My Amazing Free Haul from the Clothes and Houseware Share

Children grow so fast! It seems like just yesterday that I came home with so many new clothes for my kids, and yet, my kids keep growing out of them and telling me "Mommy, I need new clothes". Do that times four and you have quite a pricey proposition.
For that reason, I'm so glad that I know about a "clothes and houseware share" in the nearby city that lets you get whatever you need, absolutely for free, as long as they have it available.

Its like a second hand clothing store, only you don't pay a cent for anything. People bring whatever they want to get rid of, whether they're decluttering, outgrow clothes, or bought something they no longer want, and other people can take them home. The other difference between that and a second hand store is that, as this is all run on a volunteer basis, things aren't always "neatly on racks" or very well organized. I mean they attempt to organize it as well as they can, but they keep getting more and more donations, so there are often bags and bags to look through and sort instead of shelves to browse.
But it makes the experience more fun that way.
And it makes you feel like you won the lottery when you find something wonderful.

While I've known about this clothes and houseware share for a while, and even am in the neighborhood once or twice a week, I'm always in a rush when I'm there, so I haven't been able to take the time to go look for things, but today I was finally able to.

And though I'd originally planned on spending an hour or so there, I ended up spending quite a few hours...

And came home with quite a haul!
My kids and I are all really excited about what I got there. So many things! 

The woman in charge, when I asked her what she thought about statements I've gotten about being a "taker" when I bring home so many free things, she said that its quite ridiculous. If people don't take things, then they get overrun with clothes and other items, and it makes it unpleasant for everyone. The biggest help, she says, is to come and take things. Because then when other people offload their donations, there's room for them.

And when you're searching through the bags for things, you can also sort them out, making the place more pleasant for future visitors.

Here's what I brought home.

A bunch of pairs of pants, for my oldest son, Lee, and second son, Ike. Lee is obsessed with jeans, and pretty much will only wear skinny jeans, ideally ones that are distressed or ripped. And he's nearly outgrown all his pants, so I was most desperate. I wasn't sure which pants would fit him, and which would get his approval, so I brought home a bunch. Fortunately he was happy with two of them that currently fit him, and a few pairs that are a little big and set aside for when he grew into them, and Ike found a bunch that fit him too. The rest will be returned either to this clothes and houseware share or the local second hand store.

I was on the lookout for shirts for the boys as well, but most of the shirts I found their size were formal white button down shirts. I brought home a bunch of these, because these were pristine, high quality fabric, and fitted, so extra stylish. I brought a few other shirts home, and fortunately, other than one that was too big, everything was a hit with my boys.

My daughter Anneliese has grown so much that nearly all her dresses are too short on her, so she requested that I get her some beautiful dresses. I kept an eye out and found so many stunning dresses, and of course, if Anneliese gets new dresses, little sister Rose also does. The girls and I will now need to go through their closet to get rid of their old dresses that are old and worn and faded or in less great condition now that they have a new supply to take their place.
My girls loved their dresses so much and wanted to put on a fashion show.

I also found an amazing amount of beautiful skirts and shirts for my girls.  Some were a little big for Anneliese so I'll be putting them aside for her to grow into them.

The girls were beyond thrilled when they saw all these beautiful headbands and bows that I brought home for them.


 I wasn't sure I'd find anything for myself, because I wear a large size, and I'm picky with styles and colors, but fortunately I found an amazing skirt, five shirts, a bathing suit, and a dressing gown. I also found this pink fluffy unicorn onesie similar to the one that I’ve been eyeing on that I was hoping to use as pajamas, but it's too small on me, so Lee claimed it for himself.

Last but not least, books! Some are books by authors that I've long wanted to read, some are childhood favorites of mine, and some just look like wonderful and fun reads. I already read my kids Tikki Tikki Tembo, a childhood favorite of mine, for a bedtime story tonight.

I am really loving this clothes and houseware share, and feel really blessed to be able to have benefited from it.

Do you ever have clothing swaps where you live? Or do you have anything like this locally, like a freeswap or freecycle? If you have a cheap second hand store or have the ability to get things free where you live, have you gotten any nice things lately? What was it?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. SUch an organisation needs givers and takers. I expect you do your own bit to contribute to your community both in passing on clothing that your family no longer needs and also in other ways.

    1. Thanks, yes, I do pass on things to others as well.

  2. Wow, what an amazing haul! I'm always so surprised there's not more of this sort of thing. I regularly go to clothing swaps and no one bats an eyelid if you come away with stacks of stuff. If you need it, you need it. One time I got enough things for my son I didn't need to spend any money on clothing for him that year. Parents are generally only too happy to offload old clothes.

    Tikki Tikki Tembo, oh I loved that story!

    1. Thanks! Yea, its amazing what you can get, preventing things from getting tossed, and not needing to buy more things.

  3. I also see you have Whale Rider, from my country of New Zealand. I highly recommend the movie of it too, very thiught provoking for children. An inspiring watch and read.

    1. I've actually already seen and enjoyed the movie, so I was excited about the book for that reason. :D

  4. We have a similar donation based volunteer run clothing swap "store" organised for migrants in our town. And they are usually owerflowing with donations. I notice there are always more people getting rid of clothes than people in need of new clothes so I second the "store" manager's words.
    I oftwn shop in a second hand that sells clothes by weight, each day of the week more cheap, on saturday the cheapest (but less to choose from), and they get new clothes on a weekly basis. I go with my mum and it's always fun for us. I often get big, silky man button down shirts for $ 0.50 and then my mother makes me pillowcases out of them (I like to sleep on silk, it's better for my skin and my hair does not tangle as much that way). Second hand is cheaper for me and better fot the evironment! :) I wish you showed us the fashion show pics, that sounds so much fun, and I can imagine your daughters' excitement :)

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