Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Back to school without breaking bank

Melissa Welch, owner of Kym's Kiddy Corner in Seattle, is all set for the back-to-school clothing and supply rush. Photo by Joshua Huston,

Back to school without breaking the bank

A sustainable approach to shopping for students

Sending kids back to school without breaking the bank is possible. Getting the right supplies, having kids look good and doing so without added pressure on the environment can be done.

That’s because, Seattle and surrounding cities have long championed recycling and reuse. For more and more kids and families, that makes consignment and thrift shopping a badge of honor.

At the same time, neighborhood- and community-based sharing programs offer an abundance of useful items, including gently used clothes, unused school or art supplies for free. 

Thrift stores and kids’ consignment shops not only help your budget, they are also good for the environment and local businesses. Shops all over the region offer low-cost, high-quality clothing, backpacks and other items, often with minimal signs of wear. 

Here are some  re-use places we love:

Goodwill and Thrift Stores

Let’s recognize this re-use behemoth, launched in 1902, for what it is: The Mothership of recycled clothing, supplies, computers and more. There are 17 Goodwill stores in and around King County. Find a store near you at 

Thrift stores operated by Salvation Army (Bellevue, De Moines, Renton, Seattle, Shoreline, Tukwila), Deseret Industries (Shoreline), St. Vincent De Paul (Auburn, Burien, Kenmore, Kent, Renton, Seattle) and Value Village (Burien, Issaquah, Kent, Lynnwood, Tukwila, Woodenville and other site) also offer inexpensive clothing and other items for back-to-school. Google locations for any of these stores to find your local spot.

Consignment and re-sale boutiques

Childish Things

This Greenwood-area shop stands out for its consistent stock of high-end brands like Tea and Petit Bateau (sellers take note).

9776 Holman Road NW,
Seattle 98117

Kym’s Kiddy Korner

Kym’s has been serving families since 1984 and is usually filled to the brim with a wide range of used kid clothes and other useful back-to-school items, toys and all things baby.

6701 Greenwood Ave. N, Seattle  98103


This Madison Park spot packs a lot of higher-end kids’ clothing — think North Face, Hanna Andersson, Crew Cuts — into a small space.

2709 E Madison St.,
Seattle 98112

Chrysanthemum Children’s Vintage & Resale

Located in Columbia City, Chrysanthemum stocks new and secondhand clothing and specializes in vintage clothing and clothing handmade by local moms.

4820 Rainier Ave. S, Seattle 98118

My Three Little Birds

Shoppers will find gently used clothing (Hatley, Tea, Janie and Jack), shoes, accessories and toys at this adorable West Seattle store. It also sells consignment items online. Or you can fill out a wish list for the type of pieces you’re seeking.

6959 California Ave. SW,
Seattle 98116 

Lollipops Consignment Shop

Located in the same 1920s Burien building since 1977, Lollipops offers kids’ toys, children’s clothing, women’s clothes and maternity clothes. So dress yourself and the kids!

2038 SW 152nd St., Seattle 98166

Neighborhood/local sharing

The Buy Nothing Project offers people a way to give, receive, share and lend clothing, supplies, household goods – just about anything – among neighbors. Families are invited to join their local group via FaceBook or the Buy Nothing app. To give, you simply post to your local network. Need something? Just put out an ask. If someone has what you need, they’ll let you know.

Offer Up and Craigslist are both great options for finding low-cost or free clothing, school supplies and other useful items to keep you on budget throughout the school year. Go online to or to get connected to local lists. Both also offer apps for easy phone searching.

School supply drives

Most schools are ready to help families get kids to school with the supplies they need to thrive in class. Contact your child’s school to ask about a list of local organizations collecting and distributing free school supplies for the coming school year.

More at Seattle’s Child:

“How to get your child ready for going back to school”

About the Author

Cheryl Murfin

Cheryl Murfin is managing editor at Seattle's Child. She is also a certified doula, lactation educator for and a certified AWA writing workshop facilitator at