baby proof: beg, borrow, and buy secondhand.

March 6, 2017

baby proof: beg, borrow, and buy secondhand | reading my tea leaves
Last week, I forgot to bring a carrier out with me when I threw caution to the wind and took both kiddos out for a stroll. Silas was snug in his stroller. Faye was a dream of a kid, walking alongside me and chattering away. Despite one nerve-wracking moment when Faye decided to bolt down the sidewalk screaming “cheddar” (your guess is as good as mine), we made it back to the house in three distinct but very much intact pieces.

(Pause to recognize small victories.)

Once we made it back inside our building, all hell broke loose. One kid refused to climb the stairs to our apartment. The other threatened to slip from my grasp with every bob of his head. I finished by needing to football carry my children up four flights of stairs while all three of us wailed. It wasn’t my best look. 

For even the most resolute, having kids in our culture encourages unicorn hunting. Without a community of aunties or uncles or grandparents around to help us through all of our daily maneuvering and give us what we really need—extra arms and eyes and pairs of legs—we search for an elusive contraption or gadget or cure-all that can fill the void. Lord knows the baby industry is wise to the hunt. There’s a horse masquerading as a unicorn for most every possible problem that might arise over the course of the day. Baby showers often mean new parents invest in problem-solvers before there are problems to be solved. And over and over again we hear about parents getting overwhelmed by too much stuff.

My usual approach for fending off stuff is to go slowly. One can make all manner of impulsive purchases in the wee hours of the morning while nursing a milk-tank of a baby. (I’ve not yet seen an elevator for sale on Amazon, but if I ever did…) To avoid the pitfall of too much stuff, I’ll usually muscle through the trial rather than welcome another item into the apartment. Foolishly or not, my desire for a clutter-free home trumps my desire to bring potentially helpful items of baby gear into my house nearly every single time.

Truth is, I felt super confident about this the first time around. There wasn’t much that I regretted going without and I really never felt overwhelmed by stuff. But when faced with the reality of juggling two small little guys—and in an effort to avoid an endless series of family-wide meltdowns—I’ve found myself doing some unicorn hunting.

This time my approach has been largely to beg, borrow, and steal buy secondhand. It’s not a question of being stingy or cheap. There’s just so much stuff already tucked under beds and shoved in closets and languishing in garages, that it makes a lot of sense to borrow what we can, to loan what we’re not using, and to buy used what we think we might beat up too much to bum from someone else. More than all of that: it’s important to remember that it’s unicorns we’re after. It’s nearly impossible to know whether something is actually going to solve the particular problem that we face and so getting the chance to give something a try, or to buy it a reduced price, makes all of the hunting a little less harsh on the resources.baby proof: beg, borrow, and buy secondhand | reading my tea leaves

Here, a few recent examples from my life:

Beg:

Or, just ask. We didn’t have a bouncy chair with Faye, but being able to gently rock one baby with my foot while reading a story to a much bigger baby in my lap sounded wonderful. I knew one of my friends had a just such a chair folded up under her bed and so I swallowed my pride and asked if we might be able to use it for awhile. Built of the same stuff as I am, she was more than happy to part with a bit of under-the-bed clutter and she brought it to my house on a blustery winter night. We usually use it with a little swaddle draped over it, and when Silas has finished with it in a few months, I’ll return it to my friend. In the meantime, it’s not taking up room in her apartment. Win, win?

Borrow:

I never used an infant stroller with Faye, but needing to work out of the house at least part of the day while also caring for an infant has meant that this time around, I needed to find a solution. Of course I started by being stubborn and even when a friend volunteered the use of her umbrella stroller frame that turns a carseat into a thing with wheels, I at first said no. A few weeks ago, I texted her from the café where I was sitting with Silas balanced on my knees, and let her know I was (more than) ready to take her up on her offer. She dusted off her umbrella carseat stroller and met me in the foyer of her building to pass it my way a few hours later. At the time of writing, I’m sitting in café while Silas snoozes peacefully beside me, tucked into his carseat (borrowed from my older sister).

Buy Secondhand:

As some of you might recall, we bought our crib mattress secondhand through Craigslist when Faye was a few months old. It’s held up beautifully, and I’m sure when the time comes, we’ll be able to pass it along to someone else. We also recently started trolling the internet for a secondhand stroller to accommodate two. I’d sworn that I’d never succumb to a double stroller, but now that I have two children, one of whom most enjoys running pell-mell into traffic, the unicorn hunting begins again.*

*We ended up finding an outdated model of a stroller at a local shop to buy at a deep discount, so we’ve got new wheels as of this weekend. Not gonna say it’s not huge and hulking. Will say I can now walk down the sidewalk while also breathing. Breathing feels good.

Moral of the story: Search for unicorns when you really need them. You might only find a horse in disguise, but sometimes that’s better than nothing.

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54 Comments

  • Reply shannon March 6, 2017 at 9:35 am

    As a child-free mostly-minimalist, your babyproof series give me so much peace about the upcoming wave of baby STUFF I anticipate when we decide to have kids. Hoping to channel much of what you’ve done and preserve at least some sanity after welcoming a little one someday 🙂

    Also? The swaddle over the bouncy chair = genius. Why oh why do they all seem to be covered in bright jungle animals and pink dancing butterflies?!!!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Oh good! This bouncy chair isn’t so bad, fortunately, but just feel the need to add my own flair;)

  • Reply Carmella March 6, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Oh, that sweet boy! Can’t believe how big he’s getting. That 2-3 mo stage was one of my favorites. Great job, as always, on helping to shift the thinking on all the unnecessary baby gear. Good thing is, that thinking can be carried through even to when they’re big guys and mostly taller than you 🙂

  • Reply MissEm March 6, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Your paragraph about why we look for things in lieu of aunties and uncles and grandparents – YES. And as for choosing to muscle through rather than buy, I am exactly the same! We had hardly anything for my first baby, and it was great. When the second came around, we also borrowed a few things (bouncy seat, My Brest Friend (eye roll, but it saved my back), etc), and bought a stroller for the first time, too, but still kept it pretty minimal. We’re now in the school/preschool stage and dealing with bad sleep (for everyone) and I’m off again wondering whether to hunt for a unicorn or muscle through or make do or… I didn’t expect to be back in the “do we do a family bed?” stage whilst simultaneously wondering about bunk beds or a double bed or a trundle. There’s so much to balance in these decisions! I will say, that while we kept pretty minimal in the baby/toddler stages, I got trapped in looking for unicorns in toys. I wanted to provide the very best and most beautiful for my kids, to offer them great opportunities and myriad gender neutral options and lots of handwork options, and in following those rabbit (unicorn?) trails, we’ve ended up with an odd assortment of toys and too much stuff (imo, though I think we have less than most, but the stuff to clear space ratio is too much for me right now). If we did it over, I would observe them first with a few very open-ended, time tested toys and stuff around the house to see what their interests are, and then borrow certain kinds of toys from friends to see how my kids like them (like calico critters or lego or whatnot – so many of those toys lingering in people’s homes – I can’t believe I never thought of borrowing first!). Also, ugly stuffed animals are the bane of my life, but they mean so much to my kids! If you ever get to a stage where you have a lot of stuffies, I’d love to know either how you manage them or how you manage emotional attachments to them!

    • Reply Guro March 6, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      I’m at the same stage as you, and what I’ve done to the stuffed animals, is to hide two thirds in a box an kept them there. It took months before one of the girls asked for one of the animals. I will get that for her and leave the rest in the box.

      • Reply Hannah March 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm

        I do this same thing with my boys’ stuffed animals (they are giant lime green dinosaurs and a huge blue-and-white polka-dotted giraffe with yellow and pink striped legs, I kid you not); I tuck these away in the closet, and the smaller stuffed animals in a bin in the same closet, until asked for. All three of my older boys share a room, and the only thing I like in the actual bedroom part is the bed. All clothes and stuffed animals live in the closet. So easy to clean!

    • Reply sari March 7, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      This obviously requires a somewhat on-site storage area, but we have a”toy-library” in the basement (which is also our study and guest room). It’s a chest that currently has board games and toys, and my children (4 and 8) can go there to “borrow” toys, but they need to be returned there at the end of the day. Usually the toys there don’t get taken out during the school week, but almost every weekend the kids go looking for inspiration in the “library”. Some toys (like big a big lego set or constructions toys are really annoying if they are out all the time, but can be quite nice when taken out intentionally, and then played with for several hours).

      Periodically I will go though their stuff and change the selection of the “library” (by bringing other things to their room). Also periodically we have donated toys and games that are no longer “borrowed” often (my younger one has more difficulty letting old toys go, but she has been pretty good about passing them on to smaller children at her daycare, and the small home daycare has been very happy to receive toys).

      Finally, we have prepared large bags of toys games/and permanently left them with the grandparents. This serves 2 purposes:
      1. Kids always have stuff to play with while there (and those things feel novel since they can’t play with them at home)
      2. Grandparents have a reminder of the fact that we are not exactly short of stuff. I feel this has helped them think of experiences rather than physical things as gifts (e.g. going to the zoo as a birthday gift rather than buying a stuffed animal or two, although sometimes they still come home with a stuffed animal from the zoo…).

  • Reply Mary Kate March 6, 2017 at 10:25 am

    As much as I usually say “to each their own”, I really wish more people thought in the way you do. I suppose the economy would suffer as people wouldn’t be rushing to purchase new stuff all the time, but think how much less waste (and plastic!) we’d have on this earth as a result. I don’t have kids yet but I was just at a baby shower for a friend but all the stuff was SO overwhelming! (And so plastic!) And it wasn’t even my stuff! Maybe when my time comes I will have some kind of hand-me-down baby shower (and since it’s shaping up to be I’m the last of my friends to take the kid-plunge, this may actually work out…)

    • Reply Liz March 8, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      This was one of the reasons I didn’t have a baby shower. We created our registry through Baby List which allows you to add things from sites like Etsy, as well as regular big name shops. Kept it simple and with the necessities (plus a couple of small things that I was in love with!).

  • Reply Danielle March 6, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Living in NYC is so wonderful, until us moms hit the apartment stairs. Our elevator broke and I decided to go without our carrier. My 2 year old alternated between screaming because she didn’t want to be carried and wanted to do the steps herself to screaming because she wanted to be carried. It was a long six flights down. The only option that satisfied her on the way up was riding on my shoulders while I hauled up bags of sweet potatoes, bread, cheese, and onions from our farmers market. It’s safe to say I didn’t go out until the elevator was repaired that afternoon. I’m choosing to be grateful that at least I got a great (free) workout in for the morning and my daughter still got to go to the farmers market. Where she choose to scream ‘Cheese! Cheese!’ until the cheese is found.

  • Reply Sarah Z March 6, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could register for used baby items that gift givers either handed down from years past or purchased at thrift stores/craigslist? I was given so many brand new, lovely gifts from friends or family that I either I thought or they thought I might need and never used. But the most useful items came after my son was born and I realized how an existing problem could actually be solved, and friends reached into the backs of closets and gave me what they were not longer using at the moment. Hindsight is of course 20-20, but there may be an opportunity there to create a more planet friendly gifting service!

    • Reply Lisa March 6, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Sarah, I thought the same thing and then I found one! So Kind registry allows you to tick new, second hand, hand made, donation to charity or favour when you are listing your items. I’m using it for my upcoming baby shower & i have been able to choose “new or second hand ” as the category for almost everything we listed (only exceptions were Nappy cream & rubber dummies for obvious hygiene reasons) plus we were able to list a wonderful charity that assists women to birth safely in developing countries, I can definitely recommend it!

      • Reply Sarah Z March 7, 2017 at 8:40 am

        That’s so great! I will be pointing my sisters in the direction of So Kind when they have kids, thank you for the reply!!

      • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 7, 2017 at 9:45 am

        So smart! Such a great idea for any gift registry, but for baby registries, especially!

    • Reply sari March 7, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      When my older kid was between ages 2 to 5 and most of our friends were families with children older than her, I wrote to birthday invites something along the lines of “no gifts necessary, but if you insist, M would love a gently used toy your child would like to part with”.
      We received some super cool items that originally were far too expensive to give as gifts to a neighbor (including a large wooden castle, and a bike!). My kid never thought this was weird, and neither did the kids who came to the party (but then again, we did have a very cool group of neighbors at that stage of life!)

  • Reply Rachel March 6, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Love this essay. You so beautifully articulate how thrifting (whether via a store selling an item used or borrowing) allows us to take part in a different kind of community.

    Like you, we bought virtually everything for our kids used. That, or we borrowed. And I’ll be passing them along soon, either to give away to friends or to sell in our yard sale!

  • Reply Cynthia March 6, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Just curious: do you have a place to safely stow your stroller in the lobby of your building or do you have to haul it up four flights of stairs and then keep it in your small apartment? I lived in an apartment in Berkeley until the youngest of my two sons was 8 months old. I remember being annoyed when I couldn’t PARK RIGHT IN FRONT. I always walked plenty and often had a stroller or wagon with me but it was a six-plex with no stairs so pretty easy.

  • Reply Kelly March 6, 2017 at 11:48 am

    I am very lucky and haven’t had to buy a thing for my daughter – so many hand-me-downs!

    I also REALLY recommend that people look see if they have a local chapter of Buy Nothing in their neighborhood. I have gotten a carrier, bottles, bottle-drying rack, a really nice high chair (I had on my registry and then took off because I felt guilty), cloth diapers, and infant toys through my local group. It’s hosted on Facebook and also great for non-parents as a way to put things you don’t want in the hands of your neighbors who do want it. I’ve gotten rid of partially used toiletries, decorative rocks that came in a jar I wanted from the thrift store, an old cat bed, and desirable things like a bike! It feels really good to give things that make your neighbors happy. It also makes my environmental heart sing.

    http://www.buynothingproject.org

    (if there isn’t a group for your neighborhood/city/town – consider starting one!)

  • Reply Tamara March 6, 2017 at 11:49 am

    I always say the second kid was both easier and harder. Easier because we knew sort of what to expect, how to care for an infant, what stages were in the range of normal… But harder because of the juggle of two littles in different developmental stages with different needs, usually going in different directions. I was like you, not much caring for baby stuff clutter, but sometimes we were gifted something that I’d never buy that turned into a dream to have for awhile. Like the baby swing. Ugly monstrosity but the baby was so content in it, it was basically a miracle.
    I love how you captured that void of extended family that we have. So true! Our parents weren’t even that far away, within an hour’s drive, but it was far enough that they couldn’t be much help with the day to day.

  • Reply Kathleen March 6, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Your sweet photos of your son in his bouncy chair brought back some lovely memories for me. We were definitely pretty conservative about baby gear with our kids but I did love our bouncy chair, especially for #2 and #3. I have many memories of reading a book to my oldest while bouncing my youngest with my foot. Or rubbing my oldest’s back, trying to get him to take a nap, while bouncing my youngest with my foot so he’d either go to sleep too or at least be soothed enough to be quiet. I also tried to be generous about loaning or giving away our baby gear to friends and being more assertive about offering, rather than waiting to be asked. More often than not, my offer was accepted (and if it wasn’t, no worries at all) and then we’d figure out if I needed the item back someday or if they should pass it on to someone else when they were done with it. Hope you enjoy your double stroller!

  • Reply Lisa March 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Spot on advice! Your writing has really reached a new level recently (content also ace as always), a real treat to read. …actually literally, I was contemplating a piece of chocolate right now, but I think reading your post satisfied the need for indulgence that I felt. On with the day.

  • Reply becky March 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Let me put this out there, I don’t have kids but I am a nanny. The amount of stuff that people own is just unreal and not needed. Often left in a corner and forgotten. Perhaps the bigger the space the more people feel the need to fill it. Perhaps the more dollars they earn the guilt they feel to spend it on their kids. I’m not sure why but it hapens. I often tell my fiance that I have learned alot of life lessons vicariously, how not to potty train for example!
    I rent a small house with my fiance. We are planning our wedding for this may. We created a registry and only put on it the items we needed to replace or have been needing to purchase. No frills. The pressure to create a registry was growing from guests! We will also be donating our items we don’t use any more as we always do. The idea is not to own more and then need a bigger place!

    • Reply Claire March 6, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Agreed, Becky! I’m a nanny, too, and it’s so hard to watch sometimes as parents (well-meaning, of course!) buy so much stuff that’s truly unnecessary. Of course children respond to various caregivers differently, but when I’m looking after the kids I often turn to a small fraction of the kid-related items in the home. After the baby stage, it feels especially chaotic when the kids are surrounded by endless toys and don’t seem to like any of them. I know parents only want their children to be happy, but from my experience (and studies I’ve read), the fewer the toys the more creative and happy the kid. Just my two cents.

      Thanks, Erin, for such a wonderful post. I’m not a mother, but I gleaned much wisdom from this. I especially loved your final line and its numerous applications. 🙂 “Moral of the story: Search for unicorns when you really need them. You might only find a horse in disguise, but sometimes that’s better than nothing.”

    • Reply Sasha March 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Another nanny (and mom of grown kids) chiming in to say, yes!! Too. Much. Stuff. It makes playing harder for the kids if they are wading through baskets upon baskets of stuff. And especially all the blinking, singing, “educational” toys. It’s all very well meaning, but those toys don’t invite creative, open ended play, and that’s what children really need to grow and learn. Not to mention simple, open ended toys are actually more fun for kids. The little girl I care for loves nothing more than homemade play dough and some wooden tools for rolling, cutting, making impressions.

      And way too many clothes in many families. Simple, easy to dress, comfy, in a few choices, make it easier and more fun for toddlers to learn self care and self expression.

  • Reply Felicia March 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I’m totally all for buying secondhand. We have a thrift shop nearby that has amazing stuff at great prices. Baby clothes there run from $1 – $4 and when I was pregnant I spent a lot of time digging in the clothes racks finding cute stuff that looks almost new at a fraction of the price! Now that our little one is here I’m glad we have all the clothes I thrifted not to mention all the money we saved and I feel good for being environmentally friendly. My cousin is done having kids and was generous to give us all of her cloth diapers, so we were grateful to add all hers to our collection and now we are set on cloth diapers! We were fortunate to be given money from our parents to buy a stroller and swing. To make sure we can use these longer we got them in colors and designs that will suit both a girl and boy. We are first time parents and our daughter is 2 months tomorrow, we can save these items for when we have child two and they will work great, whatever gender baby two will be.

  • Reply Gretchen March 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Interesting to here about needs for the second child that weren’t necessary with one. Neck deep in making a registry and I feel like it’s all to make other people happy. I’m using babylist, so maybe I’ll make a Prefer-This-Used category. Much easier on my conscience!

  • Reply Anna March 6, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    We had a lot of people give us baby things, which were later passed on to others. It’s definitely the way to go. Our bouncy chair was borrowed, returned when our daughter grew too big, and no longer taking up space in our home.

  • Reply Susanna March 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Love this post! I’m not sure if you have a similar forum in Brooklyn, but in Vermont we have this site called Front Porch Forum where neighbors can all engage in a dialog. As someone who doesn’t have kids, it’s been really helpful for when people with children come to visit. Does anyone have carseat or playpen we can borrow for a few days? Recommendations on activities? Kid-friendly restaurants? Super helpful for us, and our neighbors with kids love lending things and offering up ideas. It takes a village. 🙂

    • Reply Jessica March 7, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Love Front Porch Forum! I’ve scored several times (most recently a free elliptical machine!) and been able to pass along a lot of items as well.

  • Reply Jessica March 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I think sometimes when we are pregnant, especially with our first, the need to accumulate is a way to offset the very uncertain nature that new life brings. That said, for me, my first pregnancy brought twins, so not only did I overbuy, I overbought in doubles. (Case in point…if your double stroller doesn’t work out, let me know….we have 2, and one is barely used.) Now we’re expecting a third child soon, and I haven’t bought anything, even though I know it will need a crib (my twins aren’t yet two and still need theirs) and, likely, a triple stroller (which are all terrible, apparently). We’re going with the wait-and-see approach this time around, though, of course, we do have LOTS still sitting around from the first two.

    There really should be a rental service for newborn and infant contraptions. Maybe that’s what I should do with all of my extras! 😉

  • Reply Linda March 6, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Love this! We are expecting our second so genuinely interested in everything here. For walks outside why not a baby carrier for Silas and stroller for Faye? In my imagination this is how we avoid the double stroller… am I delusional? Also was thinking of using the carrier for naps at the cafe / running errands. Or is an infant stroller really handy for #2?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 6, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      Ah, believe me, we tried every iteration. Obviously all of this is dependent on particular family dynamics/neighborhood terrain/age gap between kids, working parent needs, etc. I’m sure we’ll still do plenty of carrying Silas while strolling or walking with Faye for trips where lugging a large stroller doesn’t make sense, but for the day-to-day treks around the neighborhood and running errands, we were having a hard time keeping both kids (and whichever adult was with them) comfortable and happy. Bringing caregivers into the picture, and feeling like we could provide them with a safe way to take both kids out and about changed things for us, too. I love carrying Silas, but Faye’s still at an age when she also wants to be carried (especially when she sees a brother who’s getting carried). We were doing a lot of pushing an empty stroller, carrying an infant and chasing after a toddler and/or coaxing her back into the stroller. When everyone’s in the same stroller, I don’t have to worry about having a tiny guy on my chest, and keeping him safe and sound as I bend and chase his older sister. (Faye’s been very happy to roll as a duo.) As for carrier for the café: I found I could get about 45 minutes of work in before the little guy would get squirmy or my own shoulders and back would need a break and since I was working in public spaces, I didn’t have anywhere to put the baby to give myself (or him) a break. Borrowing my friend’s stroller contraption was a real godsend in those early weeks (obviously wouldn’t have been necessary if we’d had the double stroller from the get-go).

      • Reply Linda March 7, 2017 at 9:48 am

        Thank you! So much to consider…will be employing your advice here and just sorting it out as/when a problem arises.

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 7, 2017 at 11:09 am

          Only way to do it;)

    • Reply Jessica March 7, 2017 at 5:07 am

      I’m in the same boat, too, only expecting my third and will have 3 kids ages 2 and under. We’re really trying to avoid the triple stroller since all of them seem enormous and unwieldy. I really don’t want to have to get another stiller and am hoping this baby likes being worn a LOT more than my first two!

    • Reply Hilary March 9, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Linda, your plan worked for us for quite a while. My oldest two are less than a year and a half apart in age, so I had basically two babies for awhile. I had a couple of different options for carriers for facing in and facing out. Cuddling aside, every one of my kids wanted to face OUT and see the world once they physically were able to do so. I did get a hand-me-down double stroller for a brief period when kid #1 was still a toddler and kid #2 still wasn’t really walking reliably. It was a brief period, but the stroller was a real godsend at the time. Borrowing is a great plan – I really only “needed” the double for a few months. My (unsolicited) advice is to follow your original plan with a mind to revise when needed knowing that this, too, shall pass. Good luck!

  • Reply Elise March 6, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Oh that Baby Bjorn bouncy chair was a miracle worker. My kids loved being in there which allowed me to take long showers once in a while. 🙂 Enjoy those (sleepy) days while you can!

    • Reply Rebekah March 6, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Yes! The Bjorn bouncer on the bathroom floor was the only way I could shower when my baby was new and my partner was out.

  • Reply Camila March 6, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    I love how you tell such an amazing story about ordinary things. We adopted a minimalist lifestyle after we had our daughter so I’m anxious to see how things will go the second time around. For us, the biggest challenge with stuff has been receiving from others. Brazilians are very privy to their stuff haha. I still have not figured out how to say no without offending anyone. Any advice is very welcome.

  • Reply Crystine March 7, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Ha! How true this is. Just the other day a friend and I were saying how everything really already exists and all we must do is ask, make or go hunting. How much happier we would all be and how many less resources would need to be used if we simply shared or posted on craigslist or the like. That said, with my second, I have succumbed to buying a few things new, late at night of course! These are mostly socks, pajamas and a few sweet items off of Etsy. There are many things that may have made life “easier” but luckily I do not know about them. 🙂 Have fun with your 2 babes.

  • Reply Flora March 7, 2017 at 8:58 am

    I’m not expecting to have children any time soon, but I love reading posts like these (which probably ought to tell me something!). It’s nice to hear that there is a way to parent without having so much parenting ‘stuff’; of course we all know in theory, but to read words from someone who’s there & doing it is reassuring and I know I’ll think of this post when the time comes for me – if I’m lucky enough.

    I like the idea of borrowing and loaning – my boyfriend and I have 7 siblings between us of a similar age, so I’m sure we could coordinate!

    Flora

  • Reply Rita March 7, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I’m not a mother but, as usually with your wonderful writing, this is so relevant for other parts of our lives. I’ve been amazed since I’ve moved from a very big house to a tiny one how much going without is so easy in the daily life. There are times when I really need something that I really need to make my life easier but is so rare.

  • Reply Millie March 7, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Thank you for this reminder! I’m 8 months pregnant with Baby #4 and somehow still the nesting instinct makes me want to buy ADORABLE & TINY things. Buying lots of new stuff for a very temporary phase is not in keeping with my ethos in general, but I needed this reminder to fight the urge to click “add to cart.”

    I love your writing in general. Yours is one of the few blogs I’ve stuck with over the years. I live in a 1960s ranch house in the suburbs of Atlanta with my family and dog and chickens. Our lives look different, but your earnest take on simplicity rings true here in my home as well.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 7, 2017 at 11:09 am

      Thanks so much, Millie! Love the thought of you and those chicks!

    • Reply Hannah March 8, 2017 at 6:53 am

      Hey, Millie, whereabouts in Atlanta are you located? I live in Marietta; thought we might be close? I just had my fourth baby in January, and I’m pursuing a simple life as well. I wish I could have chickens! Not allowed to where I live, though. Hoping to move to the country within the next couple years :] .

  • Reply Mary Beth Wile March 7, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I just finished reading your blog. I read your book a few weeks back. I just wanted to say thank you. It has inspired what I hope will be many changes in the way I do things. You are changing the world for the better in many ways. I look forward to all your future posts and hope to send a few of my friends over to your blog. Best wishes.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 7, 2017 at 11:08 am

      Thanks for such kind words!

  • Reply Amanda K. March 7, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    I love this post, and I love hearing how things change now that you have two.
    I am SO guilty of saying “I’ll never…” before I had kids, and so many of those “nevers” got thrown out the window once I added child #2 and #3 to our family.
    Keep sharing! It’s refreshing to read your take!

  • Reply stacy March 8, 2017 at 6:32 am

    not sure how it all works. but my daughter joined a FB group called mama tribe chicago. besides getting some much needed new mom ideas they also sell or even give away unwanted baby stuff. it’s pretty community based. you should see if you have such a group in your community.

  • Reply Archana March 10, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    You write in such a beautiful way. Not shaming the ones who dislike thrifting. But in an encouraging manner.

    Thank you for this post.

  • Reply Kari March 11, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    We loved the Baby Bjorn bouncy seat–and it’s so transportable! We even kept the sturdy box it came in (which has a handle), and airlines let us check it as if it were a suitcase.

  • Reply Karen March 13, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Oh, parenting. It is a moving target. What works today might not work tomorrow. I started out with a lot of “I will never” and ended up with many “it works today.” And sometimes our ideas change as our children need different things than we imagined.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 13, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Yes, exactly.

  • Reply Sasha March 13, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I often feel sentimental about things, especially children’s things. I loved using the things I’d used with my first baby with my second, it was a way to keep memories in a physical sense. And when we received used items to borrow or as gifts, it was sweet thinking of the other babies and mamas who’d filled them up with love. My “baby” is 18, but my ring sling, so loved and handy, is still out there being shared by a friend. (Who knew it would be that durable!!!) That just makes my heart happy. I think it’s how it’s supposed to be.

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