Kiddley visitor Jen from Semantically Driven submitted her tips for dressing your kids a tight budget. We have decided to turn her ideas into topics for a series which will run over a number of weeks.
This week we are looking at Hand-me-downs and next week it’s all about buying second hand clothes at thrift stores and consignment stores. After that it’s about looking for clothing on sale in regular stores, followed by buying and selling kids clothing on Ebay and finally making clothes for your kids… If you are interested in submitting your own tips on these topics please do so.
But now, back to this week… Hand-me-downs.
“Spread the word that you’re in the market for hand-me-downs. Most parents are glad to off-load the clothes their child has grown out of so you will be doing them a favour. As a child gets older they might get more fashion conscious and they wear out their clothes as the level of activity increases, so hand-me-downs are easier to obtain for younger children.”
I have a small group of friends who share kids’ clothing. Because our kids are all different ages and all born in different seasons things cycle around the group depending on need. Obviously we don’t share anything we aren’t prepared to lose to permanent staining, under the bed clothes-eating monsters or the kinder lost property box but it means there are good amounts of basic gear on hand for each new child.
Each family has stitched a small number of stitches in a bright coloured thread inside the back of the collars which indicates which family the clothing needs to be returned to. Our family is green, another is pink, another is purple and so on. Some of us do just write our initials on the label in the pen — but sometimes labels need to be cut off for comfort’s sake.
Drawbacks are that if you grow particularly attached to an item (as I did with one set of pajamas that didn’t belong to us but became synonymous with Amelia’s babyhood in my mind) you need to either let it go or lean on your friendship a little to keep it. Also things do start to get rather worn and stained so the pile needs replenishing from time to time and favourite pieces hit the rag bag sooner than otherwise.
I make sure I always buy nice new clothes to give to one particular family’s kids for birthdays who happen to be the oldest and the front of the queue, not so that we will end up inheriting them, but as a kind of thank you for their trail-blazing kindness.
Jen’s quite right about hand-me-downs being more common for babies and toddlers. Not only do the clothes of older children wear out more quickly, they also stop growing so quickly and tend to wear their clothes over a longer period of time so the supply starts to dry up!