The New-to-Us Shopping Method

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It’s that time of year again! The seasons are changing and spring/summer clothes will soon be put away with fall/winter clothes taking their place (or vice versa for those in the southern hemisphere). Outfitting two (or more) kids can be costly. Here are the methods I use to keep my kids looking good without breaking the bank.

I accept any and all hand-me-downs. We’ve been fortunate to have several family members and neighbors offer us hand-me-down clothing from time to time. Some batches are better than others, but it’s always fun to go through the bags and see which items still have some wear left in them for my kids. Now, while I do accept all hand me downs, I don’t necessarily keep them all. I toss aside the ones with large stains or rips and anything that I just don’t want to see my child wearing (we are all entitled to have our own tastes). Often, the clothes we receive are a size or two ahead of what my kids are currently wearing, so like Leslie H., I have an attic filled with bins of clothing sorted by size (currently 3T to size 6). With everything organized in bins, it’s really easy to find what I need when my kids are ready to move into the next size up.

Hand-me-down shirt with $1 pants purchased from another twin mom.

I shop for clothes at yard sales. Yard sale shopping is part of our Saturday morning routine from mid-May through early September. Most clothing at yard sales (at least in our area) are super cheap. I recently bought brand name t-shirts and pants, still in great shape, for a quarter a piece! At that price, I’m willing to pick up anything we might need in my kids’ current size or larger. This is, by far, the cheapest way to add to my kids’ wardrobes.

I shop from other mothers of multiples. Many mothers of multiples clubs have tags sales in the fall and/or spring. Prices vary, but often clothing is priced $1-$5. These MoM sales are great places to shop for quality second-use clothing, but I’ve taken it even one step further. After realizing that I bought most of my clothing from just two sellers, I contacted the sellers and asked if I could shop their clothing before the sale. Both readily agreed and it became a win-win situation for all of us- they have less to tag and cart to the sales, and I have smaller piles to look through.

Pink Carter's coat and navy Tommy Hilfiger coat for $3 each purchased at a MoM sale.
$1 spiderman shirt and $1 shorts purchased from another twin mom.
$2 outfit purchased from another twin mom.

I shop at resale shops. The prices at resale shops tend to be higher than what you’d find at a yard sale or MOM tag sale, but they’re still considerably cheaper than buying new from retail stores. I only shop at the ones that are choosy about their merchandise- the ones that sell name brand clothes and check thoroughly for rips and stains. The best is when our local resale shop has their buy a bag sale. For $5/bag, I can take away as many pieces of clothing as I can stuff into the bag(s). I have gotten some incredible deals shopping this way, and I always shop one to two sizes up at these sales.

Hand me down shirt with $3 Old Navy jeans from a resale shop.

I do buy new from time to time, but when I do, it’s usually from end of season clearance racks or in stores where I can combine a great sale with an additional 25-30% off coupon. Of course, if my kids really need a particular piece of clothing and I can’t find it through any of the above options, I’m not above paying full retail prices. But my kids don’t know the difference. They love getting new clothes whether they’re brand new or just new to us.

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