Do you like to go thrift store shopping?
I have always loved going to thrift stores! Thrift store shopping was so fun and relaxing to me. I loved to stroll around the shop with my eyes open for that next treasure. A vintage book, a name brand blouse or expensive pair of jeans, fabric, decor items and more. I would spend hours just moseying through the store enjoying browsing and looking for a treat.
Then I had children and thrift store shopping was no longer fun.
For one, they would touch everything! “OOOOH! I want this mommy!” “Mommy, can I have that?” Oh look at this pretty glass unicorn! Can I have it for my room?” Then there is the germ factor! Let’s face it, thrift stores are NOT clean. Most of them aren’t. Now there are some sweet little ones run by churches that look like mini boutiques and I don’t get as grossed out in those, but there are some big, super thrift stores that I do NOT want my kids touching things in.
Then there are the kids that like to hide underneath the clothes rack and scare you half to death, because you can’t find them and you are on a bad side of town! There was also the time when they decided to run down an aisle chasing each other with foam bats and my daughter slammed her freshly pierced ear into the rack of clothes, knocking her brand new earring out onto the filthy floor. Her ear was bleeding and she was crying that her ears would close up and I was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to clean her ear and put the earring back in! When I was trying to help her the toddler decided to hide under the clothing rack again.
That was it! I vowed never to take them to a thrift store again.
Just the thought of taking them stressed me out, to me it just seemed impossible to really be able to go thrift shopping with multiple children in tow. Then there was this one day, we were out running errands and the kids were being sweet and we were all having a good time. We drove by a shopping center when my oldest daughter noticed a sign for a new thrift store! They were all begging me to go check it out. I took a deep breath and agreed, but I had lots of stipulations for them and a bribe thrown in there. We went in and they were so well behaved, no one ran away, they helped me look, I let them look at the old golden books and everyone left with a treat! We haven’t had a problem again, and this is a treat we all enjoy doing together! We usually hit the thrift stores every Friday afternoon!
Here are some things I learned on how to go thrift store shopping with your kids, without losing your mind:
1. Chill out!
Seriously, chill out! I have noticed that if I am high strung, and in a stressful mood, my kids feed off of it and it just isn’t a good experience to begin with. I like to keep a stress essential oil roll-on in my purse and let everyone sniff it before we go into the store. It really works!
2. Let them know what is expected and exactly what you will be doing.
This is so important. Sometimes you really need to spell things out. “We are going into XYZ to look for XYZ, and to see if we can find good deals on books, fabric, etc…” Make sure they know only to touch what you give them permission to touch. I also let my older girls carry their own mini hand sanitizer with them.
3. Instill character training ahead of time.
If you haven’t been training your children don’t be surprised when they run around like maniacs. If you are having problems with teaching them how to obey or with them fighting with each other there are some great resources for this. Here are some of my favorite Bible Studies:
My Brother’s Keeper – a 4 week study on the subject of sibling relationships
Because I Said So – A Biblical Study on Obedience
3. Bribe them!
Let them know that if they obey the rules and stay close to you, and are well behaved, that they can pick out whatever it was you decided they could have in advance. A 50 cent book or a little glass trinket for their shelf in their room can go a long way to keeping them on track while you are shopping.
4. Have fun!
Thrift store shopping can be a fun experience. There are some crazy outfits, home decor, and some really random things you can find. We love to pick out fun things for each other and laugh at the goofy things we find. We also really enjoy when we find exactly what it was that we were wanting or needing!
5. Thank God for your blessings!
The last few times we have gone shopping we have been so blessed. My girls found brand new pairs of $30 Crocs that looked like they were barely worn, my son found a vintage video game he had been hunting for and I found a case of mason jars! It’s so great to see the kid’s reactions when we find what we need at such an affordable price. There is nothing more precious to hear your little one exclaim “Oh! What a blessing!” When they find what we have been looking for!