It’s been a long time coming (for me at least) but I’ve finally finished our Nursery and I’m excited to share how I did it buying it all second hand (apart from decor pieces). I could say that I spent less than $1000 to put this together but I recognise that I’ve been very privileged by my social and economic position to have a LOT of hand-me-downs, which is not always possible for everyone. I think that most are able to find and source second hand options here in Australia. I will keep this geographically restricted because I know the market for second hand furniture is wildly different in other countries, but I believe you’ll be able to extract some great tips and find local alternatives where you are, so bear with me!
How to Create a Second Hand Nursery
For starters you have to decide if looks and aesthetic are an important element to you. If not, great. You’ll be able to source things easily and won’t have to worry about mismatching furniture. However, if it ~is~ important for you to keep things aesthetically pleasing, then you have one extra step: decide what you want your nursery to look like. You can start at the obvious places like Instagram and Pinterest and you can even create a board or collection to save your favourite ideas. Some people are really into this and you can give as much or as little thought as you want. I was particularly lucky that I was offered hand-me-downs that matched perfectly without me even looking for it. Other stuff took a little more time to find.
The next step is to start sourcing! Here are some great places to look at:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Gumtree (or similar, like Craigslist)
- Buy Nothing groups
- Mum and Parents groups
- Hand-me-downs (ask around if your friends and family know of anyone ditching their baby’s stuff, you never know!)
- Recycling Centres
Usually, you don’t really need much stuff to get started. Depending on how big or small your space is, you’ll be able to find only a few items so just make a list of what you’d like to/can have and start looking. The below items were on my list but you’ll find that you might need other things too.
- Cot and/or Bassinet
- Dresser or wardrobe
- Changing table
- Nursing chair
- Capsule or baby car seat
- Baby bath
- Muslin cloths
- Fitted sheets
- Bath towels
- Burp cloths
- Nappy bag*
- Baby carrier
- Nappies (if using cloth nappies, stay tuned for another post)
- Wipes (same as above)
- First aid kit (thermometer, etc)*
These are my essentials and they might not be yours, so bear in mind this is just a suggestive list. The items with a * are the only ones I had to buy brand new. Everything else I either bought second hand or got handed-down by friends where their kids had outgrown or didn’t need it anymore. Babies grow quickly, so there’s a quick turn around for it and you can find most of what you need second hand. I didn’t include clothes in the list because I’m not experience enough to tell you what your baby will need or not, plus there are some other variables like, what season will they be born for example.
Also, clothing is highly accessible at op-shops (charity or second hand shops if not in Australia) and your baby will outgrow it very quickly anyways, so don’t waste time/money buying new, cheap clothes unless needed.
Second hand Care
I was handed down a lot more, like maternity and breastfeeding pillows, breast pumps, bibs and even pacifiers. Needless to say they all need to be cleaned. So it’s important to actually wash and sterilise all the clothes, furniture and accessories you buy or get second hand. Find the materials and follow the label instructions, otherwise, look up online how to clean said specific materials. Some things however are a big no no and you unfortunately you can’t save it all, like mould. Mould is highly dangerous to the baby’s fragile respiratory system and unless you can soak in bleach whatever is covered in mould, I would just chuck it! Yours and your baby’s health are definitely more important.
Also, learn to say no if you are offered something you don’t think you’ll need or want. And if you are given extra stuff that you won’t need, share it around. There’s always someone pregnant or you can donate to a local charity or organisation that helps families.
My last piece of advice is: if you can, start getting organised as early as possible and as you can be bothered. As the first trimester tends to to be a little harsh on some people, try to get started as soon as you have some extra time and energy. This will give you some extra peace of mind and leave you to be looking after you in the third and last trimester (and get you prepared for birthing the baby!). Said like a true organising freak that I am.
Hope these tips have helped you in welcoming your new one in a sustainable and affordable way.