Buying Used Toys for Toddlers

07 June 2012

After having spent the last one month shopping for toys for my toddlers, I've learnt a thing or ten when it comes to buying used toys.

Where to buy: Garage sales, parents of multiples sales or from online classifieds like Craigslist and Kijiji

10 Tips for Buying Used Toys for Toddlers

  1. Decide what you will and won't buy used. See my list here
  2. Skip the battery-operated toys that the sellers didn't bother to put batteries in (usually a bad sign)
  3. Push all buttons and levers on the toy to make sure they're functional. The Bruin musical piano I bought at the garage sale has half the buttons not working. That confuses the kids when they're playing with it and annoys me
  4. Be willing to negotiate on price when buying from individuals but not too much. A seller might be willing to drop 5-10% on the price. Just depends on how badly they want to get rid of the toy. By the same token, don't contact a seller unless you're willing to pay the listed price if it's not negotiable
  5. Decide how much discount you're looking for on buying used versus new and stick to it. Some used toys are overprices. For me, I don't pay more than 50% the cost of the brand new equivalent toy
  6. If buying online, be conscious of the distance between you and the seller especially if you live in a big city. Sometimes the toy is not worth the driving hassle
  7. If the toy is listed online using stock photos, ask questions about the condition of the actual toy
  8. Check the online seller's other sales listed. You may find that they have more than one item you'll like to purchase and that'll save you gas. Additionally, they may be more flexible with the price if you're buying more than one item
  9. Clean all toys once you take possession. For me, that involves either a spin in the dishwasher or a wipe-down with vinegar and water
  10. Only buy what you need. It's easy to get carried away and end up with a house cluttered with more toys than your kids can play with. I should know. I went out to buy a play kitchen and came home with the kitchen, 5 gallons worth of kitchen accessories AND a toy washing machine AND a little picnic basket. The seller was cleaning house and I couldn't find the "N" words in my dictionary
Bonus Tip: Check reviews of the big ticket items on Amazon or Toys R Us. Cheap is not a deal if it's useless. New or used, it's always a good idea to buy items that are well rated by other parents. 

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