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Guest Post // Frecklewonder’s Thrifting with Kiddos

hello frendos! so i have another fantastic guest post for you from my girl Jenny. now, you know we love the vintage, recycled and thrifted here at Modern Kiddo. we get a lot of emails from people asking us for thrifting tips and so i was super thrilled when jenny offered to share some of her amazing tips and tricks. jenny visited me 6 years ago and we got to go thrifting together which was SO much fun! i consider myself a thrifting pro—but miss jenny is for sure a master! i just know you’re going to love this post. take it away lady freckle!

hiya there MODERN KIDDO readers! it’s me, jenny again! just in case you missed my vintage book guest post, I run a fun blog + shop called frecklewonder and a brand new shop for the little set called kidwonder!

I looove thrifting. as a mama of two, the “How Do You Do It?” question comes up enough that i thought it might be fun to share my own tips on Thrifting With Kids. and it just hit me, as i was thinking about all this that i’ve got a solid 9 years of this under my belt now. which is just kind of, wow. that’s A LOT of trips in the thrifts with the kids. hundreds. (thousands? oh my.) on average, i hit ‘em 4 times a week. 2 or 3 mornings will cover most of my closest shops, and then i usually treat myself to one trip in the evening, BY MYSELF. and FYI, i *never* go on the weekends. way to0 busy for my comfort level. anyhow, here’s what works for us:

1. REST. number 1 most important rule of all: make sure your kiddo is WELL RESTED. i never, EVER hit the thrift with a sleepy kid. it won’t work. you will be frustrated, your kid will be having a meltdown and people will be giving you the stink eye. you will leave with nothing but frazzled nerves, and let’s face it- that’s not what you left the house for. time your thrift runs for when your kiddo is alert and in a good mood. cause honey, thrifting does not equal stress. not in my book.

2. SNACKS. snacks are a must. if you have smaller kid who will be riding in the cart be sure to stick a little bottle of water + a cup of something to snack on into your bag before you leave the house. i always bring a cereal bar or a little cup of crackers or goldfish pretzels for dotty and it keeps her happy + gives me a chance to really comb my way through the racks. if your kiddo is too big to fit in the cart, make it a treat and pick up a couple milkshakes beforehand! henry and i used to go to this 50s diner when we’d do a weekly thrift run in a different town. he was 4 or 5 at the time, and it was easy to make the “stay where i can see you” rule, and usually he’d just toodle along with me sipping his milkshake, chatting, happy as can be. he’s almost 9 now, and he doesn’t thrift with me nearly as much as he did when he was younger (mostly because i go during school hours) and yes, occasionally he groans about “popping in” with me, BUT, he also knows that some of his best scores that he treasures most have come from thrift stores. henry knows the value in just popping in, because You Never Know What You’re Going To Find (i coined that phrase, thankyouverymuch). and one day, you just might find a HUGE bag of some kid’s entire lego collection for $1.85. and you will bow down to the thrift gods and you will get up and do The Happy Dance. which we did, and we’ve had more than our share of experiences like that, but i digress…

sometimes you have to get creative, and turn the lid of your sigg bottle into a miniature cup because you forgot the mini water bottle. and you might find yourself having to stop every 6 steps to refill said miniature cup, and you might feel like you only get to surf past a half dozen shirts before said refill, but guess what?

it works!

and your kiddo is happy!

really, really happy.

3. BOOKS. another thing i grab before we head out the door is a couple of board books. sure, by this time, with the snacks, the bottles of water, the wipes, the diapers, plus all my own personal crap, i’m starting to feel like a pack mule when i’m only leaving the house for a couple hours, but TRUST ME. these things really make for your best chance at a successful trip. but if you forget the books, don’t fret! you can always grab a book or two from the kid’s book bin, and just toss it back in when you’re done. i mean, it’s a thrift store, you know?! it’s been read before! what’s one more time?! sometimes dotty will bring along something else like a couple of buddies (stuffed animals) or recently, she’s got this leap pad alphabet caterpillar thing-a-ma-abob that she likes to bring. all of these things serve as good entertainment. and an entertained kid equals a happy kid. and a happy kid equals a happy mama. so it’s win-win.

4. BE CREATIVE. when the other tricks are all used up, do something else! if you’re shopping with a toddler, hand ‘em a shirt and say, “hey! can you practice doing these buttons for me?!”

or, “hey! wanna look in mama’s purse for something?!” lately that one gets a big YEAH! from dotty, because she is pretty obsessed with “mama soft” right now. girlfriend will sit there in a dream like state for 15 minutes, just rubbing chap stick on her lips.

5. HAVE FUN. really! don’t be afraid to be silly. you can pretty much count on a thrift store to have some rockin’ tunes (oldies, crazy country, classic rock) and guess what? we dance like no one’s watching. we sing like no one’s listening. we make funny faces. we talk. we laugh. we just have a good time.

and in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? :)

so there you have it. simple stuff, really. but i find that it works for me every time. give it a try. and HAPPY THRIFTING! xo Jenny

Thanks Jenny! Fabulous as always. Hey, if you have a moment to spare, won’t you please swing on by Circle of Friends 25 Top Kids Style Blogs and give a little thumbs up to Modern Kiddo? Frecklewonder is nominated as well as a bunch of other fab blogs. No registration required, just a click! You can vote once a day til May 9. Thank you sooo much! Click here to vote!

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9 Responses

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  1. RocketGirl75 says

    Great post! I’ve yet to be brave enough to do any thrifting with the kid. Thank goodness for online thrifting!

  2. Rusty says

    Hey! Love this. When kiddos get a bit older, you can make them work for you. I tell SJ what color tag is on sale, what kind of things I am looking for and it’s a big adventure for her. She LOVES helping and the tags are at her level, so it’s easy-peasy.

    • Alix says

      fabulous tip, Dame Rusty!

    • Dottie says

      You know I loves me some SJ! She’s such a kick in the pants! And such a good vintage loving girlie to boot!

  3. Dottie says

    OK, now THIS might be my favorite post ever!

    What great tips! that buttoning bit is pure genius! And of course–BOOKS!

  4. Mari, Small for Big says

    Brilliant! I’ve totally done the same thing and borrowed some books from the store while browsing!
    Bridie’s also at that age where I can play I Spy with her which can help (but it keeps me too distracted sometimes!)
    The thing I want to solve this year is garage saling. Not sure it’s possible – well, it’s possible, not sure it would be enjoyable?! Hmm.

  5. elizabeth says

    Weird! The Vintage Kiddo Collective Blog did a similar post today! Great minds must think alike. :-)

    Great tips at both places!!

  6. erinlucy says

    i love this so much. you are a good mama miss jenny and your dotty is so stinkin cute with that mini cup!

  7. jenny says

    HI FRIENDS! freckle here, i’m so late to the party, but i wanted to say THANKS! i could probably stand to do a little update to this list ‘o tips, cause as all us mamas know, kiddos change and grow and you have to be one step ahead, and tweak your game!!!!

    yay for happy kids in the thrift! XO



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