Monday, January 5, 2015

How to Thrift Shop for Kids' Clothes

The majority of the clothes our family wears are second hand.  After years of rooting through thrift store racks, I have a few tips for those of you who may be just starting out.

Know what you need before you go.  

Thrift stores are generally bursting at the seams (ha!) and digging through all the possibilities can be overwhelming.  Take an inventory of the clothing your child already has before you go, so you know exactly what you need to fill in the holes.  

I don't believe in cramming our closets full of clothes we rarely wear, so I aim to have about 10-12 tops and 5-6 bottoms per child per season.  Pajamas not included.

On the shopping trip pictured above, I knew Elijah had a couple pair of pants already, but only two shirts, so the majority of my purchases were shirts.

Look for brands you know and love.

After many shopping trips I found that I was drawn to several kids' brands because they hold up well.  My go-to brands are Old Navy, Gap and Children's Place.  These brands are easily found at our local thrift stores and often are in nearly-new condition.

Check for problems.

Quickly check the clothing for stains, holes, broken zippers, missing buttons, etc.  Usually baby clothes don't have those problems, but I have come home on a few occasions with clothes for myself only to discover the reason why they were donated in the first place (a zipper won't stay up, etc.)

If the problem is simple, such a missing button, and you are comfortable that you can make the repair yourself, ask for a discount at the register and most of the time you'll receive it.

Try it on.

Thrifted clothes are sometimes smaller/larger than the sizes on the tags indicate.  Don't buy an item without trying it on, even if it's a brand you regularly purchase and know the size you need.

Discount Days/Coupons

Find out if/when the shop holds discount days. Our local thrift shops don't do this, but I have heard that many do.  When I made the above purchase, I received a 20% off coupon for completeing a short survey via text.  Watch for opportunities and you'll find them!

All the clothing in the photo above, including three pair of pajamas not pictured, was purchased for $43 (which averages out to about $2.25 per item). The gray pants on the bottom right still had their original price tag in place.  If I'd purchased them new they would have been $18.  That's almost half my total for the entire wardrobe!

Are you a thrift store shopper?  What's your second hand shopping advice?

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