I know some people like to have everything new for their kids, but I have always loved hand-me-downs. Don’t get me wrong, I do choose them a few special things just of their own, relating to their interests or personality, but if friends and family with older kids offer me a bag of pre-loved goodies, I always accept. Maybe it’s the way I was raised. I had a lot of stuff as a child from my cousin who was two years older and then passed it on to my younger sister. Some things get worn out, ripped, stained or otherwise ruined and go in the bin but the majority of things will last more than one child. Everything my eldest has grown out of has either been passed on to my nephew or packed away for my other son (who will grow into it eventually). And when all three of my children are finished with things (such as the mountain of baby clothes), it’s passed on to other family members or friends with babies.
My brother turned up just a couple of weeks ago with two bin bags full of clothes and shoes my niece and nephew have outgrown for the smalls and I sent my sister a couple of bags of clothes for my other nephew. It takes a little bit of organising to pack stuff away in bags or boxes of each size but it is so worth it! I stash it in vacuum bags when I have the time under the boys’ beds.
So why do I love hand-me-downs?
You can save a fortune
Money doesn’t grow on trees and kids are expensive. With the cost of each individual dress or pair of trousers being around the £10 mark on the high street (and I don’t shop in expensive shops either!) buying a whole new summer or winter wardrobe, even just of essentials can be expensive. With three children to buy for, the cost of kitting them out in everything they need is huge. And that is before you get to coats and shoes which are often more likely to fall into the £20-£40 price bracket. I would much rather buy my kids a good quality second hand coat for a fiver or re-use shoes from their older siblings or cousins and put the money I’ve saved towards a day out or save it towards next year’s holiday.
Kids Grow Quick!
This is particularly true of little babies who seem to wear things once and then grow overnight. I bought a bundle of immaculate pre-loved newborn clothes when I was expecting my first son, some looked like they hadn’t even been worn as often people wash baby clothes before using them with little babies. My son wasn’t a tiny baby and had grown out of this size by two weeks old. If I’d have spent loads of money on new things I would have been gutted. They have since been worn by my two nephews and my younger two (all only once or twice) and are still as good as new and waiting for the next little one in the family.
It can also happen in older ones when they have a sudden growth spurt. My middle one was in 18-24 month clothes for ages but only wore age 2-3 for a few months before he went into 3-4. Thankfully most of his aged 2-3 clothes were passed down from his older brother, and various other people so it didn’t matter, and some of the gender neutral stuff like jeans and red t-shirts have now gone straight to his little sister!
I love getting out a batch of my eldest’s old clothes and remembering him wearing them, and things he used to do at that age. When I put them on my younger son (or on my daughter), it’s lovely to remember when the older one wore them too. The big one designed this t-shirt for his 4th birthday and it came out again last week for my younger ones 4th birthday. (Excuse the dodgy photo- the one where he looked at the camera, he was closer to the table & you couldn’t see the shirt!). We have a whole load of customised number shirts with various embellishments that the children love. My youngest has the number two t-shirt at the moment with a little elephant and will inherit the gingham number three t-shirt next year. Halloween and Christmas outfits and just general funny t-shirts, cute dungarees, UV suits that they wore on the beach and things they have loved at different ages are all lovely to get out again.
It’s better for the planet
You may have read in my recent post that I am Taking The Pledge – for Second Hand September . The amount of energy, water and resources used to produce clothing is immense and clothes waste is a real issue with 11 million items of clothing ending up in landfill every week. Giving, and receiving, hand-me-downs is a great way to off-set this meaning less usable clothes go in the bin and less new clothes need to be produced.
We can all do our own little bit to help the planet, help out friends and family members and help our bank balances. It’s totally win win, so next time someone offers you hand-me-downs, you should totally snap them up.