When you really think about it, it’s kind of a funny name. Hand me down; the definition is an article of clothing passed on to another person after being used, outgrown. In my family, I have two older brothers (not many hand me downs happening there! By the time they had both worn them, they were not worth handing down!) However, I also had older cousins that were girls and believe me, it was a treat when I received a bag of hand me downs from them! It might not have been new, but it was new to me! I always loved going through and sorting the items as to what I liked and could use and what I really didn’t want. Then, the items that I didn’t want got passed on to another cousin. That was the beauty of living super close to family, so much was shared between us.
When organizing, I notice that there are lots of hand me downs that other people are dealing with as well. Several clients have young children and friends and neighbors have shared their hand me downs for them to use in the future. While this is a very kind gesture, it also poses its challenges. The receiver needs to take the time to sort the clothes by size and then either put it in on hangers for future use or in bins to be used when the child gets older. Here is a simple example of how to identify various sizes in the closet.
When it comes to storing the clothing in bins, I suggest you use clear bins and place a piece of paper on the inside of the bin in the front with the size of the clothing. If you have a lot of clothing for that size, you might also want to organize it seasonally. This could be done inside the bin in separate bags or with paper dividers to identify the seasons. Here is an example of how to label these bins as well.
But one thing that I want to stress is that you don’t have to keep every item that has been passed on to you. Go through the clothing and pick your favorites and share the blessing with someone else in need. I would suggest that each child to have a basic wardrobe consisting of 3 pairs of PJ’s, 10 sets of everyday clothes, and 3 sets of dress clothes plus the necessary underwear, socks and seasonal coats and shoes. By reducing your clothing to the basics, this will also lessen the frustration of mounds of laundry, less amounts to fold and put away therefore saving time and energy in that regard too.
Now, lets talk about other hand me downs such as furniture and collections. We will start with furniture. Often when someone passes and families are looking at that loved one’s belongings, it seems like a disservice to not keep something that belonged to them. However, saving that keepsake has caused many people to simply get a storage unit to place it in. The funny thing is that they didn’t need that piece of furniture in the first place but felt obligated or compelled to keep it. The truth of the matter is though, many people tuck it away in storage and end up dealing with it at a later date. In most cases, they realize that it wasn’t needed and probably should have been donated from the start. Now they see that they have wasted time, energy and money as a result of delaying the decision-making process. A friend shared this saying with me and I share it with my client’s time and time again: If You Don’t Find Something To Be Beautiful or Useful, You Are Not Obligated To Keep It. There you go! The same goes with collections. Just because your family member collected something and has passed, you don’t have to become the new collector of that item if it is not something that you are interested in. It would serve much better purpose with someone that is a collector of it and truly appreciates it for what it is. The most important thing to keep is the memories! I suggest that you take photos of things that you remember your loved ones enjoying instead of the actual collections or keep one piece of the collection and let the rest go. Don’t let their collection become your burden.
I hope that this has shed some light on how to handle your hand me downs! Know that I am just a phone call away if you are feeling burdened in your home by your stuff or other people’s stuff that has taken up residency as a result of delaying the decision-making process.
Having a clear mind and a clear space allows you to think and act with purpose – Erika Oppenheimer