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How to Cash In on All That Old Baby Stuff

Photograph by Twenty20

Every mom has one: that stack of plastic bins or garbage bags containing all of your kid's old stuff. My stack was about six boxes tall when I found out that Baby #2 would not be a boy, so I quickly set out to sell it off to make some money room for our impending baby's new wardrobe.

It's definitely possible to recoup some of your money back, but it took some tips and tricks to really get the most bang for my buck. Here are just a few:

Keep your Boxes and Receipts

One simple way to boost your earnings potential is to keep boxes and receipts. If you're reselling, many parents will appreciate getting deals on newer items great condition, and baby shower wary friends will love getting a deal on a "good as new" product they can gift their reproductively inclined friends.

Keeping your boxes and receipts may also enable you to return unused items. My son never showed any interest in his noise machine, so after a few months, I was able to wrap it back up and return it to Target for store credit, which I promptly used to buy myself some wine and ear plugs.

RELATED: The Baby Things I Can't Let Go Of

Cross-Post to Different Apps

If you're selling your items online, be sure to cross post them to different apps like Facebook Marketplace (search for local Buy, Sell, Free Groups in your area, as well as baby groups), LetGo, OfferUp, Gone and Craigslist. This will give you maximum exposure to different shoppers, which I learned have different tastes. The young man who bought my wine fridge (technically a baby accessory, right?) is an avid online shopper and seller, and profiled the different apps users for me—cheapos, flakes, etc.—based on their choice of apps. Once I adjusted my listings, I sold the bulk of my baby stuff in a week!

Check Specialty Groups

Facebook's groups are an amazing place to get advice, but also to sell specific things that shops might not take. Like your old glass bottles—many shops won't take them for sanitary reasons, but I was able to find a buyer in a breastfeeding group, who like me, wanted to store all her milk in glass bottles, and she was happy to take my extras. Check with the admin though to make sure you're not violating the group's rules first.

Bundle, Bundle, Bundle

Hands down the worst part of selling kids stuff is the sheer volume of it. If I had to estimate, I'd say my son's 1st-year wardrobe had more than 500 pieces. Rather than letting people pick and choose (waste of time) or trying to sell it in bulk (shoppers always worry you're going to sell a bunch of junk), I pulled together some sets of color-paired outfits. This made it easy for parents to pick up, and saved me the hassle of having to let people inspect every piece and then bargain with them.

Depending on where you live, you may have more luck selling your items in another neighborhood.

Presentation Matters

When I eight months pregnant with my son, a friend started hauling over trash bags full of baby stuff. No one wanted to buy it, and she didn't want to deal with it, so we hit the baby stuff jackpot! It was a pain to launder and organize, but free is free, so I was beyond thrilled.

When we found out Baby #2 was going to be a girl, I immediately hauled off my perfectly stored and sorted baby clothes to a local secondhand store and the owner was beyond thrilled that everything was clean, fairly unwrinkled and sorted. She knew exactly what ages she needed (both in terms of sizes and seasons) and having everything categorized made it easy to say yes.

The same goes for toys, cribs and all your other baby gear: Make sure it's clean and in good shape, and put in fresh batteries if need be. You know how picky parents can be, so make sure it's something you would buy if you were selling to yourself.

Seasons (and Stock) Matter, Too!

If you want to sell or trade-in clothes at your local secondhand place, give them a call ahead of time to see what they need. In most cases, they are looking for items for the coming season (so selling summer clothes in summer generally doesn't work), and often they will know what size they are looking for.

Also, confirm when purchasing actually happens. Some shops only purchase once a week, or on certain days.

Choose Your Neighborhood

Depending on where you live, you may have more luck selling your items in another neighborhood. Your posh, upscale store may not want regular brands, and the hip little shop in downtown might appreciate your eclectic taste and handmade items.

RELATED: 7 Pregnancy Purchases You Can Use Your HSA Money For

Sell It Online

If your children's clothes and maternity wear are still in great shape, you can also make a pretty penny selling and consigning online. Websites like ThredUp.com allow you to send in your things directly, while Swap.com asks that you create outfits by pinning together sets of clothes, unless they are higher-priced items.

Other websites include Schoola (which donates to schools and partners with non-profits), Kidizen, Dessie Kids and My Kid's Threads (which specialize in high-end), Little Sprouts Resale (for earth-friendly and organic wares), Josie's Friends, Lil Jelly Beans Consignments and Loteda Consignment. You can also sell old gear to reCrib.

Most of these websites give you about the same commission, so spend some time shopping around to see if there's anything you want to buy. That way, you can get more bang for your buck by taking the store credit option.

If your kids are older, you can also consider letting them make their own trades on KIDSTrade.

Consider Donating

OK, it won't make you money (other than a small tax write-off), but money can't buy happiness. Kind deeds, on the other hand, can. Call up some local nonprofits and see if they have any needs; women's shelters, refugee centers, low-cost medical clinics all might have needs for children's supplies. Many of them are happy to take clothes and toys in good condition, as well as unopened formula samples, diapers your kids have outgrown, etc.

If you're donating baby carriers or strollers, do call ahead and ask if they can accept them. Some thrift stores have a strict policy on taking anything that "may" have been recalled, so they won't take anything in that category. If this is the case, you'll be able to find quick takers on selling websites and Facebook.

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