Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

consignment

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Tips on scoring great bargains, gently used

What to look for at consignment shops for pregnancy, babyhood and later.

The financial and environmental benefits of shopping at consignment stores are undeniable, and the Seattle area has no lack of children’s consignment shopsBut did you know that consignment shops often carry items beyond gently used clothing?

Here are some items you may find at your local shop.

Maternity clothes

While I was pregnant with my twins, I received most of my maternity clothes from friends who were happy to share their pre-worn duds. 

Despite having boxes of clothes that friends passed on to me, I needed a few more items, especially to wear to my office job. It just felt so wasteful, though, to purchase new items, knowing that I would only wear them for a short time.

Thankfully, my local consignment shop carries a great selection of maternity clothing, so I didn’t have to purchase any brand-new clothing. And when my babies arrived, I passed all of the clothes on to my expecting friends. 

New items

In addition to selling gently used items, consignment shops carry new items as well. Some of them have been consigned while others are products that the store keeps in stock. 

This summer, our toddlers were ready to get in the water and we needed swim diapers. The shop that I went to had both new and used swim diapers so I ended up getting one of each. And when the rains came in mid-September, I went in for a pair of boots for my son. The store didn’t have any used boots that worked for us, but it had a large selection of new boots. He now enjoys stomping around in his new red rubber rain boots. 

Wendy Powell of Childish Things in Greenwood says, “We tend to carry the things that we can’t keep stocked used, like rain boots, rain suits, pants and coats, rashguards.” 

Of new items that have been consigned, Dixie Bair of Small Threads for Kids in Issaquah, Redmond and Kirkland says, “Most people are surprised by the quantity of items we receive that are brand-new with tags or are higher-end items.”

Larger stuff

Consignment shops also may carry larger items, such as bassinets, high chairs, baby carriers and play yards. 

Melissa Welch of Kym’s Kiddy Corner in Greenwood points out that “having the option to buy pre-owned can create less stress than purchasing a new costly item that may not be the right fit.”

Soon after our twins were born, we decided that we wanted to use bassinets for them. We had been gifted one through a friend of a friend, but needed another one. We located one at our local consignment shop. The store put it on hold for us, we picked it up, and all four of us could then sleep in one bedroom. It was cozy, but doable!

I checked in with Powell at Childish Things about safety concerns regarding these larger baby products. Powell says, “We only buy current items and know what changes CPSC (the Consumer Product Safety Commission) is making regarding children’s products.” 

If you have any questions about products with potential safety concerns, check in with the shop about their policies regarding safety.

[ For more information, go to CPSC safe sleep rules for cribs and infant products ]

Cloth diapers

If you go the way of cloth diapering (check out my experience here), you can stock up on cloth diapers at some consignment shops. 

Malia Martin of Sugarlump in Madison Valley says that the shop has “a surprisingly large selection of consigned cloth diapers.”

Perhaps you’d like to give cloth diapers a try but aren’t ready to make a commitment to a whole system or brand. Jennifer Young of  Three Little Birds in West Seattle notes, “You can try a brand of reusable diapers to see if it works well on your child before you make the investment in a full set.”

Gear/equipment

Your child may be the kind that focuses on just one sport or activity, or wants to try every activity ever created. Either way, the cost of gear can really add up. Check in with your local shop before purchasing items brand-new.

Sugarlump’s Malia Martin says, “I have lots of tap and ballet shoes as well as leotards and dance tights. My soccer shoe bin is here year-round and has been recently ravaged with the start of fall soccer.”

When it comes to gear and other seasonal or specialty items, plan ahead as much as possible. Powell at Childish Things says, “When you shop resale, if you see it, buy it, because you don’t know if it will be there later.”

Team shop

Want to have your little ones root along for the Seahawks, Mariners and Kraken, but find it hard to pay full price for a 12th Man onesie that your newborn may wear for only one photo? Consider looking at your consignment shop before you purchase brand-new. For example, Sugarlump has a “team shop,” a corner of the store dedicated to sports team apparel. Whether they’re wearing new or gently used gear, your little ones can join you for game day. 

As Young at Three Little Birds points out, “Buying gently used at a fraction of the cost just makes sense with growing kids.”

And as we head into the winter months, check in with consignment shops before purchasing brand-new winter or holiday clothing. You may also find some gently used or new items that would make great gifts for the little ones in your life. 

We have some great shops around our community. Take advantage of them as your kids grow!

More low-waste ideas:

Create a backyard playground (for next to nothing!)

Baby clothes: 6 simple steps to reduce your family’s consumption (and make life easier)

How to get ready for baby without breaking the bank (or accumulating stuff)

About the Author

Ellie White

Ellie had the privilege of growing up in our beautiful Pacific Northwest. She currently lives in the Green Lake neighborhood with her husband and twin toddlers.