How to buy second hand clothing for your whole family

How to buy second hand clothing for your whole family

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by OxiClean through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about OxiClean Stain, all opinions are my own.

Most people are surprised that our family gets more than 90% of our clothing from garage sales or thrift shops. I've always been a thrifty shopper and that hasn't changed with age.  In fact, our lifestyle is dependent on it!  But just because I buy someone else's cast off's, doesn't mean that I have to look like I'm wearing used clothing.  

I've been buying used for our family since before my oldest was born. I have a whole slew of tips and tricks for you to help you take baby steps into saving money on your whole family’s wardrobe.

Most of the clothing I buy costs less than $1 per item. That's a huge savings over retail prices. Even discount stores retail prices! I'm usually buying impulsively at a garage sale {check out these tips if you are a garage sale first timer.  It's o.k. to be impulsive!}, so I don't always have time to look over an item to make sure that it's completely free of stains or defects. Sometimes I even take a risk on a stained item in hopes that I can get the stain out, especially if it’s a high quality brand.  

I'm usually garage sale shopping on my own most weekends without any of my opinionated children {two of whom are teenagers!} so before garage sale season starts, I head out with the kids to the mall.  I never have any intention of buying them clothing from a retail store {gasp!} but we go for research.  My oldest son has gotten into what we like to call "fancy pants".  The general public calls them designer jeans.  Not all designer jeans are created equal and some just don't fit every body type or shape.  I know I have a favorite pair of jeans, so this past year, my son and I went on a hunt to find his favorite pair of jeans too.  

With the knowledge of his favorite brand and his measurements, I can now buy, changing room free, with ease.  I also take note of the items that my kids tend to gravitate towards in a retail store. Shocking as it is, what I like and gravitate towards, isn't always what they like and gravitate towards. They also have taste that changes over time, so it's always nice to check in and see what your kids are still into. 

Here are some tips I use when I buy second hand clothing.

1. Give the item a quick once over checking for any obvious stains or holes.  Make sure you pay close attention to the crotch of pants, the underarm and sleeves of shirts and any seams that your clothing article might have.

2. Try any zippers and make sure the item has all of its buttons.  If a button or two is missing, check the inside seam of the shirt, you can usually find an extra button there.

3. Rely on your research. Different brands sizes fit differently.  I can buy a larger size in some brands and a smaller size in others. Know what sizes your family needs.  My younger two kids are still growing.  My oldest son...not so much.  It's o.k. to pick up a bigger size for the kids that are growing because, well, they are still growing.  A bigger size for a non growing human will probably not fit.

4. Buy in bulk and negotiate. Bundling and saving isn't just for your cable bill!  You can buy in bulk and usually negotiate a better price at a garage sale.  If you aren't quite sure of an item, but you are buying 8 more items, throw it in there and see if you can negotiate a better price for the whole lot.
5. Know your brands. Higher quality brands usually hold up better over time.  Know what labels come from what store so that you can gravitate towards the labels that are higher quality. 

Once I come home, I sort the clothing. Most garage sales are held outside in the sunshine which makes seeing some stains fairly difficult.  Once I get home, I usually see defects that I didn't see before.  Don't sweat it!  I have a few tips to help you get out stains and freshen up used clothing that you do bring home so that no one has to know that you are wearing used clothing!

If you find stains in your clothing, I fill up my laundry tub and add a scoop of OxiClean Stain.  I pre-soak my clothing for about 6 hours.  OxiClean Stain is the premier solution for removing all types of tough stains, many of which, you won't have any idea what they are, since you aren't the original stain maker.

After your clothing items have had time to soak, you can add them with your other items into your washing machine. I add a scoop of OxiClean to the drum of my front loading washing machine {if you have a top loader follow the package directions}, add my laundry detergent as usual and let OxiClean do the rest.  While OxiClean Stain works on the stains, OxiClean in your washing machine helps revive your clothing items making them look brand new!

OxiClean has lots of other cleaning uses for other products that you may find while you are out garage saleing.  It's a must have product not only in your laundry room, but in your cleaning cabinet.

Don't be afraid to pick up used clothing. Clothing a family of five is expensive, but I'm able to do it on the cheap while still picking up quality brands that last.  You can do it too!

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