My boys, especially my toddler out grow their clothes very quickly. For the baby, he has been having growth spurts about every three months, so I am needing to buy him an entire new wardrobe that often. Especially here in New England, where there are drastic changes in weather, by the time they can wear something again for a particular season, it no longer fits them anymore.
This outfit is 100% second hand!
My secret to updating their wardrobe that often, while on a budget, is to second hand or thrift shop for them. I am able to find the boys all sorts of name brand shoes and clothes for super cheap while thrift shopping. From name brand shoes and sneakers to Ralph Lauren, Nike and Baby Gap clothes, sometimes even brand new with tags. When I tell people this, they almost cannot believe it!
About 65-75% of my toddler’s clothes and shoes are second hand, and about 30-40% of my 5 year old’s is also. When my oldest was younger, that percentage was much higher, but I realized that at this age it is harder to find good quality clothes and shoes in excellent condition, due to the fact that they wear it longer and are very rough at play. Below are some tips for kids thrift shopping like a pro.
I shop at a lot of different places. You can’t expect to make one trip to your local thrift store and find everything you need in one trip. I am periodically checking the shops I purchase from because inventory comes in just as fast as it goes. I actually shop at a few different places, including Facebook local resell shops, Instagram shops, Mercari, and Once Upon a Child.
For Facebook, I belong to a local kids only selling site. This site is very strict with posting and meeting rules and is very closely monitored. Moms from the local area post and sell clothes, and the first person to express interest gets it. We then meet each other at a public parking lot to make the purchase. There are hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to this so make sure to search for the ones local to you by entering key words on the search bar.
For Instagram shops, they usually help each other out by advertising for each other, so if you follow one you are more likely going to be able to get to other shops this way. Instagram is good for buying more trendy items, small shop clothes and shoes. I only follow a few who I can see sell good quality items at a decent price and whose children are a size up from mine. To find them, try typing in the search bar very specific key words, #boysclothesforsale, closet, etc.. Again, once you find one, you are able to find others as they advertise each other.
Mercari is very similar to Ebay, except no bidding. I mostly buy name brand shoes from Mercari but have been able to find a few good clothing items as well. I don’t buy second hand items from Ebay because I personally do not have time to watch bids and find that process to be pretty annoying.
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https://www.mercari.com/dl (That’s $10 free towards any purchase!)
Once upon a Child is a kids second hand thrift store, we have two in our local area. My suggestion is to slowly work your way to shopping at all these sites as it can get overwhelming at first when you are starting out.
When shopping online ask for multiple pictures including different sides and angles, negotiate prices when buying multiple items and please keep in mind shipping costs and paypal/ mercari fees. I only buy clothing items that look new, it’s harder to really see that online, so I don’t do as much clothing shopping on line unless the seller states like new conditions and are rated high.
Instagram lingo is very similar but they also use, shipped=shipping included in price, S4S=shout out for shout out when advertising each other, DM= direct message, gifted= pay with pay pal friends and family gift instead of goods and services to save on pay pal fees.
For even more savings, I hold off on buying, specifically at thrifts stores, until a sale or promotion is advertised. I suggest you sign up for email and text alerts to stay inform of any upcoming sales. Also, towards the middle and end of each season, Once Upon A Child will significantly mark down clothing to try to get rid of it in preparation of the new season. I have been able to purchase name brand clothes, in excellent condition, for only 50 cents per item! Usually these sales are more for clothes 18 months and younger as the inventory is much higher for those sizes. At that price, you can even size up for next season and hoard them.
I specifically go at the end of the summers and store for upcoming winter vacations when we travel to warmer climates for a week. Can you imagine having to buy a brand new wardrobe for just one week because it’s the wrong season back at home! I actually did that when my oldest was a baby and we went to Puerto Rico in the winter, first time parent fail! LOL
The last tip I am giving today is to sell your kids items as well and use that money to repurchase new things. I post all of my kids clothes on the Facebook site and on Mercari. Anything that doesn’t sell there, I then bring to Once Upon A Child to sell. I then use that money to repurchase clothes for the new season.