1. Parenting

Recycling Baby Stuff for Multiples

Buying and Selling Gently Used Baby Clothes, Toys and Equipment for Twins

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Got multiples? Then you've got plenty of "stuff!" When you have twins, triplets or higher order multiples, you've got at least double the amount of baby clothing, supplies and equipment. Baby "stuff" has a very short lifespan. During the few short months of use, it is absolutely invaluable; however, soon enough you'll need to replace the infant clothing, bouncy seats and teething toys with toddler outfits, ride-on toys and board books. While some lucky families may have the financial resources or unlimited storage space to buy everything new, most will consider buying or selling gently used items as their babies' needs change.

If you're buying --

Here are somethings to consider if you are buying gently used baby items:

* Club Sales

Start with your local mothers of multiples club. Most plan annual or semi-annual sales that are a goldmine for other parents. With at least twice as much to unload, they're an excellent source of quality items. Between events, some organizations also provide an opportunity for members to buy and sell items, either through newsletter advertising, a website, or word-of-mouth. They've got it, you need it.

* Secondhand Stores

Consignment shops and thrift stores are another good source for used baby items. Thrift stores, with donated goods, are often run by nonprofit agencies. Consignment shops sell goods for a fee and return part of the profit to the seller. They usually offer much higher quality merchandise, with prices to match, and are a good option for finding "nearly new" items. If you are looking to save some pennies, and aren't terribly concerned about the condition of items, a thrift sore is a better option.

* Online Options

The advent of internet auctions has opened up a whole new world of shopping. Online buying is particularly convenient for parents of multiples who are housebound, perhaps due to pregnancy bedrest or the early chaos of multiple infants. Auction sites such as Ebay.com have plenty of goods to offer. For larger items, shipping charges may negate bargain prices, but lucky -- or diligent -- bidders sometimes locate an item available for pickup in their hometown. If you're new to online auctions, it pays to do some research before making a bid. Stop by the Net for Beginners site on About.com for tips and how-to's.

Buyers Beware

No matter where you purchase used items, there are some basic guidelines when purchasing secondhand.

- Do your research. Know what you'd pay to buy new, so that you can judge whether a secondhand version is still a good value.

- Don't compromise safety. Check used toys and clothing for loosened pieces that could be a choking hazard. Some items, like cribs, car seats and some strollers, are best purchased new and guaranteed by the manufacturer. Stay updated about product recalls and avoid items that have been associated with problems.

- Do be choosy. A bargain isn't a bargain if you can't use the item once you get it home. Examine clothing for tears, stains and wear. Surface wear should be expected on toys and plastic equipment but beware of cracks or dents.

- But don't be too picky. It's not crucial to have matching fabric on your twins' high chairs. As babies, they don't know the difference. However, as they get old enough to develop -- and express -- their personal preferences, you may want to give more consideration to buying exact duplicates of toys and other choice items to avoid competition and squabbling.

Ready to sell some stuff? Read on for tips for Reselling Your Multiples' Baby Stuff.

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