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Buying used kids’ clothes: back to school tips

As we hit the back to school season, the pressure is on to find that elusive balance between sticking to a budget and what your kids actually want to wear. Finding gently used kids’ clothes is one way to keep the back to school budget down. That said, here is our guide for back to school clothing essentials you can buy used, without forsaking style.

Backpacks and bags

There are backpacks brands on the market, such as Mountain Equipment Co-op and Herschel, that are timeless in their quality. These are the ones you are going to come across used as they stand the test of time. With a good backpack, your child should be able to use it through the years without the worry of it falling apart. Used kids’ clothes and backpacks can be found on your local site. Search by brand name if your young one just has to have a certain label.

Short sleeve t-shirts

It’s the norm’ for children to wear through the sleeves of long-sleeve shirts (near the wrist part of the arm), but you can get away with buying short-sleeved shirts when it comes to used kids’ clothes. And, as we all know, kids grow so quickly that they’re not usually in these tees for longer than a few months unless you buy big to begin with.


When it comes to buying used kids’ clothes, jeans are probably the number one garment to search for. Luckily kids’ jeans, unlike adults, tend to stick with a similar style as trends come and go, so those straight up and down jeans from 2010 are going to look as good now as they did then. These can also be fun DIY projects. Add your own personality by ripping or adding embellishments. But I hear bedazzling isn’t “cool.”

Winter coats

Used just for a few months of the year and forever being outgrown, when it comes to buying used kids’ clothes, winter coats should also be at the top of the list. Look for classics in plain block colours or simple coloured patterns so that your kids don’t faint at the sight of an early ’80’s print and so you can resell it. Just like jeans, kids’ winter coats are usually timeless.


The truth of the matter is that children go through shoes like water. It’s often a matter of feet growing quickly or a lot of playground love. However, when you do find a great pair of used children’s shoes online, especially if they are a size bigger than you need, don’t pass them up. Often people buy shoes that just don’t get worn.


It’s true that some kids are afraid of secondhand clothes and others don’t even raise an eyebrow at the thought of hand-me-downs. If you are concerned about convincing your teenager to wear used, our top tip is to let them play with their own budget. Give them an amount of money and ask them, with your supervision, to find their goodies on your local site. Our sites are moderated and completely family-friendly, but of course adult supervision is essential for correspondence and item pick up. They might be surprised how far their money goes.

For a guide to other back to school essentials you can buy used, read our blog feature: Back to school essentials: buy used!

Useful links

Find used kids clothing on your local site

Chatter from the UsedHQ. We're the number one Canadian online classifieds, passionate about keeping items out of landfills, preserving unique curiosities, crafting, upcycling, anything vintage and SAVING MONEY!

2 Responses to “Buying used kids’ clothes: back to school tips”


I find it a little hard to go through all the listings to try and find a paticular Size. It would make it easier if the childrens clothing was divided up by gender and then a few sub catogories for sizes.


    Amber R Bosma

    Hi Des, thanks for your comment, I agree with you, subcategories would make it easier to find the right size clothing. We are always trying to improve the site to make it easier to search our categories so appreciate this sort of feedback, which I will pass on to our development team. It is highly likely they already have this on their (very long) list. Thank you again for your feedback, Amber.

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