Toys are a hot commodity with children all year round but, this time of year, they are on the minds of parents too. The good news is that there is green version of toys that will save you loads of money- used toys! Second hand toys are a green choice to reuse because used toys don’t need to be manufactured and therefore don’t require the use of new raw materials. Buying used toys is not only an eco-friendly choice, it will also typically save you about 50% off retail prices. Here I have listed five ideas for where to buy used toys and I have used them all myself for my own children.
5 Places To Buy Used Toys
Where Can I Buy Used Toys?
There are lots of great places to get used toys and often the toys will be in like new condition. Your child need never know they were used (unless you want them to know.) Young children especially, have do idea the difference between a new and used toy.
In my house, we have a holiday tradition that involves cleaning out the toy room and donating old toys before the holidays so that they can get more toys for gifts. (When they see it as an exchange, it is easier to convince them to part with their old toys.) There are always some toys your child has outgrown or that never get played with. I explain to my kids that they need to pass these gently used toys on to other kids that need new toys and we take a trip to Good Will to drop them off. Hopefully other people will be making room for the new too. This means more used toys for us all to snag up for our children! Here are 5 great sources for where to buy used toys.
Local Thrift Stores
Buying used toys at your local thrift store is an extra green option because there is no shipping involved which saves on CO2 emissions. You can snag some amazing deals on toys at your local thrift stores. Sometimes you can even find old classic toys that you loved from your own childhood. My favorite find was a wooden toy rocking truck my kids loved. This option works particularly well for finding random toys that are gems but that you didn’t even think of until you saw them. If you have a particular item in mind, online used toy shopping may be a better choice.
Here are some thrift store shopping tips to help you get the swing of it.
- Try out several different thrift stores. They are not all created equal. You will undoubtedly find that some thrift stores seem to have more quality stuff on a regular basis.
- Find out the thrift store sale schedule. Once you find the thrift stores you like, check with them for their specials. Many thrift stores have different discounts on different tagged items each day of the week. Don’t forget to bring cash because not all thrift stores accept credit card.
- Find out what days the thrift store receives new goods. Some have regular shipment days on a Monday so you know if you show up Tuesday morning they will have put out most of the new merchandise and you will get first pick.
- Give yourself plenty of time. Thrift shopping can sometimes require a little more time and effort to sort through all the options because everything in the store is so unique. Just think of it as a scavenger hunt and have fun while you are shopping green!
- Don’t forget to think about the potential of things. At thrift store prices, it is often a bargain to buy something to use for making into something else. You might buy a cheap piece of framed art so use to show off your child’s artwork. Or an old puzzle to use for puzzle crafts.
My favorite deal from a thrift store was a set of children’s encyclopedias for $5!
Online Used Toy Shopping
There are lots of great online sites for finding used toys. Some sites allow you to locate local used toy finds (such as craigslist, freecycle, and even ebay, if you select location). Some sites, like Listia, allow you to list your items for credits and the use the credits to buy other items so no money need be spent. Online shopping is useful for where to buy used toys when you have a specific toy in mind.
Consignment sales can take many forms from mom club sales to church sales, to children’s consignment boutique shops. You can check your phone book for the shops. You can often find announcements for local event consignment sales online through a search engine. Children’s consignment sales usually have lots of toys to chose from and even clothing as well.
Garage sales can be more hit or miss as a place to buy used toys. But when you score, you usually score big! I got a large building castle with figures for my son for just $2 one year and he has been playing with it non stop for 3 years. Once you find a garage sale with toys for your age range child, there are usually several great toys you can get for great deals. A friend of mine scored a whole bunch of Thomas The Toy trains at a garage sale for a couple of bucks each!
Another option is to organize a toy swap. You can organize a toy swap through organizations you may belong to. Check with groups of friends, your neighborhood, your child’s school, etc. You may want to hand out directions for the swap including age range, cleaning suggestions, and the way in which the swap will work along with the swap announcements.
I hope you find some great used toys to purchase this year. Don’t forget to donate or sell your old toys before the holidays to help other with their used shopping too! If you have any shopping tips for where to buy used toys, please share comments or @familyfocusblog. We’d also love to hear your stories about great used toy deals you’ve found!