Kids don't have to cost a fortune. Every stroller-heavy 'hood in Portland has a consignment store devoted to gently used booties, onesies and Columbia fleece jackets. This means you can decorate your nursery, clothe your newborn and stock your toy chests with other children's belongings. Hemingway would approve.
Almost all of the stores listed below share newly consigned items on their Facebook pages—meaning you can score exactly the Ergo baby carrier or Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag you want.
And then, when you're done, you can sell your gently used items back to the store—avoiding the creepers on Craigslist who want to know if your swing really is for babies.
Here's a roundup of our favorite consignment stores for kids. For comparison, we've listed the price of girls' leggings from Swedish child-gentrifier Hanna Andersson—around $32 apiece when they're new—found on the racks during recent visits.
3527 NE 15th Ave., 477-7776; 8021 SE Stark St., 327-8506; beanstalkchildrensresale.com.
Almost everything in Beanstalk—not including the locally made wooden teethers, fairy wands and amber necklaces—is used. But the Fremont Beanstalk (they've also opened a Montavilla location recently) feels nothing like a thrift store. The shop is brightly lit and well-organized, with a play area far enough away from the door that you don't have to fear a jailbreak while you shop with a toddler in tow. Compared to other Portland stores, Beanstalk's Fremont location was well-stocked with tap and ballet shoes (around $9) as well as leotards (about $12) for your budding ballerina.
Price of Hanna Andersson leggings: $8.95
While you're in the 'hood: Head to storytime at the Albina branch of the Multnomah County Library on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday mornings.
2751 NE Broadway, 284-4636, bellastellaresale.com.
Bella Stella has a reputation for being the place to go for help selecting a baby carrier—the second-most important decision after deciding to get pregnant. It sells new and used carriers, along with the more typical array of raingear, sleepwear and play clothes for babies and kids. Bella Stella also has a whole store wall filled almost entirely with supplies for cloth diapers. Dig through the baskets to find the perfect diaper cover to keep your kiddo's shit together.
Price of Hanna Andersson leggings: $6-$8
While you're in the 'hood: After throwing down $8.99 for toxin-free Piggy Paint nail polish that your offspring doesn't really need, head a few doors down to Coco Donuts for an apple fritter that you do.
Hazel & Pear
3432 SE Milwaukie Ave., 971-544-7798, hazelandpear.com. Closed Sunday-Monday.
Hazel & Pear had among the best prices of any of the stores we visited. A hardcover kids' book with illustrations by a cartoonist for The New Yorker cost $1.75. A Hanna Andersson pink fleece jacket cost $9, and a basic Ergo baby carrier cost $49. (They're $120 new and typically more like $60 at other resale shops.) The store has a bigger selection of kids' shoes because of owner Angel O'Brien's willingness to take ones that have seen more use.
Price of Hanna Andersson leggings: $4.95
While you're in the 'hood: Stop in at the Warehouse Cafe, Hazel & Pear's neighbor, which hosts children's musicians some mornings at 10.
2700 SE 26th Ave., 963-8548; 4416 SE Woodstock Blvd., 505-5045; piccolinaresale.com.
The two locations for Piccolina—on Southeast Clinton and in Woodstock—often have great finds. It's not unusual to nab a small wooden play kitchen or train table for around $50. They both also have fairly large collections of strollers and highchairs—bulky items that not all stores have the space to accommodate. A metal balance bike that retails for $100 was recently on sale for $60. Rounding out the selection are Jumperoos, Skootcases and other items that are as fun to say aloud as to play with.
Price of Hanna Andersson leggings: $6.95-$7.95
While you're in the 'hood: If you're at the Clinton store on 26th, head to Piccolo Park, a small playground surrounded by mature trees and manicured lawn.
4107 NE Tillamook St., 284-1276, smallfrypdx.com.
New moms Elle Poindexter and Vanessa Imam Curry took over Smallfry in December. Their sleek touch is evident as you walk through the front door. Immediately inside, a large display table features onesies with Tender Loving Empire prints and other sweet, locally made items, such as bibs. Beyond the new stuff are racks of gently used clothes. And coming soon are clothes for moms, and not just pregnant ones.
Price of Hanna Andersson leggings: $9-$11
While you're in the 'hood: Take a step back in time and visit Just 4 Kids, a consignment store down the street that opened in 1995, or visit the Hollywood branch of the Multnomah County Library.
7850 SW Barbur Blvd., 548-4668, hoot-n-annie.com.
Unless you happen to live in Southwest Portland—sorry—this store is hard to recommend over the others. It's on busy Barbur Boulevard, and there's nothing special nearby to make an outing of a trip. That said, it's a great idea to monitor the store's Facebook page for deals that can draw you out of the house. A lavender Bumbo baby seat with tray was recently on sale for $24.75. It retails for $50. And a wheelie thing to help you drag your car seat through the airport—also known as a Go-Go Babyz Travelmate—went for $34.75, compared with $89.99 retail.
Price of Hanna Andersson leggings: $7.75
While you're in the 'hood: There's not much in the immediate area, unless you count the Burlingame Fred Meyer. Bring your car. This stretch of Barbur is unwalkable.
1722 NW Raleigh St., No. 105, 317-6259. Closed Monday.
Periwinkle's may be Portland's only "micro" resale shop for kids—the new shop is nestled into an Active Spaces building in Northwest Portland. The main advantage of the teeny space—besides reduced rent for the owner—is that it's impossible to lose track of your child while shopping. On the flipside, it's also possible to peruse the entire contents of the store's inventory by peering through the window from the sidewalk. The tiny store offers a tiny size range of clothing sizes—only up to 4T.
Price of Hanna Andersson leggings: $7.95
While you're in the 'hood: Playdate PDX, the giant indoor play area with a bar for parents, is just down the street.
1223 NE Alberta St., 288-8004; 8235 SE 13th Ave., Suite 1, 233-1153; sweetpearesale.com.
The Sellwood location of Sweetpea's feels more like a thrift store than a baby boutique, with its hand-painted wall art and cluttered shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't good bargains. Recently, a pristine Ergo baby carrier was on sale for $75—more than at most places, but only because it looked as if it had just come out of the box. Four years ago, I bought my favorite maternity sweater here—an ingenious cardigan with buttons only at the top. It was only $3 or $4, if memory serves. Dig and you shall be rewarded.
Price of Hanna Andersson leggings: $7.50
While you're in the 'hood: Head to the Columbia Sportswear outlet store a few blocks north.
The Big People's Guide to Hanging Out with the Little People