"Look for local mom groups and twin groups on social media where you can sell directly to other local moms," McCaffrey advises. "These are a great places to sell your unwanted baby gear, because not only is it your target audience, but they might even share with another local friend, even if you aren't selling something they themselves need."
5. Return unused items to the store.
There's a chance you were slightly overprepared and ended up receiving or buying gear you never actually used in the first place. "You may still be within the returns period of the store you bought the item from to get the cash back," notes Jennifer McDermott, consumer advocate for the personal finance comparison website Finder.com. "Finding out your rights could be as simple as a quick call to the store or scan of their returns policy online."
6. Make sure to factor in presentation.
No matter how you plan to sell it, you'll do well to invest a bit of time cleaning up your unwanted baby gear before you put it on the market. "If you are selling clothing, it is a good idea to have them all freshly laundered," McCaffrey advises. "If you are selling gear such as a stroller, baby swings, or high chairs, it is a good idea to clean them well, and, if possible, launder any soft goods—like seat inserts. Shining up stroller wheels, wiping down the underside of a booster seat, and laundering a carrier can help you earn a few extra dollars when a new parent is looking to purchase used gear."