You know what’s really fun? Dressing up your kid in super cute clothes. But keeping up with growing kids and changing trends will start to cost you a lot of money.
One thing that has been fun and important to me is buying pre-loved items for Will. Not only has it been a big factor in helping us save money, but often there are so many good quality items that are outgrown by other families before they ever get worn out. I’ve bought some great used items at only a fraction of the cost. More importantly, I do consider buying pre-loved clothing to be a more eco-friendly option, as items can be reused instead of ending up in landfills. The shift to thinking more in terms of sustainable fashion is important to me, and I’m starting to apply some of this thinking towards my own clothing and household purchases as well.
Since buying pre-loved is such a big part of our lives, I thought I’d share some of my favourite shops, in particular, in the East End:
Bumbleberry Kids — Located on Queen near Coxwell, this little shop was one of the first consignment stores I ever visited and is still my favourite. The ladies here are so friendly and they have some great quality items. I love that everything is mixed together by size, and not divided into boys/girls. I’m a fan of keeping stereotypes out of clothing choices, so this is one of my favourite shops for that reason. They have a dedicated maternity section in the back of the shop as well. We love this one because it’s also within walking distance and is dog-friendly, so on those days when Will falls asleep in the stroller on a walk, I will often pop in to see what I can find while he snoozes.
Merrily Merrily — The items in this shop are very good quality. Personally, I’ve found that items for toddlers and older, especially for boys are trickier to find here, or perhaps picked over. They have their full inventory listed online, and their website offers a great option where you can reserve the items online and pay and pickup in store, which is convenient when you want to avoid the extra cost of shipping (but they have that convenience too!) This is a hot spot for moms in the East end, so good items tend to go pretty quick. Luckily, they are constantly updating their website with items, so keep this one bookmarked and check back often. They recently renovated the store and they now have a play area for kids, a great option for moms who are trying to shop with babes and toddlers in tow.
Little White Sneakers — I met the team from LWS at a few of the Toronto Yoga Mama events, and they are awesome! Their inventory is full of high quality brands (think Lacoste, Burberry, Jacadi) as well as local brands (Juddlies, Bebe Fete) and they are always willing to help you find something particular you’re searching for. They helped us find a special outfit we needed for a family event this past winter. Their inventory is all available online, and they offer the option to do local pickup at their store front (Mount Pleasant) and save on shipping costs.
Little Saturday Market — This is an online consignment shop run by a lovely woman named Andrea (who is also the founder of Modern Mommy Collective). She is located north of the city, and she does coordinate occasional in-town pickups as well. All of the merchandise is viewable on her website, and mailed to you when you purchase. She often shares posts to Instagram when items are about to hit the shop. I’ve scored lots of great items here, as well as sold a bunch of items on consignment.
Once Upon A Child Bayview — I’ve popped in here a few times while running errands in Leaside, and I have always found the staff here to be quite friendly. The quality of the items is not as good as some of the other places we shop, but occasionally you can find a really quality item. I picked up a very good winter coat for Will here at a reasonable price. Often they offer deals on current merchandise (70% off the entire store, hello!) so if you have the means to travel and check it out, I do recommend it. Aisles are tight, so I’d suggest a baby carrier or toddlers on foot, avoid bringing the stroller if you can.
Facebook Buy and Sell groups — I’ve picked up some really cool things (Bogs, foam blocks, play kitchen items) for pocket change in these groups, and best of all, they tend to be centralized around certain neighbourhoods. In a unique way, you get to know other moms in your area, and many times I’ve used it as a multi-tasking opportunity to get the dog and Will out for a neighbourhood walk so I can do a local pickup.
Instagram Preloved accounts — One of the new trends I’ve noticed for selling used clothing is mama’s who start their own Instagram accounts to sell their own items without having to pay consignment fees. One downside to this is that shipping costs can be pricey depending on the items, as individual sellers don’t get the same mailing options as businesses do. If you are lucky to find something you like and can coordinate a local pickup, you can save on shipping.
There are a few honourable mentions—these pre-loved ventures are not located in the East End, but are worth checking out if you have the chance.
Outgrow Outplay Mississauga — This is a semi-annual event that takes over the Hershey Centre, offering everything you can imagine pre-loved for babies and children. We bought our first high chair here at an incredible discount, as well as sold a few items on consignment.
Kid to Kid Mississauga — This little gem carries some really great items, especially footwear. I’ve scored some great shoes and boots here practically brand new at a discount of the retail cost. They have a large selection, so make sure you have lots of time if you make the drive.
Carousel Kids — This little shop is in Waterdown, and has a lovely selection of pre-loved items. They also have a huge selection of brand new products, including a ton of Melissa & Doug items if you’re ever looking.
When we’re done with items and they still have life left in them, we will either resell or donate the items to be used again by another family. In the past, we have donated through Clothesline—which supports the Canadian Diabetes Association. You can visit their website and coordinate a porch pickup at your door of gently used clothing and household items. I also recommend looking into New Circles—a local organization that gives back to the East Toronto Community.
Do you have any favourites that we haven’t mentioned? Tell us about them!