Why I Like Children’s Resale Shops

My husband and I live a frugal lifestyle, and our children request some things that I say no to because they are not essential or because they are too expensive. However, I can bend our budgeting rules at several children’s resale shops in the metropolitan area where our family lives. In these places, often I can say yes to my kids’ requests. I can do so without worrying much about money and without worrying I may spoil my kids.

Why I Like Children’s Resale Shops

I don’t have relatives or many friends with older children who provide hand-me-downs, so when my children were babies and toddlers, I shopped at neighborhood garage sales for most of their clothes. I could easily find multiple sales within five minutes of my house every weekend. As my children grew older, it got harder to find their sizes at garage sales, and we often came home with too many other things we didn’t need. So we stopped going to most garage sales.

Now I do much of my shopping at children’s resale shops. The national chain Once Upon a Child is my favorite place to go, but I’ve also shopped at smaller locally owned resale shops.

1. They are guaranteed to have clothing and shoes in my kids’ sizes, and items are organized by sizes and gender so I can quickly look through what’s available. I often take my kids along so they can try things on (most resale shops have fitting rooms) and pick many of their own clothes, pajamas, and shoes. We often find name-brand clothing, sometimes with the original tags still attached. My daughters have come home with clothing from Justice, Gymboree, Children’s Place, Gap, Crazy 8, American Girl, and more. There is an element of surprise, like a treasure hunt, that makes resale shopping fun. And who doesn’t like getting like-new clothing without the brand-new price tags?

After going to the resale shop, I purchase any remaining wardrobe necessities at popular retailers like Target (their cute children’s clothes tempt me badly) or Kohl’s. While traditional retailers can have good sale prices, I still get more bang for my buck at resale shops.

2. Many resale shops have rewards programs that offer discounts after you’ve spent a certain amount. Once Upon a Child stores hand out punch cards and shoppers receive one punch or stamp for every $10 spent. When you fill your card (about 30 punches), you get 20% off your next purchase. Even locally owned resale shops often offer customer reward programs.

3. Purchasing gently used clothing is good for the earth, using far fewer resources than new clothing and diverting materials from landfills.


When discussing children’s resale shops, I can’t leave out their close cousins, thrift stores. I like them, too, but they can be a mixed bag, depending on where I shop. I find it more difficult to shop at my local Goodwill because nothing is organized by size, so it takes a long time to look through the racks. The Salvation Army, Savers, and some of my area’s locally owned thrift stores are better organized, arranging clothing by size — and sometimes color — so I can quickly browse, make my purchases, and move on.

Resale shop prices tend to be slightly higher or about the same as thrift store prices, depending on brands. Typically, a child’s shirt might sell for $1.50 to $3.50 at a thrift store while that same shirt might sell for $2.50 to $5.50 at a resale shop. I’m often willing to pay a little extra at resale shops because they have the advantage of having a wider selection, more name brands (if you’re into those), and more guarantee that I will find specifically what I need, whether it’s pants, shorts, long-sleeved shirts, or pajamas. Have you seen resale shops specifically advertising that they are currently purchasing winter coats, summer clothing, or cribs? While thrift shops take whatever is donated, resale shops are strategic about what they buy to ensure they have a variety of everything at exactly the time of year when they need it.

Recently, my youngest daughter, who loves all things that are soft and fluffy, asked for some one-piece zip-up fleece footie pajamas. We found two sets of these pajamas in her size at a resale shop, each costing between $3.50 and $4.50. I said yes. The pajamas are cute, inexpensive, and have quickly become her favorite things to wear day and night. Everyone wins.

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