Buying second-hand baby gear is a smart way to stock up on many essentials for babies, toddlers, and kids who will soon outgrow just about everything anyway. Buying secondhand is usually just fine, but in some cases used gear isn't safe. Find out what baby gear is safe to buy used, and what to avoid.
Luckily for parents, there are many online shops and apps that make it easy to find just what you're looking for at a discounted price. They also make it simple to make money selling the stuff you're looking to part with.
Here are our top picks (in no particular order) for the best online stores to buy or sell second-hand items for babies and kids.
What it is: ThredUP is a website and app that sells high-quality secondhand clothing. Founded in 2009 by a grad student, thredUP's original concept was peer-to-peer swapping of men's clothing. It's since become a giant online marketplace, branching out into clothes for women, children, and babies.
Best for: Deeply discounted children's clothing from mass-market brands (Disney, Gap Kids, Gymboree) and upscale labels (Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino).
For buyers: ThredUP is a wonderland of thousands of items selling for 20 to 90 percent off retail prices. Its sorting and filtering methods are better than many other secondhand sites – you can search by kids' sex, size, color, price, and brand. There's even a section for “new with tags” clothing. Buyers pay for shipping on thredUP.
For sellers: Once you create an account, you can order a free thredUP Clean Out Kit (basically a big bag you fill up with gently used items you want to sell) and mail it to thredUP using the prepaid shipping label. ThredUP employees comb through your offerings, list them for buyers, take care of transactions, and handle shipping. According to the website, thredUP's quality standards are pretty high – they won't resell anything that has signs of wear, damage, or alterations.
Fees: On thredUP, you have the option to get your payout issued as store credit, or to get the money via PayPal. Once your item sells, thredUP takes anywhere from 20 to 97 percent of the sale price. (Higher-quality items earn you a bigger percentage of the sale price, versus a stack of $1 onesies.) And you only get paid if the item sells within a certain number of days (60 days for most kids' brands or 90 days for designer brands).
Return policy: In order to get a full refund, items must be postmarked within 14 days of delivery, returned in the same condition in which you received them, and are subject to a $1.99 restocking fee. If you choose to get your refund sent to your original form of payment, you'll also be subjected to an $8.99 shipping fee (or you'll have to pay your own shipping). Shipping is free if you have your refund issued as store credit.
What it is: Mercari is an app that connects buyers to sellers. Founded in Japan in 2013, it came to the United States in 2014.
Best for: A wide array of gear: strollers, carriers, swings, play yards, and high chairs. Mercari also resells kids' clothing, as well as kids' toys, from board books and Barbies to Legos and video games.
For buyers: Download the app, then search for a specific item or browse by category. When you find something you want, click to buy (or you can make an alternative offer to the seller if you'd like to spend a little less). Some sellers include shipping in the purchase price; others post a shipping cost – usually $4 to $15 – that's added to the price.
For sellers: List your items with a photo, description, and price, and decide if you or the buyer will cover shipping costs. When someone buys your item, Mercari emails you a prepaid shipping label to print, and you have three business days to send the goods.
Fees: Mercari charges sellers a minimum of 10 percent of the cost of the item, plus a payment processing fee of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents for each sale.
Return policy: Returns are decided on a case-by-case basis by the seller and Mercari, and return requests must be submitted within three days of receiving the item. Refunds may be issued back to the original form of payment or as a store credit that expires in 90 days, depending on the situation. Mercari provides a free shipping label for approved returns, and the item has to be mailed within three days.
What it is: OfferUp is an app that connects buyers to nearby sellers, Craigslist style. It was founded in 2011 by two dads in Seattle who wanted to get rid of baby gear they no longer needed.
Best for: Baby and kids' clothes, maternity wear, baby gear, and toys. OfferUp has great breadth – on very few other sites will you find play yards and car seats alongside breast pumps and formula.
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For buyers: When you sign in to shop, you're asked to specify a ZIP code and how many miles you're willing to travel. If you find something you're interested in, you can message the owner directly and securely with any questions. Once you're ready to buy, click “Make Offer” and name a price – it's electronic haggling, basically. When you and the seller reach an agreement, you set a date to exchange money and items. As a buyer, you can also choose to have an item shipped if you'd prefer not to meet in-person, but you'll have to cover the shipping costs.
For sellers: Listing is simple: Take a photo of your item, describe it, and set a price. It takes only about 30 seconds to post your item. Getting your gear into the hands of buyers, however, poses the same potential difficulties as using classified ads. There can be a lot of back-and-forth with buyers, meeting them may involve travel and hassle, and you never know for sure whether they'll show up. OfferUp lets sellers ship through USPS across the 48 contiguous states. Sellers can also make items available for shipping when they list them.
Fees: Once an item sells, OfferUp charges sellers either a minimum of $1.99 or 12.9 percent of the sale price.
Return policy: Refunds are determined by the seller, who has two days to accept or decline your return once you submit it.
What it is: There've been many iterations of eBay since it debuted in 1995 as the original second-hand e-commerce site that connected buyers and sellers (the eBay app came later in 2008). The current version of the app automatically displays items it thinks you'll like based on your previous purchases.
Best for: EBay's high-volume business means you're more likely to locate a specific or hard-to-find item – a particular baby carrier in a sold-out pattern, for example.
For buyers: As on the website, items listed with a “Buy It Now” button can be purchased with a click at a fixed price. Otherwise, buyers place a bid and hope that when the “auction” is over, theirs will be the highest. If so, the buyer will pay for the item, the sellers then send the item to the buyer, or the buyer and seller can arrange to meet up in person. One downside: The app's search function tends to show you things that aren't exactly what you're looking for, which makes browsing more time consuming than on other apps.
For sellers: Selling is easier on the app than on the website – the whole process can be done with your phone. Once you're signed up, just snap a few photos of the item you want to sell, craft a keyword-heavy title and description, and scan your product's barcode to automatically populate your listing with the info.
Fees: You don't have to pay to list an item on eBay – there's a fee only if and when your item sells. eBay takes 12.9 percent (or lower) of the selling price plus 30 cents. Sellers choose whether to include shipping in the sale price or itemize the shipping for the buyer to cover. If a buyer uses PayPal, the seller has to cover the 3 percent fee for that.
Return policy: You'll get your money back, no questions asked, if your item arrives damaged or doesn't match the description. Otherwise, your refund is at the seller's discretion.
What it is: Founded in 2011, Poshmark is one of the biggest online marketplace apps and online platforms specializing in gently used designer fashion. Poshmark has a large number of sellers who offer a diverse lineup of brands, which means it's easier to find exactly what you're looking for.
Best for: Poshmark users can choose from luxury kids' clothing brands like Jacadi, Lilly Pulitzer, and Moncler, as well as more affordable options such as The Children's Place, Cat & Jack, and Carter's.
For buyers: Search by brands or categories, which helps narrow down your choices. If you're shopping for a specific type of item, you can also join a brand-themed Posh Party or an item-themed one – such as Everything Kids or Best in Maternity Wear – where you can browse, buy, and list items for sale. Buyers pay shipping fees of $4 to $7, which can take the shine off a $5 or $10 bargain.
For sellers: Tap the “sell” button in the app (or the “sell on Poshmark” button on the web). Then, photograph your item, write a short description, and set a price. (You can post up to 16 photos to accurately depict your product.) Once it sells, Poshmark sends you a prepaid, pre-addressed shipping label, and you pack up the item and drop the package at the post office or any USPS mailbox, or have it picked up from home.
Fees: Poshmark takes a flat commission of $2.95 for all sales under $15. For anything over $15, Poshmark takes 20 percent.
Refund policy: All sales on Poshmark are final, unless the item is not as described in the listing or you received the incorrect item.
What it is: Toycycle is an online consignment shop for outgrown baby gear and toys. It started in 2019 as a local buy-and-sell platform for those in the San Francisco Bay Area (and eventually Austin, Texas), but has since branched out to include mail-in options for the rest of the U.S.
Best for: Despite its name, you'll find more than just toys on Toycycle. Parents use it to buy and sell clothing and baby gear such as high chairs, car seats, and strollers.
For buyers: Use the search bar to see if the specific item or brand you're looking for is available for purchase. Like many consignment shops, each listing has a condition key (such as “like new” or “sealed in package”), and you can either add it to your cart or buy it immediately if you only want that one item. The Toycycle staff physically cleans and disinfects all items before reselling them. Buyers pay for shipping fees.
For sellers: Create an account and log in, and then choose how you want to sell your items. They only accept new, like-new, and used items in excellent condition. Toycycle will take your items via curbside pickup you live in the Bay Area or near Austin, Texas, or you can put your for-sale toys and gear in a Cleanout Box and your soft items like clothing in a Stuff-and-Send Bag. Perhaps the best part is you don't have to take photos of your item or upload a description – Toycycle handles all of that. You can get paid via cash, store credit, or a donation to a charity of your choice.
Fees: The first bag of items you sell through Toycycle is free; after that, they charge $3 per Stuff-and-Send Bag, $6 per Cleanout Box, and $12 per curbside pickup. After your items sell, Toycycle takes a percentage depending on the price of your item, ranging from 85 percent for items less than $10 to 20 percent for big-ticket items.
Return policy: Toycycle will issue a refund if you're unhappy with your purchase; you can either receive your refund via your original form of payment or opt for store credit.
What it is: Founded in 2016, the Denver-based GoodBuy Gear is an online resale marketplace where you can buy and sell gently used baby and kids' gear you don't need anymore.
Best for: General gear for babies and kids of all ages, like car seats, strollers, toys, clothes, home decor, and furniture.
For buyers: Simply browse the site for what you're looking for; you can search by category or by your child's age if you're just browsing. And you'll rest assured knowing each item is vetted by GoodBuy Gear “Wingmoms,” who photograph, clean, and quality check each item before they post it on the site. Buyers pay for shipping, though free pickup may be available for people in the Denver and Philadelphia areas.
For sellers: Only people living near Denver, Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia can sell items through GoodBuy Gear. Once you set up an account, schedule a pick-up service to come and collect your goods (or drop your items off at one of their locations in Denver or Philadelphia). After your item is cleaned and vetted, the Wingmoms will suggest a selling price and list it on the marketplace. They also handle communication with the buyers, as well as shipping logistics. You can choose to get paid once your item sells via direct deposit, donation, or store credit, which never expires and comes with a 10 percent credit. If your item doesn't sell within 120 days, GoodBuy Gear will donate it to one of their nonprofit partners; you can pick up the item after 100 days if you don't want it to be donated.
Fees: Once an item sells, GoodBuy Gear takes a percentage anywhere from 20 to 80 percent, depending on the price of the item. Sellers are charged a $25 fee for pick-ups (drop-offs in Denver and Philadelphia are free). You may also be charged for incidentals, such as fees for battery replacement, repairs or reassembly.
Refund policy: GoodBuy Gear will issue a refund if your item doesn't match the description and if you start the return within 14 days of delivery.
What it is: Kidizen is an online marketplace founded in 2014 by two moms through which other parents can buy and sell stylish items for their little ones. It's similar to Etsy in that each seller has a “shop” through which they can independently sell their items and earn money.
Best for: Toys, books, diaper bags, and nursery accoutrements are available on Kidizen, but it's most known for clothes, accessories, and shoes for babies, kids, and even moms.
For buyers: Kidizen is easy to navigate as a buyer; the top categories of “baby,” “boy,” “girl,” etc., are pretty self-explanatory. There's also a “with tags” category and another for “mama.” Once you click on your category of choice, browse items by size, brand, price, or condition. After you find an item of interest, you can message the buyer directly or add it to your cart. Sellers may include shipping in the cost of the item or charge a separate fee.
For sellers: Kidizen has an extensive seller handbook on their site with tips for successful selling, but the gist is you set up a shop, take photos of your items, write descriptions, and price them to sell. Once you're a member, you can ask other Kidizen sellers for tips. Kidizen sellers are responsible for shipping costs, and must create their own shipping labels.
Fees: Once an item sells, Kidizen takes 12 percent, plus 50 cents.
Return policy: All Kidizen sales are final; a refund will only be issued if the order is not received or if the order is not as described.
BabyCenter's swap groups
What it is: Community message boards where parents exchange baby gear. Most BabyCenter Community groups are very chatty; its swap groups are also friendly, but more businesslike: “Here's what I have, here's what I want.” You have to create a BabyCenter profile in order to join a Community group, as well as request membership to get in.
Best for: The Babywearing Swap, the Cloth Diaper Swap, and the Baby Clothes Swap groups are the most popular.
For buyers: Some parents are looking for trades, but others want to sell. A typical for-sale post may read: “I have a size-6 silk ramie cotton Natibaby woven wrap to sell. It's a magenta/purple color and it's the elves pattern/design. It's been lovely, but my son is 5 and there are no more babies in our immediate future. I'll sell it for $150.”
For sellers: You can make money this way, or be compensated with items you get in your swap. The downside of the latter approach is that it can take a long time to find someone who wants what you're offering and has something you want in return.
Fees: None, but each party pays to ship their part of the trade.
Return policy: None.
What it is: Facebook Marketplace is a feature on Facebook launched in 2016 through which you can buy and sell new or used items from individuals or businesses in your area.
Best for: Just about anything you can imagine, including furniture for nurseries or kids' rooms, baby gear, and kids' clothes. Both boxed and used toys are easy to find here, too.
For buyers: As long as you have a Facebook account, you can browse specific Marketplace items with the search bar, or view “today's picks” to see what's trending in your area. Once you find an item you like, you can message the buyer directly to discuss. Some items are eligible for shipping, but local pick-up or drop-off is most common on Marketplace.
For sellers: Once you're in Marketplace, click “create new listing,” where you'll upload a few photos of your product, a description of it (including its condition), and your selling price. Potential buyers will get in touch with you directly. A new feature to Marketplace is you can create “promotions” on any or all of your listings, which offer interested buyers a discount.
Fees: Unlike other online marketplaces, Facebook doesn't charge a listing or selling fee. You'll only have to pay a fee if, say, your specific sale requires you to cover the cost of shipping.
Return policy: Returns on Facebook Marketplace are determined by the seller. If accepted, you'll likely have to cover the cost for shipping.
The Buy Nothing Project
What it is: The Buy Nothing Project was founded by two friends and parents in 2013 more as a social movement than a secondhand, hyperlocal online marketplace. Users exchange gifts with others in their area, but the kicker here is that everything on The Buy Nothing Project is free.
Best for: You'll probably be able to find free baby stuff on the Buy Nothing app, but the most amazing benefit is the sense of community. Also, not all gifts exchanged are tangible items – you could get free babysitting, for example, or a neighbor could simply use the app to express their gratitude to you.
For buyers: You can only join a Buy Nothing group for the area you live in, and you can only join one. Once you're in, post a listing in your group detailing what you're looking for. If someone has what you're looking for, you can message them directly and arrange for pickup. Alternatively, you can browse posts and comment on the items you're interested in.
For sellers: The idea is the same for “sellers”: Write a brief description of what you're giving away, post it by clicking the “share” button on your homepage, and sift through comments to arrange for pickup. Typically, items are first come, first served.
Return policy: None.