childrens clothing on hangers

20 Reasons You Should Thrift for Secondhand Baby and Toddler Items

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If you like to thrift shop, you probably already know there are LOTS of benefits to thrifting–especially to your wallet and to the planet. If you’re on the fence about shopping secondhand for your little one, check out these reasons you absolutely should check out some thrift shops near you.

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For tips on the best places to find secondhand baby and toddler items, check out this article.

1. It saves you money!!!

This is the most obvious benefit of thrifting, but it really is true. Thrifting is the absolute CHEAPEST way to find baby and toddler items. You’ll be paying for just a small fraction of the original price.

2. Babies & toddlers outgrow clothing and gear FAST

The smaller baby is, the faster they outgrow those tiny clothes. Why pay full price when they’re only going to wear it for a few months, if at all?

child with measuring stick
Image by PixelLoverK3 from Pixabay

As for baby gear, WOW. There is so much expensive STUFF that comes with having a newborn: bassinet, swing, baby carrier, bouncer, stroller, rocking chair, car seat, you name it.

Many of these are only used for a few months before baby outgrows them, like bouncers, swings, and baby carriers. While some of these items should really be purchased brand new (like car seats), many of these bigger items certainly maintain their quality over time and are a much better deal purchased secondhand.

3. Kids are MESSY

Have you ever found a huge stain on your little one’s brand new outfit they only wore once? Yeah, me too. Many times.

Dealing with clothing stains is just part of having kids. But, if the clothes are just going to get stained anyway, I have a hard time forking out $25 for a new outfit. I feel way less defeated when a brand new outfit gets stained when I bought it cheap and secondhand anyway.

messy child with paint hands

4. It allows you to try out different brands

When you shop at the same few stores for baby clothes, like Target, Walmart, Old Navy, etc., you’re only getting a few of the same brands over and over again (Cat & Jack, Cloud Island, Wonder Nation, Gerber, etc.)

This way, you get a good variety of brands and a feel for how each one works: which brands are made better, comfier, more stylish, stretchy or not stretchy, have itchy tags in the back, run big or small, etc.

5. It’s a low-risk investment for toys

Let’s face it. Kids can be really picky about toys. I can’t tell you the amount of times I bought a brand new toy, only for it to be shoved aside for the much more interesting box of tissues or empty water bottles. It’s always disappointing when I buy a toy I think my daughter is going to LOVE, only to be totally wrong.

Buying secondhand toys is much lower risk, because you’re only out a few bucks. If your child doesn’t like the toy, at least you only spent $5 on it versus $25 brand new.

Lots of baby and toddler toys are meant to be very durable to withstand clumsy little hands and developing coordination. As long as the toy looks clean, like it’s not missing any pieces, and still works (if it’s electronic), chances are you’ll still get the same lifetime out of it that you would have if it was purchased brand new.

baby surrounded by toys

5. Variety

Tired of seeing the exact same shirt or dress season after season in a slightly different pattern from Target or Old Navy? You can find so many unique items by thrifting, and avoid dressing your little one in the exact same outfit as three other kids at daycare.

6. You can actually MAKE money

Now this one isn’t quite as ethical as the rest, and it’s not going to save you any money. BUT, if you like to flip things (buy them cheap and sell them for a higher price), this is definitely possible with baby clothes.

When selling my own toddler clothing at consignment sales, I’ve compared the price of what I was offering them for vs. how much they sell for on sites like eBay, ThredUp, and Mercari. Shopping thrift stores and consignment sales are WAY cheaper, let me tell you.

So, if you are so inclined to make some extra pocket money and you’ve got the extra time on your hands, go for it.

7. It can save you time

While thrifting generally takes some extra time, it is possible to thrift shop in a way that saves you time AND money. The key is planning ahead, and finding opportunities to shop in bulk just a few times a year.

For instance, I stock up on clothing at Rhea Lana’s consignment sale events, and secondhand stores that specialize in children’s items, like Once Upon a Child. I usually buy an entire season’s wardrobe at these places when I get the chance, and that way I only have to shop a couple of times a year for clothes.

For more on saving time and money, or on places to thrift shop for baby and toddler items, check out this article.

8. You’re supporting local nonprofits and charities

Most generalized thrift stores help support local nonprofits and charity organizations. So, feel good about your purchases knowing that you’re helping others in need.

9. You’re supporting other moms

two women shopping
Photo by Borko Manigoda:

When you’re shopping secondhand at places like consignment sales, consignment events, garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, etc., you’re directly supporting local moms who are selling those items.

10. You’re supporting local businesses

Shopping at local thrift stores is supporting local businesses, and often local small businesses. The more you shop, the more you’re supporting them and helping them to successfully continue to run their store (which, in turn, helps local families who also save money by thrift shopping).

11. Some items last a LONG time, so it’s a small price for a long-term investment

Outdoor play items, for example. Those plastic playhouses, picnic tables, etc. last FOREVER, which is why they are so expensive. To buy these items brand new can get really pricey. We’re talking hundreds of dollars. You can typically find them selling used for about 1/3-1/2 of the price. So, let someone else buy them at full price and then pay a fraction of that yourself.

For an item that should get lots of play time and will last forever, it’s definitely worth it to hunt. But let me tell you, it is a hunt!! Items like this sell FAST.

children's playhouse in winter

12. You’re recycling

You’re essentially recycling items! You’re cutting out the process in between of chopping up on product and turning it into another, and using the product as is.

13. It’s ethical

You’re contributing to zero waste. Rather than discarding perfectly good items, you’re using them as is and giving them a new life. Remember learning about how indigenous people used all parts of the animal and nothing went to waste? Think of using thrifted items in this regard.

sticky note with recycle on it
Photo by Vlada Karpovich:

14. It’s sustainable

When you thrift, you’re contributing to sustainability. It takes a lot of resources to create new products, and you’re using a product that already exists rather than contributing to the production of something new.

15. You’re keeping clothing & other items out of landfills

When clothes and other baby items are thrown out, they end up in landfills. You’re keeping those perfectly good items out of those landfills!

Photo by Tom Fisk:

16. You’re lowering your carbon footprint

Greenhouse gasses are used in the production of clothing and other baby products. By buying something that already exists, you’re avoiding this process.

17. It reduces energy consumption

Again–lots of energy used in the production of new items.

18. It reduces chemical pollution

Many chemicals are used in the production of synthetic materials, which go into the air, water, and ground.

19. It preserves water

stack of jeans

STAGGERING amounts of water are used in the production of just one cotton t-shirt. While literal billions of people are suffering from water scarcity, it takes 7,000-29,000 liters of water to produce just one kg of cotton. Read more about water consumption and the fashion industry in this article by Florida State University.

20. It’s fun!!!

You never know what you’re going to find. And let’s be honest–shopping and knowing you’re saving a TON of money at the same time is a blast.


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