Winter may not officially begin until late December, but tell that to the plummeting temperatures in November. It’s time to start rummaging through closets, swapping out drawers, and digging out our warm winter garb.
But that can be a problem when our kids outgrow outfits like it’s their job, we move and leave items behind, or it’s just time for a wardrobe upgrade. Winter clothes, understandably, come with a heftier price tag than items we need in other seasons.
Thankfully, we’ve got some tips for obtaining affordable cold-weather clothing that’ll keep you and your wallet feeling warm.
Whether you’re replacing items for toddlers, teens, or adults, a clothing exchange is an excellent place to start. By selling old, outgrown clothing, you can make money to put toward new items. If you have a local consignment shop, start there.
This way, you may be able to sell old and buy new (to you) clothing all in the same place. But if there’s no consignment shop close by or you prefer the convenience of getting things done online, you have other exchange options.
Poshmark requires a bit more work, as you’ll have to take pictures, describe, price, and post individual items. Because of this and the platform’s higher fees, Poshmark is generally better for higher-end items.
For everyday items, ThredUp is generally the better choice. Their fees are lower, and they do more of the work for you, too. They’ll send you a closet clean out bag and a prepaid shipping label, you fill up the bag and leave it out for pickup or bring it to the post office, and they take care of the rest, including staging, describing, posting, and shipping your items out to buyers.
According to Forbes, customers have saved over $475 million by shopping thredUP instead of traditional retail, and over 28 million items have been upcycled. Both Poshmark and ThredUp sell clothing, shoes, accessories, and other items for all ages and all price ranges.
So, once you’ve made some cash from your cleanout items, you can use it to buy the new stuff you need.
In recent years, the trend of knitting or crocheting your own scarves, hats, mittens, and blankets has made a comeback. Repurposing already-owned materials into fashionable and functional items will help you save money and boost your confidence as a bonus.
With a pile of colorful yarn, a few knitting or crocheting needles, and a step-by-step tutorial or two, it’s easier than ever to craft your own winter garb. And if you don’t already have these supplies lying around, it’s often cheaper to buy the supplies at a local craft store or online than to order or buy new winter accessories every year.
Thrift stores are a great place to save on everything from winter coats and scarves to kitchen accessories and sports equipment. Thrifting has become popular for a good reason. With a bit of patience as you dig through the potential treasure troves, you can find just about anything you need in any season.
Not only do thrift shops help you save money, but they also help reduce your environmental impact, which is always a plus. And some clothing items even get donated with the tags still on, so you’re scoring something new at a fraction of the cost.
If you have friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers with children around the same age as yours, host a closet swap at home. Everyone can bring items their children have outgrown and search through the stacks to find the updated items they need.
You can also do a virtual swap by posting your old items on platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. We’ve seen people swap full bins of baby onesies for bags of toddler outfits; both parties get to declutter and get exactly what they need without spending a dime.
Several times per year, popular stores host online clearance deals to clear out their inventory and make room for new items. These clearance sales can be hard to predict, but if you check regularly, you could get lucky and find what you need for more than half off of the regular price.
Similarly, you can shop at discount stores to find everyday clearance prices on surplus items. Stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls take the leftovers from pricier retailers and sell them at a significant discount.
Just do a quick inspection before you throw items in your cart, and you can walk away with a whole new wardrobe at a fraction of the price you’d spend for fewer goods at a traditional retailer.