Clothes are expensive- baby clothes even more so. It’s easy, even for seasoned bargain hunters like myself, to lose all sense of self-restraint and throw ourselves on adorable garments like these. And babies grow quickly, darned them, and even the most darling of outfits won’t fit forever. Unless you live in extreme isolation, or are fundamentally opposed to letting something used touch your little darling’s skin, hand-me-downs and secondhand clothes are a great way to lighten the financial load.
When your firstborn outgrows an outfit, you sigh sentimentally as you tuck it away, washed and folded, to await the arrival of baby number two. After the spare outgrows it, you might do as I did, and get it out of the house as quickly as possible, sure that no little feet were ever to pitter-patter in the house again. Or, maybe you tuck the outfit away again, to await the arrival of baby number three, number four, number five…
I am lucky to have wonderful friends who, conveniently have the correct gendered and aged children to be able to pass their hand-me-downs to my kids. A friend with three boys passes down all her boy stuff. When I was pregnant with my third child, a girl after two boys, I had almost no baby clothes. I had given nearly all of them away! A friend from work gave me four enormous boxes of her daughter’s outgrown clothes; in fact I had so many that I was able to share with another friend of mine. Sometimes I’m curious to know just how many babies have worn the pajamas I just put on my daughter. Three? Four? Ten? Hand-me-downs are definitely the gift that keep on giving.
What happens afterwards though, especially if you are finished (or believe you are finished) having children? The way I see it there are three choices: sell the item (on Ebay, or to a consignment shop), give it away (to a friend or to a thrift store) or trash it.
As someone who is environmentally aware, at least moderately so, I abhor throwing usable goods into the trash. I’ll Freecycle something, or even leave it out on the curb, before I throw it away. However, is it right to make money off of something given to you?
A lot of my alternative income comes from things I sell: on Etsy, on Ebay, or at the consignment store. However I don’t feel right selling clothes that have been passed down to me. I don’t want to make money off of other people’s generosity, nor to I consider myself to be in such dire financial straits that I have the need to do so. therefore I only sell clothes that I myself have bought, usually from a thrift store or a consignment shop; very occasionally I will sell something bought new for me as a gift, but only after my kids have worn it multiple times. Otherwise, they get passed down to the next person in the chain. At the moment, that place belongs to my Chinese teacher. I have two big bags of clothes for her, it’s her turn now!
How do you get outgrown baby clothes out of the house? Where do they go? Do you ever sell them? And what do you do with clothes that were gifts?