When you’re shopping for baby gear or completing your baby registry, what’s your end game?
Thinking about what you’ll do with your baby gear later–when you no longer need it–can seem silly when you’re at the beginning of your baby gear journey, like you are now.
BUT…having a baby gear exit strategy to guide your purchases and baby registry picks can help you cash in later and free up space in your home, which is what this seller’s guide to baby gear is all about.
To get the goods on online yard sales, BabyProductsMom spoke with Deb Colameta, author of Best Offer, Best Life! Deb’s Quick-Start Guide to Creating Wealth through Online Yard Sales.
Over the past five years, Colameta has raked in thousands of dollars by selling her used baby items, including six strollers she used for her two kids through online yard sales.
Here–psst!–Colameta lets you in on her second-hand selling success secrets.
Read on to cash in on your “used” baby gear, rogue wedding gifts, aspirational exercise equipment, and more.
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Ka-ching Your Things
Let’s start off with baby gear, of course. “There’s a huge secondhand market for high-end preowned baby gear,” Colameta says. The operative word here is premium, as in “high end.”
While value baby brands, such as a Graco, Fisher-Price and Evenflo are perfectly wonderful (BabyProductsMom is a big fan of them all, especially the Graco Swift Fold high chair, for example—and owns two herself), they don’t sell so quickly in the used online market if you decide to sell them when you’re done with them. (Bummer!)
”Things that are quickest to sell have a high-end brand name,” Colameta says, a mom of two from the Boston area. Think UPPABaby, Snoo Smart Sleeper, Bugaboo, BabyBjorn, Britax, Stokke, BabyZen, BOB, Doona, Nuna, 4Moms, Peg Perego…
”People scramble to pick those up,” says Colameta. This is true for most premium products—not just baby gear, she says.
Bottomline: Used premium products can pay off.
BabyProductsMom’s Used Baby Gear Strategy
But let’s stop for a second to talk about used baby items. If you’re a first-time parent, BabyProductsMom recommends ideally, starting from scratch: buying products new, then reusing your new gear for baby #2, and so on, unless there’s a big age gap between kids, such as six years, in which case, it is wise to start fresh for your next kid so you’re up to date on product safety standards and because products naturally deteriorate with time, even if they’re just sitting in your garage.
Buying new baby gear for your first baby offers lots of benefits:
- You can register the products so you can easily be notified in case of a recall
- You know the product’s history and usage, such as whether the car seat has been in an accident. (If your car seat is ever in an accident, even if it doesn’t have a scratch, toss it. It has done its job.)
- You know what condition the product is in and what it has been through–nothing.
It’s a pandemic-induced recession and little babies are always deceptively expensive. In times like these, it’s more than okay to buy some baby gear used and sell it to others when you’re through.
What’s okay to buy (and sell) used:
- Strollers—all types, including a jogging stroller
- Crib (if it has stationary sides, with no old-fashioned drop side rail)
- High chair
- Changing table
- Baby clothes
- Bouncy seat
- Baby bath tub
- Diaper pail
- Reusable diapers
- Play yard
- Boppy (wash the removable cover first on a used Boppy)
What not okay to buy (or sell) used:
- Anything that has been recalled that may be still in circulation in the secondhand market, like the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper.
- Anything that doesn’t meet today’s safety standards like this high chair, which doesn’t feature a five-point safety harness.
- Car seats (start new)
- Breast pump (used–ick!)
- Heirloom bassinet (better: a modern bassinet, which complies with today’s safety standards)
Colameta recommends online yard sale sites to sell baby and kid products as well as anything in your house you’re not using or have never used, such as duplicate baby shower or wedding gifts you can’t return and stuff around your house or in the garage you no longer need or want.
House Shopping Changed Everything
It all started five years ago, when Colameta and her husband decided to shop for a new house. “We were growing our family and began to get the feeling our stuff was starting to drown us,” Colameta says. (Baby #2 had just come along.) The Colametas had visited a few open houses but discovered that the housing prices in Colameta’s area (the leafy Boston suburbs) were alarmingly expensive.
“We realized we would be doubling our mortgage just to get a little bit more space,” she says.
So, instead of putting their three bedroom house with the nice-size kitchen and big backyard on the market, the Colametas began selling off items. “We decided to stage our own home to see if we liked living here,” she says.
Flash forward. The Colametas are still living in the same affordable home that’s amassing equity, which is a form of wealth. “Because we were able to thin out so much stuff, we no longer have that urgency to move. We turned it into our forever home,” she says. “If we stay here, we may never have to downsize one day.”
Mind you, the Colametas are not minimalists. “We do have things. The more things you get rid of, it seems like there’s another holiday or birthday that brings in more stuff. It’s a constant battle,” she says.
“But I’m careful about the items I bring into my home and what goes out. That’s all you can ask while you’re in the time period of your kid’s lives when they have a lot of toys and big footprint items,” she says.
Cashing In—Your Baby Gear Purge Plan
How has Colameta made thousands of dollars selling her used baby gear and other stuff? Here’s her step by step secondhand selling strategy.
1. Scavenge your house for high-end items
From baby gear to blenders, strollers to spinning bikes, look around your house for high-end products to sell you’re no longer using that are in excellent condition.
High-end products sell faster, so that’s where you’ll get the most bang for your buck (and time, energy and effort). “You want to get traction from buyers going as quick as possible. There’s nothing more motivating than quickly getting the cash in your Venmo account,” Colameta says.
2. List your products on Facebook online yard sale groups
Facebook online yard sales groups are Colameta’s go to venue for selling stuff.
“The Facebook online yard sale groups are almost a surefire hit whenever I sell something because it’s a smaller curated group of people in a local area,” she says. The groups are moderated to make sure the posters/sellers follow certain rules.
To find a Facebook online yard sale group in your area on Facebook, type in “name of your city” (or nearby towns) followed by “online yard sale group” or “garage sale” or “tag sale.” Ask to join the groups that populate the search feed. Once you’re in, post your listing, including photos of the item you’re selling, price, condition and other details.
Facebook online yard sale groups are different from Facebook Marketplace,” Colameta says. Facebook Marketplace isn’t moderated and buyers may be local or national. Same deal with sites, such as OfferUp and Mercari.
Benefits to Facebook online yard sale groups:
- It’s more local. Once you join a Facebook online yard sale group or two or three, you might find you already know people in those groups or have friends or neighbors in common. “If you post an item and it turns out you know potential buyers or you have mutual friends in common, there’s no problem with giving your home address,” Colameta says.
- Sales are less apt to fall through. The probability of the sale falling through is reduced when buyers and sellers are less anonymous. People don’t want you reporting them to your mutual friends for a sale gone wrong, Colameta says. They may also be less likely to extremely haggle—say, offer you $50 for your low-mileage Bugaboo Bee, even though you’re asking $200, just to see if you’ll take it (and then maybe resell it themselves at a higher price).
- You can match a name with a face. If you don’t know potential buyers, you can look them up and find out if they’re a real person.
- You can do in-person pick-up. When you sell to people who live near you, you don’t have to worry about the cost and logistics of sending your items in the mail. “I’ve only sold one or two items using the mail. Everything else–all the thousands of dollars I brought in from selling our stuff–was through in person sales,” Colameta says.
- Convenience. If buyers want an item that’s not so high value, they can pay you through Venmo, PayPal or directly through Facebook, then do a porch pickup for a COVID-friendly no contact sale.
- You’ll meet the neighbors. “Facebook online yard sale groups are a great way to recycle and meet people in the community,” Colameta says.
Facebook Marketplace, on the other hand, is a wider network of people who don’t necessarily live in your area. The process of selling on Facebook Marketplace is exactly the same as posting on Facebook online yard sale groups, but it’s a more anonymous selling process.
You could list your product in Facebook online yard sale groups, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp and Mercari. Still, to find serious buyers, “I just join my Facebook local yard sale group,” Colameta says.
Online selling safety tip #1: When reselling your stuff online, don’t give your home address to buyers you don’t know directly or through a mutual friend.
Online selling safety tip #2: If you’re selling a higher priced item, such as an UPPAbaby stroller or an iPhone, meet at a safe place, such the local police station, and ask for Venmo or electronic payment so there’s no cash involved. “I would bring another person with me too,” Colameta says.
Start with a targeted approaching, posting your item for sale in just one or two Facebook online yard sale groups–not 10. “If you post in 10 different places, you have to respond to inquiries from 10 different places,” Colameta says, which can get confusing.
Another great place for reselling baby gear: targeted Facebook selling groups
Private Facebook groups for specific baby items in high demand, such as the BIG Snoo Buy/Sell/Trade private group and the UPPAbaby Buy/Sell/Chat. These Facebook sales groups are national, with buyers and sellers from all over who looking for these very specific items.
You can use these groups to find buyers in your area so you don’t deal with the hassle and expense of shipping.
3. Experiment with pricing
To price your item, do your homework. Search the online platform where you’ll be selling, type in—say, the name brand of the stroller you’re selling in the search box, and see what comes up.
There may be a range of prices, based on the condition. See what people are selling the stroller for in your zip code based on the condition. Check how much it costs at retail too. “If your stroller is like new, you can go a little closer to the full retail price,” Colameta says.
BUT…keep in mind no one is going to pay close to full retail for a used item. “It’s like a used car. Once you drive it off the lot, it loses its value,” Colameta says.
A general rule, customers are thrilled if they can save at least 60 to 70 percent off the retail value of premium products that are in great condition, she says.
Overall, there’s trial and error to selling online. Some premium brands in new condition might not get much interest. Colameta had a new KitchenAid blender she never used, for example, which had been in storage in her garage.
KitchenAid is a top brand, but the blender just didn’t sell until Colameta eventually lowered the price to $30. “I spent a lot more time and effort getting that $30,” she says. Her barely used Vitamix blender, on the other hand, sold quickly for $200. There was just more demand for the Vitamix in a mixer, she says.
If a high-end baby product isn’t selling like you think it should, wait for better timing. If you’re trying to sell an UppaBaby Vista stroller, for example, you might hold off until March or April. “People look for strollers in warmer weather,” Colameta says.
On the other hand, if you have the latest version, the UPPAbaby Vista V2, sellers may snatch it up at your top price anytime.
4. Watch your language
When describing your sale item, avoid saying it’s “used,” which can sound old and tired. Find other ways to describe it. A “low mileage” stroller, for example, sounds a lot more appealing, don’t you think? You don’t want to be too flowery in your sales description but not too utilitarian either.
5. Highlight flaws
If your item has a flaw—say, there’s a paint scuff on the crib you’re selling, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker, especially if you disclose the flaw in your product description.
“I have found if I take a good picture of the flaw in the item, the item still sells,” Colameta says. Disclosing product flaws shows you’re not trying to hide anything and instantly builds trust with customers because they know exactly what they’re going to get.
Also, say in your product description that you factored the flaw into the price.
“You don’t want any surprises when people come to look at the item in person,” Colameta says. If they see a flaw they didn’t expect, that can be a deal breaker. What else are you trying to hide? They likely won’t pursue the purchase.
6. Keep the original packaging
As you’re buying new baby gear now, keep the original packaging for later. You’ll be tempted to throw the box away. Baby product packaging, such as the box for a Britax B-Safe 35 infant car seat, can take up space. But just flatten the box and stack it for later.
“Buyers appreciate the box, even though it’s just a box they may throw away.” Colameta says. “Whether that’s true or not, it shows that at some level, you’re organized and that you take care of your items.”
7. Display the owner’s manual
In fact, display the owner’s in your product sales photo. Featuring the owner’s manual in your sales photo gives the customer a level of trust and sends the message that the item is probably going to work.
“When you can feature the printed owner’s manual that came with the product in the photograph, it also sends this message that you take care of your things,” Colameta says.
Sanity saver: “I tuck the original owner’s manual into a file; I never go into that file to retrieve the owner’s manual until I go to sell the item,” Colameta says.
When to Post an Item for Sale on the OfferUp app
You can always post items for sale on these reseller apps, but you might want to start there (and avoid Facebook online yard sale groups) if you have a very specific item that needs a wide audience to find the right buyer.
For example, Colameta listed a specialty lamp for classrooms. It looked like a regular lamp, but it wasn’t. It conformed to State standards, which is why she listed it for $75.
Colameta likes the Offerup app because its algorithm will prompt you if an item has been for sale for a certain amount of time and hasn’t sold.
You’ll get a prompt: Do you want me to repost this? Then you just have to tap a button and it pushes it to the top of the newsfeed. It couldn’t be any easier. That’s how Colameta sold the lamp, to a fellow teacher, for $75, who happened to be looking for that specific item. All it takes is one buyer looking for that one specific thing and then, sold!
Besides baby gear, other high demand items to mine your house for to list for sale online include:
- Exercise/home gym equipment, including exercise bikes and hand weights.
- Youth sports equipment.
- Kitchen appliances big and small, such as a bread machine.
- Gently used furniture–tables, book shelves, chairs.If you’re not sure if an item will sell, just list it. “Try to sell what you feel comfortable with and know that buyers will engage based on their comfort level,” Colameta says.
When to Give it Away
If a product is not in perfect condition, isn’t a premium brand or has a less desirable fabric pattern, Colameta might advertise it on her local Mom’s group site (as in, “Can anyone use a high chair in excellent condition? I’m going to post it on Facebook for $30, but I thought I’d start here first”) or give it away on a freebie site, such as Freecycle.
You’re not putting money in your account by giving away you can’t sell, but you can feel good about squeezing as much value out of that item as you can by giving it to someone who needs it.
For Colameta, selling her gently used premium baby gear and other items online isn’t just about the money. It’s about living with intention and trying to make the most of what you’ve got.
“We’ve also saved so much money by being able to stay in our same home and we’ve brought in thousands of dollars, which is enough to make this worth my time. I’m a very busy mom of two kids; I run my own consulting business and I teach,” Colameta says. “If I can do it, anyone can give it a try.”
For more great tips on how to sell your stuff online, be sure to check out Colameta’s book, Best Offer, Best Life! Deb’s Quick-Start Guide to Creating Wealth through Online Yard Sales.