Hand me down

We are truly blessed to have very generous family and friends who give our children quality clothes that no longer fit their children. We do the same thing once our children outgrow their clothes, passing on the good, unstained, quality items that could still be useful to another family.

I can remember all of my clothing getting passed on to my younger cousins and having family photos of us in the same outfit, but at different ages. I get a basket of clothing from my Aunt and Uncle about once a year, and honestly, it feels like Christmas morning when I start rifling through the goods. Some things I can’t wait to see my son in, others are past their prime or not our style, and end up back in the recycling pool.

Sometimes when you get hand me downs, the clothes are great but they have one stain on them. This can be annoying – but try to work it out. Marthastewart.com has a Stain Chart for common stains. I suggest printing this off, and hanging it in your laundry room (behind a cupboard door so no one knows your laundry secret). Another common problem we have with hand me downs is that sometimes the clothes come from all around the world, so the tags are difficult to read, leaving me to rely on the symbols. Well, you would think they would be common sense, but sometimes I just can’t figure it out. I have a care symbols chart I printed off when I was a teenager (that’s when I started doing my own laundry). I have referenced it innumerable times and have it hanging behind my laundry room cupboard doors too. Here is a printable page for you to reference in case you ever find yourself with a tag you don’t understand.

Getting stuff is great but giving stuff is even better and it doesn’t stop at clothes. We hand down quality toys, shoes, books, Halloween costumes and baby paraphernalia that my children simply have outgrown. Sometimes we give to different charities that pick it up from our house, but I love giving to friends or family that we know. One thing I always do when I hand down shoes is tie them together with a cable-tie. The dollar store sells these in packages of 25 for $1, or your spouse might already have some lying around the toolbox. Sometimes our donation bags are big (if I have put off going through the kids’ clothing or if they have a growth spurt) and we put everything in large bags. Securing shoes together ensures that the recipient gets two shoes, or mittens or anything else that comes in pairs.

One thing I will advise you before you give all your stuff away, is make sure you are ready to give it away. Or, if you are lending something to someone instead of giving it to them outright, make sure they know. This can save a lot of frustration or upset.

If you find yourself without a recipient to give your quality items to, trying searching online for non-profit charities that accept donations. Also, inquire whether your children’s school or daycare wants used books or toys for their classrooms. And if you would prefer to drop it off, there are a lot of drop boxes in the parking lots of grocery stores, hardware stores or directly at GoodWill or Value Village that will gladly take your donations.

Cable tie shoes together to ensure they arrive as a pair!

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