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How to Thrift for Kids’ Clothes

I only thrift for kids’ clothes two times a year, and I can almost get everything they need for the whole year on those trips. This saves me a ton of time shopping, us from wasting a bunch of clothes they will never use, and stress on the environment producing new things.

Why Shop 2x a Year?

Less Clothes to have to store –

Shopping less often saves me from impulse purchases. This allows me to buy and own less. When we own less I have less laundry to do and they have less to pull out of drawers and throw on the floor. Overall it’s easier to sort through and manage.

Allows me to stick to a budget –

If I don’t visit the cute kids clothing section regularly then I don’t have to exert as much self-control when it comes to buying. It also allows me to know exactly how much I’m spending on kids’ clothes every year. I can compare the used kid pant prices and often get away spending $3-5 per pair than the $11-20 I would spend buying them new.

I also buy better diversity

When I shop all at once and it allows the kids to have more mix and match outfits. I see all the kid’s clothes in one spot and can tell if all of the shirts and pants will go together. If I impulse purchase, I’m more likely to buy repeat pieces that forgot they already had, or I end up with too many shirts and not enough pants.

How to Bulk buy Kid’s clothes.

Make a list ahead.

I’ve been doing this for myself for 8 years and for the kids for 6 years. I’ve thought at times I’m above having to make a list, and it ALWAYS backfires on me. I inevitably forget something or buy two of something that I already had. Generally, this looks like

Fall/Winter List
  • 7 Pants
  • 7 shirts
  • 2 Dress shirts
  • 1 Dress pants
  • 1 Coat (fall/winter)
  • Tan Sweater for church/outings
  • Tennis shoes
  • Good Shoes
Srping/Summer List
  • 3 Swim trunks (summer)
  • 5 shorts
  • 7-10 tshirts
  • 1 Jacket (Spring)
  • 2 Dress shirts
  • 2 Nice pair of shorts.
  • Durable Sandals
  • Water Shoes

Assess what you need

This for me means pulling down bins from the attic and collecting all the clothes we have to one spot. I take this time to sort through stuff I’ve bought in the past to see if there is something they can use, or if there are things that were too destroyed to be usable anymore.

During the assessment, I deduct any of the items I have from the things I need to buy and take a picture of them to compare to future purchases.

Go Shopping.

Where this last step happens will depend on your budget. I often go to a consignment shop like “Once Upon a Child” or semi-annual sale like “Just Between Friends“. I pull way more things than I’m going to need at first and then cut back based on styles I like best or prices. Some pants are $3, and another pair that looks just like it might be $8.

In years where we have less money I take a day/week and go to tons of thrift stores gathering along the way what I need. The place this can come to bite me is sometimes I purchased some things I needed in one place and then find something better at another store. Thrift stores rarely offer refunds for returns. Just be aware going in and set limits it can be easy to overbuy because then you want both, that approach will end up meaning you spend as much as if you had gone to the consignment sale, to begin with.

If you found this helpful, check out the Spring Cleaning Guide in the shop!

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