Good Evening,

Hope you’ve all had a lovely week, without getting your spirits too dampened with the heaviest of rainy downpours we’ve experienced across the country…?

My week has been entirely unremarkable.

Just the way I like it.

Today I thought I’d try and tackle the minefield that is sustainable kids clothing.

This is *not* a blogpost full of a whole bunch of links to beautifully curated, sustainable kid’s boutiques… I’m afraid that’s not *quite* how I see this blogpost unfolding.

This is… more of a ‘sharing’ of my own experiences.

Now… I guess, *the* most sustainable option, given the planet’s problem of depleting resources and ever growing population is quite simply: don’t have kids!

For anyone out there who has chosen this option: you’re well ahead of many of us!

For those of us who did go down the kids route: well they’re here now, so what can we do to help ensure they head down the sustainable path…?

I can only go by my own experiences here, and this is how I’ve clothed my own boys:

1. Hand-me Downs:

Image from Google Images

Back in October 2008, when my first son arrived on the scene, I was overwhelmed by hand-me down’s from both my sister-in-law and best friend.

Both of them had also had baby boys, just 3 months earlier, and both were moving onto the next baby sized clothing bracket.

I didn’t buy a single stitch for my newborn.

My mum had kitted us up with a handful of first-stage, newborn babygro’s, and when friends and family came to visit our new arrival, they all came bearing gifts, mainly clothing… some in the actual tiny sizes and others had thoughtfully bought bigger sizes for my boy to grow into.

In fact, I didn’t need to buy my son any clothing the first 3 years of his life.

Apart from first shoes.

There after, my mum was a whizz at finding his correct shoe-size in carboot sales and charity shops. More on that in a bit.

I realise that in terms of timing, I was lucky that I had two lots of hand-me downs being passed on, and not everyone is lucky enough to be in that position, but there have also been surprising other sources of hand-me-downs which came my way…

… for example, shortly after moving to Salisbury with my then 18 month old toddler, a lady who lived on my street stopped me to say she had a whole bunch of boys clothing, age 2 – 3, and wondered whether I would like them?

Likewise, my sister, who has both a boy and girl, and had never had many hand-me downs had been saving the her boy’s clothing, for me.

Her son is 5.5 years older than my firstborn!

So when she handed me bags and bags of clothings, sorted by age… yet again I felt overwhelmed.

I would always sift through the handed down clothing again myself, keeping only what I thought I needed, and charity bagging the rest.

Most of these hand-me downs were then worn all over again by my younger son, who was born in 2012.

What I learnt about the whole hand-me-down thing for siblings is that it can be tricky: my older boy is broader and athletic in build and younger one is a narrow, skinny little streak; as such, not all saved clothing works on him.

But for the lion’s share, both boys have survived their first 7 and 10 years on 95% handed down clothing, with the exception of footwear, and the occasional ‘new-new’ piece, which my boys see as a real, exceptional treat, and not something that is a regular necessity.

I’ll talk more on that towards the end of this post.

2. Gum Tree


Image from Google Images

Although I never had any need to look for any kids clothing for my children on Gum Tree, I have given away kids clothing, by the bag full via my local Gum Tree site.

It’s really easy: sign up to your local Gum Tree site, and pop an ad up… something along the lines of “bin liner of boys clothes, age 4 -5 in used/worn condition, but with plenty of wear left in them yet; free to good home, collect from XXX’ and trust me when I tell you – you get a small avalanche of takers.

There are a great many families out there, living with a lot less than many of us, and it’s always good to know that the clothing is going to be put to good use.

I’ve found Gum Tree to be brilliant for re-cycling/ passing on out-grown kids clothing.

Likewise, if you’re looking to buy, it’s straightforward… it’s more of an old style responding to a ‘classifieds newspaper ad’ and emailing or phoning up to enquire about availability of item and making an arrangement to pop over and buy.


3. Charity Shops

Image from Google Images

In this day and age of eBay, the ‘Boden Mums’ (if you’ll excuse the stereotype) will often sell their children’s barely worn, but outgrown kids pieces on eBay and the like.

Which is fair enough.

But you’d be surprised at how many simply cannot be bothered to go though this selling process: me, in fact; I never mustered the energy for selling any of my kids stuff on eBay, even if the pieces were in great condition.

Sure, I recycle, but I’ve never sold kids clothing… perhaps because most of it was handed down in the first place?!

And with that in mind, there are some great condition children’s pieces to be found in charity shops…

… it would seem, I’m not the only #lazymum who doesn’t make time to sell on eBay!

4. Car Boot Sales


The Great British Car Boot: Image from Google Images

Salisbury isn’t great for Car Bootin’.

But in some areas, like Bristol for example… there’s a crazy good level of ‘stock’ of secondhand kids clothing to be found at car-boot sales.

I use Bristol as an example because that’s where I grew up and where, until 3 years ago, my parents lived.

My mum loves a good old car boot rummage and I could put in a request with her for something very specific, and within a couple of weeks, she’d have found it for me, for a bargain price.

Again, it was rare that I’d ask her to find clothing for my boys, again, because of the volume of passed on clothing I was lucky enough to be in receipt of.

However, there would always be random bits – like wellies & snow boots/waterproofs etc which we needed for the boys when, back in their “outdoor-only, Scandic-Ethos” nursery days.

I think to date, I’ve only ever had to buy one pair of new wellies for one of my boys!

5. eBay

ebay logo

Image from Google Images

I don’t think I really need to say much here, do I?

Input your requirements and hit the search button.


{I’ve never used facebook but lots of people I know swear by local Facebook marketplace as well.}

Those are my main, top 5 sustainable clothing options for children.

Mostly for primary age children I guess?

I don’t have any label obsessed teenagers of my own… but even then, when I look at my sister’s 16 and 18 year old, who are happy to mix charity shopping/ebay finds with new… I think it’s safe to say, it’s all about the seeds you sow, from an early age…

… which brings me on to my next sustainability and kids ‘option’:

6. Nurture over Nature

Image from Google Images

None of us were born with the consumerist habits we have as adults.

Our “greed” and “wants” are nurtured by the role-modelling from the adults in our life, as well as society as a whole.

When I was a kid, my siblings and I had a handful of toys each, which we shared to make more of our lot… and if we didn’t share, then we only had that handful of toys to play with.

My mum sewed both her own, and her children’s clothing with occasional second hand purchases, peppered with occasional new.

Our hunger and thirst for “new” hit when we started secondary school – uniforms and of course, our demanding teen attitudes about what we wore… which very much came from peer pressure, was inevitable.

All totally understandable.

But I never once sat in a changing room whilst my mum tried on zillions of outfits, whilst stuffing snacks in my face to ensure I wouldn’t cry or cause a fuss.

Likewise, when I still lived in London, I used to occasionally walk to Wimbledon from Tooting during the 2.5 hour ‘lunchtime nap’ of my baby.

It was nice to get out and about, do a spot of window shopping and occasionally, verrrry occasionally… I might dare to try something on whilst my baby slept.

Once my kid had dropped those naps, so too did my window shopping trips.

I could never be arsed to go through the pain of trying to keep a toddler quiet whilst trying on clothes…

… I went for the easy option of ‘quiet movie time’ at home, or short ‘duck-feeding’ / park outings instead.

{To any one who has in the past, or still takes their young tot’s into clothing shop changing rooms: well, good luck to you! I just didn’t have that kind of energy!}

My husband is typical of this gender, and not a massive shopper, but more of a ‘buys when necessary shopper’.

All of this, is… I think, good role-modelling I think? I hope!

I’m slightly miffed at myself for the past 3 years: I know I was rebuilding my wardrobe from an (almost) 7 years of being skint and buying next to nothing…

But I totally lost sight of what (if any…) the impact(s) of seeing this steady stream of new arrivals in my wardrobe, would have on my children.

And trust me when I tell you – they don’t miss a beat, those boys of mine: they notice each and!

I have, however, had full & frank conversations with both my children about my u-turn on fast-fashion shopping and explained to them how it was that most people have been shopping for clothes with a ‘leisure activity’ mindset, because we’d all been blissfully unaware of how catastrophically destructive fast fashion was.

The whole conversation seems to have had a massive impact on both boys: if they get changed into their own clothing when they get in from school, they’ll announce that they haven’t put their t-shirt in the wash “because I’ve only worn it for an hour mama, I can get another couple of afternoons out of it…”

I’m berated by them if I’ve bought plastic wrapped veg; they’ve started to wash out empty milk bottles… and both have said they can’t wait for us to finish our supply of plastic bottled shower gels / toothpastes (which had been bulk bought, by me…) because they both like the idea of a toothpaste-block and good old fashioned soap.

And whilst of course I feel proud of my boys for the efforts they’re making… they’re only in primary school at the moment, so arguably, my influence right now is stronger.

I’m very conscious that this influence of mine will be short lived.

And yet… I’m ever hopeful, that I’m sowing the seeds of what will become, in time, good, strong, ethical habits which will become second-nature when they are older.

And finally, when you are buying new for your kids, only buy what you need:

7. Brand New Kids Clothing

So whilst there was one particular ‘gender-neutral’ winter ski-coat which was worn buy my niece when she was 7, (she’s now 18) and then worn by her brother, (now 16), followed by a couple of winters of being worn by my firstborn, and eventually is now being worn by youngest…. something all four kids are pretty proud of: that coat was originally bought, brand-new for a trip to Finnish Lapland for my niece, from TK Maxx.

The coat was a generous fit on my (then) 7 year old niece, in order to allow space for layers underneath, so she got a couple of winters out of it – minimum!

Given the number of wears this coat has had, by far and above exceeds the #30wears “rule” of ensuring clothing items constitute (very) well worn clothing, I think it’s fair to say that most children repeat wear their clothing so much, we adults could take a ‘leaf’ (or hanger?!) out of their wardrobes!

{Admittedly, we adults, don’t necessarily ‘grow out’ of clothing like kids so arguably, we get bored of re-wearing the same few pieces, non-stop!}

And here’s where I struggle… I’ve often bought my kids clothing in H&M.

As mentioned already, I only buy them clothing on a ‘needs must’ basis (95% of the time) and having had a quick rifle through their tee’s, joggers and any other ‘basics’ before writing this post, it seems that the majority of their H&M pieces happen to be from the Conscious collection.

Something I was rather pleased about, but in all honesty… it’s a happy accident!

To date, my stance on buying children’s clothing is that there is no need to over do it, (in terms of quantity,) and as such, they will end up rewearing any brand new pieces A LOT.

I bought these kids, leather Converse hi-tops for my son, for his 8th birthday in October 2017, because he had outgrown his old, size 3 pair:


I wore my kid’s box-fresh, too big for me Hi-tops for an Instagram #fridayfeet pic

I bought the size 4, not realising how generous they’d be, so I then had to buy a very chunky sports insole for him, which he used for around 11 months, and then continued wearing the hi-tops,  for a further 9 months without an insole.

He has finally outgrown them.

I think he must have outgrown them a couple of months ago to be honest, but such is his love for this style, he’s probably been squishing his feet into them, although he insists it’s only been a couple of weeks that his toe has been touching the end.

That’s 20 months of non-stop evening and weekend wear, of this one pair of high-tops:

And as the hi-tops look now, 20 months on, in 2019

Which is pretty good going, wouldn’t you say?

With his birthday coming up again in a month, and given he’s just been rewarded with a  rather pricey PlayStation for working really hard towards a goal he’d set himself, we’ve already agreed that this won’t be a year of ‘masses’ of presents…

… but the boy, who is starting to take an interest in developing his own style… has requested if we can sit down together and find some new hi-tops, jeans and a hoodie for his birthday, all of which he’s in need of to be honest.

(The ‘inevitable’ gap in hand-me downs has reared it’s head, which was bound to happen sooner or later…)

How can I refuse his request, when I’ve only ever bought new for myself, for so many years?

Especially, when he’s asked if we can look at more ‘environmentally friendly’ options?

At some point, I will blog about actual kids, ethical / sustainable clothing brands…

But given I’m still quite new to this, and still muddling through myself… I’ve not spent masses of time researching these brands.


I hope you’ve found this useful… and please remember, all of the above tips are very much applicable to all your baby stuff (high chairs, buggies etc.) as well as toys.


My goodness: how much plastic tat…?

My kids have a sh!t tonne of lego… no idea about lego’s eco-creds, but I think it’s just… plastic: right?

Again, I was lucky in that a lot of my children’s early years toys were passed on / charity shop / car boot toys.

And so I was never that precious about having to sell them and happy to recycle them… and not just to charity shops in the case of toys: church toddler groups and local nurseries/pre-schools are all happy to take toys whether jigsaws, play-people, duplo, farm animals and of course: that mass of dinosaurs we acquired over time – so loved at one point, and then just as swiftly, ditched and forgotten about.

{#toystory #theygrownuptoofast #butwe’reandy’stoys!}

Finally anyone who thinks I’m a bit of a mean-old mum, in the way that I don’t buy my kids much new clothing: what can I tell you… you’re right, I (totally) am a #meanmom

That is…  only if you’re looking at it from a consumerism-capitalist point of view.

From a sustainability point of view, I happen to think I’ve been doing better at it with my kids, than I’ve been doing with clothing consumption for myself.

And that’s it for today.

To me, most of what I’ve written in this blogpost is kind of stating the obvious… but on the slim off chance, it’s an eye-opener or food for thought for any of you guys reading this… I felt it was worth sharing.

Thank you for reading, and if you’d like to chat some more, then just leave a comment below.

Just lately, I’ve felt totally spoilt with the conversations we’ve had via this blog, and so I must thank you for taking the time to leave such interesting, thoughtful commentary… I don’t have all the answers and you guys have most definitely helped in opening my eyes to aspects of sustainability I’ve overlooked.



PS All images apart from my own two Converse shots were lifted from Google Images and were NOT taken by me.