As a parent I am still staggered about how fast kids grow. It seems that overnight nothing fits and the school uniform looks like they are expecting the floods. I try to shop ahead and predict the growth spurt to manage the shoe size, trouser length windows! Whenever my kids grow out of stuff, we hand them onto family and friends, and we have endless hand-me-downs from cousins. But more and more I am finding that shopping second-hand as the only way to keep up with the growing.
When is best to rummage?
When you are in the season it is often hard to find a bargain second-hand so at the end of a season I head online to try and buy good pre-loved items for next year. In a few months I will be hunting for coats and wellies. In October I was buying swim ware and shorts.
What can we do to help?
There are a lot of amazing online marketplaces for children’s clothing and accessories. During the pandemic these have proved very popular. With GoRumage you can search many second-hand marketplaces in one go to help save time and money when the kids are sprouting. We are connected to thirteen sites that can help you find not only clothes and toys but electronics and tech as well. This Christmas we used the service to find a reconditioned iPad which saved us a huge amount as frankly it was as good as new.
Less is more
Trying to live a low-waste life inevitably means buying less but also handing on, re-using and mending items. Buying second-hand helps too. Some of the traps when buying pre-loved items are you buy more than if you were buying something brand new. But buying just what you need often means you can buy better quality – even second-hand. Purchasing only what you need ensures that there will always be enough clothing to choose from for everyone. It also prevents hoarding of resources that someone else could be making use of.
Even kids’ outfits can adopt the capsule wardrobe mentality. Using a smaller number of pieces that are selected specifically to work together interchangeably. This approach isn’t for everyone, but it can help to simplify shopping further!
Before you start
Make sure you know exactly what you need for a more mindful shopping experience. If you know roughly how many outfits in total you need, and how much of each individual item, it can help prevent that over-buying and over-spending. This will help ensure that you end up with what you actually need and no more. Knowing how much to buy could depend on:
How often do you do your child’s washing?
What time of year is it and does the uniform get grubby every day?
How many outfits does your child need in a week over the uniform?
What sports kit do they use and how often?
What style of clothing are you looking for, do the kids really like?
Often, when shopping for second-hand we drawn to pieces that are in ‘good as new’ condition. However, items with stains, rips or other imperfections can be dealt with and therefore can save you a tidy packet if something needs a little work. You can patch and dye and really go for it creatively to see what you do to make the item unique – but probably not on a school uniform!
Right now I’m hunting for waterproofs, for a 12-year-old, all the time. They are always getting ripped – so pre-loved ones are on rotation in our house. Here’s what I found on Rumage so far https://app.rumage.com/?term=waterproofs+12+years
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