Friday, November 30, 2007

Hand-me-down treasure

When I was growing up, one of the small joys in my life was receiving a bag of clothing from one of my aunts and seeing what items I might like to wear. Not only did I instantly add to my wardrobe, but I was wearing clothing that my older aunts wore. How great was that? I was wearing adult clothing and I was still in junior high and high school! At that time, I was of a like size to two of my aunts who sent clothing for me to try. One was a businesswoman and I ended up with a couple suits that I liked and wore to my high school a few times. I felt very professional and grown up. I did not stay the same size so the clothing ended up going to a local charity thrift store, but I still have fond memories of the "new" clothing that I could wear courtesy of my older family members.

I wish such clothing sharing still went on in my family, but we are of different sizes and tastes in clothing as adults. However, I believe sharing clothing is a frugal way to get new clothing and empty your closet. If you have friends of a similar size, suggest a clothing swap. Have a party and try on new clothes from another person's closet. I may be tired of that shirt, but it still looks great and you may find it both just what you were looking for and it works well with other ensembles you have.

Children grow out of clothing before the clothes are completely worn out. Organize a swap or send it to a friend or neighbor with younger children than your own. It gets the unwanted clothing out of your house and the friend or neighbor would appreciate clothing that still has wear in it even if only for playing outdoors or at home. Buying clothing for children is expensive because they grow so quickly. Being able to receive hand-me-down clothing might ease the pinch in some family budgets.

If you have younger family members that are of a similar size, consider giving them first viewing of your discarded clothing before sending it off to a charity thrift shop. I welcomed additions to my closet as that meant I did not have to much spend money on clothing. Clothes take a good portion of a teen's budget. Free or cheap clothing means more money can be saved for college, for example.

Consider other ways your clothing can be used before donating them. The tax writeoff for charity can be nice, but your discards may be another person's treasure. A well-dressed person feels better about themselves and no one else has to know how little they spent on the clothing that others admire.

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