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Each year the world spends billions of dollars on back to school items. A backpack filled with school supplies can cost around $150. That doesn’t include kid’s’ school needs such as indoor shoes, outdoor shoes, clothing, mitts, hats, umbrellas and everything in between. Thrifting can come in handy this year and every year during the back to school season, with tips and tricks that will help this WHOLE school year run smoothly. My ideas and suggestions are purely fuelled on my desire to save money, be more environmental, and because, well, experience.

With that said, here’s MY TOP 5 REASONS you should be heading to your local Value Village for Back To School.


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1. Utensils

Most homes have one set of good dishes, one set of good utensils. Since we’re all trying our dang best to not use the single-use plastics anymore, perhaps in your efforts you sent a spoon with a yogurt that never returned. Now you’re not out just one spoon, you’re out a complete set.

So, tip #1 – buy a bag of stainless steel utensils just for school lunches. Not only is it an environmentally-friendly option, it’s a huge money saver, too. Most bags were retailing under $5 for about 10-20 pieces. So go ahead kids, enjoy the yogurt.


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2. The Second Outfit

Most schools (and most kids) require a back-up outfit. There has yet to be a year where the backup outfit hasn’t been used, in our experience. Whether a puddle of mud, a spilled drink, a sick tummy or otherwise, it’s best to keep an extra set in their backpack or locker. This should include: Socks, Underwear, Long Sleeve T-shirt, Pants.

This should not include: Having to buy a brand new set of “emergency clothes”. This is the PERFECT time to thrift. It’s not part of their wardrobe, it’s just backup. So feel free to really go to basics here! A backup outfit on average for us costs around $10 thrifted.


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3. Jeans

When you buy a pre-loved pair of jeans at Value Village, you can save 1800 gallons of water. That is more than 10 years of drinking water for the average person. Pretty cool right? Not to mention, since jeans are so well-worn year after year, kids are far more likely to grow out of them before they wear out of them.

Bonus good news… Value Village racks are FULL of them. My kids really don’t like jeans these days, but I still like them in their wardrobe for an option. Buying them thrifted is a great way to get great branded quality jeans for a fraction of the price. So if they don’t wear them a whole lot, it’s alright!


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4. Snow Gear

Around January to February of every year I fall into problem of a kid who’s blown through the knees of their snow pants, and guess what? They’re nearly impossible to find once the season is already in session.

So now in the Fall, before anyone is really thinking about it yet, I get ready by purchasing my backup snow pants at Value Village. I tuck them away, and I wait. Each and every year, they get used.


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5. Extra Shoes

I mean, kind of self-explanatory, but kids destroy shoes. They destroy them fast. They destroy them in weird ways, too. I’ve tried buying the more expensive ones, splurging hoping that little bit of extra money means a little bit of extra time. Each time, I’m proven to be wrong.

So, we thrift the extra shoes. Sometimes they get worn just for a messy field trip, sometimes they get worn because their first shoes got wet or muddy at school and need a day to be cleaned up. Sometimes, they get used because they somehow managed to destroy their brand new shoes and now have toes literally sticking out. So get the extra shoes. You’ll thank me later.


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Other Considerations:

  • Thermos’

  • Splash Pants

  • Rain Boots

  • Backpacks

  • Reading Books For All Ages

  • Lunch Containers (some cool vintage tin ones if you can!)

  • Mittens

  • School/Craft Supplies

& so so so much more.


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While thrifting has become a way of life for us and our family, I realize that for many it can feel foreign or difficult to wrap your head around and maybe even overwhelming when you step into a Value Village for the first time. But, whether you choose to be a little more environmentally-friendly with your approach to your family’s needs, or you just want to cut down on those ever-growing costs of raising a family – it’s a good time to consider starting!


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As always, enjoy the hunt!

This post is in sponsored collaboration with Value Village.

All opinions are, as always, authentically my own!

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