As much as I love garage sales, flea markets, and left-by-the-side-of-the-road furniture, I looked down on second hand baby stuff. I don’t know you or your kid, how can I be sure your stuffed animals, toys, car seat, bouncy swing, etc. are clean and (more importantly) safe? I’m not against accepting cheap or free stuff from friends and family, but strangers are harder to trust.

Since this is my first baby, I had dreams of buying Bugaboo strollers, ordering a designer crib with matching changing table and dresser, picking out Pottery Barn light fixtures and an all natural, organic layette*. After a weekend of staring in shock at price tags- “This crib costs $1200. Our entire living room set didn’t even cost $1200!” – and wondering if it was too late to sell a kidney for some extra cash, I’ve made a decision.

As long as an item can be washed and disinfected, I won’t immediately rule it out. If something still has the directions and/or instructions, I will buy it. If it happens to be the exact same item I was just looking at online for five times the price, I will do anything possible to get it, including drive long distances and beat up other desperate pregnant women. So far, I’ve been very successful.

On Friday, my Craigslist stalking paid off with a Chicco baby carrier backpack complete with rain guard, all the accessories and original owner’s manual. I had just tried it on at Babies R Us, but decided that for $100 I didn’t have to have it. The nice woman from Navy housing only wanted $30. The best part is it matches the Chicco stroller and car seat I want, so I don’t even have to give up my dream of adorable matching baby stuff!

On Saturday, Craigslist paid off again with a cherry crib and changing table for $125. I was still less than thrilled about used baby furniture, but decided to go take a look. The first good sign was the guy emailed me back right away, and then called to give me directions first thing Sunday morning. The second good sign was he lives in the fancy, brand new subdivision in Ledyard. Those places aren’t cheap. I bet his wife was just like me with her designer crib dreams – only she didn’t have to consider selling organs to afford it. The thing that completely sold me was he still had the directions, model number, company info and safety sticker on the mattress support. That means if they recall the crib in the future, (they haven’t yet) I will know it affects my furniture. As a bonus, the owner’s sister had borrowed the crib for her baby two years ago, so it had a brand new Sealy mattress without so much as a tear or stain. The owner took everything apart, helped us load it in the car and gave me his phone number and told me to call if I found anything wrong with it.

My nursery still needs a dresser and maybe a bookcase, plus all the stuff from this baby collection (thanks H_A_L for helping me decide!) but I am no longer totally unprepared. Even better, I haven’t touched a credit card or my savings yet. So far it’s he’s (still getting used to that) an all-cash baby. I’m hoping between Christmas and and a possible baby shower or two, we’ll manage to keep it that way.

*Layette – Baby clothes, sheets, towels, etc. Yeah, I don’t know, it’s French I guess.

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