autumn days

Saturday, October 15, 2011

children's clothing

My Uruguayan friend asked me recently where I get all my children's clothes and what brand names I prefer.  Answering her question reminded me that I have friends who buy all their children's clothes or who borrow what they need and still buy more, while we pretty much borrow all our clothes.  We borrow and receive used clothes from our children's friends and cousins.  We've only bought ladybug Converse, ladybug boots, a ladybug swimsuit, and swim pants for the little man.  (With four pairs of Converse in the house, this is our only brand fixation.)  Imagine the money we have saved by using second-hand clothes from others.  It is also fun to look through photo albums and point out the same clothes on different children.

When my son was born, I received a set of six absolutely adorable socks and mailed three pairs to my friend in Uruguay who was also having a son.  It was such a thrill to see a picture of her newborn son wearing a pair of socks just like my son.  The generosity of sharing our own abundance comes back to us in so many ways.  It is true that the more I share with others, the more I feel blessed by my own possessions.  My friend in Uruguay also gets her son's clothes from friends, but has to fill in gaps with new clothing.

My daughter Hannah's clothes have been through three girls and a cousin from California (delivered on their annual visits) before they arrive at our home in Oregon.  After Hannah wears them, they are shared with at least three other girls before they return to us for storage.  My son Liam's clothes arrive from his cousin in California.  He also wears clothes borrowed from a friend after they've been through three boys and go on to two other boys before being consigned.  With our children, we sometimes asked to receive meals or other wanted items instead of clothes, as we have everything we need, but it is hard to resist the urge to buy colorful adorable clothing for your niece, nephew, or grandchild.  And when most of our clothing is used, it makes the brand new items more special.

A long time ago I used to shop for my own clothing just for fun.  Recently, with my increased awareness about sweat shops and exploiting working peoples and lands of the world, I have stepped away from buying new clothes.  I have friends who like to shop who share some of their used clothing with me.  And when I craved a new clothing item a couple weeks ago, I thought about driving 20 minutes to buy a Made in the U.S.A. product, but discovered a  solution I can feel even better about.  When shopping for second-hand clothes just down the street to hand print for grandparents for the holidays (No peeking, Mom!), I simply picked up a couple things for myself.  Now I have a few practically perfect new clothes added to my closet.

I shopped at Goodwill throughout my childhood before it was fashionable, didn't shop there when it was in style, and now once again can find treasures to cover my body at a second-hand shop.  Before you know it, one day you'll find me satisfying a craving for a new clothing item at a local consignment shop.  I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family and second-hand shops who share their clothing.  My closet may not be bulging, but it feels like it is when surrounded by so many generously sharing friends.


  1. With Christmas & birthdays approaching, I remind family that we don't care if our presents are used. For my 3 year old---he doesn't know the difference, but for some people, it's not a gift unless it's shrink-wrapped. I try to accept that. It is a blessing to be surrounded by friends who understand this concept and are happy to hear, "Hey, do you have some boots that my son could wear?" When it comes down to it, many people are waiting for you to ask so they can get rid of excess. And it can even be a compliment that they like your style!

  2. We used to practice the same way, too. It is but practical now at this point of time to get rid of our excess thru a more useful way and receive the same way in return. ^_^