Tips and Tricks: Shopping Secondhand for Kid’s Clothing

My seven-year-old daughter has always been an energetic, active, and adventurous kid —which means she’s always been rough on her clothes.

A lot of her items end up with grass stains and holes in the knees. Because of this, I discovered early the benefit of buying as many clothes as possible from secondhand or consignment shops. It’s a lot easier to stomach how many items get destroyed when I know they weren’t expensive.

In my years of buying used, I’ve come across a lot of tips and tricks for shopping for these types of items. I hope they help you, too.

Shopping Secondhand for Kid’s Clothing

Make a list of what you need before you go shopping

I’ve fallen into the trap of buying things I don’t need just because they are inexpensive. But then I’m not really achieving the goal of spending less money by shopping secondhand if I’m buying things I don’t need. Now, before I go shopping for my daughter’s clothes, I take an inventory of what she already has and what she needs so that I don’t end up with unnecessary items. I also make sure I’m aware of what clothes she has that are being most used and what types of styles she prefers. I also don’t want to end up with items she’ll never use!

Look ahead for future seasons

When I’m making my list of needed items, I also look ahead to what she may need for future seasons and what size those items would need to be. Garage sale season in the spring/summer can be a great time to look for winter boots and snow pants! Iowa City Moms has an excellent list of summer garage sales all across eastern Iowa! Check it out. An off-season can be a great time to find low-price deals, though there will be a smaller selection.

Look for high-quality brands and items

When shopping secondhand, look for brands that are going to hold up to wear and tear and multiple washes. Since these clothes have already started their lifecycle, low-quality secondhand items aren’t going to hold up much longer for everyday use. I like to look for brands that I know are made well and can feel pricey to buy new, like Hanna Andersson, Primary, Gap Kids, Tea Collection, Janie and Jack, Boden, and Gymboree. There are so many awesome secondhand options in the Iowa City area. We at Iowa City Moms have compiled an extensive list of secondhand shops. Because we have some many great choices, I take my time looking for high-quality, gently used items without stains or tears.

What is your best advice for scoring secondhand items for your kids?

Related: Don’t miss garage sale season in the Iowa City area! You’re sure to find awesome second-hand finds.

2022 Citywide Garage Sales in the Iowa City Area

Brigette lives in North Liberty with her husband Brian, energetic daughter Kate (October 2014) and their two cats, Penny and Olive. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Brigette came to Iowa City to attend the journalism school at the University of Iowa, fell in love with the area, and decided she couldn’t leave. After meeting Brian while working at the same Iowa City restaurant in college, they got married in August 2015 in the heart of downtown. She works full time in project management and as an employee of the Core Fitness Kids Club while finishing her MBA at Upper Iowa University. In her free time, she drags Kate out garage sale-ing, tries to keep up with her reading list and runs, lives for Hawkeye football season, enjoys a good meal on a patio, runs her Bachelor/Bachelorette bracket with her family and friends, and of course, chases her daughter around the pool and the park.


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