Take advantage of the huge second-hand market for baby items in this often-transient expat city. From recycled and upcycled baby clothes to gently used baby carriers, slings, strollers, we tell you all the libraries, stores, sites and online groups where you can stock up on second-hand baby gear.
Having a baby in Hong Kong can get expensive. There are plenty of stores and sites that stock the best, most popular and essential baby items. However, most of us don’t have the space to store bulky items and years’ worth of clothes and toys (especially if there’s a gap between babies), so having friends and family who are having bubs just ahead or behind you is a great way to pass on and receive second-hand baby gear – from bibs and bottles to larger items like strollers and high chairs. Sometimes you want a little more control over what you’re getting without a hefty price tag, so we’ve compiled some great free and paid libraries or swap-it venues for you here. Not only is it greener for the planet, but it’s also lighter on your wallet!
Editor’s Note: The situation in Hong Kong regarding closures and restrictions on opening hours due to the coronavirus is constantly evolving. Many businesses are taking extra precautions (including toy-sharing ventures) but please make sure you follow the latest government advice and stay home if you have recently travelled overseas, have interacted with anyone who has been away, or display any symptoms.
What To Consider While Buying Second-Hand Baby Items
Not everyone will be comfortable with reusing baby essentials, especially when it is a question of hygiene. As such, you may be more comfortable borrowing or reusing baby gear when it comes from a friend or family member. However, if you keep the following points in mind, you will feel a lot more at ease with the idea of recycling and reusing baby gear:
- Always examine the items you are going to purchase, especially when it comes to items that have moving or breakable parts.
- Check on guarantees and warranties for electronic items.
- Make sure that the item is one that can be carefully and completely cleaned and sanitised. This may not be the case for baby mattresses, as well as car seats and strollers where the padded material is not detachable.
- Look up reviews of items that you are purchasing as well as current safety guidelines, as these may have changed since the original user purchased the baby item.
Sites And Stores To Rent Or Share Baby Items
There have been a few places around Hong Kong where you pay a membership or rental fee to borrow or rent something for a period of time and when you’re done with it, you just return it or swap it for something else. This can range from libraries for books (the most obvious example) to those for toys that are built to last! Breastfeeding mums who want to pump for a short period of time (perhaps those going back to work) can also look at a rental model.
Hong Kong Toy Library
Hong Kong’s first public toy library is located inside the Central Library in Causeway Bay and has four play corners to suit different age groups and themes (Baby Play Corner, Pretend and Imaginative Play Corner, Creative Play Corner and Activities and Games Play Corner). You can reserve a play session in person or by telephone in advance.
Happy Baton is a lovely new startup dedicated to keeping quality toys in the cycle and using professional cleaning and thorough disinfection when the toys come back to them. It will help guide you in choosing the best toys for your child’s developmental stage, and if your little one is not a fan, just swap it for something new! It even has scooters and bicycles, so there’s something for everyone.
Breastfeeding mums are often big fans of Medela breast pumps, especially the hospital-grade Symphony model. However, at $23,900, this model is very expensive! Renting the Symphony is a lot more affordable. Besides a $6,000 deposit, you can pay per month or for up to a six-month period and opt for monthly extensions, if you continue to express breastmilk.
Where To Buy Second-Hand Baby Essentials In Hong Kong
Babies grow out of their clothes SO fast, sometimes before you’ve had the chance to put them in an outfit more than once! That’s why it makes perfect sense to recycle and upcycle clothes. Another item that might want a lot of – books. After all, you can only read Dear Zoo and Goodnight Moon those many times!
Retykle, my personal favourite pre-loved kids clothing site, now also carries nursery furniture, strollers, car seats and more. There’s no better place to find designer baby and kids clothing without the fancy price tag (pay for the quality rather than the label). The shopping experience here is seamless. Though this is not technically a library, because you buy second-hand rather than borrow items here, you do have the option to sell them back to Retykle once your baby has outgrown the clothes.
It’s always good to keep an eye out for everything that’s new in the 852. We especially love it when a new clean and green store pops up. Gathered HK is a new pre-loved baby clothing store where you can get barely used rompers and wondersuits for as little as $50. Donating in Hong Kong is not always easy, especially with COVID hygiene precautions, and Gathered HK hopes to make it slightly easier. It accepts all children’s clothing brands, including fast fashion ones.
This is a green social enterprise under the management of Caritas. It sells a wide range of second-hand baby products for charity to support unmarried and young mothers. The prices are reasonable and the team is quick to respond to queries.
reBooked was founded by a Hong Kong student in 2019. This social enterprise aims to promote a circular economy and zero-waste lifestyle by collecting used children’s books and selling them through its online shop and newly-opened retail store. Not only does reBooked save hundreds of books from our landfills, but it also promotes early childhood literacy by encouraging a love for reading at a young age.
Forums And Classified Sites For Second-Hand Baby Items In Hong Kong
Like any other expat city, Hong Kong also has plenty of online forums and classifieds where you can look for second-hand baby items. Where possible, always check the items before you buy them.
This forum is often popular with expats for its wide range of baby, children’s and family essentials.
Asia Xpat, www.hongkong.asiaxpat.com
Carousell HK, www.hk.carousell.com
Facebook Groups For Second-Hand Baby Items In Hong Kong
Other than classified sites and forums, there are plenty of swap-it groups online. These are great options for cribs, changing tables, playmats, high chairs, strollers and other big-ticket second-hand items. Here are some of the more active ones where you’ll likely find something good.
This private Facebook group is a great place to pick up some pre-loved baby furniture or bigger toys and necessities like the Jumperoo or a bouncer. You have to act quickly in this group though as the best items get snapped up quickly!
Nearly New Kids
This is similar to Baby Swap It but has a smaller community, so there are fewer things to sort through.
Join Nearly New Kids
Cloth Diaper Chat and Swap Hong Kong
This is where to look if you want to pick up pre-loved cloth diapers, as some are barely used at all. The group is also full of lovely parents who are willing to answer questions and help troubleshoot cloth diaper issues, including yours truly!
Hong Kong Breastfeeding
Quite often you’ll find a mama offloading pre-loved pumps, pump parts or breastfeeding clothes among other items. It’s also a friendly community in which to ask questions and a lot of the time pre-loved items are passed on for free.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published by Vicki Chuard in March 2020 and updated by Anita Balagopalan in September 2021.