Over the past year I have watched for kids' clothing whenever I visit a thrift store. I have scored on some great pants, capris, a beautiful little sweater I'll share with you as soon as I style it up this week. I found a darling coat and lots and lots of dresses.
In fact, I realized I have enough dresses to last for the next year. So I have to stop buying dresses. Darn it. :) But I will tell you that I got each one of these super cute dresses, some of them designer, for less than $4 a piece. That's a year's worth of dresses for $28. The only things I go into a kids' clothing store for anymore are tee shirts, shoes, underwear and the occasional supplemental items.
Here are a couple of tips if you'd like to start saving big money thrift shopping for your kids.
1) Shop thrift stores nearest to the most affluent areas in your community. This is the area where people will have fewer kids, buy more expensive, long lasting brands and be more likely to donate items.
In areas where people have a lot of kids or large families, items will likely be passed down to other siblings, cousins or friends. In these areas, families are likely to be pretty practical and less likely to buy high-end, designer merchandise.
2) Stop in regularly. When it comes to successful thrift shopping, "the regular bird gets the worm". Stopping in on a regular basis will familiarize you with when new merchandise is put out, what is new on the racks and what days are best to shop. You can skim the store more quickly if you're familiar with it.
3) Check items for stains, tears, missing buttons and other flaws. Some fixes can be done cheaply and easily. Others can be much more expensive than they seem. If an item is missing a couple of buttons, you can always replace all the buttons.
On a sweater I bought recently it was missing one button in the middle of the front placket. The buttons were gorgeous, so I wanted to keep them. I went to my fabric store and bought one new button that is as close to the others as I could find. Then I am going to remove the top button, which isn't very visible since the collar lies down flat and put that button in the spot where the other more visible missing button is.
Another option would have been to buy one really eye-grabbing button of a completely different style to put on top and then have the rest of the buttons match. This sweater also has belt loops but no belt. So I am going to whip up a couple of belts to go with it out of gross grain ribbon and fun tortoise shell or wood buckles. I'll share the details soon.
4) Check the waistbands, especially in pants. Many times I find pants that look like they are in good condition but upon closer inspection the elastic bands that allow for more expandable sizing are shot.
5) Stock up on infant clothing. The most darling items can often be found for newborns because they grow so quickly and often don't even wear items before they are too small. Infant boy shirts and girl dresses are the best items you can find if you need them and are beyond cute.
There are amazing deals to be had on childrens' clothes at your nearby thrift store. If you want to save some serious money and keep your kids looking great, try following these tips to your local thrift stores. And if anyone wants to go thrifting with me sometime, get in touch. I love to go.