25 January 2009

Grace #1 = Hand-Me-Downs

I love hand-me-downs. I love that clothes get used to the best of their ability, that many children wear a given item, that things stay out of the landfill for a while.

Last week, we got a box in mail from my cousin, with a bunch of dresses and shirts and leotards and tights, all outgrown by her little girl. I know that the hand-me-downs went back and forth among my cousins when I was a kid; now they're migrating among the second cousins.

And recently, though coincidentally, I shipped off some of Mir's old clothes to a neighbor, to a blog friend, and to an old friend (who reminded me that she grew up wearing my hand-me-downs). Another batch was delivered to some people who were collecting kid's clothes for a nearby maximum security women's prison, under the aegis of the pre-inauguration Day of Service.

Hand-me-downs come with love, and serendipity, and grace.

19 comments:

Vodka Mom said...

My sister shared her kids' clothes with me; I shared with a friend; she shared with another. It makes the world go round!!!

love it

Libby said...

I grew up wearing hand-me-downs, which was occasionally embarrassing (when the original owner recognized her clothes on me) but was mostly just great. When my daughter was small we got a huge box from my mil's neighbor, who had two small girls and a much bigger income than I. M wore fabulous clothes from them for years! Then we began passing clothes around among friends; I miss those days now that my kids are older, though even now my son occasionally gets a bagful from the boys next door, and we save the stuff he doesn't wreck for my nephews.

Rima said...

Some of my daughters favorite clothes are hand me downs from an older cousin that she positively adores. When she found out that the shirt she got for Christmas from D (the cousin) had actually been bought new, I swear she was kind of disappointed.

Ree said...

They do. When we were poor students, baby Shortman wouldn't have had any clothes except for the graciousness of professors of ours giving us hand me downs. Those things got passed around for years...

I often wonder where some of my favorites are now.

Mental P Mama said...

Nothing beats lovingly passed baby and children's clothes...they wear it for such a short time.

Kelly said...

My friend is always afraid to let her daughter wear her nice dresses to daycare, so when they get passed to me they are virtually unworn. I think she's being silly, but I benefit so I try to not to tease her too much.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Half my daughter's clothes come from a friend who lives here in town but who I almost never see, what with one thing and another, except on those days she brings me a delivery! (I return them when Sasha outgrows them & she passed them to someone else.)

Lovely post.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I love seeing my kids' clothes on other kids. We had one dress that went through 6 girls in the neighborhood. It was great.

FreshHell said...

I'd say 85% of my kids' clothings over the years have been hand-me-downs. They love anything that's new to them and see no difference between them and new store-bought. In fact, they're always happy to get a box in the mail or go to the consignment store for "new" clothes. Since they've been worn and washed so often, they're more comfortable than stiff, scratchy new stuff off the rack.

Janet said...

Never mind the kids: I love shopping at second-hand stores!

We don't get many hand-me-downs for the kids, although E. lives in 'em thanks to her older sister. And I pass on our stuff like crazy.

Library Lady said...

When they were babies and preschoolers just about all my kids' stuff was either hand me downs or from consignment sales.

SC got a lot from a co-worker's daughter, who is 4 years older. Our running joke was that that was why I'd hired her. She also got some nice dresses from her much older cousins, some of which JR is now wearing.

JR got some of the hand me downs, but though I have 2 girls, they were born in different seasons and have totally different body types. So a lot of the hand me downs couldn't get handed down.
(That and she's a lot fussier about her clothes than SC. I could buy SC anything and she'd wear it. JR argues)

Around 4th grade SC started needing "plus" jeans--the regular ones just didn't fit her shape. And a lot of the stuff at the sales was too girly for her taste. So little by little, we started buying more of her stuff new. And a lot of that stuff either didn't appeal to JR (not girly enough) or just didn't fit her skinny little frame.

I still go to the sales and pick up a few things for them--though a lot of the stuff that would fit JR gets rejected by me--too skanky even though it would fit her! And each season we go through SC's old things and save out the ones JR likes. The rest go to charity or to the sales.

But now it's Sears/JC Penny/Walmart for most of SC's woman sized things, and Tarzhay for most of JR's stuff.

I wish I COULD pass some of their things on to family. The hardest thing about consignment sales is giving up clothing which has so much history for me at least!

nonlineargirl said...

I love hand-me-downs, both giving and getting.

YourFireAnt said...

I love this. Good practice. My family (2 sisters, 3 brothers) moves things along continuously. We call it "the stuff river".

FA

YourFireAnt said...

...and yes. I know about porcupines from running from their slavering jaws. ;-D

FA

Kyla said...

I'm such a FLAKE! I didn't reply again, did I?

If you sent them in spite of my lack of reply, you get bonus karma points for your mind reading skills.

flutter said...

you have a wonderful heart, love.

painted maypole said...

MQ wears almost entirely hand me downs

Woman in a Window said...

My son as a friend in the neighbourhood who is his age, but half his size. We routinely bring bags by and leave them on his porch. I love to see the little guy visit wearing a shirt that I've hugged my son up in. Just spreading the goodness, keeping those clothes alive.

Anonymous said...

Mad again. As in it's me, Mad, again!

As someone who zips up Mir's former coat on a daily basis, I thank you. The purple/blue blend makes the colour of my daughter's eyes pop.