Teach your children well…

I’ve been thinking about this post for about a week now. Its a subject I am completely passionate about.

And then coincidentally, something happened on Monday….

My three year old son and I were standing in line at a Goodwill (shocker) and there was a young guy ahead of us. He was probably in his late teens/ early twenties. In his arms was a big stack of dress shirts and dress pants.  I didn’t think anything of it until a middle-aged woman behind me started talking to him.

The conversation went something like this:

Woman: Look at these shirts I got…still have the tag on them.

Young Guy: I know…a couple of these are new too!

Woman: Those look nice.

Young Guy: Yeah…I thought so too.

The woman turned out to be his mom..shopping with him at the Goodwill. I imagined he was buying clothes for perhaps a new job or job interview. I remember his bill came to 33.00 and he said “Great!”.

I looked down at my own son. He was pretend jousting with a sword he had just found at his favorite “Frift Store”.  I secretly made a wish that he too would be like that young guy someday.

I think teaching children the “art” of thrifting is a great skill.

And so as not to digress into a passionate sermon on this topic, complete with dramatic hand gestures and spittle, I’ve simply made a  list of what I think thrifting/treasure hunting/junking can teach children:

1) It teaches humility. Very few experiences can help you keep your feet on the ground like poking around in other people’s castaways.  Or accidentally wearing a tag all day on your shirt in high school that reads ” St. Vincents Thrift-99 cents”.

2) It teaches creativity. From toys missing pieces to clothes missing buttons….figuring out how to solve problems is a great skill to acquire. Not to mention, having to come up with the totally awesome reasons that one HAS to buy the defective items before mom says “no” can also be beneficial.

3) It teaches history. In one store or good estate sale, you can learn everything from when Japan was occupied to what those square buttons and curly cord are on a telephone. Or why tube tops never made a comeback.

4) It teaches recycling. Reusing is the oft forgotten “R”. It’s prettier and cooler sister, “Upcycling”, has started to pave the way for little “Reuse”.  Either way….its a good way to save our planet.

5) It teaches resourcefulness. The kid who has spent a lot of time in bins of used stuff is probably going to figure out how fix his bike faster than trying to get dad to open up his wallet.

My son sorting out "keepers" and "sellers".

6) It teaches entrepreneurship.  It starts with “Can I get that remote control car?” and ends with “What can I get for this remote control car?”.

7)It teaches philanthropy. Those who shop at thrift stores tend to donate as well. It’s the law of junking.  It really is.

I could go on…but you get the point.

Now…if you like this post topic…you are REALLY going to like what these two women are doing!

Bounty Huntress in Texas is actually teaching “picking” skills to homeschooled children! Here is her post about this awesome series of lessons she will be doing!  I gotta tell ya….I would have LOVED to have done this as a kid! This sounds so cool!


Apron Thrift Girl has been teaching her own children the value of finding treasures as she takes them on her adventures.  From her post, it sounds like she is one awesome teacher!!!

I would love to hear about your stories of teaching thrifting skills to youngsters!

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6 Responses to Teach your children well…

  1. shannon says:

    Amen and Hallelujah!

    And don’t forget (related to #6) that when you can finally delegate the shipping portion of the business to your kid (I’m counting the days…I HATE shipping)…think of the geography lessons!!!

  2. Cathy says:

    My baby is only 1 right now but I’m sure she’ll know the skills of thrifting soon enough! I’ve also “converted” my mother-in-law from the mall to the consignment store because “she can get 5x the amount of cute clothes for the baby” Who knew? Actually, I’ve also converted my husband from ordering new car parts to the scrapyard, his very own thrift store!

  3. Kathleen says:

    You make some great points here!
    As a 15 yr old kid, my husband rode his bike the thrift store to buy clothes for his first job as a dishwasher in a restaurant. Key points here: 15 yrs old, bike, thrift store, job, dishwasher. Nothing glamorous, but he was resourceful and he didn’t require fancy department store things. Although I’m not a professional like you, I have found some great things at garage sales and thrift stores.

  4. Angela says:

    Great post! Cute Kid!

  5. latenightcoffee says:

    Thanks for the comments! Glad to hear others supporting this!

  6. Kerrie says:

    Love this post. Makes me want to go junkin’ with you!! Or be your kid…

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