Hand-me-down heaven

Having kids is expensive. When you have more than the normal and acceptable number of chil'rens, it's just plain crazy. Everything I buy, it's times six. Usually, I don't buy the kids more than one article of clothing at a time. Thankfully, my two oldest wear the same size so they share pretty much everything but their shoes (Diego is bigger by a whole size and a half--even though he is 15 months younger). My younger two sons have a small and humble wardrobe. They're busy waiting on the older two to outgrow something so they'll have something new coming their way. I don't mind though, the younger two are real pig-pens and they are constantly ruining stuff. And my girls, well, they are girls. They have more clothes than all of us combined.

I'm blessed to have parents who regularly buy clothes for their grandchildren. So if someone needs a new pair of jeans or they outgrew their shoes and their older sib is not yet ready to hand his down, they will fill in the gap for us and buy them what they need. And I'm not too shy to ask either. There have been quite a few shipments from Old Navy to my front porch, courtesy of my mom and dad's credit card. Just before Christmas I realized that Maya had absolutely no warm clothes. Sure, she had shorts and halter tops and tanks, but nothing that fit her constantly stretching legs and arms. So her grandma-mama took her to Target and bought her leggings, jeans, sweaters, long-sleeve tees and pj's. Whew.

I am not averse to hand-me-downs. As a matter of fact, I love me some hand-me-downs. Especially when they come from a home where there is an only child. Then that is just gravy. They are usually without stains or holes, they are still in style, they are name brand and they come by the trash bag full. Yesssss.

Unfortunately, we have also been a victim to people who thought oh, they have a hundred kids, surely I can toss them these holey, stained rags from Walmart. Here--why not toss in some thongs, too! I kid you not, I once got a bag of hand-me-downs from someone my stepdad works with and there were several thong underwear in the pile. Who the hell wears hand-me-down thongs? And shirts with large holes in them. Why would you inflict holey shirts and used thongs on the less fortunate of society? We're poor, not completely tasteless.

Right after the new year, my stepbro and his woman sent us a bag of clothes for our boys. My nephew Ezra is younger than Noah but he is a big, strapping boy so his stuff would fit Noah and Diego perfectly. Kristina told me that they just got rid of bags of clothes to friends and the Goodwill. Nooooo! But she still had some stuff to pass on over. And what was it? A big bag full of O'Neill, Hurley, Vans, Quicksilver, Tony Hawk, Billabong, Dickies and other skate brands. All like new. About four hooded sweatshirts in perfect condition. Six or seven pairs of brand-new board shorts. And several button down shirts for their fancy days. Wow, what a blessing. Good looking out, Ez. Keep on shooting up like a weed!

Then my cousin Diana brought over a big bag of stuff for Maya last Friday. Several pairs of sweats, sweatshirts, tees, pj's, shorts, dresses and sweaters. Maya and Xixi were so excited to see the Disney princess pj's. You would have thought they had a shopping spree at Nordstrom the way they were tearing through the bag. Oh, and two pairs of tap shoes! Those entertained them all week long.

I wish I could say that every bag of hand-me-downs I get was as good as these two occasions. There have been many occasions where stuffs been sold at our yard sales or packed in the back of Michael's truck headed for Goodwill.

I like to think that there is hand-me-down karma. Now, I don't believe in spiritual karma per se, but I do believe in passing whatever clothes I have to others. You may think that I wouldn't have anything to hand down since the chil'rens get good use out of everything. But there is still stuff to give away. I had an obscene amount of rubbermaid bins stuffed with brand-new newborn clothes and blankets and shoes and they all found a good home. The same with my girl's clothes and the several jackets I have stuffed in my hall closet. Whenever we get something new (or new to us), I try to give something away.

And now you know why the chil'rens don't look like ragamuffins every time you see them. We got people, yo. People that take care of us.


  1. notoriouslig9:10 PM

    My favorite part of hand-me-downs--watching various sets of cousins and siblings photographed in the same outfit. I had a pink dress that I was photographed in that me sister was photoraphed in, and that my cousin in Mexico was photographed in. It was a great dress.

  2. My mom would get a lot of stuff from yard sales, especially clothes for babies and toddlers. She would also make a lot of our clothes. And she definitely saved cloths. I don't think Adrian (the youngest) had too many hand me downs from my older brother, Danny. However, my sister, Lori, did get to wear some of the dresses and outfits I outgrew.

    As for having people, that's always a blessing.

    I'm still giggling about the ratty t-shirts and thongs. Some people...

  3. I love hand-me-downs and since I was raised eating govt. cheese I lived my entire youthin hand-me-downs (with the execption of a few classy outfits from KMART layaway). To this day I can't throw away clothes. I have to offer them up to friends even when I am pretty sure they don't want them.
    I do however draw the line at passing on undies of any kind. eeewww.

  4. i know what you mean...we got a few bags of hand-me-downs last year from a lady in my mom's group that i couldn't believe i actually wasted the gas in my car to go get. sorry, that sounds snobby, but i think we kept 1 thing...i hope she doesn't read your blog :).
    also, speaking of hand-me-down thongs...i know someone who wears them, my sister. only from me, though. she's the type who doesn't turn down anything you offer her...AND she had just spent like $500 at victoria secret at the annual sale, but she still "needed" more.

  5. Shan...that must be a very tight sisterly bond cuz there ain't no way I'd wear someone else's thong...or bra...or swimsuit. LOL

  6. Hand me downs are soooo great!!! I love love love them. I have a cousin who passes them down to us and it's like Christmas - all the kids gather and we look through the bag with ooohs and aaahs. I know what you mean about the raggedy stuff though - I've gotten some like that before and we're like Who would give this away? How embarassing! :)

  7. Wow, the used thongs made me laugh out loud. Can you imagine what that lady was thinking, "hmmm, I think someone else could use this old thong..."

    Growing up, my mom used to save old clothing and shop the yard sales all year. Then, in the summer, we used to take army-sized duffel bags of used clothing to our family in Mexico. They were so grateful. It was like we were giving them gold.


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