August 20, 2013

Goodwill – Kids apparel 25% off! Cute, brand name clothes for back-to-school


If you have back-to-school clothes on your list to buy, don’t forget to check out thrift stores! Right now Goodwill has 25% off kids apparel (at least the Tacoma Goodwill branch does). I stopped in today and I was able to get nine (9) clothing items – both dresses and tops for $22.67. That’s an average of $2.52 each.

I picked up items that looked brand new (no stains or fraying) and many of the items were brand name – Gymboree, Gap, H&M etc.

Now granted I did have to look through the racks and weed out a lot of stuff that wasn’t going to work – but I would probably be doing the same sorting if I was looking through a clearance rack at a retail store.

Here are some of my tips for thrift shopping:

  • Have a list of what you’re looking for. Thrift shops can be overwhelming – but have a plan, for example looking for girls jeans or pants, and you’ll find yourself much less overwhelmed and your success rate goes up.
  • Make sure to look on multiple racks, even if it’s not the size you’re looking for. I often find the treasures accidentally placed in the wrong size grouping.
  • Look a size up. Different brands fit differently. Look a size or two larger and you can either buy ahead of find an item that will fit, even though the size is larger.
  • Look closely for stains, snags, frays. Take the time to look over the clothing. Hold it up to the light. Do you see grease or food stains? Fraying? Missing Buttons, Tears?
  • Pay attention to the tag color on sale. Often thrift stores will discount a particular tag color.
  • Watch for coupons and sale days. Many thrift stores have a sales calendar available (I know Goodwill does), which tells you what tags are on sale when. Military and seniors can often save an additional percent. My local Tacoma Goodwill branch has a Facebook Friday coupon (every Friday) for 25% off a $20 purchase.
  • Try it on to be certain. If you can, try on clothing at the store – they usually have dressing rooms! Check a store’s return policy.
  • Go often. There are many times I stop into a thrift shop and walk out empty handed. It’s a treasure hunt that is sometimes fruitful and sometimes not. Be patient and you’ll find the deals!

See what deals I found today. . . .


This is a Carter’s Polka Dot dress, with a sewn in slip. It’s super nice and I’m very excited about it! It’s a size too big for my daughter, but I bought it and she can grow into it.


Boys H&M Striped Long Sleeve – $2.24. Wish this came in my size, it’s the softest t-shirt ever.


Brand spankin’ new Gymboree thermal long sleeve boy’s shirt  $2.99


I usually hate character tees. But for some reason I bought this one. It’s from the Disney Store, looked brand new (I don’t even think it’s been washed yet), and I knew my daughter would love it. Plus she needs a few more long sleeves for this fall.


GAP plaid dress, $2.99


Circo dress, $2.99. I rarely will buy Circo brand used, because it’s the Target brand and you can usually find it on clearance for a similar price. But this dress is made with a sweatshirt material and looked so cozy for winter that I couldn’t pass it up. This dress wouldn’t be on sale this time of year (and it’s dated, so I bet they don’t even carry it anymore), so I decided to go for it.


Gymboree plaid top, $2.24. This is a size larger for my daughter, but it has a very fitted top, so I think it will fit her. This is what I meant about looking at sizes up from what you usually buy.


Gymboree Ladybug dress $2.24


Children’s Place dress, navy, $2.24.

I think I did pretty good! My kids certainly don’t care whether the clothes they wear to school are new or not. And for the most part the items I bought look brand new anyway, but are much, much less expensive.

Please know that Goodwill inventory and sales varies by location. It is highly unlikely that you will find these same deals at your local Goodwill. It is HIGHLY likely that you’ll find some sort of treasure!

So what do you think – do you shop thrift shops for your kids back-to-school clothes? Do you have any tips for shopping secondhand?


    Leave your comments here...


  1. It does not give me the screen to print! 🙁

  2. I pretty much buy all of my clothes and all of my daughter’s clothes at the local thrift stores. For me, it’s not only about saving money but also about the thrill of the hunt! (Your captions on your pictures sound just like mine – I was utterly charmed by your post!!!) Where I live, I find really great deals at smaller, more out-of-the-way thrift stores – some of the larger “chain” stores seem to have upped their prices dramatically. Still, I poke in everywhere – for this school year, I’ve gotten my kid everything from Hanna to Janie and Jack to Old Navy. Fantastic! Loved your post!

  3. I usually shop our local kids consignment sales, and a friend had such a good tip for me. Since you’re not allowed to shop with kids usually at those, trace an outline of your child’s foot on a piece of paper and cut it out before shopping, so you have a decent idea of which shoes will fit.

    Love the polka dot dress!

  4. I purchased the same Gymboree plaid top at a thrift store for my daughter! I’ve purchased new with tag items at Goodwill and other thrift stores. I love the thrill of the hunt!

  5. My daughter had the Circo dress and wore it until it was barely a tunic. She loved how cozy and warm it was and it’s pretty versatile with some leggings!

  6. Love shopping at thrift stores and yard sales! I just went to a yard sale this past Saturday and got myself 4 namebrand shirts, like-new, for $2.50. You never know what you will find!

  7. Great post! I’m picky with brands as well and scan the items to make sure they are in good shape before purchasing. People watching me probably think I’m crazy. Do you ever go to consignment sales? I tend to have really good luck with them (even more than consignment stores), and can usually find great prices!

  8. I shop thrift stores all the time. My local Salvation Army has a different color tag 50% off each week on its 5/$5.00 on Friday.

  9. Consignment sales are another good place to find bargains. In my area there are huge sales a few times a year with name brands and good prices. It’s the same sort of deal though where you have to check condition. Most of the sales even have times when everything is discounted so I’ve gotten some great deals that way.

  10. Great finds! Our Goodwill is not great but we have others that have great finds. My daughter has been looking for sleeper for her one yr old with no success. This kid has not had any new clothes since he was born and always is dressed great! He may just have to have some new for real sleepers!

  11. Our goodwill/thrift stores mainly carry over priced junk, seriously. You found some awesome deals.

  12. The last few times I have gone I’ve taken something to donate. When I do they usually give me a 30% off one item coupon to use. That’s something to keep in mind for some extra savings.

  13. I love goodwill hunting! I go often and try to only get things that are the colored half off tags. Sometimes you have to pass up items, but unless something REALLY screams to me, I will wait. I also go during the BIG 50% off days, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. Most of my clothes are Goodwill, because Im so hard on my clothes Im not willing to buy expensive things. The dress I am wearing now just so happens to be Calvin Klein that I got for around $4 on a half off day in May! Dresses are the best finds IMO because people donate brand new or almost new dresses they have never worn! I just wish I would be able to find more stuff for my bigger guys.

  14. Great finds!! I have been shopping at Goodwill for the last several years, i have noticed the prices have been going up, but i still find good deals not just as much.

  15. I love Goodwill. $1.29 Mondays are the best. I buy my daughter’s clothes there. Then I wash and hang them in her closet. It’s a fun game. Surprise! There’s new clothes in your closet! I also buy my clothes there and have found some steals, Banana Republic, Gap, Eddie Bauer, North Face, even two authentic Coach purses (I researched how to verify authenticity).

  16. Where is the new Tacoma Goodwill store?

    • It’s off of Hosmer and 72nd. There used to be a Value Village there but they close and Goodwill moved in.

  17. I really like that polka dot dress! We’ve been fortunate to get hand-me-downs through 2T for my 9 month old but I will definitely be hitting Goodwill once the hand-me-downs have been outgrown. I think it’s better than buying on eBay because you can actually look for stains and tears.

  18. Love the new Tacoma Goodwill. I have a group of mommy friends and I that go there once a month to get a little time out, do some thrifty shopping and find some good deals. We actually are going this week for some school shopping. 🙂

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