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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

7 Tips For Buying Kids Clothes At The Thrift Shop

I just got back from the half price sale at the thrift shop!
As usual, I feel like I bought a few things for my girls that were cute but might not get worn very often so I wrote this little guide below as much for myself as for you, dear reader, who may be new to buying thrift store clothing. It's so easy to overdo it and buy too many things because they are so cheap.

So bookmark my little guide here to read before you head to thrift shop.

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Thrift store shopping tips for kids clothes:
1. Buy only your child's current size.
Unless you have a business reselling clothes, try to buy clothing only in your childs size. How many times have I bought a cute dress thinking " Oh, Lily will grow into this. I'll put it away until it fits. Invariably, you will put it in a box somewhere in your garage and forget about it. You will then find it one day months later, it will be too small by then and you will wonder why the heck you bothered to buy it and into the thrift store giveaway pile it will go. Money wasted.
2. Just because it's a dollar doesn't mean you should buy it!
Try to buy only things you love. Its easy to buy something that is only so- so because its practically free. But that just adds clutter to your life.
3. It may be adorable, but will it go with clothing you already have at home?
Over the years I have bought so many cute separates but if they don't go with anything else, they lie in the drawer unworn. And believe me, those thrift store purchases add up over time. If they are unworn, they are just more money down the drain!
4. Examine pieces closely for signs of wear and stains. 
You don't want  to look like you bought your kids clothes at the thrift shop, even if that is what you did! It may be Ralph Lauren, but if there is any pilling, faded parts, or stains you think you can get out at home, do yourself a favor and put it back on the rack. Whoever gave it away most likely tried to remove those stains themselves, and didn't have any luck.
5. Don't become a thrift shop hoarder!
Here is one of the worst things to do which I have done once or twice and am embarrased to admit. Scenario: You find an adorable little vintage baby boy outfit. You don't have a baby boy but you buy it anyway thinking,"Maybe I will have another baby boy someday I will save this for. Or, I can give it to a friend who is pregnant or to so and so who has a baby this age...Stop right there partner! You are venturing over that fine line that distinguishes the savvy thrift store shopper from the crazy thrift store hoarder!
6. If you already have enough clothing for your children which is likely, think to yourself before you buy anything from the thrift store or anywhere for that matter.
Are your children's drawers stuffed to the brim already? How many dresses does one child really need? Maybe you should just leave the dress for someone who might really need it. I like to thrift shop because it is environmentally friendly but I can afford to buy new clothing. Sometimes its best to leave some things for those who are really struggling and dont have that option... Share the thrift store goodies.
7. Only buy used toddler shoes if they are brand spanking new and unworn.
I recently had a discussion with a podiatrist about the dangers to a child's developing feet from buying improperly fitted and worn in, used shoes. When it comes to my kids shoes, I don't skimp. Buy new, and hopefully in a shop were your child can be properly fitted. And preferably leather for breathability.There are a whole lot of problems that can happen to a child's feet from wearing ill fitting shoes!


  1. Great tips. I think they can be universally applied to all thrift shoppers regardless if they have children or not. I sometimes buy items just to experiment on making changes to them. T-shirts are a cheap thift store find...and with some quick sewing they can be altered into something special.


  2. I don't always buy the right size because I can sew. Sometimes I buy huge things because I can do more with the fabric. I bought a women's formal and turned it into a wonderful girl's dress. Another good tip is for everything you buy, get rid of something but that can go with the hoarder thing. Http://

    1. Oh yes, Leigh Ann if you are shopping to refashion something than that's a different story!

  3. Great tips Justine, I am the impulsive hoarder that you were talking about...haha...I thrift baby clothes even though I don't have any babies and highly unlikely to have anymore. Just because they are three for $1. I ripped them up of course but still unsure about what to do with them.


  4. I do buy clothing in larger sizes when I get great deals, but I keep a drawer specifically for that type of clothing and I go through it every season to see if any items in it should be added to the appropriate closet. By making it only one drawer, I limit how much I buy too.

  5. That's really good advice and a fabulous list.


    Nina x

  6. great tips Justine! I really need to remember not to buy when my son already has a heap of stuff. Same goes for daydreaming about sewing him a coat when he already has 3 in the same size!

  7. Great tips Justine and I agree with you wholeheartedly about the shoes. They are the one item I always buy new for my children and we get them fitted at a shoe shop. I have recently been putting girl's clothes back on the rack as my older daughter has so many we can't shut her drawer!

  8. Your tips are very sensible and i must take heed of them, although I am likely to continue doing all those things you warn about in you post. Thanks anyway

  9. Nice post, thanks for sharing with us, it provides good info so can buy some baby clothes here

  10. Great tips, thanks for sharing with us!

  11. I sometimes buy stuff from classifieds especially if it fits my budget. Thanks.


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