Even better the second time around!

The Argument for Secondhand Toys

by Wendy Hummeldorf


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My husband isn't usually a fan of my secondhand store habit so I was stunned when he told a friend who was expecting her first child to buy toys secondhand. He had finally seen the light after spending $35 for a toy that our daughter hardly played with. Of course, saving money is a big reason that I buy most of our children's toys secondhand, but there are some other very good reasons for doing so.

If the product has already lasted through someone else's child, it will probably last through yours. You can also find out the general durability of products. For example, I have noticed that a certain brand almost always works like new while similar toys made by another company frequently don't work or don't last very long. With this information, I feel more comfortable that I am spending wisely when I do buy a toy new.

Buying secondhand, you may find toys that you might not otherwise find. Whether it's a toy that the toy stores no longer carry or a toy that was never available in your area, secondhand stores and yard sales are a great place to find unique toys.

Also, when buying secondhand, there will be no assembly required and no packaging to dispose of. This can add to your savings if, like us, your garbage company won't pick up boxes or if you would normally pay to have a bike or other toy put together. For me, not having to figure out how something goes together while my daughter is waiting to play with it is priceless.

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Keep in mind that you aren't necessarily out of luck if the toy you want doesn't have all of its parts. Many companies offer instruction manuals online free of charge and replacement parts for minimal charge, especially if the toy is relatively new. Almost all toys will have the manufacturer's name on them. It is usually as easy as putting the manufacturer's name into a search engine to find the company's website, which will contain an order form, downloadable instruction manual, customer service number and/or e-mail address where you can get information on obtaining the part you need. Ebay, Craigslist and other online auction sites are other great places to look for replacement parts.

Reviewed October 2017


Wendy Hummeldorf is a longtime devotee of secondhand stores but has really honed her secondhand store skills since becoming a stay-at-home mom to Cassie, age 3, and Logan, 9 months.

Take the Next Step:

  • Try these suggestions for making toys new again.
  • Does your child have too many toys? Use these tips to help convince your child to get rid of some toys.
  • Shop the largest online consignment and thrift store for women's, men's, baby & kids' clothing and accessories.
  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

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