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Thrifting and Summer Clothes

Amber Brandt  |  May 24, 2021

How many times has your child outgrown or grass-stained their summer clothes before the end of July? It can be frustrating for parents with multiple children to find the time or budget to keep purchasing new clothes all season, but buying secondhand can make you breathe a little easier.
Thrift and consignment stores have been a smart solution for years – they just require a little planning, time, and patience. Here are our top suggestions for finding great summer clothes for your kids on a budget.

  1. Prepare. Before you head to the shop, take stock of what your child already owns and what they need. Make a short list of roughly how many/what types of pieces you need to look for.
  2. Don’t overlook what you already have. Sure your child grew 2 inches this year, but if their pants still fit in the waist, don’t forget you can simply cut the legs and turn them into shorts or capris for summer.
  3. Keep it simple. Over the past few years capsule wardrobes have become very popular for adults, but it’s a great mindset for kids’ clothes too. Pick a color palette and try to buy items that can easily mix and match. You can also think about purchasing all solids or be very selective about prints.
  4. Examine each piece. It’s a bummer to discover a stain or flaw after you’re already home. Most consignment stores and Goodwill locations do a good job of looking over each item before it goes out on the sales floor, but occasionally things slip through. Be sure to inspect clothing for any marks, fraying, rips, or worn-out knees before you buy.
  5. Review sizing. While most children’s sizing is pretty standard for clothing, some brands or homemade items may have slight variations. If you have the time, you may consider bringing your child along to be sure you’re buying things that will fit.
  6. Buy staples but don’t forget play clothes. Some of the best items to purchase thrifted are staples like jeans, leggings, or solid-colored tees. Kids’ rain jackets and coats are also generally priced much lower than box stores and were worn very briefly. It’s always good to purchase play or dress-up clothes secondhand as well, since they are likely to be easily dirtied and treated a bit more roughly.
  7. Wash before wearing. It’s smart to deodorize new clothing with baking soda, vinegar, or a special laundry enhancing powder before they’re worn. Do a quick Google search to choose the method that works best for the fabrics you bought.
  8. Think outside the box. When we think second-hand, it’s typically local brick-and-mortar consignment or thrift shops that spring to mind first. While they’re a smart and easy way to support local business and families in your area, don’t forget there are a variety of other ways to find quality second-hand clothing and accessories like:
  • Local mom-to-mom sales. Check Facebook and community bulletin boards for events in your area or ask friends if they know of any.
  • Online sites like thredUP, Poshmark, Kidizen, and Facebook Marketplace.
  • Friends of family members who may have children older than yours who would be filling to send their hand-me-downs your way. Many people are glad to know their well-loved items are going to a good home and may be willing to pass them along for free, but you should always be prepared to pay for any items they offer.