From equipment like cots, stair gates, prams and highchairs to clothes, toys and books, children’s paraphernalia doesn’t come cheap.
But there is a canny way to shop, and best of all you can keep stuff out of landfill and support the work of a terrific charity while you bag bargains at the same time.
Welcome to the wonderful world of the National Childbirth Trust’s (NCT) Nearly New Sales.
“My best ever bargain was a Moses basket and stand in absolutely perfect condition for a fiver,” said mum of two Suzanne Else who is the NCT Nearly New Sale Coordinator.
“Because a lot of baby equipment isn’t used for very long you do get fantastic bargains.”
She’s not wrong.
One new mum I know managed to score all her baby basics, including a cot, highchair, Baby Bjorn carrier and a dozen babygros, for just over £50 at the last sale.
Explaining that sales for the West Sussex Coastal Branch of the NCT take place three times a year in the sports hall at Chichester College, Suzanne admits that it is a huge undertaking.
“With some one-hundred sellers, we do depend on volunteers.
“Some are NCT members, but many are not. The night before the sale we set up all the rails and tables.
“On the morning of the sale sellers drop their boxes of items off and everything is then unpacked and quality checked.
“At 11am we let NCT members in and then at 11.30 the doors are open to the public.
“The sale finishes at 1pm but the hard work continues, with all unsold items needing to be repacked into their correct boxes.
“It’s a long day but a fun day,” said Suzanne.
“If you’re a helper you get a preferred rate when you sell your own stuff [NCT takes a small commission on each item], plus you get to shop ahead of everyone else at the special helpers preview.
“If you help all day then we give you lunch, too.”
The UK’s biggest parenting charity, the NCT offers information and support in pregnancy, birth and early parenthood and campaigns to improve maternity care and ensure better services and facilities for new parents.
Running antenatal classes, breast feeding support groups and social events, while aiming to give every parent the chance to make informed choices and striving to make sure that everyone has access to its services and activities, the Nearly New sales are a big part of fundraising.
“Our branch alone raises approximately £4,000 a year for the charity and we sell some 10,000 items, including garden toys” said Suzanne.
“But we do always need volunteers.
“Whether you can help with the actual sale or by baking something that we can sell in the café area, and whatever your age, we would love to hear from you.”
Bargains galore AND homemade cake? It’s a no brainer. I’m in.
The National Childbirth Trust’s Nearly New sale is on Saturday, February 27; 11.30am – 1pm.
Parking can be found at Chichester College car park.