I don’t know about you, but I am never much for Spring Cleaning, but when fall is near, I love to clean and get organized. Not just the house, but literally closets, pantries, drawers, you name it. I also prepare the children’s clothing for consignment and handing down to other younger children/families that will be ever so grateful for a few new things. As I prepared my items to give away, I located from the attic some clothing that was passed along to my son and it got me thinking…..”Is there Hand me Down Etiquette?” If not, I think it is time we put some general guidelines around it. I have a friend that passes along her son’s wear, and I will say that she has it down. Here are some thoughts based on how I receive, and now in turn give:
Be sure to ask permission of the parent as to whether they would like any gently used items. Some people just aren’t into receiving used clothing. Ask first, otherwise if you just show up with a bag of clothing, it could make for an uncomfortable situation.
Ask yourself, if this item still fit my child, would I ask them to wear it in public? If the answer is no, then recycle it elsewhere. Your friends and family will be grateful for your “donation”, but not if it is covered in stains, holes and pilling. Over the years the consignment shops have always suggested to review the clothing under a bright light, good advice even for hand me downs.
It is all in the presentation, and be sure the items are clean. Sometimes people may turn away gently used clothing when it arrives in a crumpled plastic bag. Psychologically it sends a message of “this is no good for us, but maybe it is ok for you”. Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think you need to go out and purchase a new container or anything, just be mindful of how you package the clothing, even if you choose to present it in a plastic bag. My friend recycles large paper shopping bags to pass along her items and sometimes even throws a freshly scented dryer sheet.
If you are the recipient –
Send or call with a note of thanks. You may even choose to send a gift card to a children’s clothing store as a thank you. That same friend most likely will pass along any purchases to your child again in the future. Remember, that large bag of clothing you just received probably cost more than $150-$200.
And for all of you Cloth Diapering, you can also follow a few simple rules when handing down your gently used diapers:
- Treat them with the best care during use, Never use bleach!
- Wash fairly often so they don’t mildew and stains can be easily removed
- Close all snaps, tabs, Velcro, etc. so they don’t stick to other diapers in the wash.
You might be thinking, if I am giving someone free clothes, why should it matter how I prepare them? Well, in my opinion it all comes down to respect and pride. If you take a few minutes to care for the items you are donating, your heart will be that fuller when the recipient receives- and the thanks will be even greater.
Do you have any tips when putting together and/or receiving hand me downs?
By Kelly- aka “The Cloth Diaper Whisperer”