If you have back-to-school clothes on your list to buy, don’t forget to check out thrift stores! Right now Goodwill has 25% off kids apparel (at least the Tacoma Goodwill branch does). I stopped in today and I was able to get nine (9) clothing items – both dresses and tops for $22.67. That’s an average of $2.52 each.
I picked up items that looked brand new (no stains or fraying) and many of the items were brand name – Gymboree, Gap, H&M etc.
Now granted I did have to look through the racks and weed out a lot of stuff that wasn’t going to work – but I would probably be doing the same sorting if I was looking through a clearance rack at a retail store.
Here are some of my tips for thrift shopping:
- Have a list of what you’re looking for. Thrift shops can be overwhelming – but have a plan, for example looking for girls jeans or pants, and you’ll find yourself much less overwhelmed and your success rate goes up.
- Make sure to look on multiple racks, even if it’s not the size you’re looking for. I often find the treasures accidentally placed in the wrong size grouping.
- Look a size up. Different brands fit differently. Look a size or two larger and you can either buy ahead of find an item that will fit, even though the size is larger.
- Look closely for stains, snags, frays. Take the time to look over the clothing. Hold it up to the light. Do you see grease or food stains? Fraying? Missing Buttons, Tears?
- Pay attention to the tag color on sale. Often thrift stores will discount a particular tag color.
- Watch for coupons and sale days. Many thrift stores have a sales calendar available (I know Goodwill does), which tells you what tags are on sale when. Military and seniors can often save an additional percent. My local Tacoma Goodwill branch has a Facebook Friday coupon (every Friday) for 25% off a $20 purchase.
- Try it on to be certain. If you can, try on clothing at the store – they usually have dressing rooms! Check a store’s return policy.
- Go often. There are many times I stop into a thrift shop and walk out empty handed. It’s a treasure hunt that is sometimes fruitful and sometimes not. Be patient and you’ll find the deals!
See what deals I found today. . . .
This is a Carter’s Polka Dot dress, with a sewn in slip. It’s super nice and I’m very excited about it! It’s a size too big for my daughter, but I bought it and she can grow into it.
Boys H&M Striped Long Sleeve – $2.24. Wish this came in my size, it’s the softest t-shirt ever.
Brand spankin’ new Gymboree thermal long sleeve boy’s shirt $2.99
I usually hate character tees. But for some reason I bought this one. It’s from the Disney Store, looked brand new (I don’t even think it’s been washed yet), and I knew my daughter would love it. Plus she needs a few more long sleeves for this fall.
GAP plaid dress, $2.99
Circo dress, $2.99. I rarely will buy Circo brand used, because it’s the Target brand and you can usually find it on clearance for a similar price. But this dress is made with a sweatshirt material and looked so cozy for winter that I couldn’t pass it up. This dress wouldn’t be on sale this time of year (and it’s dated, so I bet they don’t even carry it anymore), so I decided to go for it.
Gymboree plaid top, $2.24. This is a size larger for my daughter, but it has a very fitted top, so I think it will fit her. This is what I meant about looking at sizes up from what you usually buy.
Gymboree Ladybug dress $2.24
Children’s Place dress, navy, $2.24.
I think I did pretty good! My kids certainly don’t care whether the clothes they wear to school are new or not. And for the most part the items I bought look brand new anyway, but are much, much less expensive.
Please know that Goodwill inventory and sales varies by location. It is highly unlikely that you will find these same deals at your local Goodwill. It is HIGHLY likely that you’ll find some sort of treasure!
So what do you think – do you shop thrift shops for your kids back-to-school clothes? Do you have any tips for shopping secondhand?