Tuesday is here!!!
I am especially excited and proud of today’s bit. The reason?
I am answering a request from a follower!!! This is a milestone for me, and I encourage anyone with an honest question to give me a shout-out either here in the comments, or on my FB page/private message. I am happy to put my Tuesdays to great use following up and perhaps researching 🙂
If you have children, especially little girls (which has been my only experience- though I have a two year old nephew)… you already know that they come with more accessories than a Barbie, more guidebooks than a tourist attraction in NYC, and absolutely no regard for either of those things. That being said, if you are not drowning in toys and clothing, the opposite is usually true. Being on a strict budget, with the costs of living getting progressively higher, while the idea of a substantial raise is usually harder for an employer to dole out than getting a child to accept nap-times or brussel sprouts; it can be very tough to find new/gently used and affordable kids’ clothes.
I have seen tags that list a child’s shirt as more expensive than my gas budget for the week! And shoes are a horror I continually cannot avoid. Saving as many pairs as I can to hand-down to my youngest is thrifty, but Alli & Ellie are shoe/fashion enthusiasts. They wear them hard. They are also striving for uniqueness, always wanting what the other has, but not if it’s freely given (you know the rivalry) and their styles are worlds apart. Mostly.
I am so psyched to say that today I found Exactly what I was hoping for in a single keystroke, I had previously devoted a few hours to my research to no avail. Free or low priced kids’ clothing seems impossible to find unless you aren’t looking.
In my experience these have only been run by churches. Before you get worried about religious philosophies and affiliations, don’t worry! They are open to the general public on certain days, I am sure some may need you to contact them and provide some basic information before you can use them.
But for those who don’t know a Clothing or Hope Closet is setup like a thrift store, people donate good clothing and shoes, mostly used, but sometimes you find some new items. The whole stock is free to those in need, and they usually have things for any/all seasons, though I do think many of them also provide toiletries, and work in conjunction with Food Pantries as well. They have specific days/hours of operation. And in the months leading up to the holidays they stock children’s book and toys that are also free to those in need.
You can usually find a listing of them through the “Conference of Churches” just google search your county then “conference of churches” afterword. (ex. Lehigh conference of churches). They should have a community calendar or other links. If all else fails use their contact number to ask them directly. They are open during the week. Many of them provide to local residents, so you definitely want to find one in/around your area.
There is an official organization in PA that actually has locations throughout:
Our Closet PA. This may be the most direct and helpful if you aren’t in Berks or Lehigh county.
These churches in the Lehigh Valley I know personally that provide both a Food Pantry & Clothing Closet are great!
There is a very convenient new trend in Online Yardsales or Flea Markets cropping up usually through FB, if you live in a county, chances are it’s got one. Don’t be afraid to poke around, these groups are sometimes closed, but it’s easy as pie to request an in, and they are usually very diligent about accepting folks. It operates almost like a craigslist page, except with better pictures and the ability to private message, comment, or respond directly to people. The prices are usually affordable and cheap, but you never know what someone may be looking to part with. Another plus is that you can opt in for updates and notifications.
There is always the possibility of venturing out to conventional markets, these are usually held on weekends in a standard setting, they do not travel. And if you have the gift of gab, a few hidden dollars in your pocket, and a natural charisma: you can barter your way to some nice buys. There is one in Reading, Quakertown, Slatington, Allentown, and just about any larger town/city. Make a day of it & Enjoy!
They usually have a credit program, just ask about donations for credit. This is one way to continue recycling your investment in your kids’ clothing for years, or at least through the many growth stages and sizes.
Need Help Paying Bills is the only things I found regarding “applying” for help of all kinds. They list each county by state and give links to “Clothing Closets”. I have never really used this site, so I cannot vouch personally for it. I would only use it to find information about these options, but would not trust it enough to enter anything personal in or apply through it directly. I am not sure if that is even an option.
These are just like flea markets, but usually for the specific purpose of reselling kid’s clothes. Some consignment stores participate to sell off surplus, while some parents participate to make a little extra and rid themselves of the many many bits of cloth and accessories that can consume a closet or even a house. There are usually advertisements or mailers that get sent our for these events, but if you have never received one, it may be worth your while to google search this also.
These sorts of needs are very important, and seem to be brought to light with increasing necessity all the time. Remember that no one got to where they are without help from someone at some time. Be proud of your community and be proud of what you do out of love for your children.