11 December 2012

Hand-Me-Downs: Thumbs up?

A lot of the people I know think I spend a lot on Julia’s clothes.  I bought quite a number (of course!) but most of what she wears, especially after she turned one, is second hand.  Yes, second hand.  Hand-me downs.  Both my sister-in-law and Don’s cousin asked us if we would like them to send clothes previously owned by their daughters.  Without batting an eyelash, we said yes!  Kids grow so fast and we would love to save money on clothes.

I remember a conversation I had with a colleague at work.  She told me a matter-of-factly that I spend too much on Julia’s clothes.  They grow up fast, she said.  I laughed and whispered to her that most of them are hand-me-downs from our nieces.  She then said, “sobra ka naman, kawawa naman yung anak mo.”  Annoying, I know.  I should have kept my mouth shut and let her stereo-type me because I am a first-time mom.  Because I choose my battles now, I decided to just laugh at the comment.  It is the kind of argument I do not want to start and I was not going to dignify her comment by defending myself. 

What is wrong with hand-me-downs?  I am the youngest in the family and I wore a lot of my older sister’s baby and toddler clothes.  I did not even know until my mom showed me some photos.  I don’t remember feeling degraded or embarrassed about it.  I never questioned my mom’s love and affection for me just because she made me wear my sister’s clothes. 

Previously worn/loved, second hand, or hand-me-down clothes don’t mean old, torn and filthy clothes.  I don’t think any mom would pass on anything that is not presentable or cannot be used anymore.  For me, hand-me-downs are well stored/kept properly/slightly used clothes or items that can still be used by my daughter.

Julia's pre-loved clothes
Here’s my hand-me-down checklist:
  • Items/clothes should be from a trusted source – from a family member or close friend
  • Inspect and verify if the clothing (or any item) is still in good quality and condition.  Is it free from stains, odors, holes or tears?  Check the zipper and buttons if they are still attached and functioning properly
  • Check and label sizes.
  • Segregate:  Home use / For going out – Play dates, special occasions, etc.  
  • Hand wash then machine wash.  Especially if the clothes have been stored for a long time.  (Haha, I know.  I just want to be sure.) 

I don’t mind letting Julia use hand-me-downs.   In fact, Don’s cousins from the US will send us 2 boxes of clothes (and toys, hopefully!) previously owned by their daughters.  I have also passed on some of Julia’s clothes and toys to the daughter of a friend.   I don’t think I am being unfair to my daughter by allowing her to use good quality hand-me-downs.  I believe it is practical because I am able to save and set aside money for Julia’s other important needs.

What do you think?  Do you let your child use hand-me-downs?
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