It's been a month since Baby OE a.k.a Nova Blue made me a mommy and while I adjust to my new life, set schedules and decipher her cries, I don't loose any sleep over what she's going to wear for at least the next year thanks to hand-me-downs - just check out the adorable outfits she's worn already.
Hand-me-downs are things handed down from friends or relatives. They are objects that have been already used or previously owned by somebody else and can be anything from clothes, toys, gear or furniture - and I love them but wished they were called hand-me-ups rather than downs!
Why I use hand-me-downs go far deeper than saving money, there are benefits for both the person using them and the person passing them down.
Cost cutting - I knew having a baby would be expensive but we've had so many unexpected expenses that I'm so happy we did not spend any money on clothes for Nova thanks to all the hand-me-downs from my niece and my cousin's baby. According to Business Insider, you can save over $3,600 on children's clothes by using hand-me-down clothes, that's a chunk of change.
Emotional value - Nova has already worn a few hand-me-down items and I've shared her #ootd on social media. When the person who passed the worn item see's it on Nova again, it evokes all the warm and fuzzy feelings they had when their own child wore the item. This flashback to the not-so-far past creates a emotional bond between mommies.
Teaching how to give - Involving your children in the selection and passing down process teaches them the value of sharing and giving. As long as you don't position it as 'getting rid' of items you don't need or cleaning out the closet, then your child can learn a valuable lesson. When time comes for Nova to pass her items to another little girl, we will make sure to have her select some of her favorite items, to clean them and package them up with love.
Keeping children humble - Nova will always be aware of how lucky she was that people cared and thought of her when passing down items. And through the work we do with The Orphaned Earring, she will also witness firsthand how the same hand-me-downs she wears bless so many other children in our organization. I'm hoping that she always stays humble enough to accept help and serve others.
Appreciate the value of items - I'm not against new clothes, actually, I think that spending money only on items you need is a wise move. As your children grow, allow them the pleasure of earning something they want rather than just expecting to have whatever they want, when they want it. Experiencing hand-me-downs can be a valuable lesson of value.
Advice From A Hand-Me-Down User
Don’t throw good used clothing away for there is always someone who can benefit from items that your kids have outgrown. If you can’t find a local charity that takes used clothing, there is some friend with kids that would love to have them, just ask before if they'd like to receive them but don't push for them to take your items, some people may not like hand-me-downs.
Don’t pass-on items that have holes or stains, only pass along things that you would dress your own kids, items that you can be proud of passing along.
If you plan to pass along anything, make sure you store it right. Avoid storing your items where moisture may have a chance to get to them. Moldy hand-me-downs are so not cool and very dangerous for anyones' health.
Be mindful of safety regulations, DO NOT give items that have safety concerns. Make sure to check on outdated safety regulation on cribs, strollers, walkers, car seats, etc.
If you want to continue the hand-me-down chain, make sure to maintain and strengthen relationships with family and friends with children older than your own and be appreciative.
Use the clothes, people are more likely to continue giving you hand-me-downs if they see you actually use them and if you don't, let the person know that you selected the items you want and donated the rest.