10 Reasons I Love Thrifting WIth My Children

Welcome to the April 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about family pastimes. ***
For awhile after Jemma + Max were born I stopped thrifting. I just didn’t go out much and when I did, it was for essentials like grocery shopping and Starbucks. 
Priorities, folks, priorities.
But we’ve been in the swing of things for awhile and thus, I’ve returned to my love of thrifting. Or treasure hunting, as we call it these days :) Jemma rides in the cart or walks along and Max is usually on my back in our toddler Tula. Which I did not thrift, but fully endorse every dime that it cost. We make it out once a week or so and its become one of our favorite mama kiddo adventures. 
This is why we love it and why I foresee us thrifting together for many years to come …
    • Treasure hunting is always an adventure … We never know what we’ll find which is usually what makes it so exciting! Often, Jemma will eagerly point out things she loves, a purple shirt or Pony toy, and exclaim, “A treasure! A treasure for me!”
      • The value of money … Ever since Jemma started a handful of chores to earn commission, she’s been bringing her money along on our trips. We’ve had some swell money conversations and she can already identify the names of each coin! Homeschooling on the go!
        • Giving things second life … I love finding things that look dowdy or lost and making plans to give them a new, cheery home.
          • More bang for your buck … Thrifting, especially on sale days, can boast a fabulous haul for a minimal investment. Such a valuable lesson to share and experience with my littles.
          • Opportunities to repair … Sometimes we fall in love with something that isn’t in perfect condition. Small repairs are definitely within my scope of ability and it’s a perfect way for us to care for our things and learn new skills together.
            • Opportunities to repurpose … This is my favorite! Most often we do this with fabric – turning a beautiful women’s shirt into a skirt or a bed sheet into a scarf.
              • Patience … More times than not we leave our thrift adventure with no treasures at all. I have a list of things I’m on the lookout for and although we’re open to surprises, we don’t thrift just to spend money and fill our home with stuff we don’t need. It takes patience, but it always pays off.
                • Shopping with or without purpose … Although we shop with things in mind, we usually just browse. And it’s calm and peaceful to not be in a rush following a strict shopping list like many of our other errands.
                  • Element of surprise … Seeing Jemma’s eyes light up when she spots something she loves absolutely brightens our day. And Max has learned so many words as we walk slowly down the aisles and he calls out to exciting things he sees.
                  •  Being together … Most of all, we love thrifting because we do it together. A hobby I used to enjoy alone, I am now blessed to do with my children by my side.
                  We’ve been on the lookout for an old piano to paint for our dining room – haven’t found the perfect one yet. So we’re practicing patience :)

                  It’s been a long hunt for a globe, but last week, we found TWO! One was  punctured, but had a base and the second was missing a base – so with a little repair — to became one! And then I added washi tape to the base :)

                  We’ve been collecting fun sheets for living room forts!

                  Jemma’s little slip dress and boots were both thrift scores, as were Max’s Columbia jacket, dinosaur pajamas and rain boots!
                  Do you thrift with your children? What has been your (or their) greatest thrifting find? Jemma most recently purchased a Hello Kitty figurine that she absolutely fell in love with, nothing I adored, but her commissions funded her purchase and she proudly displayed it on her night stand :) I love that her room is filled with things she loves!

                    *** Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
                    • 8 Reasons to Go Camping with Your Kids — The weather is warmer, and it is time to think about taking a break. As you plan your family vacation, Mandy of Living Peacefully with Children, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, explains why you should consider hitting the trails with your kids.
                    • Crafty Cohorts — Kellie at Our Mindful Life enjoys crafting with her kids, and the skills they are learning.
                    • 10 Hobbies For Families With Young Children — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama knows that finding hobbies families can do together (with young children in tow) isn’t always the easiest of feats. She has compiled a list of 10 family friendly hobbies that children of all ages can enjoy and that won’t break the bank!
                    • Helping Himawari — Sophelia’s family at Sophelia’s Adventures in Japan share a passion for helping when a dog is abandoned at the nearby elementary school.
                    • The ‘Art’ of Having FunMarija Smits shares some thoughts on family art and fun.
                    • How we made our own Family Day — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares how her family celebrates the best day of the week, a chance for connection and adventure and endless possibilities: Family Day!
                    • Our Family Hobby — Survivor talks about how animal husbandry has become her family’s favorite hobby at Surviving Mexico Adventures and Disasters.
                    • Sowing the Seeds of Passions — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs wonders if her interests, and her husband’s, will shape her children’s passions as they mature.
                    • Harry Potter Potions Party — One of the best activities Dionna at Code Name: Mama has ever done with her family has been a Harry Potter Potions Party. She is sharing the resources she used to create their potion recipes, the ingredients and tools they experimented with, and the recipes themselves. Feel free to use and adapt for your own budding wizards and witches!
                    • Pastimes Have Passed Me By — Kati at The Best Things takes a new perspective on projects that never get done.
                    • Food as a cultural experience for preschoolers — Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings finds that food is a good way to engage her preschoolers on a journey of cultural discovery.
                    • 10 Reasons I Love Thrifting With My ChildrenThat Mama Gretchen has always enjoyed shopping, but with a growing family she’s become more frugal and thus, her little ones are now in tow on her thrift store adventures.
                    • Pastime with Family vs Family Pastime — You can share lots of pastimes with your family, but Jorje of Momma Jorje discovered a family pastime was much more pleasant for sharing.

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                    1. Dionna_CodeNameMama says

                      Oh Max's little chubby cheeks! Ok, thrifting. I personally love getting lost in a thrift store, it's calming and full of fun for me. But my littles . . . they haven't quite gotten there yet ;) They despise the part of the trip that involves looking at anything but toys, and then they spend much of the toy browsing trying to talk me into buying plastic crap. (sigh) We *are* starting an allowance for Kieran this month, though, so hopefully that will take care of some of that struggle. I admire your kids' treasure hunting skills!

                    2. Bianca says

                      Sheets for forts – excellent idea!!!I've found a ton of great thrifted items in the past year that I've been more 'serious' about it, but I've also learned when a deal is not as good as it seems. I've been keeping an eye out for either a completed wooden play kitchen or the components for one that Adam can put together, and saw one that more or less fit the bill at Goodwill a few months ago. And it even had the colored tag of the day for 50% off!! Thinking that I could snag this little kitchen set for about $25, I got it brought up to the front counter…only to learn that it's a specialty item and doesn't qualify for 50% off! Bummer. So we're still on the look out :)I've found a really nice Northface fleece for myself recently (under $10!), snowpants in 4T for a winter down the road and several nice cast iron cooking pieces that just need reseasoning!

                    3. ThatMamaGretchen says

                      I hate to sound gripey, but it really annoys me when thrift stores don't sell things at thrift prices – $25 for a play kitchen even sounds like a lot. $50 is outrageous! You're totally right that you have to know your prices. Sometimes you can find better clothing/toys/etc on Craigslist, eBay and garage sales.

                    4. hobomama says

                      So cool to see all the lessons listed like that! We love going to thrift stores with our kids, too — allowance goes so much farther when the toys are used. It's been a great place for us to try out board games as a family, too — I always think the retail price of board games is ridiculous, but for a couple bucks, we can try out a new one to us, and if it turns out it's no fun, we can donate it right back!I also love the idea of sheets for forts!

                    5. says

                      I love thrifting too. I am also totally into sheet-collecting. I started a basket that we call the "tinker tent supplies." It is full of sheets, rope (for older kids, obvi), and clothes pins to help them build forts that don't require the movement of so much living room furniture & cushions. It's a big hit!

                    6. Nathalie (Kampuchea says

                      I love the piano and globe ideas :-) Out here the equivalent would be to check out the old markets and expatriate sales (lots of turnover as people get reposted) so it's certainly worth the occasional weekend morning! It's hard to find quality toys out here so we rummage for the real stuff, like used ukeleles, pots and pans, or old tools and wood boards, then we can make a kid project out of them.

                    7. Momma Jorje says

                      Ahhh, this IS a good one to share! We do this, but not often… I think we could get into it weekly if it weren't for geocaching and if my family had any willpower. Ha!