When you think about it…I mean really think about it, how many times does a child wear a particular outfit? Play with that gotta-have-it toy? If you have kids and your house is anything like our land of chaos, the answer is, undoubtedly, ‘not much’. They may have a favourite shirt or hoodie that sees a bit more skin time but the vast majority of clothes are outgrown before they are really worn to their full potential. Hand-me-downs sometimes work but not always. And to go buy new clothes when they’ve outgrown their new-school-year wardrobe in just over a month, can get pricey!
No. Thank. You.
We are a very environmentally conscious family for the most part, so any chance to repurpose perfectly good old stuff is pretty much what we do, including what we wear! It’s also very safe to say that you could consider me a ‘thrifty’ shopper (read: I’m a big cheapskate). You will rarely find our family in a mainstream store to purchase something new. In fact, thinking about it, every item of clothing that is being worn by a person in our quiet, sleep-dust-filled house right now has either been handed down from friends, thrifted or gifted. The only ‘new’ clothes you could find in our house are those bought by my Mom for the kiddos during special one-on-one shopping days. (Thanks Memaw!)
Moose and Bird with Memaw…99% thrifted outfits for family photos!
If you aren’t a thrifter, I know what you’re thinking (because at one time I thought the same way): ‘there’s NO WAY I’d wear someone else’s old stuff. Gross. Seriously, until I had a teaching job that required me to dress to the 9’s while being paid in the 2’s, I’d never stepped foot into a thrift store but after one trip, and 3 beautiful outfits, I was hooked.
It’s also very very (almost annoyingly) common to be stopped everywhere we go by people commenting on our kids’ choice of clothing. They are typically baffled when I let them know where their put-together looks originated. Some folks are disgusted, some intrigued but all are essentially shocked at the finds we can make when we really try!
She’s by far our most adventurous dresser!
Plus, I don’t want to be concerned with my kids ‘messing up their clothes’. If I paid full price for any of their getups, I’d be a crazy tyrant about staying clean and not ruining their clothes. This way, I couldn’t care less if they are wearing a sport coat or fancy dress while splashing in puddles or rolling logs over to search for worms in their Sunday best. Ha! It only cost me $0.50…what do I care??
Adventuring in the forest!
There’s something so exciting about searching in a second-hand store for that perfect item of clothing–and then finding it! Then to look at the price tag–magical! But there are also a few tips and tricks for shopping second hand that we have discovered.
1) Allot a good chunk of time for searching. There are times when it is necessary to really search for something in the perfect size or colour. I just went through it with finding MATCHING BURGUNDY FREAKING BUTTON-DOWNS WITH CREAM KNIT SWEATERS for family photos. Sounds easy but, ermmmm, nope. Not really! I made sure I wasn’t in a rush and went back a few days after the first trip to finish finding it all . Don’t expect to find that perfect item in the first minute. If it happens, then good on ya, but chances are it’ll be a search!
2) Know what you are looking for. It’s SO MUCH EASIER for you if you know what you are searching for. If you are looking for a plain red t-shirt rather than just a shirt, you are narrowing down your focus and the time you need to search suddenly plummets. Try to narrow down your focus to as specific as possible and search only for that type of item. If you are looking for size 10 jeans, then ONLY look at size 10 jeans, especially if you are short on time!
3) Be picky! There’s just such a variety that it’s easy to grab the first thing that you see. Remember to check to make sure no buttons/snaps are missing and that any zippers work. Check for stains and snags, with kids stuff, especially baby items, check around the neck areas for subtle staining. Check the knees and other common areas for wear.
4) If you are going to get shoes, look for obvious signs of wear. We’ve been so lucky to find virtually all of our kids’ shoes at second-hand stores brand new, never worn and in perfect condition. Remember that shoes usually mold to the wearer’s feet so it’s probably not a great idea to grab previously worn footwear that’s obviously been well-loved.
5) Think outside the typical outfit! Sometimes it can be a challenge to put a style together but for the lower (aka CHEAP) prices at these places, you can afford to take a clothing risk!
I could go on and on and on….but I’ll leave it at that!
Thrifting isn’t for everyone, I totally get that, but I honestly despise shopping at 10 different t places to get what I need. I also am not a fan of the ‘canned’ outfits that are in stores for kids. Sure they are cute, but I’m good with having my kiddos come up with their own unique looks that suit their personalities! With the number of comments they get, clearly something must be working!
So if you’ve got the time, I’d recommend taking a little trip to a second hand store and checking it out! It can be a lot of fun and you never now what treasures you’ll find!