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Organize Hand Me Downs to Save Throughout the Year

by Community Manager

‎01-23-2017 07:20 AM

Content provided courtesy of USAA.

By Chad Storlie


Trying to organize hand me downs to use throughout the year appears to be one of those simple activities that over a year devolves into a pile of shirts, pants, shorts, and t-shirts. Hand me downs are a great way to save money, save time, and pass on family traditions through clothing between siblings. 


Here are six ways to make the hand me down process more fun and effective.


Hand Me Down Organization Tip #1 – Clear Containers Organized by Season and Size. One of the easiest ways to organize hand me downs is to sort into clear containers by season and by size. This is a great way to find items by the season you need them and the appropriate size. This is undoubtedly the single biggest time and money saver because you can instantly find what you need for the weather and the child’s size.


Hand Me Down Organization Tip #2 – Create Outfits to Show Potential. One of the largest challenges is to get a sibling to wear something that is not “new” or from “The Popular” store. This can be overcome by piecing together complete outfits of pants, shirts, shoes, and even jackets to show the potential and looks of an outfit. This way, the child is part of the selection process, can see how the items look together, and then can mix and match. 


Hand Me Down Organization Tip #3 – The Shoe Bin. Shoes are either worn into the ground or not worn at all.  Creating a shoe bin where all the old shoes that can still be worn is another incredible money saver. Washing and cleaning shoes before they go into the Shoe Bin box ensures they are clean and instantly wearable.


Hand Me Down Organization Tip #4 – The Winter Weather Locker. My wife created a Winter Weather Locker three years ago, that slashed our spending on jackets, gloves, and boots. She has bins, hooks, and trays for all jackets, hats, boots, and gloves for each child. At the end of the season, all the kids’ outdoor items are cleaned and dried, and then everything goes back into the Winter Weather Locker. No more lost boots, hats, or cries of “nothing fits.” We also built up a reserve of winter weather items so when friends come over and someone is missing snow pants or dry pair of boots, we instantly have something so everyone can have fun in the snow. We know instantly what jacket (s) will fit which child the next winter.


Hand Me Down Organization Tip #5 – Help Out Your Friends. When we get items that no longer fit any of our kids or that are kids no longer want, we have an extra clear bin for friends and neighbors with similar aged kids. This is probably one of the best ways to help other friends with children and pass on great clothing items. It may not save us money directly, but it helps others out immensely.


Hand Me Down Organization Tip #6 – Get It Out Of the House. My wife is a master of the decluttering process. When we have an item that no one can use, the first stop is a series of 2nd hand stores to see if they will buy anything. If the 2nd hand store does not want it, then the item is immediately taken for donation. Once we take an item out of the house, it is either sold or donated; it does not come back in.


A strategy to use hand me down items helps save both money and time – to incredible valuable commodities for busy families. The value to a good hand me down item is not just value to your family, but to a friend’s family or to a donation to a shelter for families. Using hand me down’s well helps save significant amounts of money and teaches children a valuable lesson in how to manage money because sometimes-great things come from a brother, a sister or a neighbor and not from a store.

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