How To Thrift Children's Clothing

Approximately 87.4% of Aubryn's wardrobe has come from thrift stores and consignment shops. It's been a great trial and error process. We've returned quite a few items, stopped going to a couple of thrift stores, and learned a lot about the do's and don'ts of thrifting. I've narrowed what I've learned down to four simple rules that I thought I'd share with you that might make your trial and error process a little shorter.

1. Ignore sizes.
Just because the tag says 3-6 months does not mean that it will fit your child once they reach that age. Aubryn's wearable wardrobe currently consists of clothes ranging from 3-6 months sizes to 24 months. Some babies are tall, others are short; some are wide, others are skinny. If your child is tall, they might be in 6-9 month clothes before they even reach 3 months.

You also have to remember that you are buying used items. Previous owners might have stretched out the clothing a bit or the items might have shrunk a bit in the dryer. An item that used to be meant for a 12 month old may have lost a little weight after a few dryer sessions and is now the perfect fit for your little 6 month old.

2. Pay attention to brands. 
While you might not need to pay much attention to labels when it comes to sizes, you should when it comes to brands. You will soon learn that items from certain brands are never a good deal, no matter how cheap they are. Some items are made of cheap fabric, others are scratchy or fit in odd ways. They will be worn out and ready to be re-thrifted after just a few wears. You can find quality brands at low prices if you just pay attention to labels and keep looking. We have found a lot of organic clothing as well as some great pieces from places like Gap, Old Navy and Ralph Lauren.

3. Do your homework. 
Sign up for email newsletters from your local thrift stores and consignment shops. Most send out coupons or notices about sales they have going on via email. Some thrift shops also have special deals on certain days of the week, like 50% off Tuesdays for example. And others will put all their summer items on major sale come fall. If you pay attention, you can score some great finds for a handful of change.

4. Remember, some things are better left un-thrifted. 
Like underwear. And socks. And every once in a while, you can actually find things items cheaper (or just as cheap) brand new. Stores like Gap and Old Navy often have really good deals on their children's clothing, like 30% off of all sale items, usually around the new year or the end of the season. We recently scored a brand new winter coat from Old Navy for just $7. Which is about the same price that winter coats are going for at the local thrift store. So why not just buy it new, right? Keep a list of items you need and watch for sales at places like Gap and The Children's Place, too, just in case the item is selling for a lower price there.

Like I mentioned before, this has been a major trial and error process. Through a lot of trips to the thrift stores we've learned when the best time to go is, which brands are the best quality and the best fit, and what types of items we can probably find for better deals elsewhere. If you're willing to put the time and effort into thrifting, you can find some great items and save yourself a lot of money.

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You are wonderful.