Clothing for babies and children! So easy!
Before I continue with this rumination, I should mention that, while my current Goodwill is just excellent, it was not always so. When I moved here, I would go with hope to the Goodwill downtown and emerge with...nothing. I couldn't even find anything for my children. Then the population in the next town grew, bringing with it lots of upper-middle class people and strip malls. Before strip-malls-in-next-town, I went (when I could) to "Bloomingdeals," where I could find the all-cotton clothing I craved for my little ones. Post-Katrina, Bloomingdeals (run by Junior League) has become rather pitiful in selection. And my Goodwill has too much good stuff. Moral: thrifters must be flexible.
Back to baby clothes. Easy! Many people give clothing as gifts and much is outgrown before the receipt of the gift. Seriously. I had big babies.
Kids: less easy, especially boys, but it can be done. The key is to anticipate your needs. You WILL find a nice winter jacket in the summer. You will NOT find a nice winter jacket in the fall or winter. Amy D of Tightwad Gazette fame had clothing stored by size in her attic. And she had 6 kids. She was extremely neat. I can't imagine how I would store such bounty.
Adult Clothing: Other than shirts, men's is close to impossible. So I don't try very hard for my two guys.
Women's clothing: an embarrassment of riches. Miss Em and I used to be excited to find Ann Taylor Loft and Banana Republic. No more. Miss Em used to be thrilled to find Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. Now even Anthropologie is rejected at times. Forget Urban O.
Now we hunt for Eileen Fisher. That's been a challenge, but we find about 10 pieces a year. Miss Em and I discovered that we can wear pretty much any size, which makes things easier. We also like the rich-lady chic of Carlisle. We have good luck with these brands because EF doesn't have much hanger appeal (and we often find items with tags cut out, but which can nonetheless be identified by the tiny RN# inside). Carlisle isn't very well-known (outside of the rich ladies that buy it at home parties held by other rich people), so there's not much competition for it. Oh, and, of course, cashmere. We've become very picky about quality because there's so much.
Is it worth going to thrifts to find 10 pieces of EF a year? No. But you're getting them while you are at the thrift anyway, getting the easy-to-find stuff for you and your loved ones. That's really what Goodwill** is good for.
**By Goodwill, I mean any thrift store. Mine just happens to be Goodwill.
Pic below from past Carlisle Collection. I have a similar jacket. I love it!