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Modern Day Thrifting: How I Dress my Family Without Breaking the Bank

Growing up, I always assumed the best things in life were bright, shiny and brand spanking new.  

Being a middle child, I was subject to many hand-me-downs including my brother’s old flannels, jeans with holes in the knees (which would absolutely be in style now) and my mother’s Bass sandals. I think that is why I always looked forward to back-to-school shopping because I got a whole set of clothes that were just mine! When I went to college and had my own income from a part time job, I aspired to own brand name jeans that cost $100 a pair and my very own Kate Spade purse. Thrifting and the thought of purchasing my clothes second-hand was completely unacceptable to me. That mentality continued on into my late twenties when I finally had kids of my own and realized just how expensive everything is.

Yes Mom, I understand now.

Gone are my feelings that second-hand clothing is a bad thing. Instead, I’ve been sucked in by the thrill of the hunt! Personally, I think it’s pretty satisfying to have someone compliment me on my shoes and then see the look on their face when I tell them I got my fabulous pink rose patterned converse for $10 (Yup, true story). Or, that I pulled my Black Canary Halloween costume together for less than $35 including a pair of black Cabi leggings with faux leather inset! In fact, the most expensive item was the cosplay mask I ordered off of Amazon! Same with my kids’ clothes! That’s right, those adorable buffalo plaid fleece lined overalls were only $4! It’s so exciting to score a really great item for an amazing price, and all because I opened my mind and heart to second-hand shopping.

I’ve noticed a difference in the way I shop now. I now focus more on acquiring clothing second-hand rather than full price.

My shopping is much more specific- meaning I shop for a particular item instead of just wandering aimlessly throughout the racks of clothing. Now that I think about it, it’s been months since that last time I went to the mall to shop for clothing. I search for a used item to fit my requirements before I look for something new. However, there really isn’t much that I can’t find second-hand, especially now that there is an increase in accessibility to thrift stores and online Buy/Sell/Trade groups with the development of an online second-hand presence.

Modern day thrifting scores

Here’s a list of my favorite places to shop second hand!

Thread Up– This site buys and sells gently used name-brand women’s and children’s clothing for amazing prices of up to 80% off. My favorite piece I’ve found so far was a Burton sweatshirt for $12.00. (Obviously, they didn’t understand the value of this item in California!) Their website is very easy to use and you can filter what you’re looking for by type, size, brand, style, and more. You can even set your size profile so that every time you search, it automatically filters everything by the size you selected.

They also have a designer section if you desire those exclusive items. Each item of clothing is described in detail including inseam, style, and condition to aid in your purchase decision. Items will stay in your cart for 24 hours and then are released back into the site for others to see. So it’s just like going to a thrift store- if you see something you like, snag it quick so you don’t lose it! I have been getting all my jeans off of Thread Up! I like GAP, Liverpool and Kut from the Kloth jeans and I’ve been able to find all of those brands at a portion of the retail price so I’m not sacrificing quality for price. Periodically, there are discount codes available for account holders too.

Thread Up for online thifting

You also have the option to sell to Thread Up. You can request a “Closet Clean Out” bag which is a large priority mail bag with a prepaid label on it for you to fill with the items you’d like to sell. Once they receive your items, they’ll go through them, and photograph and list the items they want to keep. They will offer you credit in their online store, payment through PayPal or a prepaid Visa card. All unaccepted items can be returned to you for a fee or donated, recycled and repurposed through partnerships that Thread Up has set up.

Clothing exchange bag from Thread Up.

Poshmark– I am finding some great items on this site! I just scored a pair of black, barely used Dansko shoes for $10 plus shipping and I’m thrilled! Poshmark is an app/website where people can buy and sell clothing , shoes, jewelry and more! One of the best features on this app is the option to bundle items within one seller’s closet for a pre-set discount. For instance, add two items to your cart for an extra 15% percent off. There is also the option to submit an offer to a seller in the hopes of getting an even greater discount. I have been using this option a lot recently with great success.

Keep in mind, this site charges $5.95 in shipping to the buyer and keeps 20% of the seller’s profits. To be honest, I find that a little high, but with how easy it is to use and the prepaid priority mail label you can print and attach to your package to toss in a mailbox, it’s fairly reasonable. Every now and then, if you purchase within an hour of the item being dropped in price, the shipping price will drop a dollar. Personally, I find the Poshmark app easier to use than the website. With the app, if there is an item I’ve “liked” and the price has been dropped by the seller, I’ll get an alert letting me know so I can swoop in and snag it before the other buyers who like that same item get a chance to buy it.

Postmark for online thrifting.

Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook: These groups work like an online garage sale where you’re able to sell your items directly to the buyer. They’re a great option because they cut out the middleman (like Ebay or Poshmark) who take a portion of your sales. Lularoe, Agnes and Dora, Lululemon or other local groups like Vermont Adult swap offer a great opportunity to purchase previously owned items at a discounted rate. Half the time, the items that I’ve purchased on these pages are new with tags and people either didn’t like the pattern or color or had purchased the wrong size. I’ve sold quite a bit of my own clothing for the same reasons.

These groups are great for getting to try specific brands or products without having to pay full price. The beauty is that anyone with a Facebook account has access to these groups. You have the option to search locally and connect for cash transactions, or you can be a part of larger groups and use PayPal as a way to complete sales. I use the local groups a lot for purchasing kid’s items like clothing lots and toys like our Rody Racer that I got for $15. If there is a specific brand you like, chances are you can find a buy/sell/trade group to be a part of.

Facebook thrifting groups.

Opening my mind and heart to thrifting has taught me a few things.

I’ve learned how to take chances and negotiate price. I’ve let go of items I’ve been holding on to for no reason and given them new homes. And I’ve learned to appreciate the value of second-hand shopping and its ability to save my family money. Plus, it’s pretty fun hunting for the perfect item at a fantastic price! There is nothing wrong with second-hand clothing or hand me downs, they’re just pre-loved items that are ready to go on new adventures.

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