I Hate Thrift Stores But I Love Buying Second Hand


Have you ever hit resale burnout? You might have kept an eye on Craigslist or Kijiji for a few weeks looking for a stroller liner or a winter jacket and even missed out on a few that came up and were sold immediately. Or you have had items listed for weeks and had a lot of buyers no show. You’re sick of scrolling through pages of posts on a local Facebook buy and sell or meeting up to buy something second hand to find that the item is in much worse shape than the pictures showed.

I’ve been through all of that. I love buying second hand but after six years of it, I’m pretty burnt out on the negatives. It’s become more work because I have less time and more kids to buy for. I’m tired of spending even thirty minutes of my day doing a meet up to buy a $10 sweater that upon inspection is nubby and has obviously been worn by a lot of children and would maybe last one season on my eldest. I try to buy excellent condition items for my oldest son so that clothes can be passed down. Too often an eBay buy or something I went to buy off Craigslist has been in well used condition, not ‘almost new’ as described. Time and money wasted.

Thrift stores are a good option but I really don’t enjoy shopping and I extra don’t enjoy spending hours hunting through clothes for that one bargain. Plus I have a sensitive sniffer and after twenty minutes the Thrift Store smell, you know it, does me in. I’ve browsed some kid’s consignment stores here in Vancouver and been underwhelmed with the selection (they seem to mostly stock girl’s clothing) and the prices for the quality.

So when I heard an old acquaintance of mine had started a kid’s online resale shop my interest was piqued. After reading the why behind Little White Sneakers I was excited. Resale for those of us that love the savings and environmental good of buying second hand, without all of the downsides of the peer to peer or store experience. They only stock certain brands, think GAP baby and up in the cost and quality scale, and they only stock items that are in new or almost new condition. This sounded like a great fit for me.

What’s the pricing like on Little White Sneakers?

There were a few fall and winter items I had been on the hunt for and I found them all on Little White Sneakers(LWS). The price on LWS was higher than I would have found if I hunted through thrift stores or met up for a Craigslist ‘deal’ but not that much more. The Vancouver peer to peer resale market is very high, usually 50% of retail or more if the item is in good condition, more if it is new with tags or excellent condition.

Shipping was free but I did pay sales tax which I wouldn’t have paid on a peer to peer sale.

There was a shipping snafu and my package took a little more than a week to arrive. I wasn’t too bothered by this because a) Canada Post is pretty slow from the ship city, Toronto, to my city, Vancouver, so I wasn’t expecting it to arrive quickly, b) it was free ground shipping (shipping up here is expensive!) and c) when I emailed Little White Sneakers about the delay they were on it super fast. Props to them for great customer service.

What were the clothes like?

Impeccable. Far far above what I have received via eBay, peer to peer, consignment or thrift stores. I would label three of the four pieces BNWOT (Brand New WithOut Tags) condition and one in EUC (Excellent Used Condition). I was really happy with the quality and, THE SMELL. The clothes smelled fresh yet unscented and they arrived ready for my kids to wear. A+++ if I were leaving an eBay review.

Overall, I’m very happy with Little White Sneakers and I will be buying from them again.

The price may be a little higher than buying peer to peer for my area but the time and stress savings more than make up for that. Plus, as I mentioned, the condition of the clothing was far better than what I have bought peer to peer, at a swap meet or on eBay. I love this and I think it is what sets LWS apart.

The Little White Sneakers buyer might have a bit more money than time. They still want to pay less than retail and be good to the earth, they just don’t have the hours to devote to thrift-ing or peer to peer buying. I could have spent four or more hours online and out searching for these winter pieces. Instead, Little White Sneakers found them and I was able to buy them with a few clicks in a few minutes.

Little White Sneakers probably isn’t for you if you:

  • Love hunting through Thrift Stores for bargains.
  • Aren’t bothered by doing a lot of meet-ups for peer to peer buying.
  • Enjoy spending time on peer to peer sites and eBay looking for gently used clothing.

Little White Sneakers is for you if you:

  • Enjoy the environmental and wallet savings of buying second hand.
  • Don’t have time for or don’t enjoy searching online for items, spending time meeting up with people or hunting through thrift stores.
  • Want excellent condition second hand clothing. Clothing that also smells awesome!

I know many of my frugal readers enjoy the hunt and are ready to spend the time to find that fantastic find at a Thrift Store or at a swap meet or via Craigslist. Bonne chance to you, friends. I admire your savvy and efforts and tell me all about your bargains!

For the rest of us, check out Little White Sneakers.

Note: this is not a paid endorsement and I wasn’t asked to review the site. I’m just thrilled to find a service like this for my low on time, don’t love shopping but love second hand self. If you’re like me check out the site.

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  • Neat! I’ve also been burned out trying to sell things myself, but I’ve had decent luck at consignment sales. I have girls, so maybe that does make things easier. :) I regularly buy items new at Gap, Carters, and Gymboree outlets for around 25% of “retail”, but I do love finding a good deal on second-hand durable items like coats.

  • I’m so glad to read this, I have been getting really burned out on buying secondhand…I love the deals when I find them but lately have been wondering if the work and energy of garage sales and thrift stores are worth it, excited to check this site out!

  • Very helpful post! I’d never heard of LWS before. Will definitely check it out, because the clothes I find at Value Village are rarely in excellent condition.

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