And the thrift gods smiled


One of the "tips" I give to people who ask for advice on successful thrifting is this:

If you find one or two nice things in the size you're looking for, that could be a fluke. If you find three or more, you should consider it a set and keep digging.

Which is to say, typically people donate to thrift stores in bulk. You don't take just a few items, especially with kids' stuff--you take a big bag or a lot of big bags. And if you just brought in one or two things that are in the size/style I am after, chances are you brought more.

The other day, I had one of the most awesome thrift trips I've ever had, and it absolutely demonstrated this principle. I am after things for the next size/season for the baby (who really is a toddler these days...), so I started in the baby section. I immediately pulled a couple of 3T sized Tea Collection items off the rack. Oooh, I thought, this has potential. But alas, the rest of the baby section was bereft of anything that caught my fancy. Still, something told me there was more where the two shirts from Tea came from, and my store is really not good about having a clear line between what they consider "baby" clothes and what they consider "kids'" clothes, so I went to have a look at the big kids' racks.

And then it happened.

Y'all, my kid has a whole new wardrobe, from brands I'd never shell out for new. In his next three sizes. After I realized I'd found a goldmine, I sifted through all of the kids' clothes, then waiting as they brought out new racks. Someone had clearly dropped off their very well dressed young boy's wardrobe, and damned if I didn't leave that store with the majority of it.

From Jacadi, three polos, a button-down, a long-sleeved tee, a pair of long pants, and a pair of short pants:

From Mini Boden, five short-sleeved tees, three long-sleeved tees, a polo, a sweater, and a pair of shorts:

From Tea Collection, one short-sleeved tee, two long-sleeved tees, one polo, three button downs (one new with tags), one sweatshirt, one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, and one jacket:

Then, there were the one or two-offs. A Hatley raincoat. A new with tags Papo de Anjo button down shirt. An Olive Juice hoodie. Three Splendid polos. A pair of shorts and a t-shirt from Appaman. It just went on and on. In total, I got over 50 pieces!

This trip completely re-energized me for thrifting, and I once again really want to be able to say that all, or at least the great majority, of the clothes I buy for both myself and my son are secondhand. Has anybody out there done that--used clothes only? How did it go for you?


That's an awesome haul! I haven't been successful with individual thrift stores, but I do get the bulk of both kids' wardrobes at two different semi-annual consignment sales. I'll supplement here and there with new (sale) items, but most everything comes from these sales. My fave find from the last sale was a set of adorable Hanna Anderson PJs for $2.00. They were practically brand new. It's also fab for holiday and party outfits. I have a girl who really just wants "dresses that spread out" which can be pricey. I want her to be able to play and rough house and still wear her froofy frocks, so shopping used makes me happy to send her off to play in the mud in her "spread out" dresses.

I think the worst ratio we've gotten down to was 65% hand me downs/thrifted and 35% new - because for older kids, finding thrifted pants that still have KNEES is really hard. And because... we didn't plan well for cold weather so we ended up buying hoodies at the store, he likes red so we got him some red shorts and sweatpants new, pajamas for cold weather are also tough to thrift, and a cute t-shirt always jumps out at me at Target dammit. Otherwise it would have been like 80%+ used clothes for him around here, we've been very fortunate and I did some "stock up" shopping a couple of years ago.

But the hand me downs and the stock-up items are starting to run out and we're going to need to buy more, so I'm trying to figure out how to make the time to do enough thrifting to stock up.

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