Lifestyles of the Destitute and Obscure

dazzling and interesting on a shoestring

Love Those Hand-Me-Downs

As the mother of two new babies, there is nothing so helpful and appreciated like hand-me-downs.  The purpose of hand-me-downs is two-fold:  I receive much-needed clothing for my growing critters and somebody easily cleans out their closet.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do without the generosity of so many friends and their older children.  And I certainly don’t know where (and can’t afford) to buy such cute, cute clothes.  Image
Those clothes that were originally worn by oldest are then passed on to the consignment store in hopes of serving one last purpose as a few bucks in cash.   A few of the generous free-bees make it into the consignment pile, too, but for the most part, I try not to be stingy with the karmic circle of generosity, and I pass it along to the next needy mom or donate them to a nearby charity.  Please note that my motivation to accepting cast-offs is not to turn them around for a hefty profit—the last time I checked my balance at the consignment store it was less than enough to order a pizza.  It helps pay down my school debt and bought me a dining room chair, from a consignment furniture store, incidentally. And most of it is used to clothe my two babies.
I have received more gracious gifts than I can practically use.  Here’s how I add a little organization to the chaos of tons of baby clothes:

  • For instance, my summer-born babies will not likely be wearing summer rompers at 6 months; it will be cold by the time they get that big.  So I pass it along.
  • In my house, shoes don’t go on children who aren’t walking.  They are terribly cute, but I only save a pair or two of the hand-me-down shoes (for special Easter-like/picture-worthy occasions) and give them to the consignment store, because most parents can’t resist Mary-Janes or Converse in size 2.
  • I organize appropriate items in boxes by size, and those that are too small get organized by season (spring and fall) for sale or donation.

The best way to give and receive hand-me-downs is to be involved in a moms group, or church group with other mothers.  Neighbors are wonderful connections as well, since we can easily see their crammed garages and pregnant and then un-pregnant bellies.  It helps, of course, to be in a group with kids at least six months older (the givers) and about six months younger (the receivers) in order to make the perfect circle.  But I have been blessed enough to receive gifts from friends of friends, hundreds of miles away.  What a wonderful, wide-spread village!

Being well-connected, organized, generous and grateful are all essential in the great recycling circle of hand-me-downs.  Believe in them and their usefulness and you may never have to buy kids’ clothes again… well, maybe not never, but certainly less.

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