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Things to Do with Your Children’s Outgrown Clothes to Make or Save Money

Updated on April 9, 2015
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The following are helpful tips on how to make or save money with your children's outgrown clothes.

  • Save them for the future. Children outgrow their clothes at rapid speeds. If you plan on having more children, saving your children’s clothes in plastic bins with lids can save you a lot of money in the long run. Even if you don’t plan on having more children, you may run into family members or friends who can benefit from your hand-me-downs. If you don’t plan on using clear bins, grab a marker and label the bins using address labels or masking tape for easy storage and finding.

(The rest of the list is for those who don’t want to or have no room to store their children’s outgrown clothes at their home.)

  • Sell them at your next yard sale. If you decide to sell your children’s clothes at your next yard sale, make sure you organize them by size, season, gender, any other category that makes sense for you as the seller but also for your potential buyer. Piles of clothes are unattractive and are prone to damage by your visitors, so try to keep them hung on a clothes rack of some sort if possible. If the weather or your town doesn’t permit you to hold a yard sale, try looking for online yard sales in your neighborhood. These are increasingly becoming more popular. Try searching on social media sites such as Facebook for the nearest online yard sale. Most of these sites are managed by local individuals and they may want to approve you as a user prior to creating any listings or posts.
  • Sell them online. Sites such as eBay and Craigslist are good for selling pre-owned clothing (and other household goods for that matter). Clothes and brands that are trending now or in season tend to sell very well on eBay (think skinny jeans, name-brand athletic shoes, swimsuits). After making sure that your child’s clothes are in good condition and that they have been freshly laundered or dry cleaned, be sure to take great photographs of your clothes before you list them. Craiglist is especially good for selling items that are difficult or expensive to ship. Once you have met a buyer who is interested in paying your asking price, meet them at a safe place for the exchange. I always pick a busy public place (think coffee shops or shopping malls) or areas where there are lots of cameras (think banks or ATMs). After all, safety should always come first!
  • Sell them at secondhand clothing stores. If you want or need instant cash, this is a good alternative to selling online. Stores like Once Upon a Child give you cash at the time of turning in your pre-owned clothes. You may not make as much as you would selling your clothes online, for instance, but you will get cash on the spot. Typically stores like this sell clothes for at least half the retail price and offer you about a third of that half-price markdown. For example, a pair of boys jeans that sells for $30 at the mall might go for $15 at Once Upon a Child (may go for less depending on the condition and brand of the jeans). That means you might receive approximately $5 (at best) for the pair of jeans.
  • Sell them at consignment shops. If you don’t have the time to sell your children’s clothes online or don’t want to bother with listing, selling, and shipping them on these popular sites, then you might want to consider selling your clothes to children’s consignment shops. These stores typically don’t give you cash on the spot but will give you 40% of the selling price once the item does sell. Make sure you understand all the conditions of the consignment agreement prior to signing the contract. Oftentimes, the consignment shops have the sole right to pricing the clothing at their discretion, and they may get rid of the ones (again at their discretion) that don’t sell in a given period of time. With most of these options, newer the item (best being new with tags or NWT for short) the better your payout will be. If you can’t find a consignment shop near you, try selling them through thredUP! It’s an online consignment site that’s easy to use. You simply request a bag that they send to you at no cost, you fill it with your clothes and send it to them, and they pay you for what they can sell on their site. You can also guesstimate your payout using their calculator prior to shipping your items. The clothes they can’t sell either get returned to you (you pay for the shipping this time) or get donated to charity.
  • Upcycle. Upcycling has become quite popular in many arenas of life. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means to take an existing item and giving it a new purpose by altering it in some way). Why not upcycle your children’s clothes too? Turn your child’s outgrown pants into shorts by cutting a few inches off the bottom of the pants and hemming them at the appropriate length. If you don’t know how to sew, turn them into cutoff shorts with your pair of scissors you keep handy in your junk drawer. This is a great idea for outgrown pants that have holes from crawling or lots of wear and tear at the bottom from walking and running. For other outgrown clothes that may have stains, tears, or holes and may not be suitable for selling or donating, cut swatches of the best parts of the clothing and turn them into a quilt. Not only will you have a memento of your children’s favorite clothes, you will have one less blanket or security toy to buy for your little one. Lots of upcycling ideas can be found on sites such as Pinterest.
  • Donate them to the charity of your choice. There are many charities that accept pre-owned children’s clothing. The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation are just a few places to start. If you would like to donate in your neighborhood, try local churches, community outreach centers, homeless shelters, and clothing drives sponsored by schools and other organizations. Many of these organizations will provide you with a receipt for your donation that you can later use to claim a tax deduction.
  • Reuse them. When your children’s clothes are not suitable for any of the above options, use them as smocks for craft time or for outdoor activities such as gardening. If they have really outgrown their clothes and cannot fit into them in any way, cut them into smaller pieces to use as cleaning rags. Especially when your children are young, you can never have enough playtime clothes or rags to clean up their messes. These old clothes may not be as cute as aprons or other accessories you may purchase at retail prices of $15 or more, but they may put more money in your pocket for fun things to do with your children like going to the movies or treating yourselves to an ice cream sundae!

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