Tips to Buy Kids’ Clothing for Less Money

kids clothing

More beautiful springtime weather today, so I braved the nostalgia and cleaned out Lane’s closet. I put away winter clothes, sorted out a few to donate, and rearranged things a bit to make room in her closet. There were new spring clothes to hang up.

Doug and I bought these clothes for Lane last weekend. (I have to take Doug with me to go shopping because he is great at picking out clothes.) We went to Once Upon a Child which is a second-hand store for children’s clothes. We go once in the Spring and once in the Fall, and each time we spend less than $40 and come home with a wardrobe of clothes for Lane for that season.

I guess we don’t have to buy used kids’ clothing, but the items we find are almost new and in our preferred brands, and they are such a value that it just makes sense. So for our $40, this time we bought 3 dresses, 2 tops, and 3 pairs of shorts. We stopped by Old Navy on the way home and bought 4 knit play shirts for another $10.

The reasons I like that particular second-hand store is that they check the clothes to make sure they are in extremely good condition. They sell clothes for the current season, so you can buy exactly what you need and you don’t have to guess what size your child will be six months from now. Prices for like-new shorts or shirts are about $3, sweaters or jeans are usually $5, a dress might be $6, and a coat is about $8.

Tips when shopping for used clothing:

  1. Don’t buy more than you need just because it’s cheap.
  2. Check collars, cuffs, and knees for signs of wear – that’s where it shows up first.
  3. The cost difference between discount and boutique brands is only a dollar or two, so look for brands that will give you reinforced seams, lining, secure buttons, and higher quality fabric.
  4. T-shirts, pajamas, and other knits that get worn a lot are better purchased new since the prices for those aren’t much lower than a sale at Old Navy.

I also went through Lane’s storage baskets of stuff. She has toys, but she likes our stuff better, especially if it comes in a smaller version. She has a collection of travel sized bottles and toothpaste tubes that she has claimed as her own. Today I secretly put them back in the bathroom. I don’t know how long it will be before she notices.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Good for you guys on the buying gently used! LOVE Once Upon A Child. Looks like you got some gorgeous things. I always get a little teary when it’s time to put away the “too small” size . . .