How about garage sales?
If not, why not? No, really. WHY NOT?
Do you even know what you're missing?
I love, love, love shopping second hand, and have worked out a system that allows my family to have and wear almost exclusively pre-loved belongings.
Can I give you some examples of some of my most favorite recent treasures? Just so you know that there are seriously awesome things sitting patiently on shelves waiting to be discovered? Perfect.
My preschooler interacted with a pretend cash register at a friend's house last spring and loved it. We searched for one for months. Finally we found this gem at St Vincent de Paul. It totally works and is in great shape. Cost: $1.99, and it was 25% off. Score!
1. Shopping second hand lets you save money so that you can retire early. Like when you're 42. Okay, maybe not. But it really does save so much money! I buy my kiddos clothing year round, and am always stockpiling the next size up. For example, my preschooler is just growing out of his 3T stuff. For over a year now, I've been buying 4T stuff at garage sales and thrift stores. That way, when we're ready to put away his 3T stuff, all I have to do is pull out the tub of bigger clothes, and he's ready to rock and roll. I picked up his 4T winter jacket this summer at a garage sale for $4. That is WAY more helpful to my budget than going out to the store when the weather cools down and paying $50 for a new coat. I bought a pair of Keens last week from SVDP that were $5 and three sizes too big. But guess what? He'll grow into them! And I don't even want to think about how much brand new Keens cost. Planning ahead truly saves so much time and money.
2. Second hand shopping helps you save the planet. This one is for reals. Every time you buy something new, you're purchasing something that required resources to manufacture. Unless that item is a sweater that someone knit out of yarn that they got from their own sheep or something like that. If so, more power to you. But buying used means that new resources aren't being used. Thus, you single handedly save the planet. Gold star for you! Also, many thrift stores are locally owned businesses that support the local community and economy. I'd way rather support them than a big corporation.
3. Second hand shopping gives you many chances to teach your kiddos valuable life lessons, so that they will turn into smart, responsible, kind, and exemplary citizens. Stay with me here. Visiting thrift stores and garage sales can present great learning opportunities:
- Thrift stores often have narrow aisles. Teach your kids to say "excuse me" and wait their turn for getting to where they want to go.
- If you go during the day, thrift stores are often pretty empty. This is a great chance to teach your kiddo how to stay close to you while you're out in public. Show them the limit for where they can be and then enforce it.
- Most times we shop, we don't take anything home unless it's something to wear, a gift, or an educational or multipurpose toy. I have gotten really good at hiding things I want to buy for him as gifts while we shop. #sneakymomshopper :) Before we go into the store, I remind my preschooler that we probably won't buy any toys. I remind him Every. Single. Time. And you know what? He hardly ever asks for anything. Because he knows I'll say no. I want him to get used to hearing "no", because the world is going to hand him a whole lot of "no", so I need to teach him to respond to it in a positive and productive manner. Does that make me sound like a horrible mother? Probably. But I'm okay with it. I'm okay with it because sometimes, every once in a while, we find a super great toy treasure, and I get to suggest that we take it home with us, and his face lights up like I fed him Captain Crunch and let him watch TV all day. Just so I don't sound totally cold hearted, I should tell you that my preschooler gets to pick out a book every time we shop. Books are 50 cents each at SVDP, and I figure there's no way to go wrong with that.
- Kids respond well to routine. Make a plan with your kiddos about where in the store you will shop first, and second, and third, and so on. We have a set circuit that we walk around our favorite stores, so that way my kiddo knows when we get to hit the toy aisle. I never have to listen to pleas of "can we go to the toys YET??"
- Second hand shopping is an ideal way to teach your child how to make choices about what they buy. This is called financial literacy. If your kiddo gets an allowance, or has money they've earned or been given, taking them to a thrift store and letting them choose how to spend it is so valuable.
- I like to think that my kiddos will watch, learn, and inherit my values of frugality and conservation through second hand shopping. Maybe they'll just pick up my love of bad artwork featuring horses (Why do I love it? WHY??) Maybe they'll get both. One can only hope.
- Last, but not least, shopping second hand means that we are always on the lookout for things we can buy for a great deal and then donate. The Eugene 20/30 Club does a coat drive every December. The Egan Warming Center and the Eugene Mission are both always collecting things like socks, sleeping bags, backpacks, etc. I involve my kiddo in picking out things to give away, which leads to lots of conversation about people who need a bit of help, and how great it is to be able to bless others tangibly. It takes a little bit of storage space, but (for example) if you can pick up some brand new binders and store them until the school supply drive rolls around in September, it is awesome to be able to contribute towards meeting our community's needs.
Well? Some of you may have quit reading halfway through this post and flown to the nearest thrift store, but if you're still with me, here's what's coming up in the next two weeks of Happy Adventuring! posts:
- Next week I will share what I look for.
- The week after that, I will talk about how exactly I find it.
In case you need a little convincing, keep in mind that I own a Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag, an organic Ergo, and a wooden balance bike, all purchased second hand, for a grand total of $13. Isn't that wild??!! I am not even kidding you.
Do you have awesome second hand shopping tips? How about killer finds? Please share!
Eugene/Springfield area thrift shops (click name for exact address, multiple locations & directions):
SVDP - multiple locations
Goodwill - multiple locations
Teen Challenge Thrift Store - 555 River Rd
Value Village - 555 W Centennial Blvd, Springfield
Hosea Youth Services Thrift Store - Sixth and Adams St
There are many more vintage and resale shops in town, as well as other thrift stores that I didn't even list. This is just a list to get you started. Did I leave off your favorite? Please let me know!
Parking: Easy peasy lemon squeezy
Food: Umm sure you can bring snacks but please wash your hands first!
Resting/nursing spots: Comfy couches galore of all shapes and sizes
Cost: Lots or little - you decide
Time Frame: If you're like me? Either however long your husband can stay alone with the kiddos, or until your family's patience runs out at the store if they're with you. Whichever's longer. :) (but seriously, second hand shopping takes more time than buying new retail. You have to be patient, and it doesn't often work to go in looking for sometime specific. But when you find something fabulous - hold on to your hats! It's brilliant!)