Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rules for Hand-Me-Downs

Since I have two children of the same gender, we get to maximize the use of little boy clothes. Their birthdays are at opposite ends of the calendar, but that hasn't held me back too much... we've made it work.

There have been times when Tyler was wearing clothes that were a bit too big, since I wasn't about to let Christmas pass without putting him in the gray wool overalls with the red plaid trim, even if he was swimming in it. (It was adorable... not nerdy. I promise.)

It's really fun to bring up boxes from the basement when Tyler is embarking on a new size. It's a delight to unpack what I washed, folded, and stored so long ago (and yet sometimes it feels like just last season). It's a walk down memory lane to remember where Tucker wore different things, which ones he wore for various photos, and which ones I snuggled him to sleep in. I love it.

But I've learned that I have rules about hand-me-downs. Not ALL of Tucker's clothes get to be recycled. I only put clothes in the dresser or the closet if they don't look like they've already been through the toddler mill. Sometimes, what was spot-free when I stored it isn't quite so perfect when I bring it out of the box. Basement storage isn't always kind.

Sometimes, I am learning, I have put things in the box to save forever, because it was just my very favorite. Never mind the fact that it's pilly now... you know, the way cotton gets after much love and many washings.

What I put away with great anticipation of using again... well, it's not always so cute anymore. What is worthy of sentiment is not necessarily worthy of putting on my next child.

Tyler deserves new stuff. Thanks to the mercy of his parents and the endless generosity of his doting grandparents, he is not at a loss for things that are uniquely his. But if it's stained, pilly, yellowed, or just loved too much, and if it's any less quality than something I would have bought off the rack, then it goes to donation... not to Tyler's closet.

That's all there is to it.

Who knew I had so much to say on the topic?? Turns out, I feel strongly about this.

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