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I am kind of obsessed with thrift shopping. While I used to hit up my favourite retailers whenever I needed something new, since becoming a Mom, my reflex is to check my favourite thrift shops before I look to buy new.
Children’s things are especially awesome to find second hand: our kids grow so fast that many items you find on the racks at Value Village have been barely used and are a mere fraction of what you’d pay at the mall.
But thrift shopping takes energy and patience, and not everyone has a thrift shop in their city. Consignment shops are my next stop if Value Village doesn’t have the items I need for Cub. Consignment shops generally work by reselling gently-used children’s clothing brought in by parents, and giving a percentage of the final sale value to the consigning parent. Prices will, for this reason, be higher than a charity-run thrift shop, but the bright side is that clothing is carefully inspected and organized, and money goes back into the pockets of parents like me.
But what if you don’t have any consignment shops in your town? I’ve recently discovered that you CAN shop second-hand from the comfort of home, both in Canada and the US. And what’s even cooler is that you can also consign your children’s clothing by mailing it in, receiving store credit, PayPal cash or gift certificates for your items.
Canadian Online Children’s Consignment Shops
I am a satisfied Flipsize.ca customer, as you can read in my review. This Surrey-based business allows parents to send in bags of quality, gently-used clothing in exchange for store credit, cash or gift cards. Unlike in brick & mortar consignment shops, you don’t have to wait for your items to sell before receiving cash. You don’t even have to pay to ship your items to them: just request a bag and send it on its way.
Extra savings: If you’re in the Lower Mainland, you earn extra points (= cash) for dropping of your clothing.
This online consignment shop was the first one I ever heard of when I first starting getting into second-hand shopping. They now carry not only children’s wear but also women’s clothing, including maternity items. Based in Quebec, their page is available in English and French. As with Flipsize, you request a bag to send in your clothes, and shipping is free. They pay 20% of their retail price up front, so no waiting for your items to sell to pocket your cash.
Extra savings: Minitrade has a referral program, giving you $15 for all referred friends who complete a purchase. Your referred friend also gets $15 in store credit. If you want to be MY friend, this is my referral link.
This consignment shop offers flat-rate shipping for purchases, but if you’re hoping to trade in your items for store credit, you must be in the Toronto (Etobicoke) area to drop off your items. If you are local, you can also book an appointment to shop in person. On top of brand-name clothing, Eco Outfitters also resells toys and books.
Extra savings: You earn $5 for referring friends either to shop or to trade up their own items. A button on the right side of the page gives you 10% off your first purchase for “liking” their page on Facebook!
This franchise consignment store has many physical locations whose inventory is also available for online shoppers. To sell your items, however, you need to be local to one of their seven locations (five in Ottawa, plus one in Gatineau and one in St. Hubert, QC). Boomerang Kids also carries toys and gear, dancewear and maternity clothes. Their site is available in French and English. The St. Hubert location isn’t too far from me, so I plan to check it out this fall, and try consigning a few items, too.
Extra savings: Sign up for their newsletter to receive exclusive offers.
This Leslieville, ON-based shop not only carries children’s consignment items but also handmade wares from local craftspeople. Consignment is drop-off only, and you receive 50% of the sale price once your items sell. Shipping is quite expensive from this shop. Whereas the other shops listed have a reasonable flat rate and around a $50 free shipping threshold, Merrily, Merrily charges $15 within the Greater Toronto Area and exact shipping outside the GTA. Your best bet would be if you are local and can pick up.
American Online Children’s Consignment Shops
This is the American sister of Canada’s FlipSize.ca. In fact, it was the success of its American counterpart that inspired Canadian owner, Catherine, to buy the rights to duplicate the shop north of the border.
My Kid’s Threads (affiliate link):
My Kid’s Threads carries high-end designer brands, and offers 40% cash or 50% store credit on the resale value of your items. However, you only receive your pay out once the items have actually sold.
Extra savings: You get 20% off your first order when you sign up for their newsletter. Code “Save10” will get you $10 off your first purchase of $20, and they also have a refer-a-friend program.
I learned about Moxie Jean thanks to this blog post by The Anti June Cleaver. You can request a bag to send in your excellent-condition kids clothing for free. Upon inspection, they will purchase the items they would like to resell, and you can receive your payment as cash or store credit. (You can also donate your payment to charity.)
Extra savings: Sign up for their newsletter for 20% off your first purchase. Spending $100 earns you $25 in Moxie Money. They also have a $10 for you, $10 for a friend referral program.
Swap.com (affiliate link):
One big difference between the other sites I’ve listed and Swap.com is that YOU set the price for your items at Swap.com. Shipping your items to them is, as with the other sites, free. Once they’ve uploaded pictures of your items to the site, you are in charge of setting your sale prices. You can also directly swap your items for other ones you want on the site. Swap.com isn’t just for clothing: you can sell books, DVDs, toys and sporting equipment.
Extra savings: Your first order ships for free!
Have you ever consigned with or shopped at online second-hand stores?
Gotta pay the bills...