I am a lover of all things thrift and consignment, which is where I buy 99.9% of my kids’ clothing. I love finding old vintage pieces for my women’s clothing store, too! (Check out my Etsy Store www.etsy.gingerandgreyvintage.com)! But, my favorite find at any thrift store is ALWAYS something that my kids will love. You name it, and I’ve found it at a thrift store! Shopping at the thrift store for kids’ clothing is essential to stay in my budget.
If you’ve never been thrift shopping for your kids, then my TOP PICKS for THRIFT STORE MUST HAVES will definitely persuade you!
Thrift Store 101
Okay, if you’re a thrift store newbie, then you may think it’s a gross place filled with people’s old junk. While sometimes that may be true, my experience has been WAY different.
If you’re looking for an insanely FRUGAL way to get your kids all the clothes they need, then you need to give thrifting another shot. Here’s a few pointers:
- Thrift stores can be mom and pop shops, or large chains like Salvation Army, or Good Will stores. For years, I’ve gone to thrift shops in many different cities. One thing that is certain: there are good ones & bad ones. We happen to live in a city with a huge, clean, amazingly stocked thrift store that I frequent monthly. My suggestion is to just pop in when you pass one and do a quick walk through. Find one you like.
- Keep in mind that this isn’t a regular store. The stuff will be different each time you’re there. So, once you find the one you like, then pop in from time to time to see what’s new. Trust me, the stock will rotate frequently!
- You know how quickly kids grow out of their clothes! Most moms just bag them up and donate them, as do I. But, what that means is that there are SO MANY clothes that look barely worn.
- Best part: there’s usually one day a week where ALL the clothes are HALF OFF. Remember, these clothes typically run under $3.99 each. So, yes, you can get an awesome pair of pants for $1. (*The stores are usually cleaned out on these days, so just keep it in mind if you arrive the day after the sale).
Top 5 Thrift Store Kids’ Clothes Must Haves
#1: Hands down the winner: SHOES.
My top pick for thrift store kids’ clothes must haves is SHOES! I have never been one to invest money in my own shoes. That’s just not my thing. So, talk about STICKER SHOCK when purchasing my first born’s shoes!! It didn’t take me long to find a MUCH better way to find quality kids’ shoes.
I’ve gotten virtually brand new Croc snow boots, Crock rain boots, hiking boots, Air Jordans, Keens sandals, toddler shoes, New Balance Tennis Shoes, baseball / soccer cleats and MORE! I’ve never paid more than $5 for any of them.
That ONE decision has saved me a TON of cash over the last 5 years.
#2: Dress Shirts
My boys are NOT fans of dressing up (shocker). And, we never really go to places where a button down would be a pre-REQ. So, if we ever have the need for a fancy shirt, then I just make a pit stop at the thrift.
I mean, why would I pay $20 for a shirt my kid will immediately stain and never wear again?
My boys love a hoodie. They wear them practically every single day. So, I always keep my eyes pealed for these. These are just a no-brainer for my thrift store kids’ clothes must haves.
#4: Athletic Pants & Leggings
I mentioned, the two boys, right? We run through athletic pants faster than I can keep them in stock. I don’t have girls, but I imagine leggings are the equivalent. Both of which live in abundance at the thrift.
If you feel like your kids’ pants have endless holes in the knees, you’re not alone! My solution is not to even patch them. Just pick up another pair during my next visit to the Thrift. I mean, I can practically buy a new pair for less than a patch!
Brands I’ve found include: Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, Gap, Old Navy, etc.
#5: Sporting Equipment
Okay, so this isn’t clothing, but it’s going on the thrift store kids’ clothes must have list for SURE! We’ve bought everything from bikes to baseball helmets at the thrift. I’ve found that it is typically seasonal, so not every store will have a ton of this throughout the year.
Right before baseball season hits, the helmets and bats show up. Then, right before summer, bikes are lined up out front of the store. Bike helmets, skates, and bat bags are also in large supply.
For an example, we got a barely used Cars bike for our 4 year old for $10. It’s still his favorite!
**PSST!!! If your kids’ weeknight practice schedule has you struggling for time, check out my posts on 10 No Cook Dinners for Spring Sports Nights and 5 Ingredient Weeknight Dinner Recipe roundup!
No Shame In The Thrift Store Game
A lot of people are hung up on getting things “new” for their kids. But, I’ve never been that way. The cheaper the better is ALWAYS my philosophy when it comes to kids’ clothing, shoes, and outdoor gear.
I want them to look sporty, clean, and comfortable. BUT, it absolutely kills me to pay full price (or even sale price) for their clothes. Honestly, I even feel that way about my own stuff—so there’s no double standard. I’ve got a closet full of thrift that I wear!
The BEST reason to shop thrift (and consignment) for your kids is to keep your budget in check! The next time you need to run out and get a shirt, pants, or shoes for your kid—do me a favor. Just drop by the thrift store first.