Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Keeping Track of Hand me Downs

By Christina VanGinkel

A first-born child is like no other, until the next one arrives that is! One difference between the two though is often dealing with hand me downs from the first. There is nothing wrong with this, other than keeping track of what you already have, or items that may need to be replaced. If you know you are planning to have a second, (or third, or more) you can store the items from the current child in a way which will make it easier for yourself when you are once again going to be needing them.

Keep a small plastic tub or cardboard box in baby's room or closet. When something is outgrown, wash and dry it, then place it in the box. Every month when baby is a newborn, or every few months when they are a bit older, go through the contents and discard anything that is extremely stained, or you know that you would not use again. For example, I had received a gift for my first son of a sweater and bonnet. The sweater was adorable, but every time I put the bonnet on him, he would tug and pull at it. I realized the material liner inside was slightly different from the sweater and was on the rough side. I kept the sweater and discarded the bonnet before my next son wore it. A set of onesies that I purchased shrunk after their first washing and were extremely short in the body. I mumbled despairingly every single time I would attempt to snap one on my first child. When it came time for me to go through the current box that they had landed in when he outgrew them completely, I removed them from the items I was intending on keeping.

After sorting through each box, I would then transfer them to another tub, and make a list of what I had just added. I did not keep sizes within a box separate, other than to place the same sizes together in stacks. I did make note of each item as I added it though. If you have the room, separate stored items according to size, but living in a small house then, the same as we do now, it was more efficient for me to just store things together and keep track of what I put in each box with a list taped to the top of each one. I also made note of anything that I knew I used a lot of, but that did not survive the first child, such as bibs. Not everyone uses them I know, but I had droolers, and would put a bib on them all the time. I also tossed them, as they would become stained. I also made notes as to items I bought that I never ended up using, so I would not make the same mistake twice. Some were personal preferences, such as pajamas without feet. Our house could be drafty, and even if I put sock on the babies, they always seemed to kick them off by morning. It was just easier to buy and use pajamas with feet. Then, when next baby arrives, you can easily do an inventory of what you have, what you need, and what you used and did not use the first time, as a reference for the current baby.

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