Shop Thrift for Back to School

As parents prepare to send their children to head back to school they are also preparing for the cost of necessary clothing and school supplies.  Clothing is one of the biggest expenses for parents at the start of the school year, but it doesn’t have to be!  Shopping thrift is an easy way to let your kids express their unique style while maintaining a family budget. Thrift stores offer a great variety of trends and brands so you can get great thrift finds for fall.

Start by going over your child’s wardrobe and determining what still fits and is still in a wearable condition.  Donate items that can no longer be worn or that your child no longer wants, and make a list of what can be re-used, and what still needs to be purchased.

Before you start shopping it’s important to set a budget. Make sure your child understands the budget and that you won’t stray from it without good reason. Working with your child to make a list of what items are needed is a good way to avoid any conflicts during shopping. This is also a great way to teach your child how to prioritize when it comes to shopping. It’s also important to let your child have a little bit of freedom in how the clothing budget is spent. For instance, if there’s an expensive pair of shoes that they ‘must have’, make sure they understand that they’ll have to make sacrifices on other items.

Hit thrift stores first to drastically reduce what you spend on clothing. Thrift stores often have a large selection of clothing that’s still in good condition as well as new items for a fraction of the original price. Search for items that can be worn in more than one season, such as a mid-length skirt or a light sweater. Look for deals on long and short sleeve t-shirts, which are great layering pieces under sweaters and dress shirts. Don’t be afraid to get items that are a big too big so kids can grow into them.  Here are three essential items to look for at your local thrift store:


Especially if you live in Canada, temperatures vary a lot during the fall months. Having several coats in your wardrobe will ensure you’re never caught unprepared, and will always have the perfect addition to any outfit. Some classics include pea coats, jean jackets, and bomber jackets. These are often easy to find in thrift stores and can be upcycled by adding personal touches like new buttons, zippers, or patches on jean jackets. Coats often go quickly so be sure to shop early in the season!


Can you imagine a wardrobe without jeans? Neither can we! It’s best to purchase this year-round staple in October after the back-to-school rush has subsided.


You can’t get through fall without at least one decent pair of boots, and often one pair isn’t enough. Good quality boots can easily sell for more than $100 in retail stores, so they are an excellent choice for thrifting. People often are squeamish towards the idea of buying used footwear for hygenic purposes, but also because shoes that have already been broken in by different feet will have an altered shape. Boots don’t come with either of these problems as they are often worn with thicker socks. When starting your search look for a pair of brown and a pair of black boots – remember tall boots are the more wearable option! Other styles that complement a fall wardrobe are ankle boots, rain boots, and over the knee styles.

Our work across this amazing and exciting used goods industry – from donation to re-creation – with our not-for-profit and private sector partners is driven by passion and a belief that making a difference can be fun and helpful all at the same time.  We’re constantly challenging ourselves to find new opportunities to extend the lifecycle of used goods and expand the closed loop economy.

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