Monday, January 1, 2007

Hand-me-down Etiquette 1, 2 and 3....

Topic:  Children's Clothes and Toys 

(There will be post in the near future about Hand-me-down children's furniture or supplies)


Are you a mom that welcomes 'hand-me-down' clothes for your children, and then pays it forward by handing down clothes that your children have out grown? 

Have you ever wondered what is the proper "rule of thumb" or "etiquette" for giving or receiving hand-me-downs?  

Today, is your lucky day.  

The 'Hand-Me-Down Etiquette' can be divided in different groups.  Today we will focus on the 3 main groups.  See which group best fits you and learn your manners. 

Which group do you fit in? 

Group 1: Hand-me-down Giver! {has the money, doesn't need hand-me-downs, but doesn't mind giving them.  The ones with the cool clothes that you would love to have a child a few months younger than her own} Yea, you all know at least one of these moms.  There is one for every neighborhood, street or block. 

This mom has more than one child and is done having children.  She has a box sitting in the garage piled with clothes that she wants to give away to charity, or anyone that will take them off her hands really.  

This mom often doesn't volunteer this information because she would never want to offend the receiver of her children's 'hand-me-downs'. This is the mom that you really want to get to know if you are an appreciative receiver of such offerings.  

She will often have the latest fashion and name brand items.  Knowing she spent hundreds of dollars, you save hundreds of dollars by benefiting from having such a blessed friend. I'll teach you in Group 2, on how to speak up to Group 1 type of moms. 

If you a Group 1 mom. Go you! We other moms LOVE you for your style, your coolness, your richness and your generosity to our little ones. 

If you have clothes piling up that you swear one day to take down to Salvation Army to donate, and collect your receipt for a tax write off, but in truth know yourself well enough to know that it probably will never happen.  Then speak up.  There are so many moms, even if you run around in a wealthy group of social friends.  There is always going to be a mom or moms, ready to open her hand to some free goodies.  

Next time you are around other moms, just casually say "hey I have some clothes to give away, if anyone wants them or knows of anyone that can use them, give me a call." If a mom is a 'turn up her nose' to any sort of hand-me-down items, afraid that it may come plagued with some disease ready to jump on to her child. Or, it's just not her thing, which is fine also. They will let you know one way or another, like offering up a charity place that they donate to, suggesting that you do the same. Those moms are nice moms and mean well, but often they can tend to make it uneasy for the rest of the moms. The ones that would love to have receive a box full of lightly used clothes for their own children. 

Don't let those clothes pile up in your garage. If you know of moms with children of the age or size in clothes that possibly can use them, offer them up.  The worst thing that could happen is they kindly turn it down. However, I'll be surprised if you don't find yourself with them asking and reminding you, that another month has gone by, eagerly waiting for the next round coming to them.

Step out and GIVE, you aren't giving to the moms, you are giving to their children.  Children of young ages don't care where the clothes come from. They rather be left in the nude if they had their choice of things anyways.  

Group 2: Hand-me-down Receiver! {loves hand-me-downs, but doesn't really know of anyone that is giving, and wants to get the word out}

So you are a mom that loves to receive hand-me-downs, but can't seem to find any moms that have kids older than yours to hand stuff down to you.  Or, you know of a mom that you would love to receive stuff from, but can't seem to muster up the words to let her know, to think of you, if she liked to give anything away. 

This is probably the hardest of them all.  I was once in this group.  I know so many friends that have little girls and I would love to have their hand-me-downs. However, it isn't the easiest topic to bring up to them for a couple of reasons.  

  •  You don't want to come off as if you are bluntly asking her for her children's clothes, when in truth that is exactly what you want and are doing. 

  •  You don't want to make the mom feel bad, if she already has something planned out or someone to give her children's clothes to.

  • At the same time you don't want to miss out either, in case she is a Group 1 type of mom. Having and willing to give out, but also afraid to speak up, so not to offend you as well. 

So where is the happy medium?  

When speaking to my group of moms on this subject, it was agreed on, that to be the receiver, you have to be the bolder one.  The one that breaks the ice, the one that speaks up and gets out the word you are a happy hand-me-down receiver.  After all, you reap a nice benefit by clothing your children with hundreds of dollars worth of clothes, for FREE.  Free is worth a little pride swallowing and a loud voice.  Leave the ego at the door and speak up. Everyone wins when you take that step.  

I have learned to do this quite well.  I basically say it once (I don't repeat it to anyone) they get the point the first time you ever say it to them.  If I have any moms, or meet any new moms that have children a little older than my own, I say something along the lines of this; "hey, not sure what you normally do with your children's clothes once they out grow them, but love your style and accept hand-me-downs, so if you have anything you may not need any more, please keep me in mind." 

You will get one of the 2 answers in most cases:  

  •  Oh really, that's good to know. I will surely keep you in mind. In fact, I'll probably have a box ready to go soon.  (It may come or it may not come to you, but either way you have done your part) If it comes to you, yea YOU!!  If not, let it go and don't think about mentioning it again, or you may start to notice that friend has become rather too busy to hang out as much as they use to.  Some will say "oh yes, but really mean, oh no!"

  • "Oh man, I am sorry, but I already have a friend, sister, or charity I give my things to, but if I think of anyone else that has stuff to give, Ill let you."  And that doesn't hurt so bad.  You may be thinking or wanting to bang yourself in the head for not speaking up sooner...but at least you did. You never know, you may meet another mom through her that will just happen to have a prince or princess just a few months older than your own who is a Group 1 mom. 

You will never lose by speaking up. 

Group 3: The hand-me-down Queen. {has mastered the giving, receiving and recycling ways of all hand-me-down groups.  This is the mom that you swear must have planned and conceived her child exactly 6-12 months after that wealthy mom down the street or in her moms day out group.} That's a joke, but you get the idea.  

This mom has mastered the skill of being quick at both ends of hand-me-downs.  For some reason this mom tends to be very social and knows tons of moms. How in the heck does she know so many women, you may ask.  

This mom, goes to parks, she befriends people where ever she goes, and she just always seems to have it together.  She is always paying it forward, by helping other moms that need stuff or hand-me-downs. While she has other moms above her that she has gotten in with, that are ready to cycle off another jackpot full of clothes to her. She gets, she uses, she gives and on and on it goes. 

How does one become that kind of mom? You want to receive, but want to feel like you are doing something in return by giving also.  This kind of mom doesn't just sit home expecting other moms to come knocking at her door. She is a busy mom just like the rest of us.  She is either at dance, baseball or school functions, and or the park.  She takes advantage of her busy life style with the moms that come into her path. 

The secret is this:

The mom you just gave to, may have a friend that is giving, that her kids aren't ready for and yours just happen to be.  Her friend gives you the clothes to use. Your kids out grow them, and by then her kids are ready for them. That's how you PAY IT FORWARD and RECYCLE those hand-me-downs.

There are a few other rules to keep in mind in all of these groups:

  • 1.  Make sure the items you are giving are in good condition.  Wash them and fold them before putting them in the box. Do not toss anything and everything your child is finished with in that box.  Use common sense. If jeans have a hole in the bottom of them or a shoe doesn't have a match, its safe to say that it needs to go into the trash.  Don't pass off your trash to someone else, be giving, but be respectful at the same time.  

  • 2.  If you have a friend or mom that just happily decided that she would give you all of her child's hand-me-downs without you ever having asked her, and you dread the day that bag arrives at your door.  Kindly accept it, and even though you know you will not find anything in their to use, just take a little time and wash and fold the clothes or toys and pay it forward.  There is always someone, somewhere willing to take what you don't want. 

  • Last but not least, when accepting clothes from a mom, friend, relative... ALWAYS say thank you and ask them in advance what they would like for you to do with the items once you are done with them.  Most likely they will say "whatever you want to do with them." Whatever you do, don't sell them, trying to make a profit.  After all, you got them for free, give them for free...PAY IT FORWARD. It looks a bit tacky, when you are given something for free and then off trying to sell it on eBay for a profit. You may start to not receive as much in the future, being mistaken for a greedy mom. That's another group of it's own, and you just don't want to be in that group.

Now for a little fun..... PAYING IT FORWARD!!!!




I have been beyond blessed since I had my little Butterfly.  When I had my son, I was young, knew no other moms, and did everything on my own for him.  A few later, and having Morgan, I have been given, and given, and given tons of hand-me-downs.  Her closet has been full since the day she way born.  I am so thankful for my friends, moms and family who have shared and given to my little girl.  

I actually do have a small box of girl clothes in my garage, but I have a mother at my church that I give too.  I went through it this morning, and I found a few items that I thought I would "hand-me-down" here today for a little fun.  

Below please find 3 little dresses in different sizes, plus an adorable pair of Nike sneakers to be given away.  

1. 0-3 Month, Brook Lindsay collection, pink/white floral dress with bloomers. I purchased this dress and Morgan has only worn it twice.  Its a great dress for a little girl to wear this upcoming Easter. 

2.  The totally cool yellow Baby Guess dress, is so HOT. Its a size 6-9 month. This is a pay it forward item.  It was given to me by a friend, so it has been worn a couple of times.  Still in great shape, not a stain on it. With all the buttons going down the dress, the accessory belt that is looped around the waist and the adorable detailed bloomers to go with it..... who would ever guess it would be a hand-me-down.

3. A pink, black with velvet trimming dress, size 12 Months.  A fabulous Flowers by Zoe line. It was given to me as a gift and Morgan wore it once.  That's it! Its beautiful.  In fact I hosted a baby shower for my BFF back in January.  Kim Girardi, the wife of the Yankees coach has a little girl age 2, that was wearing this exact same dress at the baby shower.  Its classy, elegant and darling. 

4. Last but not least, for all those cute little girls out there, here is a pair of super cute pink, white and silver Nike sneaker, size US 2C and UK 1.5.  Guess what?  I purchased these for Morgan a long time ago, because I just loved them.  She has NEVER worn them. In fact I went to put them on her this weekend, and my baby giant girl is too big for them.  Hold on as I wipe a tear from my eye.  So, yes ladies, I am also giving away a BRAND NEW hand-me-down item here.  

(Click on image to zoom)

A little something for the boys out there also.  Here are 3 VERY popular Pokemon stuffed toys.  Hunter was obsessed for the longest time over Pokemon. He collected every one of them and in that collection he also was able to collect a few Pokemon collectible stuff toys.  He has now out grown them and moved onto Bakugan, in which if you are a reader of my blog, you have heard me mention Bakugan a time or two. 

We are giving away an all-in-one package here for the boys.  All three Pokemon for your special little boy.  These Pokemon toys have never been played with, only held and or set up on display in my son's room.  

1. Chimchar
2. Sneezel
How to win:

Just head over to my blog, become a follower and leave me a comment to let me know that you stopped by and joined in.  Be sure to say which items(s) you are interested in.  You can also enter into more than one drawing, just be sure to make it clear in your comment.  I will use or have my children select the winners out of a drawing.  

Who knew "hand-me-downs" could be this fun and rewarding?!!!

PS:  My little angel is outgrowing her closet, so if you have any adorable clothes size 12-18 month and want to 'hand-them-down'.... my hands are open!!!  Same with my little man, size 8-10. *winking*

1 Personal Thoughts:

Maryann said...

Love this idea!! You gotta bring it back!!

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