With a new baby on the way, a friend or relative is bound to give you that "essential checklist" of gear you'll need to buy. But before you go crazy at your local baby store, why not think of buying a few key items secondhand? Buying used is great for the environment and your baby budget. Instead of spending big on items that are only used for a short time, why not save the money to spend on something your son or daughter can use for life? Here's a list of gear you can find in good shape with relative ease secondhand:
1. A bassinet/moses basket. Considering these only last a baby a maximum of six months, chances are you can find one secondhand in great condition. I bought the organic bassinet pictured above, retailing for around $350, for just $100 used, and sold it for the same when I was done!
2. A dresser/change table. A vintage dresser is a great way to add some age, some depth to a new nursery. Add a change mat on top and you have yourself a change table for as long as you need it.
3. The crib. If you decide to go straight to a crib and forego the bassinet, a crib can be purchased used: all you will need is a new mattress. Remember, stay away from drop side cribs - they are dangerous and illegal to sell used.
4. The stroller. Test out strollers at the baby store, and have a quick look online to see if anyone is selling the same model.
5. Bouncers and swings. These almost always have removable, washable covers and can be recovered if the design isn't to your liking.
6. The high chair. You won't need one for at least 4 months, but when you do, if there's a particular one you want, you might get lucky online. I had my heart set on a Stokke Tripp Trapp, and found one on Craigslist for just $10! The paint needed a touch-up, but that's only a small amount of work for a savings of $200!!
Good luck, and happy secondhand hunting!
(Image composite: Alison Gerber)