Holiday secondhand shopping for kids: Some tips and tricks

Holiday secondhand shopping for kids

It’s easy to make grand statements about doing completely non-material gifts, instead opting for experiences, cash, or donations alone. But the truth is that when it comes to kids, it’s not that easy. Kids need “things” more often than adults, as they outgrow clothing and require age-appropriate toys and games. That’s okay! There’s still a way to save money, packaging, and the resources that go into producing new goods, and that’s by shopping secondhand.

Why it’s so great

For kids’ things in particular, we parents know how darn quickly they grow out of everything! Sometimes things still look brand-new when it’s time for us to retire them. Thankfully, that also means that there’s so much fantastic selection around. Toys, clothing, and books are all wonderful things to search for in the “new to me” market.

If you’re feeling intimidated, please don’t! Shopping secondhand is easy and fun, I promise. Here are a few tips and tricks for shopping secondhand for our little ones.

Where to shop

  • Consignment stores. These tend to be a bit pricier, but can have high-end brands and great quality options.
  • Thrift shops. These are the classic stores, and typically have the biggest selections and most options.
  • This can include local “buy and sell” groups on Facebook, apps, and even online thrift stores. Do an online search to see what you can uncover—there might be some fantastic local options right under your nose.
  • Neighbourhood clothing/toy/book swaps. These are so fun to attend, because they’re filled with free things and community spirit. Can’t find one near you? Consider hosting one for kids in your area (or even for adults!).

Some tips

  • Start early! There’s a reason I’m publishing this in November—because you’ll have more success if you start looking now. You may want to make the rounds several times, as new stock arrives all the time.
  • Make an ongoing list of your kids’ needs and wants.
  • If you’re looking online, search for keywords in your buy and sell groups, or tell people what you’re looking for by posting “In Search Of” (ISO).
  • For maximum use, aim to purchase good-quality, long-lasting, and open-ended toys, such as classic wooden blocks.
  • Be cautious with toys that are many decades old or are off-brand, as they may be more likely to contain heavy metals. Always check for damage and research recalls.

If secondhand shopping isn’t your thing but you’d still like to make a concerted effort to reduce your waste this season, visit for more than 170 low-waste ideas. They have a “Merry Memory Maker” app so you can research gift recommendations at any budget, secondhand or not. Happy shopping!

Do you shop secondhand for yourself, or for your kids or loved ones? Will you be doing so for the holidays? What’s on your list this year?

This post was sponsored by Metro Vancouver’s Create Memories, not Garbage campaign.


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