5 Secondhand Clothing Stores to Outfit NYC Kids
As parents, we do a fair amount of shopping for our kids, always in search of a good bargain for ever-growing bodies. Personally, I love hitting children's consignment shops and thrift stores. Besides being a great way to find inexpensive clothes and baby gear, it's fun to stumble across unique items you would never see at a big chain store. Consignment shops are also excellent spots for buying staples like bed rails that you use for a little while and then need to pass on.
Unfortunately, due to listservs like FreeCycle and Craigslist, there aren't as many children's resale shops in New York City as there used to be. But we found five secondhand stores where you can buy (or sell!) kids' clothing, gear and even toys.
Clementine – Greenwich Village
39 1/2 Washington Square South near MacDougal Street
Clementine bills itself as "extraordinary consignment," and carries maternity clothes and children's wares up to 4T. Local mom Cara Wall and her mother, Myrle, founded the shop after Cara's frustration with not being able to find a quality consignment shop during her pregnancy.
To consign: Items can be dropped off during store hours. Patrons can wait while pieces are sorted or "drop and run" and receive a consignment receipt by email. You are paid only once your item sells. You will earn 40 percent of the selling price. Items are consigned for 60 days but then need to be picked up or will be donated. You can also "Consign for a Cause," and have the proceeds of your sales donated to a local charity.
Flying Squirrel – Greenpoint
87 Oak Street near Franklin Street
This longtime Williamsburg boutique moved to a much bigger and better organized space in nearby Greenpoint in October 2013. Expect a large selection of clothing, gear, toys and furniture for babies, kids and moms-to-be. There is a resale section and a playroom for kids to enjoy while parents browse the racks. And the owner, Kate, a mom herself, even hosts occasional special events, like the annual Witches Walk costume parade on Halloween.
To consign: Come in during designated hours to show what you've got. Kate handpicks all items and you receive a "trade" credit good to buy secondhand wares. For expensive items valued at $30 or more, you can opt for consignment and receive 50% of the price once it sells.
Jane's Exchange – East Village
191 East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B
Jane's Exchange is a neighborhood institution carrying children's clothing from infant to size 12. Toys, furniture, gear and maternity wear are also sold.
To consign: Call for an appointment. Consignors get 30 percent of the sale price of items less than $100 and 40 percent on items more than $100. All payment is made in store credit. Items will be consigned for 60 days, after that the owner must pick it up or it will become the property of Jane's Exchange.
Lulu's Then and Now – Park Slope
187 Fourth Avenue near Sackett Street
After many years on Fifth Avenue, this neighborhood mainstay moved to a larger, less expensive space on Fourth Avenue (though its popular children's haircutting salon and toy store remained at its original location). The resale shop sells clothing, toys, books and baby gear from infant to 12-years-old.
To consign: Drop your items off from 10am to 4pm. Lulu staffers will spend 45 minutes or so (expect longer waits on weekends) sorting through your wares and then pay you 40 percent of the resale value via store credit or 20 percent via a check. See the website for additional rules and guidelines.
Once Upon A Child – Staten Island
2305 Richmond Avenue near Shiloh Street
Part of a nation-wide chain of secondhand stores, this Staten Island outpost has been around since 1995 and buys clothing, toys, baby gear, furniture and shoes.
To consign: Bring in clean, gently used items and you will be paid between 30 and 50 percent of resale value on the spot. You can also receive store credit.
If you decide you'd rather go the charity route when getting rid of the clothes your kids have outgrown, check out our list of charities who will put them to good use.
Originally published in December 2010.