When it comes to getting ready for your mini-me, knowing what you want (and need!) is half the battle. There are certain things – especially big-ticket items or those that babies only use the first few months of life – that you might want to consider getting secondhand. Furniture (e.g. cribs, dressers and changing tables), activity centers, high chairs and bassinets are all viable secondhand options. Bassinets in particular are only recommended for the first 3-6 months of a baby's life (depending on manufacturer recommendations on size and how soon your baby sits up), so unless you plan on having multiple kids AND have ample storage space, bassinets are a wonderful hand-me-down or marketplace item. I’ve heard mixed reviews on re-using bassinet and crib mattresses though, so you might want to research the topic further to make an informed decision.
DO AN INVENTORY OF HAND-ME-DOWNS
Are friends and family passing anything down to you? If so: yippee! Hand-me-downs are the best. If you can, check out those items before you register, so you know what’s coming your way – and what does or doesn't suit your needs – so you don’t potentially waste a registry purchase.
KEEP AN EYE ON GARAGE SALE SITES & LOCAL YARD SALES
Getting ready for your little one can be costly, but less so if you consider buying big-ticket items used. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and Ebay are among the many places you might find like-new products for way-less-than-new prices. As always though, be careful if you're meeting up with someone to pick up an item. Don't go alone, make sure you meet in a public place and if a listing gives you a weird vibe, trust your gut and pass.
SAVINGS v. SANITY
Saving money is great, but not at the expense of your sanity. Things like nursing pillows and baby carriers can lose their shape over time, so make sure you like the way the item fits and/or feels. Compare them to new items in a store to make sure the condition is on par with what you need.
DON'T STOCK UP ON ONE BRAND UNTIL YOU'VE MET YOUR BABY
No matter how prepared you think you are, some kids – including my own – will throw you curve ball after curve ball. For example: you buy 12 of one kind of pacifier, and your kid rejects it outright. But you’ve already opened and sanitized them all, making them impossible to return. So keep in mind that with certain things, you might not want to go all crazy stocking up until you know for sure what your kid likes. We’ll explore this more a little later, but here are a few items you might want to go easy on until you know what works best for your little rebel: pacifiers, bottles, diapers, wipes and baby food.
ALL SET? SKIP AHEAD TO WHICHEVER SECTION OF THIS GUIDE WILL HELP YOU BUILD THE REGISTRY OF YOUR DREAMS.