Things Moms Should Never Do When Accepting Hand-Me-Downs

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I am one of those moms that absolutely loves handing my kid stuff over to other moms. Two of my close friends have children about 18 months younger than my own, which is the perfect age difference for handing down bags of gently used, still stylish clothing from my 6-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son to their 4-and-a-half-year-old and 18-month-old.

It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. I’m regularly inspired to clean out my kids’ closets, and I feel better about splurging on those Patagonia swim shorts and Crewcuts dresses, knowing they’re going to have a second life with other kids I love. My friends save loads of money on kids’ clothes and have been known to thank me generously. (One of these friends is an amazing photographer, and she offers up free photo sessions for my family; another occasionally sends me gift cards to my favorite local Mexican restaurant. Bring on the skinny margaritas!)

If you can find a long-term hand-me-down situation that works for everyone, mom life is good, but more often, hand-me-downs come sporadically and in bits and pieces, a trickier concept to navigate, especially if you’re on the receiving end. Follow these six etiquette guidelines, however, and you’re sure to keep getting the good stuff . . . the good kid stuff, that is.

  1. Don’t take what you won’t use. We’ve all met a mom who can’t wait to unload her kids’ clothing the minute they’ve outgrown each item, but if you don’t think your own kids will wear whatever she’s offering, don’t feel bad saying so, giving her the opportunity to find someone else who could use it. If she just won’t take no for an answer, don’t feel guilty…

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