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5 Ways To Dress Your Kids Without Spending A Penny

Dress your children without spending a dime—you just need to know how to ask!

Dress your children without spending a dime—you just need to know how to ask!

Spending lots of money on baby and kids clothes just doesn’t make sense (or cents). Children's clothes can be expensive, and then they often stain and tear things before they even have the chance to grow out of them! (Here are 20 things you really don't need to buy for a new baby.)
[post_ads]Getting clothes secondhand is an economic and environmentally savvy fix. Secondhand clothing for kids not only pads your wallet, but it also reduces consumption and keeps worn clothing out of landfills. The world now buys about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year, 400% more than we consumed just two decades ago. We’ve also become terrible about discarding, with the average American now generating a whopping 82 pounds of textile waste each year.
(On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale's The Backyard Homestead shows you how; get your copy today.)
Secondhand clothes are especially easy when the kids are young. Once they get into the teenage years, you're going to have to deal with a lot more pickiness, but when they're still in single digits, it's best to save on shopping as much as you can.
From old-fashioned consignment sales, to EBay and ThredUp to a host of newer apps like Poshmark, secondhand clothing is easy to find cheap, so go right ahead and shop if that's your thing. (If you are going to thrift shop instead, here are 8 invaluable things you should always buy at the thrift store.) But did you know you could dress your children without spending a dime? All you have to do is get in the mindset, and then find the right way to ask. Here are 5 ways to do it.
Related: 5 Eco-Friendly Ways To Declutter Your Closet That Will Save You Money And Won't Create Trash
Stake your claim with your family early
Tell your brother, sister, or cousin, with older children to hoard their children's outgrown clothes for you, rather than ditching them. Seriously. Do it now.
This is the most simple and obvious way, but don’t take for granted that they will save them for you. You need to stake a claim early. Life gets busy, and if you don't bring up the conversation, oftentimes clothes will get donated in a row of plastic garbage bags before you can blink, and you'll be stuck buying all the same ones all over again.
Related: The One Item Of Clothing You Should Definitely Be Buying Organic (But Probably Aren't)

Don't be afraid to ask your friends

Don’t be afraid to ask around with other moms. If your child has a playmate with no plans for a younger sibling, hit up the mom to see what she’s doing with outgrown clothes. If she just planned on giving them to Goodwill, maybe they can go through you first. You can stake use a bit of flattery: “Amy, your daughter always looks so fashionable! I hope you will consider saving some of these things for when my daughter is old enough to wear them!”
You can also share that you read an article about textile waste, or are reading my book on raising healthy kids in the age of environmental guilt, or another book or blog, and feeling guilty about all the kids clothes you're going to toss. You may even start a trend, and can get a group of moms to discuss the perils of buying kids' clothes, and how to cut down on the waste together.
Either way, the only way to get results is to start the conversation.
Related: How To Make Your Own Natural Laundry Detergent
Start a group clothing swap

Clothing Swaps are genius for both grown-up and children’s clothes (plus they can help you clear clutter like a pro).
First, check to see if there are any Clothing Swaps coming up in your neighborhood, then think about hosting your own. You could do this with a group or friends or even with a community group (such as your preschool, church, or gym). Here's a handy guide to how to host one.
Related: 20 Everyday Things You Should Never Throw Away And Genius Ways To Reuse Them
The idea is simple: Everyone brings their outgrown clothes, organizes by size, and takes what they need. Consider hosting swaps at the end of seasons when people are cleaning out their closets (spring is a perfect time). You can note a minimum number of items guests should bring, and request only clothes in “wearable” quality (no stains or holes). There are also various ways of creating ticketing systems to keep it fair. 
These events are beneficial because you often end up with some great steals that someone else doesn't want anymore, plus it's a great way to meet people in your neighborhood and create a sense of community and help other parents out, too.

Do the tradeoff

Have an older boy and younger girl? Find a family with just the opposite and arrange to swap clothing seasonally.
I have friends with an older girl and younger boy, and we each leave bags of outgrown clothing for each other in the school cubbies as we are cleaning out closets and drawers. Don’t know a family that fits the bill? Post your request on a local moms’ boards, which you can find on Facebook groups or through other active community groups in your neighborhood. You can also see if there's a moms' board at your neighborhood or school.
Related: 7 Old-School Parenting Tips That Seem Crazy In The Modern Age

Join or start a Buy Nothing group
Local Buy Nothing Groups are a Facebook-centered treasure trove for free used children’s clothing (and grown-up clothes too). Visit the website of the Buy Nothing Project to find a local group near you, or see about starting your own. Another similar group is the Really, Really, Free Market, which can be a great place to start if you can get other parents involved and bringing clothes, too.


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Lifestyle Magazine: 5 Ways To Dress Your Kids Without Spending A Penny
5 Ways To Dress Your Kids Without Spending A Penny
Dress your children without spending a dime—you just need to know how to ask!
Lifestyle Magazine
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