This was an old post that I wrote in March of 2011 but it’s full of great tips for shopping at Goodwill for kid’s clothes. It’s almost time to start back to school shopping and looking at thrift stores or Goodwill for clothes for your children can really help cut the back to school clothes bill in half. Right now would also be a great time to slowly start building a winter wardrobe for your kids since it does take longer to build a wardrobe from hunting and pecking through thrift stores.
I love a good thrift store. Anything that is cheap, vintage and slightly smelly is A – OK with me. That is the philosophy that lead me to my husband after all.
Here in Houston Goodwill is expensive. We had a Goodwill in the small town that I grew up in and nothing was every over $2.00. But in Houston it is not as cheap as you would think. Stained and tattered Women’s T Shirts start at $7 and go up. Junky old worn shoes that scream “I kill your feet!” will be $6.00 and up. Don’t even think about buying a Jacket or Dress there, you might have to take out a second car note on your vehicle. I’m just joking but it is really too high for a thrift store.
So unfortunately the only thing I buy at our local Goodwill are the occasional knick knacks and kid’s clothes. Their kids clothes can be expensive too but since kids grow out of clothes quickly it’s usually easier to find great looking clothes for kids at Goodwill than for adults. So today let me share with you some of my Goodwill shopping for kid’s tips.
1. Pick your Goodwill’s wisely. This might sound bad but the closer the store is to a rich area of town, the better off you’ll be. If you live in a small town, this isn’t an option. But if you live in Houston, there is a Goodwill every 10-20 miles so this is an option. The Goodwill by me is not near a rich part of town, that’s why it’s by me. However if I drive to the store in Katy, it is by a rich(er) subdivision known as Cinco Ranch. This store never fails to disappoint but the workers there also don’t like kids.. so be warned! Sticky face kids messing up all their aisles are not considered endearing to them. I don’t waste gas just to go there, I wait until a day that I am in Katy running errands or meeting a friend and then I go. Sometimes I meet my friends at the Goodwill, although always unplanned.
2. Don’t rule out buying Easter outfits in August. You honestly never know what you’ll find when you shop at Goodwill, that is why I keep my camera phone handy at all times… for the proof. If you see a perfect fluffy pink dress that might possibly work as an Easter dress but it’s the heat of summer, go ahead and get it. Put it in the back of the closet and wait. Paying $6 in August is better than paying $30 in March for a child’s dress. Don’t shop just for the current season, shop for them all!
3. Look for Quick Fixes. As I always say, “elastic is your best friend”. Shorts or skirts that have an elastic waist band encased totally in fabric can easily be hacked. Simply snip the fabric on the inside of the garment, just a small hole, then pull the elastic out until the waistband is now the size you need. Using a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine, resew the elastic to the smaller size. You could finish this off and restitch the outside fabric and all too but I don’t. I don’t even cut the extra elastic off.
It’s not pretty but no one will see it. It’s quick and easy fix to a skirt or shorts that are too big. This also helps in getting longer skirts for my girls. We like skirts that go to their knees or below. This is really hard to find so I usually buy bigger sizes and adjust the waistband. The same thing is true for dresses that have elastic bands around the top and spaghetti straps. You can easily tuck some of the spaghetti strap bands inside the dress, stitch a line on top of the old stitches and it’s ready to wear.
4. Get the Blues. Denim is one of your more expensive expenditures for anyone, including kids. But the good news is that Goodwill has plenty of denim. The usually have an entire rack of denim skirts, shorts, and pants. It is cheaper there and pretty hard to wear out. You will find a lot of brand new looking denim pieces at Goodwill. So always make Goodwill your go to source for all (kid’s) things denim.
So go forth and conquer your local Goodwill!
Do you have any great tips for shopping at Goodwill? If so, leave them in the comments below!