Who knew selling used cloth diapers was a thing? Evidently the TENS of thousands of people who in various buy, sell, trade (BST) groups on the Internet!
Whatever the reason for buying or selling used diapers, there are a few pointers as you proceed with caution on the BST sites. In this two-part series, here are a few helpful hints for selling your used cloth diapers:
Prep. Sell clean diapers! Sun them if possible. Sure, you can say you haven’t sunned them yet so the stains may come out, but that is less appealing than already bright diapers. Either repair the diapers (with replaced elastic, etc.) or make note so you can accurately describe them to the buyer. Take quality photos of the inside and outside, any flaws, and inserts if included. Flaws can include non-sticky Velcro/aplix, holes in natural fibers, wear on the PUL/TPU, broken snaps, missing stitching, and more. It is convenient to take a picture of the whole lot (so everyone can see everything at once) as well as all of the diapers individually or in smaller sets so you can adequately get a close-up photo.
Know the rules. Most all groups or selling sites have specific rules. They may include selling only a certain brand or type; invoicing, paying, and shipping within a certain number of hours and days; etiquette on commenting on diaper prices; deleting posts once sold; and more. You are generally expected to list the condition of the diaper (NIP, EUC, VGUC, GUC, play condition, etc.) as well as details like if you have pets/smoking in the home, any flaws, if they are new to you or seconds/pre-loved, and the price/shipping costs. Take the time to read each group’s rules if you post. Some administrators closely monitor posts and will delete those that do not follow the rules.
Do your research. If going through a Facebook BST group you can search by print, style, or specific product (“lovelace,” “Smart Bottoms,” or “wet bag,” etc.). By doing so you can see how much people priced theirs for, how much interest they garnered, how long they took to sell, and more. Remember people often delete their post, per most group rules, so you will only see posts still available. Be realistic too. Given the rising popularity of cloth diapers the used diaper market is becoming more saturated than it used to be. If you are expecting to get back more than half of the diaper’s worth, you may find yourself very disappointed.
Account for shipping costs. I save and reuse bags that I receive in the mail from purchases I make. I also save small cardboard boxes. Otherwise you need to purchase packaging and tape which adds up. As for shipping costs, know that shipping rates vary based on where you are shipping (in state/area versus across the country), size of package (if over 12 inches on any one side), and weight. Flats and hemp inserts are expensive to ship if you are sending more than a few. Account of that in your price if PPD or clearly state buyer pays shipping.
Set your goals. If you want them gone quick, price them lower. If you want to get the most you can, know it may take longer and more effort to bump posts up the wall or repost and check on posts. If you want to limit your trips to the post office, encourage people to buy more by offering discounts for multiple diapers or the whole lot. Selling in larger lots also saves you money in packaging and, usually, postage.
Be alert. Check for notifications, bump your post up in Facebook by typing “bump” in the comments (usually allowed 1-2 times per day). Respond courteously and in a timely manner to inquirers. Send invoices quickly, be thorough in describing them, and mail in an appropriate amount of time (usually within 2 days but the sooner, the better).
Be honest. Don’t play down any issues with your diapers. Aside from the ethical shadiness of presenting diapers in a better light than they really are, a buyer could have cause to return or dispute the purchase. It can cost you time and money to deal with the fall out of a bad transaction because you misrepresented your goods. You can also be removed from groups if you don’t present your diapers accurately.
Follow through. Respond to people, send invoices, and mail out packages in a timely manner. Update the buyer through the process. Include tracking and insurance on the package, and share that info with the buyer. You remember how much you love getting fluffy mail, and they look forward to knowing too. It also offers you protection to have tracking and insurance.
Consider donating what’s left. When you’ve had enough of the game (or even before!), donate those old diapers to an organization that can pay them forward, like Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.
Lynette is a mom of three children from one year to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.