Hand-Me-Downs: How to Save Money and Please your Kids

Hand-me-downs can be dreaded by younger siblings. Here are some tips to help them enjoy their clothes a little more.

Children grow fast, and clothes aren’t exactly cheap. For most parents of multiple children it’s not uncommon to buy new or gently used clothing for the older child and then pass those along to a younger sibling when they have outgrown it. Many children hate hand-me-downs, either because they have different taste in clothes than their siblings or because they just want something that’s brand new. Here are some tips to help bring more enjoyment to this classic clothing practice.

  1. When you decide to recycle something, make sure it’s freshly washed and ironed before you give it to your child. If the item is more worn, you may need to do some light repairs or discard it altogether. Even small scuff marks on shoes can be covered, but left untreated makes a big difference on how it looks to a child.
  2. Wait a little while after your oldest child stops wearing the item before your younger child does. Even if your children are close in age and not far off in sizes, don’t be too quick to pass something along. Give the garment a bit of time to rest before being worn again. Even a couple of months can make something old feel new.
  3. Make minor alterations. Something as simple as new buttons on a coat or making a long sleeve shirt, short sleeved can be a big difference in the style of a piece and adds little cost to the clothing budget. Get as creative as your imagination and ability allow.
  4. Mix used clothes with new. Wearing an entire hand-me-down outfit can be a drag. Instead, take your child shopping for a couple of new items they like so they can have something on they chose themselves.
  5. If your child complains about the hand-me-downs, help them understand that the money they are saving can go to other things they enjoy, like going to the movies or eating out at a restaurant.
  6. Try to let them choose what they want as much as possible. Even if the choice is as small as which pair of gloves they want to wear, it still gives them a sense of autonomy and lets them express their interests and sense of style.

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