Cool Hand-Me-Downs

What child with siblings doesn’t ever get hand-me-downs sooner or later? It isn’t always a matter of keeping to a clothing budget. Some clothing just doesn’t get worn out and it seems wasteful not to give them more life. They are in perfectly good condition. If you start this practice when the kids are young, they will get used to it and even expect it. I know some kids who can’t wait to get an older siblings clothes and they often have their eye on a favorite frock. This can apply to backpacks as well, and almost any useful item that could be used for school.

If you think you are unlucky enough to have a child who balks at hand-me-downs, then you have to get a bit creative to give them a fresh look. Almost anything can be recycled but made to appear new. Think of clothing. You can dye the fabric, add decorative details and logos, shorter or lengthen pants and skirts, and so much more. Let your mind imagine options. Or let your children participate in refashioning their own items. Sports logos are a great way to update a tee shirt or parka.

One of the biggest hand-me-downs in my family is a bicycle. These are costly and certainly must be passed on after the original child has outgrown it. Some kinds resent that they aren’t the first one in line and don’t get the new item, but such is life. It is not about being fair but being practical. This is a great lesson to teach that will guide their lives. One way I handle the concept of newness or old hat is to repurpose the bike. I use a paint spray gun to paint our old bikes so they look shiny, colorful, and absolutely new. Thank goodness for the spray gun. It has had many craft uses in our home. A young child may make a mess of the job so it is best for mom or dad to handle it. Otherwise, you may find a paint-covered child. It takes some masking tape so that you can guide where the paint is to be applied.

You can use more than one color or add a trim accent if you are deft at handling the gun. Let your recipient of the hand-me-down bike decide on colors so there are no regrets. They will no doubt ride this vehicle for some time until it suits the next child. It will no doubt be at least a year or two. So you have a practical solution to saving money and keeping certain items moving on through the family. Most kids will not complain if they have been taught sharing. They may even look forward to getting an older siblings old bike as no doubt they admired it when it was new. Being creative will get you out of most fixes when it comes to recycling so use your imagination and your artistic skills in any way you can.