When we were children, handmedowns were quite normal.  Being the eldest with a brother, there wasn’t many of my clothes passed down (apart from maybe jeans because I always had boys jeans for a few years anyway), but I was always given handmedown clothes from family friends with either older or bigger girls.  A classic was a pink slightly padded anorack, a pink jumpsuit and a yellow block tracksuit.  All very 80s and pretty horrendous really.

Now I have N.  Apart from his newborn vests and sleepsuits which were new (because most of my friends with children at the time had already given all of that age of clothes away), he’s always had handmedowns – mostly from NCT nearly new sales.  As he’s got older, he’s also had a few clothes handed down from his cousin.

But on the whole, we’ve been the ones passing clothes on to friends and also my godson where there’s the perfect age gap to be passing clothes on.  N’s clothes are mostly immaculate when passed on because he’s got quite a few.  Although even the ones he wears all the time are in pretty good condition.  He’s not yet got to the playing football phase so I expect that’ll change once he starts school.

But recently we’ve been doing a bit of clothes swapping, or swishing to term it right.

I’d been through my wardrobe a while back and had a dustbin sack of clothes to get rid of in a variety of sizes.  My theory is I’ll get rid of many of my smaller clothes, and once I’ve lost weight just get a new wardrobe!  I took the bag into work to offer the clothes to a few people there.  Our work’s all about reducing waste, so we were practicing what we preach!

One friend took a few items, then a couple of days later she turned up at work with 2 big dustbin sacks full of boys clothes.  Her son’s 6 but very slight, so only just out of age 4-5, or age 5 clothes.  I thought N had a lot of clothes, but 2 huge bagfuls had loads in for me to have a look through.

Some of the clothes were too small as they were age 3-4 and some of the 4-5 were a bit small (damn those children’s clothes which always seem to shrink faster than adults clothes), and not everything was my cup of tea or N’s colour (a lot of lime green for some reason).  Many of the clothes had been passed on to them, although there were some brand new Boden t shirts still in bags that had been too small when passed on.

childrens clothes handmedowns

I do love rooting through clothes, and it worked out really well.  Both my friend and I got a load of clothes, and managed to reduce our piles.

So we now have:

  • numerous pairs of jersey shorts, which are great for nursery or playing in the garden, or even in place of pjs
  • a few t shirts including a couple of the brand new Boden ones
  • a pair of grey school trousers (the rest were all black and the schools round here are all grey)
  • a variety of swim shorts – her children are all swimmers, and they’ll be great for if and when we go on holiday
  • cargo shorts – some more substantial shorts, mostly casual, but a bit smarter than the jersey ones
  • pair of light coloured summer trousers

Even taking a huge pile of clothes out for us, there was still a good 2 bags of clothes left…which are now driving round in my car with me until our working days where we’re parked near each other coincide to do a handover again.

N’s already worn a few of the t shirts, and has looked really nice in them.  And he’s set up for summer now as well with all the shorts.  Once we’re finished with them, My godson will be the next recipient…his mum, my best friend always notices when she’s dressed him in all N’s handmedowns.

Do your children have handmedowns?  What do you do with their old clothes?

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28 Comments

  1. This is such a brilliant thing. My sister is great at doing this and she regularly bags up clothes for Grace which are hand-me-downs from her cousin Emily. I am not good – maybe I should be! Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

    • I always think handing things on makes me feel really good, especially when I’ve had things passed on to me. Although I try and sell some things first…given the amount I spend on clothes even in the sales, I need to really. There’s so many more options for passing clothes on if you don’t have family or friends who need them as well with internet selling, different charity donation options.

  2. This sounds like a great idea! Sam used to get handmedowns from his cousin who’s 2 years older than him, but Sam is now in age 6-7 clothes, so a size bigger than said cousin! Syd used to get clothes from my friend’s twins (Who I passed all of Sam’s stuff onto), but Syd is bigger than the twins now, as well. (Darn my gigantic children)! I am still passing their clothes on, but we buy 99% of stuff new now. #TT_Thursday

    • Yep, we’re the same. the older they get, the less different in size…the school jumpers we have in age 5-6 and 7-8 look so shrunken, and N’s already in age 5-6 for his nursery sweatshirts because they come up so small.

  3. Swishing parties are great – though it does always sound to me like it is something that should be on an adult channel 😉 We love handmedowns and always pass ours on. We get a lot of clothes from Charity shops too – they grow out of them so fast that the less the costs the better! Thx so much for linking up to the parenting pin it party on our 100th birthday.

    • Lol, I almost wrote swapping myself and changed it because I realised it sounded dodgy!

      Seems that everyone else’s charity shops are much better than ours for clothes. Although my best friend does send clothes for N from charity shops near her!

  4. I have never heard it called swishing before. We always pass clothes along – and it is easy here as I have 4 boys. I used to have my sister’s clothes and if not from charity shops. Looks like you got some lovely clothes.

    • I think swishing’s really the posh term for clothes swapping parties. I’ve been to one in the past, although it wasn’t that great, much better doing it informally really.

  5. I’m all for hand me down clothes for children as some of them get so little use. When both of mine were babies we were given lots of clothes, but they seem to have stopped coming over the last year. I like to pay it forward and have taken boxes of clothes round to friends houses for their children.

    We’ve also had clothes swapping events at work, including tie swapping for the men.

    • Like the tie swapping idea. We’ve done upcycling of jumpers to make them into Christmas jumpers which was funny. And I’ve got someone’s kids old bike for N.

  6. Great idea! I haven’t kept any clothes from my older two to pass onto my youngest because there is such a big age gap but he wears hand me downs from his cousin. I love it when she gives me a bag of stuff 🙂 TT_Thursday

    • I’m the same, love a bargain, but love rootling through a handmedown bag even more…although I do quite often get given some extremely dubious items I wouldn’t put anywhere near N.

  7. This is what I miss! I have never worn new clothes at home except when it is Christmas. My cousins give me lots and I give lots to younger cousins. Its a cycle. I didnt like it then but now it just makes a lot of sense. I dont have relatives here so I donate my son’s old ones and buy most of his stuff from charity. #pocolo

    • I’m astounded by how many people find children’s wear from charity shops. Apart from our local nearly new sales, in the charity shops near us, there’s basically one rail for all kids wear girls and boys, so I’ve never found anything in N’s size or that’s nice.

  8. ClearlyBex

    I love the idea! Leah has a lot of hand me downs at the moment from friends (look at my current #TT_Thursday post – its all hand me downs) which is good. With Lewis most of his has either been new of charity shop bought as he’s such a tall lad I don’t know anyone with Children over the age of 9! Thank you for sharing.

    • The charity shops round here are terrible for children’s wear, probably because everyone sells things on Facebook, ebay or at NCT sales. I’ve never bought anything for N at one.

  9. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)

    We are very much into hand me downs with our kiddies and having friends with little ones a year or two older than each of ours has given a lot of hand me downs. We get the occasional new bit to compliment the wardrobe and now Monkey is actually as tall as my friends son so no more hand me downs and its all about buying things from charity shops or in the sale! They just grow out of them so fast I don’t like to spend too much money on them! Xx #pocolo

    • So handy when you’ve got friends and family to pass on things. Gutting when they all end up the same size! I buy a lot in the sales too. thankfully N’s a slow grower at the moment so things do last for him

  10. I had a big sister so I really should have had handmedowns from her but my Mother was a dressmaker and made most of our clothes. We wore the same things only in different sizes. I thought I was the beesknees but I’m not sure she felt the same back then.
    Now when we look at old photo’s of us together we can appreciate all the work my Mum most have done to have us so well turned out!

    • That’s lovely.

      My mum also sewed and knitted, mostly for me…a lot of Clothkits dresses. Although my brother and I did have her homemade bermuda shorts one summer.

  11. I’m a huge believer in hand me downs. I’ve hardly had to buy my boys clothes in the last 10 years because of kind friends. For Miss T we didn’t know anyone with the right age gap to receive clothes from initially but lately she’s been given lots of stuff to grow into and it is so lovely knowing the clothes are being put to good use. We then pass our stuff onto others after. Granny bought miss T some proper girls knickers for easter because she had been wearing the boys hand-me-down pants until now. I actually felt pretty good that she’s managed this long on hand-me-down pants and we only recently bought her first ever coat that wasn’t a handmedown. #pocolo

    • That’s so handy, and saves so much money. It amazes me when people only buy new because as you say, they grow so quickly. I do buy a lot of new too because the people who usually hand stuff down only have wrecked stuff from farm use. So handy to get a new source!

  12. We didn’t always have new clothes as children either, I’ve no idea where mum got them from but those she didn’t make or buy definitely came from somewhere! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with handing clothes down and it’s the sensible way to go when things cost so much and are outgrown so quickly. It’s a good life lesson too – not everything has to be shiny and new. #pocolo

    • Agree about the life lesson, definitely important for children to know that not everything has to be new.

  13. Leading up to the birth of our daughter we were inundated with second hand clothing from friends and family, right from tiny baby to 12 months. A complete wardrobe! It would be daft to buy additional clothing. As long as she’s happy enough not being up with the latest trends…

    • That’s pretty impressive. I found we didn’t get given much because everyone’s kids were older and they’d already given them all away. The NCT sales were my friend. It’s handy at this age though, because they don’t care as long as they’re dressed (or not in the case of N who’d be quite happy just running round in pants!)

  14. Great idea. When he was born my oldest had hand me downs from his 2 cousins who are just a little older but then he grew and they are all in similar sizes now but his clothes get passed down to my youngest who is hard wearing on clothes so not sure they’ll be fit to pass on again!

    • That’s the problem isn’t it. As they get older there’s less gap in size. My godson’s 2 years younger so it works quite well.
      Thanks for commenting Emma

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