Dos and Don’ts of Craigslist Shopping for Kids

craigslist shopping

With three kids under 3 years old, I’ve done my fair share of Craigslist shopping for kids. Craigslist is the modern bargain hunting mom’s dream come true! I can basically comparison shop garage sale wares from my iPhone while nursing. Ain’t technology grand?

While Craigslist may seem like the answer to all my budgetary woes and baby product needs, there are some tips and tricks to making the most out of your Craigslist experience.

Here are some Dos and Don’ts when Craigslist shopping for kids:

Do… buy items that are easy to clean and sanitize
Anything you can whip down, like plastic or metal or other hard non-porous surface, is perfect for purchasing second hand. Also, any fabric items that are easily disassemble, washed, and sanitized in your washing machine.

Don’t… buy plush toys, pillows, or mattresses
When purchased second hand, these items can harbor all kinds of little critters, allergens, and germs. You can take your chances at washing and sanitizing, but in my opinion, it isn’t worth the risk. You can find deals on these items new from the store, or purchase from someone you know and trust.

Do… shop for travel or recreational gear
Travel or recreational gear be found at great prices and barely used. Items like hiking back pack baby carriers, bike trailers and the like are often listed on Craigslist at major mark downs.

Don’t… buy until you’ve done your homework
Make sure you check the brand out and do a little research online. There may have been a recall of the item or some essential safety improvement. There may be sales and coupons that could get you that used item, brand new, for the same price!

Do… check out seasonal or special event items
If you live in a warm weather climate and need a snow suit for a vacation, definitely check Craigslist. Halloween costumes, tuxedos for ring bearers, any item that has a shelf-life and will likely only be worn once is a perfect candidate for the savvy Craigslist shopper.

Don’t… impulse buy
Yes. You can be an impulse shopper, even on Craigslist. Shop around. Read reviews. Check the listings over and over and over. Set a time limit for yourself that you won’t buy that double stroller until you’ve shopped for a week or a month. Make sure you are making the right purchase because there are no returns.

Do… buy strollers
This is one of my favorite Craigslist purchases. A good, well-cared for stroller can live a very long life. Shop around and you can find some amazing deals. Certain strollers are used very rarely for trips to amusement parks or when on family vacation. These have very little miles on them and can last you a long time at half the price.

Don’t… buy carseats
I know. There are often good deals. But if the carseat was in a car accident, it isn’t safe to use any longer. Better to purchase these new, or take a hand-me-down from a trusted friend or family member.

Do… check out clothing “lots”
Especially if you have multiples, a large selection of discounted clothing can be a huge score. If a mom of twins or triplets lists all their 3-6 months clothes, go grab that before it’s gone!

Don’t… waste your time on small, single articles of everyday clothing
A couple t-shirts. A dress. A pair of shoes. If these are just play clothes for everyday wear, it’s not worth your time and effort. No matter how cute or how cheap.

Do… buy cloth diapers
This is a major Craigslist steal. You can find amazing deals on cloth diapers from cloth diaper loving experts! If you are considering the cloth route, give Craigslist a gander.

Don’t… buy food or formula
I see this listed all the time, and it just creeps me out. I know we are all looking to save a buck, but you are purchasing your child’s food from a complete stranger. Just say no.

What are your Craigslist tips or concerns? We’d love to hear about your best bargains or cautionary tales.