When M was a baby she had everything new. Partly because we didn’t really have (at that point) friends with children but mainly, if I’m honest, because we wanted her to have new things. For whatever reason. We bought the occasional item from Ebay but really it was nearly all new. When K came along four and a half years later, things were (and continue to be) very different. For starters, as soon as we knew we were having another girl, we started saving things. We had also formed a group of ‘parent’ friends too and all of this meant that where M had everything spanking new, K has everything handed down. Bless her, she doesn’t seem to mind. Yet.
When I look at K this morning, the only newly purchased things she’s wearing are her vest and her shoes (I have a thing about shoes actually. I think they should be new, particularly for littles ones). Her trousers and top came from a friend who used them for her two daughters. Her coat was M’s old one which was one of the few items which came second hand from Ebay. The sleeping bag she woke up in used to be M’s. A fair proportion of the toys she’s been playing with were M’s too.
Aside from the obvious financial benefits of reusing clothes/toys/bedding/furniture (you name it) there’s something extremely pleasing about giving something a second (or third, or fourth…) airing. It feels like the right thing to do in these straitened times and saves a whole load of guilt about futher damaging the environment or supporting child labour. Right on. And it doesn’t just need to be kid’s stuff either. The hand me down system can be adapted to encompass swapping or borrowing all sorts of items.