A few days ago i posted about Baby Clothes :: Things I Wish I'd Known. As I began thinking there were so many valuable things I learned while shopping (we had to shop ahead as we live overseas). I was thankful to receive some amazing hand-me-downs which totally helped us and in addition to that bought almost all of our kids clothes used (aside from gifts we received). Here are some of the things i learned about buying used:
=> shop at used clothing stores (once upon a child, value village, or other thrift stores in your area)
- i find it is best to shop in person (not online) for used kids clothes, then you can see the quality and compare the clothes/prices
- i have my limits for how much i'll spend on used items (ie. $2.99 for shirts...), and i only pick up things that i really think are in good condition and a good deal!
- i go in with a checklist (see below) and look for things that i haven't checked off yet, if i don't do this i literally get dizzy looking around and not sure why i even came in the first place! thrift stores get new inventory every week or 2, so i shop in cycles (i have found the prices are better at general thrift stores, but the selection is better at used children's clothes stores...)
- this is a summary of the research i did online while looking for the basics of what i needed for each size for our boys. you may need more/less depending on your kids 'messy factor' or lifestyle (we definitely ended up with more than is on the list!)
- in addition to the things on this list i bought underwear and socks new for each size!)
- i recommend this list for 12mths + up; before 1 year of age, you will probably shop much more seasonally for your baby
- watch out for 24mths/2T they are REALLY similar in size! you DON'T need both.
=> look for high quality brands like GAP, Gymboree, H&M, Roots (for Canadians) and other high end brands (Tommy Hillfiger, Mexx, Zara, Ralph Lauren), OshKosh (jeans)
- to be honest i would rarely ever buy these brands new but the quality of the materials they use WAY outlast other 'baby brands'
- at thrift store i basically sort through the racks looking for these brands ONLY and leave anything else behind (it speeds up the process to know what you're looking for!)
- if i see other items that i LOVE (either the pattern or piece) i'll occasionally consider those too (ie. Old Navy has some fun stuff but doesn't last as long)
=> find lighty used shoes - i know some people say not to buy used kids shoes, but for our family budget we've decided used shoes are okay as long as the don't show wear marks. I've found that many little kids shoes aren't worn much at all because they've only been worn indoors (at preschool) and not for long, since kids grow so fast! Since we live overseas i collected running shoes & dress shoes for toddler sizes 5-11 last time we were home. I may have too many, but we do have 2 little boys that will need shoes and they were only approximately $5/pair!
- i look for StrideRite, Crocs, Geoxx... and other well known shoe brands
watch out for:
- the last thing you want to do is get home and find ugly stains, most of the time the thrift stores sift those out... but just be careful
=> material worn thin, specifically in pants (and sleepers)
- check to make sure the elbows & knees are still in tact (from kids crawling)
- other areas to check for are toes in sleepers (in general i don't buy much used sleepwear - it just gets pretty worn the first/second time round... it's hard to find good used pjs)
- search shirts and jeans for holes... i brought home jeans and then found a small hole and it drove me nuts (it's wasn't worth it to return them for the $2.99 i spent)... but not sure they will be very usable :(
**kids clothes & toilet training**Something that i NEVER thought of when i was pre-buying our little guys clothes until my sister mentioned it zippers and buttons are your enemy when attempting to potty train a toddler!!! So with that in mind:
- do away with zipper pj's past size 2T! do you ever wonder why so many are on the racks? it's not so easy to toilet trian a kid who can't unzip & pull down their sleepers! go for 2 piece PJ sets.
- button up pants are hard for toddlers to use: go for elasticized waist bands for 2T + up! (or at least snap butons instead of more classic ones with button holes)
Do you have any helpful tips about clothing kids on a budget?