Baby and toddler clothes are so adorable…and so expensive. I was at a store the other day shopping for a baby shower and saw bibs priced at $6.99 and little gowns (that had less material than a wash cloth) starting at $9.99!! I thought, “who can afford to dress their baby with these prices??”
If you’re fortunate enough to have friends or family with older children, who have actually held on to their baby clothes, you’ll probably get some great hand-me-downs and be happy to receive them. And chances are, those clothes will be in excellent condition because babies and toddlers grow so fast, they’re not in any one size for very long. So off to Goodwill I went to check out what they had to offer and what an abundance of brands, sizes, and choices I found…all in great condition, some actually still had the original tags on them and they were dirt cheap!
Here’s just a few of the brands I found at Goodwill – OshKosh, Carter’s, Garanimals, Gap Baby, Disney, Gerber, Koala Baby, and Babies “R” Us….all at prices at least 50% off and up to 90% off the original prices. And at those prices, not only can you afford to clothe your child, but you can also have a larger selection of clothes and perhaps do laundry less often. And then, when your child outgrows an outfit, donate it and pass on the savings to another parent.
Besides the obvious rips and stains to look out for, here’s a few more tips on what to check for when buying used (or new) clothing for your infant or toddler.
- Tight elastic – Check the elastic bands at the arms, legs, neck or waist which can irritate sensitive skin and cut off the circulation. Tug on each area and see how much pull it has.
- Seams and scratchiness – Seams, zippers, snaps and decorative appliques can have rough or uneven backings, which can scratch. Turn the outfit inside out and run your hands along the seams or on the back of the snaps or zippers to check that they’re even and lie smooth and/or don’t have rough edges.
- Choking hazards – Snaps, buttons and sequins can pose possible choking hazards if loose. Give them a quick tug to make sure they are on nice and tight. You should do this after each washing too, even with new clothing.
- Fabric – All cotton knits can shrink 10% after the first washing so don’t always buy just based on the tag size. Polyester/cotton blends are usually less expensive and don’t wrinkle (a must for me because I don’t like to iron!). Really thin fabrics are going to be the least durable so don’t expect a lot of wear.
As with new clothing, you’ll want to ALWAYS wash items before putting them on your child.