Some children, especially girls, enjoy shopping. But, do they enjoy shopping thrift stores? As a single mother of two children (son & daughter), I was challenged with staying home to watch the children, or bringing them along to shop thrift stores for items to resell on eBay. To make thrift store shopping (thrifting) fun for children, try these simple techniques:
1. Give the children a few key items to look for. For example, show them a certain name brand logo or a word on the designer label.
2. While in the thrift store, use code words that only your family knows. Instead of the children asking, “Hey Mom, can you sell this on eBay?” have them ask something unrelated to eBay. For example, “Would Grandma like this?” (even if it is a man's necktie).
3. Never, ever call Goodwill, “Goodwill”. Due to the stigma attached to shopping at Goodwill, refer to it as “Macy’s” or “Nordstrom”.
4. Reward children with prizes. For younger children, reward them with a quarter for each item that they found to resell. Pieces of candy (skittles, M&Ms, etc) may be used instead of quarters.
5. Some children are competitive. My children created the “hunting game” to see who could find the most items to resell. Reward the “winner” with a pick of his/her choice: restaurant for lunch, movie, family activity, etc. We all know that, in the end, Mom is the winner with the great thrift store finds!
6. Allow the older children to bring electronic devices to listen to music. My teenage daughter “works” better while listening/singing her favorite songs.
7. Allow children to push their own shopping cart. Or, as my son likes to do, have them hook the clothing in the back of their own collar.
8. Plot the family's thrift store travels with your own version of Flat Stanley. The Flat Stanley project was created to facilitate youngsters letter-writing by documenting the travels of paper cutout, Flat Stanley. Our "Flat Stanley" is a plush stuffed sock monkey, named Ralph. Whether vacationing or taking a mini road trip, we make it a point to stop at a Goodwill ("Macy's") or local thrift store to photograph Ralph, the sock monkey. We document our thrift store travels with Ralph on the Piece Of Scrap Facebook Fan page.
9. Limit the amount of time in the store. While an avid thrift shopper could spend hours browsing clothing racks and shelves filled with toys and household items, limit the time spent thrift shopping with the children to no more than 2 hours.
Enjoying family time is important … even if family time includes shopping thrift stores! To get started making money and selling on eBay, visit How to get started selling on eBay and making money. To get started shopping on eBay and making money, Starting an eBay Business For Dummies by Marsha Collier is a great read and voted one of the Best Books of the Year So Far by the Amazon.com editorial team.