Any parent-to-be will tell you that kids are expensive. They are indeed. But it’s also amazing how much stuff you can get your hands on for either a really great deal or even free. For instance, we put the baby’s room together for just slightly over $400.
Yes, babies need stuff. But they grow so fast that most baby things get used for a very short period of time and are generally in excellent shape by the time you’re done with them. I’ve been very fortunate to get a lot of used goodies for free, and when the time comes to pass them on I will do so happily, and share my good fortune with others.
Friends of mine with youngsters have looped me into the informal Frugal Mommy Club, a smattering of Facebook groups and other resources that completely outshine websites like Kijiji and Craigslist for free or very inexpensive used goods. We’re even considering going cloth diapers, once we get through our first week or so, and I’ve found a Facebook group that is all about buying/selling cloth diaper accessories (which might sound gross, but cloth diapers are one of those things that actually get better — i.e. more absorbent — with more use, and the covers hold up well since babies grow pretty fast). We’ve got our eye on a diaper service that seriously rivals disposable diapers for cost — not to mention the environmental benefit.
So back to the room. My colour scheme started with the orange curtains. They were the first real thing I bought. Chris and I were at Ikea and I was looking for the style of curtains I’d put in our bedroom about a year earlier, but in a baby/kid appropriate colour. I couldn’t find the particular style of curtains and was going to give up until I saw these orange ones in a bargain bin marked $4.99. And it turned out they were the exact same style as the ones we had in the bedroom (called Vivian). Low and behold they were obviously being discontinued. Could I live with orange? Chris and I hummed and hawed for about 2 minutes and then I thought what the heck, for five bucks even if they weren’t what I wanted in the end it’d be no big loss. I already had the curtain rod system from our old house.
I thought about repainting the room another colour but in the end my husband’s argument that we’d just painted the entire house as part of our giant renovation less than a year earlier won out. I had chosen neutral colours for most of the bedrooms because I had no idea what kind of decor choices I’d be making down the road. The paint colour I chose for this room back in 2013 was called Greenmont Silk (more of a soft yellow) from Benjamin Moore.
The orange curtains grew on me as a concept, and I happened to have some small fabric bins from a dollar store that were blue and orange and green and orange, and I realized that the room could work really well accented with orange and blue, and hints of green. I tried really hard to find a large rug that had these colours for a reasonable price, but it wasn’t to be. One night I popped into Home Depot to see what they had for rugs, hoping for a deal. In the back of the store I found what are essentially carpet ends that have been bound nicely along the edges and turned into area rugs. Colour selection left a lot to be desired — most of the carpet was of an industrial quality and were either in dusty greys or blues. While this rug isn’t exactly sexy, it’s neutral and it has a very nice texture compared to most of what they had, and you just can’t beat $60 for a 6×8 foot rug. Yes, it’ll probably get barfed on, among other things, and beige isn’t exactly a colour that agrees with a black dog, but the price just couldn’t be beat.
I got the change table, changing pad, crib and mattress entirely for free from a few very generous moms. They aren’t the same colour, but they are the same Ikea style (Gulliver), so they at least have a similar look. The crib mattress is also a very high quality organic soy mattress — how awesome is that?
I did buy the dresser and shelving for the room. The dresser is the 3-drawer Brimnes version for a respectable $90, and we spent $150 on Ikea Kallax shelves, as well as about $25 on the Dröna bins that fit them (conveniently available in orange and blue and on sale).
For decor, the Ribba picture frames were about $25. The window blind, also from Ikea, was about $40. Add the Önsklig bins that hang on the side of the change table for $13 and that was about it for what we spent on the room. I made the bunting using fabric I had on hand already; the same for the fox and hedgehog pillows (and recycled some pillow forms from pillows that were no longer matching our house decor). The chair is also Ikea but easily about 15 years old; we had it up at the cottage for the last several years and brought it back to have in the baby’s room.
Other awesome freebies we got were the bouncy/massage chair (thanks Meredith!), two big boxes of books (thanks Tahnie!), tons of baby clothes and linens, a baby sling (thanks Alice!) and those adorable shelves on the wall, from my Mom. Not pictured but no less appreciated hand-me-downs are a swing chair and an Ergo Baby infant insert (we did purchase the actual carrier — thanks Bronwyn!), a used Medela breast pump (thanks April!) and misc other goodies such as baby bottles and such. Plus there have been plenty of gifts of clothes, books and other baby accessories.
Add in the incredible deal of the Graco car seat and stroller combo from Costco.ca for $300 and we’re set to go. Now we’re just waiting for baby!