Category Archives: Green Living

How to Buy Used Kids Clothes

Buying used kids clothes saves you a ton of money and is great for the environment. Get my top tips for scoring high-quality secondhand clothes for your kids.

I’ve mostly been writing about food lately, but today I want to veer off a little bit to talk about one of my favorite green living topics: buying used kids clothes. Keira will be 3 in a couple of months, and so far nearly all of the clothes I’ve purchased for her have been used. I’m sure that this will get harder as she gets older, but for now I LOVE shopping used.

Why I Buy Used Kids Clothes

I Save a Ton of Money

Shopping used saves me so much money. When you know where to look, you can easily find an abundance of high-quality used clothes that are still in excellent shape. When I buy them used, I’m paying a fraction of the cost of what buying those clothes new would be. And in most cases, you can’t even tell that those clothes are secondhand.

Saving money on Keira’s clothes is one way that I can afford expensive real food while living on one income in an area of the country with a very high cost of living.

It’s Green

Buying used clothes is good for the environment because you’re making use of clothes that have already been produced. Those clothes don’t have to go to the landfill or be recycled, AND you save on the use of the resources that would be needed to produce new clothes.

It’s Fun—and Less Stressful

I enjoy shopping for baby and toddler clothes. If I were paying retail prices, I’m sure there would be extra stress in worrying about sticking to a precise budget and making sure that Keira would get the most use out of everything that I bought. When I shop secondhand, though, I can have a little more freedom with my money. I can buy something that I think might work for her, but if it doesn’t pan out I’m only out a couple of dollars so it’s no big deal.

My General Tips for How to Buy Used Kids Clothes

Know your price point

After shopping around, you’ll get a good sense of what you’re willing to pay for each item of clothing. This will be dependent on the prices where you live, as well as how much time you’re willing to invest. I personally prefer not to pay more than $2 per items for shirts, pants or shorts. If it’s something that I really like, I’ll sometimes go up to $3.

I expect to pay more like $3 to $4 for pajama sets, and $5 or more for winter jackets and any formal clothes that she needs.

Knowing your price point is really important at someplace like a consignment sale, where the prices can vary wildly if all the consignors price their own items. Sometimes you’ll come across secondhand items that are actually more expensive than if you were to buy the similar item at a retail store! Know what you’re willing to spend before you go in.

Shop ahead

In order to give yourself time to buy everything you need, you always need to be buying ahead. If you wait until your child needs a pair of 2T shorts, the chance of you finding what you want used is much smaller. Instead, make sure you’re buying at least a season ahead of what your child needs.

If you get really skilled, you can also buy several seasons ahead of what your child is wearing. I’ve scaled back on this as my daughter has gotten older, however, as I’m not good at predicting how her clothing needs will changed based on things like potty training, changes in body shape, etc. For babies, though, I certainly think it’s worth it to try to stockpile a bunch of sizes ahead, as I didn’t find baby clothing to change that much with size.

Where to Shop for Used Kids’ Clothes

There are definitely some places to shop for kids clothes online, but I like shopping for clothes in person so I can look them over in detail. (This was particularly important to me as Keira’s cloth diapers didn’t fit under many shorts and pants, so I really needed to see things in person to see if they would work.) Here are my favorite places to look for kids clothes:

Consignment Sales

Many areas have regular big consignment sales for kids items. Where I live, this sale is Outrageous Outgrowns. It’s held twice yearly and I always go.

I like consignment sales because my local sale has a huge selection of kids clothes all in the same place. This eliminates a lot of different trips to different places. Clothes are also well organized by size, which isn’t always true at thrift stores.

As I mentioned above, consignment sales that allow consignors to price their own items can have a huge variety in prices. Make sure you know what a reasonable price is before shopping.

Thrift stores

Thrift stores are pretty hit or miss for me. They tend to have some of the lowest prices, however often selection is not great. I recommend checking out the thrift stores in your area and seeing if there are any good ones. When I lived in Colorado, there was an ARC nearby that had a good selection of baby clothes. We also had a Goodwill and Salvation Army in town, but I rarely shopped there because their kids sections were very limited.

Here in California, I’ve only found Savers to have a decent selection of kids clothes. However, I don’t make a special trip to look for kids clothes. If I’m in there for some other reason, like shopping for cooking stuff or clothes for myself, I will always check out the kids stuff. Usually I find an item or two that I like, which is worth it if I’m already there but not worth it for a separate trip.

Consignment Stores

I’ve had some success with kids consignment stores. In my experience, though, their price point is much higher than consignment sales and thrift stores, so I’m listing them last here. I’ve gotten some good deals on clothes during clearance sales.

Consignment stores can also be an excellent option if you need something soon and are willing to pay a bit more, but still don’t want to have to pay as much as you’d pay for an entirely new item.

Tell me–what are you favorite places to buy used kids’ clothes? Do you have any favorite tips to share? I love talking shopping with other secondhand enthusiasts. 🙂

Garden Update: June 4, 2013

Garden Update June 4 2013

We spent last weekend planting our container garden plus a few more plants in our raised bed garden, so I thought it was time for another garden update. In that picture above you can see our container garden, which resides out on our apartment balcony. Even though we have two raised beds in the community garden this year, we still opted to do a container garden because we had such success with it last year. The balcony is south-facing and it gets incredibly hot out there in the summer, which I think makes it a perfect location for heat-loving plants.

As you can see, we’re growing tomatoes and basil.…

Garden Update: May 21, 2013

Garden Update May 21 2013I haven’t written anything about our garden since I wrote about planning our 2013 garden back in March. There’s a good reason for that, though–not much has been happening in the garden! I think there’s finally been enough activity that it’s time for an update, though. 🙂

We are using two small raised beds (pictured above), which are part of our apartment complex’s community garden. At the moment they are only housing kale, sugar snap peas and lettuce. Here are the peas and lettuce:

Peas and Lettuce--May 2013

I think both of them look pretty tiny. I planted the peas as seeds on April 1st, but then they didn’t really do much for a month because we had a very cold and snowy April.…

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Planning for Our 2013 Garden

I am really not a winter person. If it were up to me I’d probably just skip the season entirely, but at the moment I live in Colorado so winter is very much a part of my life. This year, one of the things that’s been getting me through the cold (and recently very snowy) weather has been planning my 2013 garden.

This will only be my second year of gardening. Last year we had a small container garden out on our balcony. Late in the season we also planted a few crops in an outdoor plot in our apartment complex’s community garden (which I never got around to blogging about).…