Monday, March 19, 2007

Thrifting with little people

I love thrifting (no surprise there!), but I also have a 2-year-old son. At first I thought I wouldn't be able to thrift with my busy-bodied little guy. Then, I came up with a few things that make going to tag sales and thrift shops a great experience for both of us. I thought I'd share these ideas for those of you who have kids (or grandkids) you want to take with you on your thrifting adventures.

1. Have a plan, and share it with your little companion(s). I tell my son where we are going, what we are going to do, and what I expect of him while we are there. I'm not sure he understands everything I say, but it seems to help.
2. Hit the toy aisle or kids' table first. I let my son pick out a small toy to play with while I make the rounds. I tell him he can keep it if he is a good boy. I can't decide whether to call this a bribe or an incentive, but it usually works great.
3. Consider using a backpack or sling to carry younger children. My Kelty kidpack (shown in use in the picture above) has saved my thrifting sanity. It allows my son to be high enough to see where we are going, and keeps my hands free (to grab all the goodies I can carry!).
4. Play games to engage your child's attention and deter whining. I play I Spy (we're working on colors, letters and shapes), but a treasure hunt could be more fun for older children. Just remember to tell them they should walk, be polite, and not pick up anything breakable.
5. Be prepared to abandon ship. Sometimes my son just isn't up for cruising the aisles or
hopping from sale to sale in the car. I let his mood determine the length of my thrifting trips.
I try to leave before he gets loud or whiny. Otherwise, I end up with a little guy crying in my ear as I hastily pay for my goodies.

Do you have any other ideas for hitting the tag sale trail with little ones in tow? I'd love to hear them!


Prairie Princess said...

We found that if our daughter brought her own stuffed animal she stopped asking for one at every yard sale we hit.

Colleen said...

I have two older kiddos (almost 7 and almost 10) plus my 6mos old. Typically I try to go without the older two as they want to shop with my money ;). But when I do take them we talk about what our budget is up front. So they hunt for a toy or item that fits within the budget. My oldest daughter is getting really good at spotting the milk glass I'm after.

And yes, the sling has been a life saver with our baby!

jenny vorwaller said...

oh meagan! i love this photo of you! very nice tips too, wonderful post.

leslie said...

great post and adorable photo! i'm hoping to have kids in the next few years and often wonder how it will affect my thrifting - i'll have to keep your tips in mind.

Meagan said...

Thanks for all the comments!

prairie princess - I do that, too! My son usually ends up picking out a toy truck or car, so sometimes I just grab one of his on the way out the door. We've only lost one so far. Thanks for adding it here!

colleen - Setting a budget for each child is a great idea. I haven't even thought about allowances yet, so I'll have to keep this in mind. How cool is it that your daughter can find your favorites?!? I hope when my son gets older he'll be able to hunt for the things I love as well. Also, "All hail, the might sling!" :)

jenny - Thanks! I wasn't sure about posting this pic (and I hope someone bumps it down a little with a new post soon), but I'm glad I did. You should see the outtakes!

leslie - Thank you! I made the decision before my son was born that I would continue doing the things I love even after I had kids. It's challenging sometimes, but totally worth it!

Fada Remendeira said...

Eu amei tudo!!!!
I sorry, i don't speak inglês, but
i love everything

vintagechica said...

We have a kelty backpack that we love as well. I have three boys and it can be rough at times, but we play the eye spy game, I also give them each two quarters (five dimes, etc.) to spend on something of their choice. This helps them to see how far money goes and teaches them about making choices. No you can not have the rescue hero that happens to be missing an arm if you also pick the playmobile car. Oh, and when all else fails, I have been known to bribe them with snacks as well.

takinanap said...

excellent ideas! get them started early. my kids are now...well, probably your age and thrifting is second nature to them. beautiful sweet photo of you and the little guy. maggie

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