The “needs” of the family can be overwhelming and so confusing… what do I mean by confusing? So often we confuse needs and wants. Needs are clothing, shelter and food. Pretty much everything else is a want, but the world and society around us can try to convince us otherwise.
I often think I needs cleats for Tonchi’s soccer or that new all natural bathroom cleaner, or the low allergen snack that looks delicious, or throw pillows that would match the living room perfectly and pull it all together. I’m not saying these things are bad or that you can’t buy them, I’m just defining these as wants even though we think we need them. I may need shoes for Tonchi, or more cleaning supplies, or snacks for the kids, but it doesn’t have to be as expensive as the first option that greets us!
Same with clothing. I may need new clothing, but it doesn’t have to be high fashion, off the racks of Nordstrom, or even brand new for that matter. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to dress like a vagabond or dirty hippy to save bucks. I like to look cute and have my own style and I have been able to find clothing for super cheap or free that I’m in love with!
So how, you say, can that happen?
There are so many options. Consignment and thrift often have a lot to offer and with a little imagination or a few small alterations it can be super cute, new to you and the perfect match for those straight legged cords you just got from your friend who “upgraded”!
My sister and a few of her friends have hosted clothing swaps. Drop off what you don’t want and take whatever you do want. There are high end “like new” clothing swaps out there, but this is a take all trade all kinda swap, which is just for me! I love it! 😉 I often find new to me clothing that is perfect! The last swap I found a skirt, tank and dress that were Free People brand, which I’m in LOVE with! It was a huge score for me, but others probably looked at what I was picking out and rolled their eyes! I don’t care! It’s exactly what I was looking for!
Another great thing about a clothing swap is that if you pick up something you aren’t sure you like or might not fit.. .if it doesn’t work it, take it back to the next swap! I’ve seen some of my old clothing circulating back again! It’s fun to know what was my cast off someone else used for a while and now it’s getting a third life, or more!
I’ve also found lots of clothing and shoes, jackets, socks, and toys for the kids. I don’t think I could afford to clothe my kids if it weren’t for these swaps! Another added bonus is that I often find styles and brands I certainly wouldn’t have purchased otherwise!
Anyone of you who know me, know how much I love freecycle and how much I use it! This is a network of people who prefer to give things away to those who can use them instead of just throwing them out in the trash. You just write a post for what you have to offer, wait until someome responds stating they would like to have it and then you provide your address and they pick it up! You don’t even have to leave the house!
I’ve have found bags of clothing for me and the kids, which at times are hit or miss, but I just re-freecycle what I can’t use. As I think back over the last few years I have a laundry list of items that we have been blessed with for free. Some of the things that come to mind include a crib mattress, [amazon_link id=”B0001UZL8A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]water bath canne[/amazon_link]r, [amazon_link id=”B00CS5ZI6G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]my first dehydrator[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B003UJE6O4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]wood baby doll cradle[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B005OSHTF2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]bassinet[/amazon_link], shoes and clothing, end tables, bar stools, [amazon_link id=”B00012D0R2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]french press[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B000A796WG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]baby gates[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B00008XET9″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]window fans[/amazon_link], plants for the garden, [amazon_link id=”B00474Z65O” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]pots[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B003KQM19E” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]baby doll umbrella stroller[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B00C7WKMHU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]chalk board/whiteboard easel[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B002UD6C0C” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]cloth diapers[/amazon_link] and I’m sure there is more that I can’t remember at the moment!
I also monitor Craigslist for free items or for other items that need to be purchased. This is where I was able to find a brand new in the box with the original seal [amazon_link id=”B000RRKQKA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]vitamix[/amazon_link] for $250 instead of the $499.99 price tag that was still on it! Brian even traded two chainsaws for a brand new ipad! That was certainly a score since he didn’t need the chainsaws but didn’t think he could sell them!
So, all that to say we find most of what we need for our family outside of department stores. Walking into our home I don’t feel like it looks like a thrift store, but the overwhelming majority of what you will see has been given to us, found for free or purchased used. It does take more time, but I honestly enjoy doing it! It serves our family and it gives me the thrill of the hunt! I’ve also found that I enjoy things more when I’ve had to be patient and wait for it and work hard to get whatever it is that I need!
Where do you shop? Any hits for other great deals? I’m all ears!