When Hand-Me-Down Hoarding Doesn’t Work

The bedroom switch my daughters are undertaking this summer has been very interesting.  The whole project has definitely turned out to be more than just “switch furniture and paint one room” (which went pretty well while I was gone July 4th by the way…my teenager, Allison, now sleeps amidst four walls painted a sophisticated gray-purple shade called, fittingly, “Enigma” J).  The switch has also involved the girls trading closets, and it has forced me to take a hard look at the hand-me-downs that have been amassing for several years.


See, way back in the late 90’s, when Emmie was born almost exactly four years apart from Allison (she was actually due on Allison’s birthday), I remember thinking how great that the hand-me-downs will coincide quite nicely with the seasons, and that we’d save money with all the clothes big sis could hand down to little sis. A few years later when big sis grew older, dreamed of being a fashion designer and became a “clothes connoisseur”, I started thinking little sis would not only have plenty of stuff to wear, it would be stylish, too.


It didn’t occur to me that my two girls would be totally different in size, not to mention taste in clothing (which only widens with a four year age difference, as trends change).  Allison was always about two sizes ahead of her age (i.e. when she was 10 she was wearing a 12) and Emmie is about four sizes behind (natural for a gymnast, huh?!).  So, at age 11 and going into 6th grade, Emmie wears a size 7.  The hand-me-downs available for her to wear right now are things Allison was wearing in preschool and kindergarten.  Mostly girly, colorful, embellished clothing– a style that, I discovered as I dug through the closet boxes, continues into the size 8s, 9s and 10s.  Completely incompatible with Emmie’s current “sporty”/“rocker” affinities and very unlikely to be “in vogue” with her any time in the near future.  So you can imagine the kinds of groans the clothes elicited from Emmie when I held them up.  Girly dresses and frilly ankle socks; a pair of sparkly red Wizard of Oz shoes; a jacket with puppies appliquéd all over; Disney Princess underwear; pastel purple slacks with a crystal belt buckle and black ones trimmed in fuzzy zebra-print cuffs.  (“Mom– are you kidding me?!”) Yes, it is definitely time to purge, and admit that my grand clothing plan is not going to work (well, except for a few pairs of socks, a few shirts and some pajamas). I’ve also realized that most anything in a size 14-16 is fair game to toss as well, because if Emmie keeps up the same growth rate, she’ll be in college before she can wear any of it…


It’s great that less than a mile from my house, there’s a Goodwill drop-off trailer that’s manned every day.  The friendly, toothy-grinned lady that runs it now recognizes me  in the past week, I’ve made three trips there and brought her 15 paper grocery sacks stuffed full.  And I’m not done yet.


It feels good to “lighten up” our household, as well as help a worthy organization at the same time.  So good, in fact, it’s addictive, and everyone else in my family should be on alert.  I’ve already purged Andy’s T-shirt drawer (did he really need 30 screen print tees?) and next I’m tackling Allison’s large collection of empty shopping bags and shoe boxes. (That’s right, empty  which will be perfect for hauling stuff to Goodwill when I run out of those paper grocery sacks… J)

One thought on “When Hand-Me-Down Hoarding Doesn’t Work”

Comments are closed.