Kids · Thrifty Tips · Uncategorized

Not all Thift Stores are Created Equal!

Buying clothes for the ever growing child can break anyone’s budget. But it doesn’t have to. You and your kiddos can look fabulous while still shopping frugal. That’s the swamp yankee style! I love consignment shops! But I have learned that not all consignment or thrift shops are created equal.  As a busy working mom with a farm, my time is precious. I don’t have all day to wade through junky clothes to find the one nice pair of shorts on the rack.  I use to have a consignment shop in Colchester, CT that was awesome! But it has recently gone out of business. Twice is Nice in Mystic, CT has nice clothes but I find it to be a bit pricey and lacking a good selection in boys clothes. So now here the weather is getting warmer and both my kids have gone through huge growth spurts, which means all new summer wardrobes for both of them. It was time to investigate new thrift store shopping venues.

Over April break my husband and I helped my mother in law clean out her house. Since we had to drop off some of her stuff at the good will in Groton, CT. We decided to start looking there.

Bad Idea!!

We were in the store for less than 10 minutes and I left feeling overwhelmed and very sad for the people who shop there because they have nowhere else to go. It was like an episode of hoarders.  Most of the stuff was ancient and broken. Things were just thrown on shelves with little to no organization. The clothes and shoes were not sorted by size, only by color. So you would have to spend hours looking through each rack to find something in your size and Most things were ripped or stained.

Back to the drawing board!

In true Swamp Yankee stubbornness, I was determined to find a good second hand shopping option. I remembered Mike’s uncle. He runs a trash collection business in a wealthy area. He is always amazed at the really nice, even new things that well off people just throw away. Now this sense of wastefulness goes against every Swamp Yankee bone in my body. But why not make use of other’s opposing viewpoints. I wondered, would a Good Will in a wealthy town have better offerings? Time to find out…

On Sunday morning we packed the kids in the car and drove 45 minutes north to Glastonbury, CT goodwill store. At first I was skeptical, the store was under construction and only a small section of the spacious building was open for shopping. But as soon as we entered, I knew it was going to be way better than the Groton goodwill. It looked like a small TJ Maxx. Neat, orderly, no broken stuff. They even had manikins showing off some of the nicer items and a locked case with coach bags and Michaela Jordan shoes in it. The clothes were hung orderly on racks by gender and size making it easy to shop.

We ended up leaving with $40 in clothes…. Two pair of men’s shorts, one pair of women’s pants, two pairs of boys shorts, one pair of girls shorts and three girls shirts (from Justice)  .. oh and a purse and 5 coffee mugs and a Star Wars water bottle for Sean. A lot of the items still had the tags on them.


So if a good will in wealthy area had great finds we figured we would try a children’s consignment shop nearby as well. So we drove 15 minutes to Once upon a child in Manchester, CT. OH my God!!! It is like the Toys R us of consignment shops!! Wall to wall racks of floor to ceiling name brand mint condition kids clothes. Average price around $5.00 per item. Plus, they had a lot of clearance items….


We showed the kids were their sizes were and let them goto town picking out their summer wardrobes. They had a blast trying on clothes and putting together outfits. We walked out with $80 worth of clothes….5 pairs of boys shorts, 3 boys shirts, two girls shorts, a justice bathing suit (NWT), a beautiful sundress, two girls tops, a pair of under amour sandals and a brand new pair of converse sneakers!!!

My kids look fabulous and I saved a ton of money!!!!

Moral to this is…. Not all thrift stores are created equal… It’s worth the drive to a wealthier area to get better second hand stuff.

Happy Shopping!

6 thoughts on “Not all Thift Stores are Created Equal!

  1. Hi, Glad you liked my blog posting. I like this one of yours because I too do a lot of my shopping quite economically. We are blessed with an abundance of great thrift stores near London, Ontario and I enjoy finding great things there while still saving money. It too is quite a wealthy area and people seem to buy way too much and then send it off to get rid of it all.


  2. We always took the kids to thrift stores for clothes shopping. My youngest daughter got all the hand-me-downs from her two older sisters for most of her life as well. We have our “go to” thrift store and we end up walking out with garbage bag sized bags full of nice clothes!


  3. I’ve found that another “seasonal” thrift shop hotspot for adult clothes and household items is near a college campus right around the end of a school term. I’ve been amazed what stuff ends up getting dropped off by students heading home for the summer.


  4. Here in the UK we have a huge charity shop “thing” and lots of people use them. We will often go into them rather than into high street shops because you can find some amazing items in there that you normally would find nowhere else.

    I’m also terrible at clothes shopping, I tend to wear clothes till they rot off me. *shrug* B-)


      1. Oh god… You should ask my wife about my clothes! Thankfully I do have a set of clothes for ‘best’ or the wife would disown me. B-)

        I do have a habit of just wandering outside with a cup of tea to ‘Go sit in the garden’ and then come in 2 hours later looking like I had gone for a mud bath and forgot to strip down first! B-)


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