A year ago, I figured I could buy all my kids clothes and shoes (minus socks and underwear) from a local used kids’ clothing store called the Lilly Bean.
I’ve been doing pretty well. This store is still my first stop. I even shopped here for some maternity digs. But while the selection is pretty good, it can have gaps if you’re looking for specific items. This is something I’m doing more of. I’ve begun adopting a minimalist wardrobe for my boys which has also narrowed down what I’m looking for in their clothes. You also have to get there first. When the snow comes, you have to already have bought the used snow gear, for example.
This has led to filling the gaps with Walmart. Now, I don’t like Walmart for loads of reasons, but my Zero Waste complaint is that most the clothing there is new and cheaply made, while you can occasionally find a gem that will hold up over time, typically the cloth will pill, the seems will fall apart in the wash and the clothing will look old after a week or two.
What’s a zero waste mama (or papa) to do? The next nearest used clothing store (Salvation Army) is an hour a way, one way. Conveniently, it is also the city where I can buy bulk. So, the obvious resolution is to make this my next stop if the item needed can wait for the next bulk trip.
There is also the newish possibility of shopping online for used clothing, but I feel this tends to be a more expensive and shipping can be wasteful in terms of packaging and transport. Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home, does mention shopping through ebay and clicking the pre-owned/used selection when searching. A preliminary search seems to indicate a range in price, you can still save money here.
To test this possibility out, I’m buying some necessary clothes for the baby-to-be. We’ve narrowed it down to needing 7-10 onesies and 7-10 play suits, and a warm winter suit at the minimum. (We’re skipping out on newborn clothes and going straight to 0-3 months size.) Even though we don’t know the gender, I tend to go with gender neutral to boyish clothes as I find these more universal and appealing.
I’m sure we might be gifted with some hand-me-downs to play with, and we’ve already been given a couple hats, mittens, and socks.
My first stop will be the Lilly Bean, local used clothing store. My second preference will be the Salvation Army during bulk trips. Then, I will make use of ebay. My last resort will be purchasing new.
How about you? How do you keep your kids clothed in a simple and zero waste fashion?
Until next time, keep that talk walking!