Hand-me-down or just recycling
While clearing the ribbon and wrapping paper from my second son’s birthday party last week a guest remarked how hard it was to find something for the little guy, after all his big brother had just about everything. It’s true big brother does have quite an array of toys, books and clothes.
Many guests bought the little guy clothes, explaining how he needed some new items, not just his brother’s hand-me-downs.
But the truth is, I’m just fine with hand-me-downs. In fact, sometimes I wish I had someone to share outfits with too.
When I was pregnant, I went around asking for hand-me-downs and found a friend willing to part with some clothes to help fill the limited maternity wear rotation of outfits. I gladly repaid her with a gift card and she was happy to free up the closet space.
In the family hierarchy, I’m the oldest so I didn’t benefit from hand-me-downs. I was the one handing things down until high school when my sister stayed super skinny and I, well wasn’t. These days my sister works with athletes and wears polo shirts and kakis, but she was the excited recipient of my recent closet purging when I came to terms with those size 6 cute white pants that I wore on my first date with my now husband. I suppose I was holding on to them and many other outfits out of sentiment.
But, like many mothers who have come before me, the time had come to admit after two pregnancies and two large babies, some outfits would no longer fit. As my fellow mom friend says, everything shifts after a pregnancy.
So, the time came to clean the closet, recycle clothing and will it to someone new so those cute pants could once again enjoy a Saturday night out. My younger sister was the happy recipient of the cute clothes, even if she’d still have to see a tailor to further take in some of the pants and dresses.
After joining Mothers & More I discovered my chapter hosts a fall and spring clothing and toy resale. The resale is big. There are aisles of clothing, rows of toys for all ages, an entire area devoted to baby equipment and box after box of books. I went to my first resale with my first-born in a baby carrier that I had just bought, only to see an even better model at the resale for a tenth of what I had paid for in the store.
At that resale I bought a few items. With our first-born we were blessed with presents. He had a dresser full of new clothes and a whole shelf full of books. Thanks to the baby shower friends and family supplied us with the necessary equipment from stroller to car seat and bouncer too.
By the time of that second resale my little guy was more than 9 months old and the clothing supply was starting to wane. The resale was really my first opportunity to buy new additions to his wardrobe. I’ve been hooked since. I spend the weeks leading up to the resale making lists of what he’ll need so I can shop with a plan. Will he need new snow pants this year? What size jeans is he wearing? What about a Halloween costume?
When I learned I was expecting baby No. 2 I knew I’d have to try and find a double stroller at the resale and sure enough, that’s what I did saving considerably.
At the resale I stock up on clothes for the season while toys and books are slated for Hanukkah in the winter and birthday in the spring. I have to admit, the toy and books saved for the holidays and birthdays are a huge hit. My little guys are too young to know or care that the book was previously read or the farm set used to live at someone else’s house. In fact, the lack of plastic and cardboard wrapping makes it even easier for them to dive in and start playing. My husband loves that I bought the toy for a fraction of what it sells for at the store. My chapter appreciates that I’m spending money at the resale, as a portion of the sales goes back to support my chapter’s activities while the seller appreciates that she is earning money too. It’s winning all around.
Are these hand-me-downs? Perhaps yes, but I could also say that I am helping to recycle clothes and toys while putting a little change back in the pocket of a fellow mother (and Mothers & More too). I’m not quite ready to be a seller, we haven’t settled the “Should we stop at two or try for one more which likely be another boy and see if I will really lose my mind” debate. But when the time does come to part with those adorable outfits and the swing neither of the boys liked very much, I’m sure I’ll be a seller too, recycling baby wear to another great mother.
Melissa Riske is a mother and freelance writer. She’s a member of
Mothers & More DuPage Chapter No. 1 in DuPage Illinois. She’s a part of the
national team working on Power of a Purse. To learn more about this year’s Power of a Purse campaign click here.
The DuPage Chapter of Mothers & More will host its annual Fall Children’s Clothing and Toy Resale Saturday, Sept. 14. For details visit www.dupagemothersandmore.org.
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