$econdhand First Class

A thrift store fanatic shares her shopping secrets

Archive for the category “Toys”

Pass on your Passion

In one of my earlier blogs, I talked about falling in love with thrift store shopping as a young girl.
If you want to instill a love of thrifting in a child, start when the child is young. I used to tell my son that a thrift store was like a giant indoor yard sale. Since he enjoyed yard sales, he quickly understood. Here are some tips for sharing your passion for a bargain:

  • Give the child a couple of dollars and let him/her rummage through a toy bin or shelf of books alone, then prepared to be amazed and impressed by what he/she found.
  • Browse for items related to a child’s hobby or interests. Then, point out the price of the thrift store item to what the item would cost new. Get a couple of extra items with the difference or let your young hobbyist pocket the change.
  • Do as my mother did and let the child pick out an outfit. Even if your Lady Gaga wannabe picks out neon yellow tights with a spangled top, how much can it cost? And she’ll remember how “beautiful” she feels in the pieces she chose.
  • Redecorating the child’s room? Let her take the lead in choosing lamps, pictures, or bedspreads. It’s okay if it’s not your taste as long as she loves it and it’s a bargain!
  • This is a good activity for middle and high schoolers. Give your preteen or teen a budget for clothes. Let him/her compare the cost of new clothes such as pants, T-shirts, and jacket, compared to similar items from a thrift store. If possible, let the smart shopper keep the difference.

Show courtesy and good sense in a thrift store. Don’t let the child play with toys while you are in the thrift store and then leave without purchasing the toy. And never leave the child unattended in the toy section.

Happy thrifting!

Toys

Many of our son’s favorite toys were from thrift stores. One such toy was a wooden tic-tac-toe board with Xs and Os. Cars, superheroes, games, you name it, he played with it. 

With the high cost of toys, thrift stores can be a real lifesaver. You just need to take a few precautions. When shopping for toys, follow these guidelines.

  • Buy what you can clean. Not only was the toy likely well-used before it was donated, but while at the thrift store, a multitude of kids have probably played with it while waiting for mom and dad to finish shopping. Click on these links for information on cleaning and sanitizing toys. Plastics (Clorox or Family Management), Wooden toys, and Stuffed toys.
  • Choose a toy in good shape. No cracks, splits, or dangerous edges. For stuffed animals, look for items with no tears, worn spots, spilled stuffing, or missing parts.
  • Check for odor. If you get a whiff of anything, pass unless it’s Strawberry Shortcake and you’re smelling dessert.
  • Make sure all parts present and accounted for. Be sure to apply common sense rules about buying toys for kids such as no sharp edges or small pieces for younger children.
  • If the toy is battery operated, insert the batteries you brought in your kit and test. Nothing is more disheartening to a kid than finding out too late that the airplane doesn’t soar and the car doesn’t zoom.

Once you get the toys home, always clean and sanitize the toy before giving them to your child.

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