FreeCycle, Craigs List, and BPN–Oh my!

Buying something new is sort of a last resort for us.

I am truly blessed to live in Berkeley, where not only do I have a wealth of good friends to show me the ropes and hand-me-down some stylish boys clothes (thanks Whitney and Sunny!) but also a ridiculous multitude of online options to help me share and reuse baby gear.

First, there’s the standby: Craig’s List. How did we ever live without it? For big ticket items like TVs, cars, and bike trailers, we are constantly tapping into the absolute glut of stuff out there. (Seriously, we sold our car and couch and the folks come to us) Don’t like what I just sold you? Quit complaining, I bet you can sell it again this week! Before we buy new, we (almost) always check Craig’s List.

Locally, the best marketplace for kids’ stuff is the Berkeley Parents Network. I’ve picked up a crib, Jumperoo, toys by the boxfull, slings, bags of clothes, party supplies, and a little rolling car among other things I’m certainly forgetting.

FreeCycle has been fantastic to get rid of odds and sods: miscellaneous bottles and sippy cups, slings, strollers, bouncy seats. Did you open a box of diapers only to have your kid outgrow them? FreeCycle is perfect for that! I don’t have the patience to read through all the offers so I usually miss out on getting the freebies. Oh well.

I’ve also recently been in a mode of borrowing before I buy.
After having too many baby carriers to justify buying another one and being burned by one too many strollers, I am lucky to have a network of friends in my mom’s groups so I could take these items for a little test drive before making the purchase. Ergo carrier, I’ll take you as a gift or if I find you used thank you very much. Phil and Teds, no thanks, you’re cool looking and nice to drive but could you BE any heavier? There’s some real cost savings.

I like the idea behind Zwaggle [online marketplace for parents] because I live and breathe that idea all the time. I’m keenly aware that without my local peeps, I may have to rely more heavily on gifts or, more likely, start shelling out more money for baby and kid stuff.

My hesitation to join the Zwaggle network has more to do with sheer laziness than anything. Will my Zwaggle trade partner come to pick up my used gear on the porch while I’m at work? Probably not. Will I “sell” my Wii into the pool of items only to never get my zoints worth? (Yes, Zoints is the actual name of Zwaggle points). If you, dear reader, don’t live in Berkeley, I strongly urge you to try out Zwaggle and report back. Be honest.

Sign up for Zwaggle now through this offer and get few extra zoints to use toward your first purchase.

This ode to reducing, reusing, and recycling was brought to you by the Parent Bloggers Network’s suggestion that we write about sharing, saving, and simplifying which is totally up my alley.