Second-hand Baby and Children's clothes, DO YOU BUY THEM? - Guest Blog

I caught up with Emma from - earlier this week to discuss second hand baby & children clothes... heres what she had to say....

Second-hand Baby and Kid’s Clothes, Do You Buy Them? 
Calling all parents! I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on second-hand kids clothes - what do you buy? What do you not buy? Why do you buy it? 

I’m doing my PhD on this very topic, co-sponsored by the parenting charity NCT. If you haven’t been to NCT nearly new sales, I’d certainly recommend them. Usually held twice a year (sometimes more) at local branches all over the UK, nearly new sales give parents the opportunity to buy and sell second-hand baby clothes, toys and equipment. As someone who tries to consume as sustainably as possible, I love snapping up second-hand things, but I know not everyone agrees with me.  
I’ve done a lot of research into the second-hand consumer and it does seem the primary motivation is financial – people like to save money. This is especially true for second-hand baby things, but as supermarkets are so cheap, why else might we buy second-hand stuff? I think partly it’s just to have more stuff, and better quality (second-hand Baby GAP, Boden why not!). When you start thinking about vintage fashion and antiques motives change, people buy these things because they are looking for authenticity and something unique, clearly these items aren’t cheap. 
More and more parents are cottoning on to the benefits of dressing their kids in second-hand clothing. For many, there is a clear difference between hand-me-downs passed on from known family and friends, and the purchase of second-hand clothes from total strangers. Second-hand clothes have had a life before we got hold of them – we don’t know where they have been and who has worn them. They have a history, a biography of their own and for this reason, some parents have been hesitant to go out and purchase second-hand clothing. This is starting to change though, partly due to increasing environmental consciousness, but primarily due to the impact of the recent financial recession. Indeed, consumer research agency Mintel, found that since the onset of the 2009 economic crisis 1 in 5 parents have purchased a greater number of second-hand items for their kids in order to save money. 
Bex shared some of her bargains with me before for an Oxfam post 
So where can you find these great second-hand clothes? 

Nearly New SalesYour first port of call, nearly new sales are set up specifically for baby and children’s items so they are the most efficient form of second-hand shopping. Get there early to snap up the best bits. 

Second-hand ShopsAn increasing number of for-profit second-hand children’s clothes shops (like Smartiesare popping up in towns across the UK. Good for designer goods. 

Online AuctionsEgeBayGood for searching for specific items, but you can’t see them up close before you buy. 

Charity ShopsTime consuming, but satisfying if you find something good. Plus, there is the added bonus of donating money to charity. 

Car Boot SalesHit and miss on quality but you may find some good bargains. 

FreecycleFreecycle brings the age-old tradition of hand-me-downs to the wider community. Top items shift quickly so you have to be on the ball to respond to ads in time. 
What do you think about second-hand kid’s clothes and where do you get yours from?
Leave a comment or tweet me @EmsWaight


  1. Comment from Holly - 'Absolutely! I love a good bargain! I'm in love with charity shops at the moment not just for the kids as there's not always good stuff for them but for me. Also love all the vintage stuff they sell. Fab blog'

  2. Comment from Cat - @EmsWaight @BexandMic we do,eBay via my mum But lots of footless oneses from charity shops, precious things Glasgow

  3. Comment from Hannah - @EmsWaight I'm all for second hand clothes, you can get some amazing bargains. We use cloth nappies and I buy all those preloved too!

  4. Comment from Cate - @BexandMic I do - from flea markets, nearly new sales & eBay. Always second hand. They grow out of everything so fast, brand new is a waste!

  5. Comment from Esther - @BexandMic yep, 2/3rds of E's clothes are given to me or purchased at a nearly new sale x

  6. I would absolutely buy, even from charity shops. Give them a good wash and it's no problem!

  7. Buying second hand or gently used clothing is not a problem with me. Children are growing so fast and I can save a lot when buying in a consignment store.

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  11. Does using second hand clothes cause health problems in children? I can not bear to see children get sick. I have concerns.

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