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Thrift Shops, revisited.

March 19, 2011

So in a previous post I discussed how I like the idea of thrift stores very much, but the smell reality of thrift stores can be off-putting.  Well, LM is growing like a weed and even with hand-me-downs she is running out of clothes that fit.  And every time I put away another storage bin of outgown baby clothes I think about how much it would cost to dress a kid if you bought all new clothes–ridiculous! Yeah, a new special occasion outfit or a few cute pieces here and there but it gets out of hand quickly.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve hit a few local Goodwill shops with limited success.  The Goodwill shops (at least near me) represent all the things I hate most about thrift stores (beyond that weird, Grandma-attic smell): racks of badly organized, often torn/dirty clothing that gives me the creepies just to think about putting on me or my baby.  All the children’s clothes from newborn to 5T sizes were all on the same rack, with no order whatsoever, and when you have a ten month old who is constantly trying to climb out of the shopping cart, it dulls that “treasure hunt” experience that some people claim they get when shopping at thrift stores.  I did have one good experience at the second Goodwill shop, when I actually found four items I was willing to buy; I took them to the checkstand and the cashier was exclaiming how cute LM is, then she rang up the first item (a 2T shirt) and exclaimed “$3.99 for this little shirt, that’s outrageous!”.  She glanced around (presumably for a manager?) and then swept all the other items into the bag and said “$4.36 is your total.”  Nice.

But I was looking for a slightly better thrift store experience, so I went to a place called Savers yesterday.  I went there once before, three years ago, to look for a last minute Halloween costume, but haven’t been back and never really thought much of it.  Now, Savers still has that smell and a lot of weird broken stuff for sale, but their clothes are actually organized!  REALLY well!  The baby clothes were separated into boys and girls (I surfed both) and divided by age (nb, 3 mo, 6 mo, etc.) and roughly organized by color within the sizes.  For the most part, their vetting process is clearly superior to Goodwill, so the clothes for sale were all clean and undamaged and mostly good to high quality stuff.

For $36.34 I scored two pajamas, two pants, four shirts, two pairs of shoes and one sweater jacket.  One of the pairs of shoes was a clearly never-worn pair of Robeez (which are $22 new, I got for $2.99) in a 0-6 month size that I can use for the next baby, since LM wore a hole in hers.  One of the shirts is Baby Guess brand, very nice quality and I looked it up–about $32 new.  Another shirt is a Baby Gap, and another shirt and the sweater jacket are Greendog, which is a Macy’s brand and very nice.

So this post is half-rambling, half PSA but I definitely think that for the most part, used stuff is the way to go for kids–they are rough on it, outgrow it, and at least when they are this young, they don’t care.  I am hoping that if LM gets older and develops attitude about where her clothes come from, I can use it as a teachable moment and point out that she can either get one brand new outfit from Old Navy or we can go across the street to Savers and get her three or four outfits for the same price, probably of better quality/designer, simply because someone wore it before.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2011 4:57 pm

    I have clothes you can borrow if you need to! Just let me know. 🙂

  2. March 22, 2011 2:08 am

    $4 for one shirt is crazy. I got a 5 pack of Carter’s onesies from BRU yesterday for $15. I’ve tried thrift stores for clothes for Audrey and can’t seem to find anything cheaper than I can get it on sale new. I have had much better luck at yard sales. Stuff still isn’t terribly organized, but the people can tell you what they have in the piles and frequently offer it for under $1/piece if you keep looking. I hate driving around so I wait for the neighborhood garage sales in places that tend to have lots of young families that only want one or two kids like Gladden Farms.

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