With back to school right around the corner (next week in my town!) and fall months also not too far away, I have been thinking about new clothes for Liam. With him being our first child, each season is like starting over (no hand-me-downs from other siblings). It is both so much fun but can also get expensive. I will be the first one to tell you that I love name brand kids clothes. The gap, h&m, Zara, and Oldnavy to name a few. I'll be sharing a back to school style post with some of those brands later this week but before I do I wanted to mention thrift shopping first. While you can troll the sales and get a good deal on kids clothes at name brand stores, there are times when you can get an even better deal at a thrift store for the same styles you are loving on your kids. I will also be the first one to tell you that I do not love how fast Liam grows out of his clothes. I'll put on a favorite outfit on him and then turn around twice and it is already time to be boxing it away for a little sibling someday. I don't feel as bad going out and buying a new wardrobe for him when he has grown out of all of his clothes or the seasons are changing when I can get several outfits for a fraction of the cost. With that said, I have found so many great things for his wardrobe for pennies, you guys. So here are a few tips when thrift shopping for your kiddos ...
| Shop Kids Consignment |
While I am still able to find some great buys at the DI, the Youth Ranch, and Good Will to name a few, you really have to hunt at those places. Shopping kids consignment stores are amazing. Most don't accept anything other than name brands, no holes, no stains ... they are really picky! Which is great because you can find a lot of quality items for a similar price you would pay at some of the other thrift stores I mentioned above where you will have to do a lot more searching.
| Look One or Two Sizes Larger |
If your child wears 18 month clothes, don't be afraid to look at the 2T and sometimes even 3T sections. Most kids clothes are 100% cotton and have shrunk significantly after several washes. So some of the clothes in their current size will fit tighter or can even be too small in some cases because they have shrunk. Not only does it give you a broader selection to look in multiple sizes but you'd be surprised at what things could potentially fit that are one or two sizes bigger. Here are a few examples I got for Liam, all of which were 2T but still fit him at 18 months ...
| Repurpose Items with Stains |
A lot of times when you shop at thrift stores where people just drop off unwanted items you run into more holes and stains. I recognize you can't work around all stains but sometimes stains and holes lend themselves to a new distressed look depending on where they are, particularly with pants! I love distressed denim shorts on little boys and found these red gap jeans at the Good Will for $2. They had a couple black streaks on one of the thighs. The first thing I did was put some Dawn soap on the stain and let it soak for an hour or two, scrubbed it in with a toothbrush and then washed it on warm to see if the stain would come out. Sometimes you can get them out and don't even need to worry about repurposing the item! Depending on where the stain is, if it doesn't come out you can easily distress the pants in the spot and you won't even notice the stain anymore.
| Shop Multiple Seasons of Clothes |
This is similar to the concept of repurposing an item. If it is summer, look at the jeans or overalls sections and cut them off to make shorts (like the picture above)! For girls, you could even buy a pair of jeans and leave them the way they are but roll up the bottoms a couple of times for a pair of capris. I am never very good at predicting what size Liam will wear during what season when it comes to shopping ahead but you can always look at the coat section for example and outfit your child for the next winter. It is fun to have clothes in their closet to have them grow into. Since I have a problem with this, I usually tend to stick to pieces that can be worn during any time of the year like a red Gap polo for example that I found for Liam. It is a 3T and definitely too big for him right now. I don't know if it will be too small by the time next summer rolls around but short sleeves can be worn with a sweatshirt, jacket, etc. in the winter time if that is the season he ends up fitting into it.
| Consider What the Item Will Look Like Washed |
Not only with clothes but especially with shoes this holds true. I have found 2 pairs of shoes for Liam at the Youth Ranch that were pretty dirty. However, I could not pass up this h&m pair of striped boat shoes for $2 and these Salt Water sandals for .99, especially when they retail at Nordstrom for $35! Such a good buy! The striped pair I ran under hot water and then used a toothbrush and scrubbed them with baking soda to take as much dirt as possible out of the fabric. When I got them as white as I could I used a combination of Dawn dish soap and a little bit of detergent to clean them out really good and then let them air dry on my back patio. With the sandal all I had to use was the Dawn soap to scrub them with a toothbrush and washcloth to clean them up. Kids shoes are an area where they need good shoes for support like many of the name brands offer but the $30+ price tag can sometimes be a lot to swallow when they grow out of them so fast.
Hope some of these tips help you the next time you are shopping for a new season of clothes for your kids. It is always worth it to try thrifting first because often times you will be surprised what you can find! Happy thrift/consignment shopping!