How Do You Get Rid of Your Children’s Outgrown Clothing?

Today I walked into a children’s resale shop with a bag of Audrey’s clothing to trade.  I had carefully organized her outgrown garments, culled out the ragged, stained, and not-so-cute pieces, and waited until everything was seasonally appropriate.  I thought that my bag of clothes would earn me enough store credit to come home with something new for Audrey.   They took one item and gave me $2.00 in store credit.  That and $4.00 got me a pair of pants.  Not great.

Audrey, one month old, in consignment shop fashions

This store, as it turns out, does not donate the clothes they cannot sell, so I almost had to carry them all back home.  At the last moment, the store owner remembered that someone from “an orphanage” was going to stop by later in the day, so I didn’t have to lug the bag home after all.

I’ve had some troubles with other consignment stores, too.  Another shop in my new neighborhood has a very strict buying schedule, so one week they’re taking only boys’ clothes in sizes 6-10, another week they’re buying something else.  Because of this, I go into that store to buy clothes but have never managed to sell anything there.

The consignment shop in my old neighborhood, The Children’s Exchange, was excellent.   They buy and sell clothes, toys, books, and baby gear, and they usually accepted most of the stuff I tried to sell them.  Because they weren’t so picky (or shall I say snobbish?) about designer brands, I also found the selection to be better than most of the other shops I’ve tried.   When Joy visited me while she was pregnant with Roscoe, I marched her right over to the Children’s Exchange, where she stocked up on diaper covers for just a dollar each.

I’ve had such varied experiences with resale shops, and I know consigning my child’s outgrown clothing isn’t the most efficient money-making method–but what is?  Craigslist, eBay, garage sales?  Or do you just donate the clothes you aren’t keeping to charity?  Today is an opposite Works for Me Wednesday, which means we can ask our readers what works for them.  So, what works for you?  Do you try to sell your child’s old gear at consignment shops, or is there a better way?

Don’t forget to join us starting tomorrow evening for Thrifty Green Thursday!


  1. Check and see if your area has large consignment sales. We have several in our area. I pay $7.oo and then they get about 30% of the item. This may seem like a lot, but it takes place over one weekend and then you get a nice check n the mail shortly after the sale. The nice part is you get toprice it and if it does not sell you have the option of picking it back up or donating it. Good Luck and I hope this works for you

  2. I’m definitely a fan of eBay for selling kids clothes — if you have the time. It can be time consuming, but if you list your nicer stuff and describe it well, you can make some good money!

  3. Sorting by age (and possibly season, too, as you’ve already done) and selling in a lot on craigslist seems to work well, depending on how popular craigslist is in your area.

  4. I’ve never tried it, but I know many people that will sell an entire “lot” of clothes through Craigslist. They’ll list something like the size range, with the brands and then something like “3 dresses, 4 pants, 8 tops”, etc. and then give one price for all of it. So someone who is looking for girl or boy clothes in that size for that season can snatch up a whole wardrobe easily.

  5. well we plan on more kids so i have them in containers by size and gender. we also pass them around friends for different size and seasons. it makes it easy so you dont have to really buy clothes just share them

  6. I’m going to second the idea of looking to see if there are any big consignment sales in your area. We have one at a nearby religious school. As a consigner, I pay $5 (out of whatever I make), and then get 70% of whatever the things sell for. Plus, as a bonus, before the public sale (which runs three days) starts, there is a night for only consigners. WooHoo!

  7. Whatever you don’t sell, take a picture of it before you donate it somewhere and get a receipt. I think sometimes what I can take as a tax deduction is way more valuable than what I could sell it for at a garage sale.

  8. 2 words: Craigs list! Group the clothes by age and season, take a picture of the group laid out on the floor or a table, price them $1-2 per piece and you’ll get calls.

    If not, ebay works great, too. Just more of a hassle boxing everything up and going to the post office…

  9. I only keep the really, really cute stuff and everything else goes to the secondhand shop. Whatever they don’t take, I bring back home and give away, either on Freecycle, or to someone I know (lots of people having babies in my neighborhood) and I tell whoever I give it to to take what they like and give the rest away.
    I know sometimes the shops don’t take things if they already have too much of it, but they otherwise would. I’ve found that it really doesn’t pay off to sell to them, and I only take stuff there because I go to buy. It really works to sell big items, like car seats and toys, though.

  10. Craigslist works great for us!

  11. Try to see if you have any of these consignment sales in your area. They are wonderful! You can buy and sell clothes, toys, baby furniture, all kinds of things and make decent money. I’m tagging stuff right now for the sale in Springfield MO.

  12. I have usually had more luck selling children’s clothes at garage sales than consignment. I think this really depends on the area where you live, though. I just advertise something like “girl’s size 6 mos clothes”. I do price really cheap, though, so unless you have a lot of clothes, you won’t make a lot of money, but it gets them out of the house.

    I have also heard of people who donate to Goodwill then take the tax deduction, but since that’s not money up front, I haven’t bothered!

  13. I sell my kids’ name brand clothes on Ebay and get a nice little profit. Things that are slightly stained or not name brand I pass on to a friend. And those that are badly stained I donate. I strongly believe in passing on to a friend…the good will always comes back to you in one form or another.

  14. I’ve had the best luck at JBF Sales. If you’re item doesn’t sell, you can check that you want to donate it, so you get rid of it. I get so little money from consignment sales, it just doesn’t seem worth it.

  15. I had the same problem when I was trying to sell my maternity clothes. I thought everything was in style and in good condition but they didn’t even buy some of the new stuff that I only wore at the end of my pregnancy.

    I’d suggest selling them in lots on ebay or craigs list.

  16. I’ll just say that while I’m not at the stage of selling clothes yet, I LOVE to buy lots of clothes on eBay.

    I bought a lot of 3-6 month clothes on eBay for about $25, and it had shirts, pants, pj’s, and a couple of rompers. It was well worth my money. And it wasn’t designer stuff. But I loved it. There were even a few pieces that he never wore, but I didn’t care as much.

    Just be sure they’re all the same season and size range. It’s frustrating to see a winter coat and swim shorts in the same lot! 🙂

  17. Oh no! We are lucky enough in my area to have a Children’s Orchard (consignment shop) that buys all seasons all the time, gives 50% extra toward store credit, and will donate your items that they don’t purchase…

    I know several people who have lots of luck on craigslist (which I much prefer to ebay) and with mom’s markets. One other thought, do you have friends you can “swap” clothes with? I do this occasionally with some of my friends, and it works out nicely.

    Any suggestions for putting up laundry? That’s my quandry this week if you have time to stop by!


  18. I make quilts out of ’em! Especially the stained up ones that I can’t get rid of in good conscience. I cut them up and quilt them! I’ve finished a quilt top for my stepdaughter and am working on one for my 13.5 month old niece.

  19. Well, you can always donate them to Goodwill.
    BUT, this is what I’ve started doing with “what do I do with these” clothes for all ages –
    turn them into crafty items. Or give/sell them to a crafty person who likes to make pillows, quilts, purses, bibs, or diaper bags.
    Just the other week, I took some of my favorite old sheets from my old twin bed I don’t have anymore, and lined a purse with some of it, and covered a lampshade with some of it.

  20. So far most of our clothes are being handed down. Actually most of the clothes that are being handed down were handed down to us. I have taken some to a resale store and what they didn’t take I passed on to someone else.

    We have some of those big sales in our area but not really close by so I’ve only ever been to one. In the future I would like to participate though.

  21. I’ve had a lot of luck with a large consignment sale in my area. The one I participate in will donate all unsold items, and I found out about it by word of mouth. I also have seen several churches in the area that have sales. I would ask around at church or with other moms that you may know to see if they know of any good sales. In my area, they’re very well attended! They also sell good toys, strollers, and other gear… it’s great as both a seller and a shopper.

  22. I do one of the following:
    – take them to a consignment shop – although ours is a bit snobby too.
    – pass them down to my nieces
    – pass them on to friends
    – freecycle
    – goodwill
    While the money towards new clothes is very handy (that was our back to school shopping this year!) I just want them out of my house! We have lots of friends whose kids wear slightly smaller sizes than my kids, so it works pretty well.

    I can understand why consignment stores are more picky, but what frustrates me is when I am shopping there and see many items that are in worse shape than 85% of what I had turned down. My daughter picked up a jacket last week, and when we got it home I found a hole in one seam. Good thing I know how to sew!

  23. If you have large consignment sales in your area, that is a good way to get rid of your outgrown clothes. In our area, we keep 70% of the sales and the sale gets 30%. The sales are usually particular and will not take anything with stains or holes. Also, each item has to be individually priced, ironed, and hung up on a hanged secured by safety pins.

    The craigslist idea is really good. Especially, the person who said to take a picture of everything and then price each item the same price. Ironing, hanging, and safety pinning is just not my cup of tea.

    Finally, clothes that are 0 – 12 months just do not sell very well in consignment sales unless they are dirt cheap. So many people get these sizes for gifts that they do not need them as much as the need clothes when the children are older. So, as your child grows older you might have better luck at the retail consignment stores.

  24. EBAY, BABY!
    I sell all my brand name, great shape baby clothes there & you get more than you ever would at a child’s consignment shop or a regular consignment store.
    I learned my lesson when I took a Hanna Andersson outfit to a “child consignmnet” & they said 3.00! I paid well over 80.00 for it and it was in new condition. I decided to just take them back home. While I browsed the store I saw almost the same Hanna outfit they were selling for 45.00!!!
    Of course it was worth 45.00. But not if your only giving ME 3.00.
    By the way, it sold on Ebay for 69.00.

  25. We have cousins who get our hand-me-downs now, but in the past, I found the best place to sell consignment was Just 4 kids in Hollywood. I have had better luck there than anywhere. It also helps to ask for a little crash course on why they reject certain things because then you can do a lot of pre-sorting and haul less stuff away. I know the clothing has to be immaculate and they like name brands. Honestly I have given up on consignment. It’s easier to take it to the goodwill and just get the tax deduction.

  26. I sell all my daughter’s stuff on eBay. I only post once a week and then I only go to the post office once a week so it cuts down on driving.

  27. Wow–I am just AMAZED by all the ideas here. I may have to turn the responses into a whole new post. Keep these ideas coming!

  28. Honstly, I had the same frustration. In the end, I opted to sort and share with an organization that supports domestic violence victims.

  29. I hate that feeling of Resale Rejection. I got snubbed by a lady once and never went back to that shop. I took in a big pile of stuff and she barely glanced at it and said, “We just don’t take this kind of stuff.” I showed her a pair of barely worn baby shoes and she curled her lip, “Shoes?”
    “THEY ARE BABY GAP!” I over eagerly said. She gave me like $5 for the shoes and a jacket. Woohoo.
    I do have GREAT success at a couple of different once-a-season consignment sales. One is called “Kids Market and Mom”. You can price your own stuff decently and you make 70%. The group that hosts the sale gets 30%. You get good prices for clothes and toys and any kind of baby gear. I have made anywhere from $75-$150 on one sale, mostly on clothes (not many “big items”).

  30. Okay–sorry if this is a dumb question, but many of you have suggested consignment sales. Pat suggested checking to find sales in your area. Is this the only way to find out about large consignment sales? You just keep checking that site? Thanks for enlightening me!

  31. I donate most of the clothes to an organization affiliated with our church, called The Golden Arrow. It supports mothers who have chosen to have their babies rather than have abortions. I buy most all of my boys’ clothes at those consignment sales you all have mentioned, so it’s a total win-win-win; I’m buying great clothes for a few bucks, getting our use out of them then passing them along to someone in need.

  32. Rebecca–I believe we live in the same town, and I, too, have had similar experiences w/ the stores you mentioned in your post (just this week, too!). Reading the other users’ posts reminded me of a JBF sale I went to in San Francisco when I was pregnant w/ my first child. It was great! If you’d like someone to explore this option (or something like it) with, let me know–you’ve got my email. I have a 3 y.o. boy and a 3-month old girl, so I am trying to swap the boy’s clothes for some girl threads, and am quickly realizing that this trade experience is leaving me with a net negative. Enjoy this beautiful weather!

  33. I too tried consignment and walked away feeling insulted and violated – those clothes represented precious memories :(. I got $.50 for the few pieces they did take and decided it was better to give than receive in this instance.

    A friend had a little girl one year younger than my daughter and she graciously received them. Anything with stains went in the trash and not-so-cute stuff in good condition went to charity.

    My daughter has always had an abundance of clothes thanks to the generosity of family and friends, so by giving them away I believe the flow of blessings will continue when she or her future siblings need more. It took me a lot of reasoning to get to that place, however 🙂 It’s time for me to put more clothes in a box.

    The above ideas are awesome!

  34. After keeping my daughter’s clothes all over the house shoved in closets, under beds for a year I shoveled all of them and dragged two big black trash bags down the stairs to my car and drove them to a local consignment store. Dragged them inside and waited for like 15 minutes to review the clothes only to find 2 garments out of 2 BAGS FULL that thought were worthy enough to use again. So what did they offer me $2. Some of the clothes she never even wore. Now I just donate the clothes.

  35. Francine Belanger says:

    Would any of you be interested in swapping childen’s clothing?

  36. I am still trying to figure out the best way to deal with those clothes. But I love taking them to my MOPS group. We have a “share n care” table where you bring clothes and other useful items, the items sell for 25 cents each and the money goes toward a specific charity (last year it was an orphanage in Uganda). Whatever doesn’t get sold gets donated to a clothing bank. It’s a great way to shop and to pass things along for a good cause.

  37. Donate to a local shelter! Last place I lived, I found a place for victims of domestic violence. They really need kids’ clothing (think about it for a sec – these women and children leave with just a suitcase at most). You’ll be helping out women in your community that really need the help, and as a bonus you’ll get the tax deduction (which is huge $ by the way, esp compared to trying to sell the clothes). We donate almost everything vs. trying to sell it, and I’m always on the lookout for a place I feel especially glad to help out. This makes me way happier than earning $30. Again, tax deduction you’d get for $30 of resale clothes is around $300, if any of you need incentives.

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