Children outgrow toys, gear and clothing at an extremely fast rate! I remember growing up that we were friends with a few other families and we would hand-down clothes and toys between us. There were 5 years between my younger sister and me, so sometimes when I was finished with an outfit it would be sent to a friend and eventually work it’s way back in time for my baby sister to still wear it too. My mom was a single mother of 4 (after my parents divorced when I was 6), so this saved a LOT of money for our family. I can remember looking forward to the drop-offs in those big black garbage bags. You never knew what kind of treasures you might find. Some of my favorite outfits growing up came from friends. It’s such a great way to save money, so today I want talk about the best ways to acquire and give hand-me-downs.
- One of the easiest ways to find someone local who could use your hand-me-downs is to ask on Facebook. If you have someone in mind, simply send them a Facebook message to see if they’re interested. If you are unsure who might be interested, just ask on your Facebook wall. You’re almost certain to find someone who would be thrilled to take them off of your hands.
- If you have toys that are in good condition and no one to give them to, check with a local church or preschool. Their toys tend to take a lot more beatings and therefore need refreshed more often.
- Make sure you’re giving clothes/toys/items that are in good condition. If a shirt has a small stain on it and you know the family may use it for play clothes, I would still pass it along, but if the shirt has holes or large stained portions, it’s probably best to just throw it away.
- Give appropriate sizes. Don’t pass along clothing that is more than 2 sizes ahead of what the child is currently wearing, unless they are under a year old OR you’ve gotten the okay from a parent. No on wants to have to hold onto something for 5 years waiting for their child to grow into it.
- Don’t forget the adults; hand-me-downs aren’t just for kids! I’ve received my fair share of hand-me-downs in my adult life that have saved me a lot of money. Maternity clothes for instance are only worn for a short period of time but are so pricey. They are a great thing to pass along to a friend when you’re done with them.
- Hand-Me-Downs can be more than clothes. Think about toys and even household items. Those Barbies that your daughter has outgrown might mean the world to another little girl who is just starting her Barbie collection. When I moved out and got my first apartment, I had a lot of items given to me that I would not have been able to afford right away otherwise (small appliances, furniture, towels, etc.).
- Make Goodwill your last option. They are making huge profits off of those donations every year. You’re already giving it away for free, wouldn’t you rather someone received it for free? If you don’t know someone personally that you could give an item to, think about other charities that might be able to use it. For example, we have a local organization that provides support for teenage moms. I try to donate baby items there if I don’t know someone personally who needs them.
- Could you use something? Many times the easiest and most effective way to receive is just by asking. A quick status update on Facebook to say, “Johnny’s almost outgrown his 3T clothes. If anyone has Boys 4T clothing they would like to pass along, please let me know.”
- Organize a swap. Set an hour time slot and invite your friends to bring all of their unwanted items. You can set a theme, like “Kids Toys” or “Kids Clothes Under 5 Years” or have an anything goes swap. I attended a swap that consisted of just clothes for women and it was so much fun! There was everything from clothes to jewelry to purses. At the end of the night, anything that was still unwanted was donated to a local women’s shelter.
I seldom turn down hand-me-downs, whether for myself or my own kids, unless I know we are not in need of a particular size offered. It is such a great way to save money!
We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s better to give than to receive.” As a review blogger, I probably receive more items than most people. Our house is quickly overrun with items that I’m often looking to re-home. It’s a lot of fun to put a smile on someone’s face by giving them a (very) gently used stroller, car seat, toy, etc.. Next time you have items you no longer need, consider who you might bless with them. You just might make their day!