2nd Hand Clothing — Do you Feel Bad for Your Kids?

One of the many many advantages to having two kids close in age – even better when they’re the same gender – is that you can recycle and reuse baby toys, furniture and accessories, clothes and shoes, and even larger more expensive items like car seats and strollers.

I know our family has saved tons of money because of this! We have reused nearly everything. I mean, why wouldn’t we, right? I figure saving things to use for the next kids makes the most sense.

Joshua wears Lucas’s old clothes. He is in his old car seat. He used his bouncy seat, boppy, high chair, sippy cup, pack n’ play, cloth diapers, blankets, bath toys, stroller…. and on and on. In fact, nearly all of Lucas’s clothes were hand me downs as well! He has 3 male cousins and we were so fortunate to get several boxes of clothes from them.

{Just a picture I took of Lucas that I love. I had to find a way to sneak it into the blog somehow. 🙂 His shirt is totally a hand-me-down, the jeans were new though!}

I’ve heard of people who feel bad for their kids because they have to share everything. None of their clothes are “new,” all the toys have been played with, everything is a hand-me-down from the older child. The oldest child got everything brand new (along with more pictures in the baby book. Ha.) and all the siblings are using the “leftovers.”

Honestly, I have never felt bad. Ever. I don’t think my kids care either. They are dressed and happy, who the heck cares if I got it at a garage sale, from my neighbor or brand new at the store. I think it would be super silly to buy everything brand new. But, maybe that’s just me.

I think as my kids grow up, they might have more to say about sharing things and wearing hand me-downs or playing with the same toys, and in that case, I’m going to have a tough love attitude and say – get over it. This is your brother and you’re going to be sharing things for the rest of your life, so get used to it. I will buy you your own toothbrush.

What about you? Do you ever feel bad that you don’t buy anything “new” for your 2nd, 3rd or 4th kid? If you have older kids, what do they have to say about it? 

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

21 thoughts on “2nd Hand Clothing — Do you Feel Bad for Your Kids?

  1. I grew up with everything new (as an only though) and my mom wouldn't even let me shop at Goodwill or Salvation Army or any of the kids resale shops. She grew up very upper class and it was just her upbringing that you don't share clothes/shoes/etc. Here's my thought – I would rather get my stuff from a resale than brand new because it's less expensive and really, the kid's going to wear it for how long? And if you just reuse the same clothes the kids know no different (at this age anyway) and you're saving money and not putting new soon to be rags into the environment.

    I love that pic of Lucas by the way 😀

  2. I don't feel bad one bit girl. My daughter is nearly seven, and my only girl, but when she was a baby, a friend gave me more clothes than I could possibly dress her in, I still have clothes now from her. Plus my aunt has given me clothes from both my nieces, and she is waiting to wear those too, he he. My boys, same thing, only not so many clothes, as the girl.

    My oldest is 12, my youngest is 4, so tons of the clothes he wears is almost 10 years old, from his older brother, and still good as ever. Most of their toys, are all second hand too. I can't stand spending full price on things when I know I can get it way cheaper used.

    Fortunately for us, I don't have to do this. I explain to my kids all the time, that just because you have money doesn't mean you have to spend it, especially on things like that. Whenever I ask my kids would you rather have ONE shirt, or half a new wardrobe, the choice is pretty clear. They are learning that money doesn't grow on trees, and you better figure out where you want to spend it.

    I choose not to buy name brand clothes, from the mall. I choose to get tons of used, second hand clothes, toys, and things for out home, including much of our furniture, and as a result, we get to spend our money on other things. Everyones happy.

    I feel sad for people who make it sound like this is wrong, or create this idea with kids that you are poor, or something. My kids hold their head up high, and that's the way I like it. Be proud, and carry yourself well. It's not always about the money, like I said, I for one, do it by choice, not out of necessity, and LOVE IT.

    Hugs to you and your adorable little ones girl. Great post, clearly I had a lot to say about this, because I feel very strongly about it, he he.

    Bella 🙂**AMAZE ME AUGUST** @ Bella Before and After

  3. With my kids, I definitely used and gave hand-me-downs as the opportunity presented itself. Clothes, toys, whatever.

    I am the oldest child in my family and happened to be the oldest/biggest in our circle of friends, so I rarely got hand-me-downs as a kid, although we gave them frequently. I always felt a little left out because of it.

    On the other hand though, my mother-in-law talked quite a bit about growing up in a family that didn't have much. She was always on the big side and as such received her hand-me-downs from a maiden aunt. She said that in those days (the 1940s) what older women wore (dark colors, etc.) was very different from what girls would wear. As such, she was always embarrassed that she had to wear “old lady” clothes.

    So, I guess, given the circumstances, it can be a bit of a complicated situation at times.

  4. I buy things for Ingrid that are gender neutral knowing I will someday put Otis in them! I don't see anything wrong with it. It's another lesson in reduce, reuse, recycle. Something has wear left it in, then we use it!

    And also, the money thing is super important. When I see new clothes that are like $20 for a onesie I just laugh. For $20 at a consignment store yesterday I got Otis two pairs of pants, a pair of pjs, a pair of super cute Robeez, and three shirts. And as soon as he outgrows them, we have friends having a boy and she's getting a big bag of clothes from us, so that $20 will go even further!

    I'm glad you have a tough love attitude, I think more parents need to have that. Life isn't easy sometimes, there are some lessons that need to be learned.

  5. #2 isn't born yet, but we haven't bought him ANY clothing yet (he's due in 6 weeks!) we're going to just play it by ear w/ Luke's hand-me-downs! (I did buy a stash of preemie-small woolies to cover his diapers though, since we don't really use PUL covers any more.)

    I don't feel bad about it at all! He's also going to have all Luke's hand-me-down cups & toys. BUT, most of them were HMDs for Luke too! We have RECENTLY replaced a bunch of sippy cups with Toy Story ones for Luke but the others were leaking. 😦 (They were like 5 years old.)

  6. haha…I will buy you your own toothbrush! LOL

    I agree with you! We had a boy, then a girl, but I still reused as much as I could (car seat, stroller, etc). I also buy their clothes at consignment shops as much as I can. They grow way too fast NOT to! I am sure that your boys dont know at all and when they start noticing….tell them to get a job! LOL :oP

  7. I totally believe in getting things second hand!! I have a girl and a boy and they both get the majority of the their clothes and toys either from garage sales, from cousins or from various thrift stores. Obviously I buy underwear new!! I think that buying second hand makes sense….the clothing is in great shape(often brand new looking) and can be purchased at a fraction of the cost! I buy a lot of my own clothing second hand as well as does my hubby. I would rather save that extra money for my kiddos college education.

  8. My oldest is almost entirely in hand-me-downs, some thrift store finds, and a few new things to fill in the gap. Both kids have gotten new clothes as gifts. I'm not worried at all about hand me downs, but when they get much older I think it starts to matter. I was the second daughter so I do recall whining about hand-me-downs when I was 6 or 7 or so. Older sis got to pick what she wanted to wear, and we didn't have the same style, so that part seemed unfair to me. I doubt I ONLY had hand me downs before that, but I don't remember. I do know that after I got to pick which hand me downs I wanted and I did wind up with *some* new stuff. Even thrift store and discount is fine – we never had really expensive clothes – it was just the autonomy issue.

  9. I was an only child so I did not get anything second hand. I don't think it is a bad thing at all though. I mean, really, is Lucas going to be able to tell that that shirt is not brandspanking new?
    And I am sure for things like Christmas you are not giving them used presents! And it is better for the environment!!!

  10. can't remember how I stumbled across your blog, but I am a newer follower, first time commenter.

    My oldest (2 y/o) has always worn hand me downs. I buy at a local consignment sale that is run annually. He wears ALL name brand stuff, and most of it looks new anyways.

    My youngest (7 months) wears a combination of new from consignment and hand me downs of his brother.

    I do buy new stuff for them occasionally, but it is when the new price is the same as the used price. I am stingy. But my kids ALWAYS look nice, and i think that's all that matters. The only time I am against used clothes is if it REALLY looks worn, but that is rare that you see someone who has a ratty clothed kid.

  11. I am about 50/50. My boys do share clothes, a lot more now since they are almost the same size, they are only 14 months apart. After my second was born I loved dressing them alike, so they both got a new clothes. I do buy their good clothes both new most of the time, Play clothes are recycled though. If I do buy consign or garage sale I am VERY picky about clothes. I refuse to buy anything with stains or looks anything but lightly worn. I am a sale shopper though & never pay full price.

  12. Absolutely not. Even my first child had mostly second hand clothing. We rarely shop at new stores because children outgrow their clothes so quickly that that are great sometimes new clothes at the second hand shops. My children are always excited when they get a chance to wear their big brother's shirt!

  13. An amusing hand-me-down story: The Easter my brother was about two years old he had a cute little red jacket. (It was the 70s.) He wore it a couple of times, then outgrew it, so my mom passed it along to a friend. A couple of years later my mom was at my dad's office and had some reason to go into both his partners offices too. Lo and behold, on the walls of all three men's offices were pictures of their sons – taken various years – each in the same little red jacket. 😉

  14. My children do share… sometimes I feel a twinge because my daughter has hand-me-down boys clothing from her older brother… but, we live on a farm and most things are muddy and torn anyway. I make a point to buy her some of her own skirts and dresses, but when I buy at the second hand store I can buy 2x as much! I am lucky that we have a great second hand shop where the owner only takes in the best. I can trade-in my outgrown clothes and get an entire new waredrobe. Love it!

    I think buying all new clothing is wasteful. If it is still in good condition then why should it be thrown out? 🙂

  15. I don't feel bad when my kids share their siblings's things in fact i feel so Happy knowing I have more than one kid 🙂

    I have 4 kids DDs 17 , 13, 10 and DS 7.
    I got a few things for my first from relatives but most of what she wore was new. I saved everything for her sisters, but would buy them new clothes from time to time. When each started school I bought her a new uniform and her sister(s)' uniforms became spares which was good.

    I didn't think I was going to get pregnant after my 3rd dd and was donating anything she outgorws .When she was 2 and 1/2 I became pregnant and started saving again LOL.But well bc it was a boy this time I eneded up donating 90% of her things .

    The big items like stroller,car seat didn't last for my 3rd I had to buy her all new.I also bought all new for DS bc as I said I have donated them.

  16. I totally hand things down from my older daughter to my younger. I've had to buy some new things because seasons haven't really matched up for warm clothes and such, but most things are hand-me-downs. I do feel a little bad sometimes, not so much that my younger daughter is playing with or wearing hand-me-downs. She's 10 months old. She doesn't care. But I feel bad that I have a hard time thinking what to get her for Christmas or her upcoming birthday, which are times that I think she should be able to have something new of her own, because we already have so much stuff!! I guess it's not really an issue now when she's so young, and when she's older and would actually notice she'll be able to ask for what she wants, so yeah, I don't feel bad 🙂 – amy


  17. An almost 6 year old and 13 month old. I don't think I've ever paid full price for any of their clothes and 95% of them are hand me downs or garage sale finds. For the youngest I was short of clothes from 12-2T and I let everyone know that's what he needed. He was too young to notice. The oldest likes to receive cool clothes so those go on his birthday/christmas list at times. My mom likes to buy clothes so most of his new stuff comes from her but I have forbidden her to buy retail pricing..clearance/sales is the way to go! Oldest loves to go garage saleing and loves to tell people where he got his clothing!

    The second child is destroying most of the clothes he has so what's good will be sold at our sale or passed on. Considering that most of his clothes are from his older brother or two cousins before him they are getting lots of use!

    And no, I don't feel bad. The hardest part for me toys..the oldest gets all the new ones and the littlest is content to play with them. I don't NEED any more toys!

  18. I only have one child, but most of his clothes are from a resale store. I don't feel bad at all because I buy things that are in good condition with no stains or obvious wear and, this way, I can afford name brands and better quality rather than buying lower quality items brand new and paying more.

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