To think I should sort out old baby clothes before handing them on?

(48 Posts)
hedgehogpickle Mon 13-May-13 09:54:22

My BIL & SIL have a DD who is 4-5 months older than ours. We were delighted to receive a bag of handmedowns from them after a couple of months - at first. However when I went through the bag, more than half of the things they had given us were for a new baby so already too small for our DD or not suitable for the cold weather and would also be outgrown by the summer.

There were also a couple of "special" items (knitted by grandparents or bought with particular relevance by my BIL/SIL). I was a bit surprised they hadn't wanted to keep them so I asked if they'd been included accidently. I was told "use them as much as you want but please don't get rid of them". These were just returned immediately so I didn't worry about losing them or them getting damaged.

Although I'm probably being a quite ungrateful, I also feel like we've been used as a bit of a dumping ground for stuff so they don't have to sort out/store it/find another home for it. So now I have to! We don't know anyone else having a baby to pass it onto and even if we did, I think I would sort things out to some degree so they are at the very least age appropriate for the recipient and not give away stuff I knew I would eventually want back. So AIBU or is this just the (admittedly small!) price to pay for receiving handmedowns?

Also, does anyone know any charities etc that would accept donations of clothes? Our local highstreet charity shops aren't interested.

No, I'd let you go through it and decide for yourself and I wouldn't be offended if you gave me stuff back straight away. Otherwise, all the high street charity shops near me take baby clothes or I would give them to Wood St Mission (charity near me) or offer them to the health visitor.

I'd call it as the 'price to pay' for hand-me-downs.

Wishwehadgoneabroad Mon 13-May-13 10:01:24

Most sure start centres will gladly take baby clothes off your hands.

Or just dump them in the 'clothes' bins at Asda etc.

Definitely the small price to pay for receiving handmedowns - think of the money you've saved!

Don't see your issue really confused

SirBoobAlot Mon 13-May-13 10:01:44

You sound ungrateful to be honest. They passed on a bag of things to you, and even if only half of them are suitable, that's half a bag of clothes you don't have to buy.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 13-May-13 10:01:50

I do think you're being a bit ungrateful to be honest. They are doing you a favour by passing things on and you always need to go through bags to check what is suitable. If the charity shops are not interested then why not recycle anything you don't want into a charity recycle bin or Children's Centres often have sales of baby clothes.

comelywenchlywoo Mon 13-May-13 10:03:21

I would have sorted out hand-me-downs before passing them on, but I wouldn't ben annoyed if someone else didn't. I think it's just part and parcel of hand-me-downs. Some things will be suitable, some will not - that's how it is.

All my local high street charity shops are always displaying "we are desperate for donations" signs!! You could check out the supermarket or local council recycling area. Often they have a clothing bank for the Salvation Army or similar.

redskyatnight Mon 13-May-13 10:03:52

If I had to sort clothes before handing them on, I would never get round to handing them on.

I always hand on clothes with the caveat that they may not be suitable and/or might be very worn.

You never know what people will want anyway. I had a friend who love small baby clothes although her baby was too big for them, as they they were just right for babies/teddy bears. And another friend who happily took my DC's very worn T-shirts as ideal for painting in.

tomatoplantproject Mon 13-May-13 10:08:54

You sound really ungrateful - you will save a fortune not having to buy things, and just think of the time you spend sorting out stuff as the time you would have spent shopping for baby clothes.

I have been given a ton of stuff - I say thank you and put the stuff I don't want to one side. I certainly would not want to offend my friend and not have any more of her handmedowns! Once we are done with having children the whole lot will go to friends/charity shop. But if I were to give stuff to a friend and then told that I should have spent more time sorting clothes out beforehand I would never give them anything again.

Mintyy Mon 13-May-13 10:10:18

Yes, you are being ungrateful.

hedgehogpickle Mon 13-May-13 10:17:34

Thanks for the replies - thought that this would be the general consensus! The only thing I would say is that we haven't saved "a fortune" through getting these second hand clothes as we couldn't use the majority of what they gave us. I will now stop whining and pop the clothes off to the supermarket donations bin - thanks for that suggestion, didn't even think about it!

HaughtyCulture Mon 13-May-13 10:22:38

YANBU. It sounds as though they are using you as somewhere to dump all their unwanted stuff/someone to sort through things for them under the guise of 'doing you a favour'

When my middle DC was little a friend of a friend kept giving me bag after bag of baby clothes, bedding, secondhand shoes, socks, and underwear, all random sizes, all faded and torn, and some were for boys (my DC2 is a girl!). I think she was just using me as somewhere to offload all the stuff she didn't want in her house. In the end I had to tell her to stop giving me stuff.

I'm all for secondhand clothes but not secondhand bags full of shit

Molehillmountain Mon 13-May-13 10:23:08

We've been lucky enough to receive loads of hand me downs. I see it that if we're lucky enough to receive them, the least we can do is to sort them out and pass on those we don't need. I will be working on that principle myself when I hand them on! I'm afraid I won't be ironing folding beautifully and age sorting them.

Molehillmountain Mon 13-May-13 10:26:05

Oh-and if you don't like what comes, then a polite "oh, that's so kind but we've got plenty at the moment" will suffice. One lady used to give us stuff that was just not wearable and so that's what we said in the end. It's quite a big deal for some, handing on clothes, as it marks the end of an era. There's no need to either take stuff you don't want or hurt someone's feelings.

rootypig Mon 13-May-13 10:26:29

ehh, yanbu. Sorting through possessions tonnes of crap is one of the most miserable parts of life and often has me fantasising about renouncing material comfort for a cave. They are definitely fobbing this job off onto you. Whether I thought this was a fair price to pay for the clothes would depend on the clothes. It's the bit about taking care of / returning certain things that would confused me. what a pita.

BennettsBiscuit Mon 13-May-13 10:29:09

I don't 'borrow' any baby stuff. If people want to keep it they should do just that! You never know what might happen to baby clothes and render them unusable. Also how the chuff do you remember which of 500 vests was "our Liam's that I brought him home in omg I can't believe you gave it away!" etc.

Grateful for hand me downs though, just sort through, keep what you like and donate/recycle the rest :-) YAnbu really.

flossymuldoon Mon 13-May-13 10:30:05

Baffled that you don't feel you're being ungrateful!

You haven't 'saved a fortune' from this bag but if they continue to hand things onto you it will save you a fortune in the long term!
I have never had any hand-me-downs and would have been really grateful for even a couple of things, especially when my DH was out of work and DS grew out of everything overnight.

MTBMummy Mon 13-May-13 11:42:53

I consider myself very lucky, in that there are a couple of local mums who DD's are a couple of years older than mine, and they're always passing on the clothes their DD's have grown out of, or stuff they've found during a loft clear out, so I still get given new born stuff in a bag with 4-5 stuff.

I just hang on to it, as I've found another 2 families who I pass my stuff onto and when they're done they pass it back to me. we all add new stuff and other hand me downs and we now have a huge array of lovely clothes that we all get to use.

Jengnr Mon 13-May-13 11:56:49

We've been given nearly everything and it's a total godsend. You have to sort through it anyway to put it away so what's the issue?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 13-May-13 12:19:00

YANBU my sister does this. I think she just makes a clean sweep of the drawers...chucks it all in a black bag and hands it to me via my Mum. I go through and find half the stuff has holes or stains. I then have to recycle HER crap. I know it is nice to get hand me downs but I literally get two things that are wearable and twenty bits of shite.

She does this with toys too...sends bags of stuff which she doesn't want her DC a got a MASSIVE hamper full of those Bratz dolls and tiny, teeny bits and piece to go withem. I don't want my DDs playing with those and she didn't want HERS playing with them either...a friend gave them to her anshe gave them to me!

EggsMichelle Mon 13-May-13 12:36:47

YABU, if you don't want any clothes, just say you don't want/need them, don't bitch about it. I accept hand me downs from two friends in varying degree of size/quality/cleanliness, I just sort through what I want and what can be binned/charity. I then send on clothes to my DSis (nephew 5m younger than DS), I wash them and keep them in the right size, but it's up to her what she keeps and what she sends straight back to me.

The bit that would piss me off is the "you mustn't get rid of" certain items which they hadn't bothered to label up or make you aware of. If things are a gift then they are yours from that moment onwards, to use/give away/throw out/whatever. They can't expect you to keep things in good condition and remember to hand them back afterwards, unless it was something like a one-off party dress or christening gown that had been specifically mentioned.

But sorting out sizes and seasons is part of the cost of getting hand-me-downs.

MrsDeVere Mon 13-May-13 12:59:11

Agree with everyone really
I have 5DCs ranging from 21 - 3 so have done this hand me down thing many times.

I have received HUGE bags of stuff and half of it needed chucking or passing on.

Maybe because the giver cba to sort through or because they would still use an item I wouldn't or because they can't quite work out what size my baby is.

Its all fine. Half the fun is sorting though and seeing what there is.

Its only a problem if they are insisting they get it all back afterwards. Then its a pita because you have to store it until they have another baby hmm

Molehillmountain Mon 13-May-13 13:27:21

I always define terms when being offered stuff-I ask whether they'd like me to pass it on or pass it back when we're done. "Pass it back" stuff gets put straight in the loft. I can't bear the stress of trying to keep stuff nice, although its obviously not my aim to trash all of my dc's clothes! I do have one friend where the understanding is that what's worth passing back I will, but she has kept anything that really mattered to her. Perfect!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 13-May-13 13:28:31

MrsDevere my sister gave me some pretty limp summer dressed for my DDs when we went abroad in the winter and she asked for them back when we'd finished...I didn't really want them then as I'd be stressing incase the DDs wrecked them more than they already were!

MrsDeVere Mon 13-May-13 13:37:12

I don't give stuff out that I really want back.
Its too stressful for both parties surely?

I never lend anything that would devastate me if it were lost or damaged.

Patchouli Mon 13-May-13 13:41:18

Don't worry, you won't get much more with that little age gap, they won't grow out of stuff in time to pass it on.

Floggingmolly Mon 13-May-13 14:00:52

I'm a bit confused at you looking for some way to pass the clothes on. Didn't she say not to get rid of them, so they're basically on loan?

hedgehogpickle Mon 13-May-13 14:05:11

I think that's what did worry me a bit Patchouli, the fact that most of the stuff we'll get from them we won't be able to use and it would then be up to me to deal with because they cba to sort what they want to keep and the stuff that is unusable. But as the majority of people answering have said, if I want the benefit of even some handmedowns, I need to be prepared to spend the time going through the not-so suitable stuff and find somewhere to pass it on/get rid of it.

I will certainly make sure I double check with them that they haven't given me anything they're not happy for me to get rid of!

Thanks for all the replies everyone.

Sirzy Mon 13-May-13 14:06:55

I would never give stuff that I want back but I wouldn't spend time sorting it into sizes/seasons although things get passed on in roughly age bags as DS grows to expect someone to sort for seasons is madness!

My sister passes on all of her sons clothes and its great saves me a fortune. Ok some bits may not be quite right but I'm not complaining at free clothes. When DS has outgrown things they go back to her for her youngest along with any bits that I have purchased for Ds.

No pre sorting occurs though!

hedgehogpickle Mon 13-May-13 14:10:28

Floggingmolly - no, it was just a couple of standout items that they wanted me to not get rid of, stuff the grandmas had knitted and a couple of quite specific in-joke things. If everything had been on loan, I would have likely given the too-small things back already as I'd be worried about keeping track of what belonged to who and what I could do with it!!

Wuxiapian Mon 13-May-13 14:14:54


How long does it take to sift through some clothes?!

janji Mon 13-May-13 14:16:14

I go through things I'm giving away to sort out misshapen / clothes that have seen better days but don't sort according to size. My friend and her dds love going through the bags together and finding out what's in there (often as soon as I give them the bag whilst I'm still there; they love it). Wish I had someone to donate clothes to me (never had hand me downs as don't know anyone with older dd)!

OOAOML Mon 13-May-13 14:23:48

Getting rid of stuff too small/wrong season I'd be fine with. Having to remember which were the special things I wasn't allowed to get rid of would do my head in.

starfishmummy Mon 13-May-13 23:03:10

I would always give it a basic sort first and wouldn't pass on anything that was obviously too small for the recipient. I also weed out anything that is stained or in bad condition as I go - it just goes straight in a bag for a local charity shop that accepts stuff for "rags".

Decoy Tue 14-May-13 01:17:05

I think it would have been polite to sort it out, instead of dumping stuff on you that you clearly won't need or want.

If I give someone a birthday present I don't include this week's recycling in the package.

MiaowTheCat Tue 14-May-13 09:51:38

I wouldn't pass clothes on I had sentimental attachment to and wanted back (trying to sort out the newborn clothes I used for DD1 and 2 at the moment and if I had elastic walls I'd keep ALL of it since I'm just a soppy old sod despite us being completely done with having babies now).

I'm in the middle of sorting out the first batch of clothes I have to get dealt with - plan on pulling out the stuff that might be deemed "mankier" - babygros and vests and chucking them on Freecycle in a "use 'em if you can need 'em" deal and then the good "outfit" stuff will go to be passed on more thoughtfully so to speak.

As for knitted cardies - I have no idea what I'm doing there - I have MOUNTAINS of them as my mum's a really really fast and prolific knitter (to the extent she tends to post me knitting for the girls every couple of weeks) - feel bad passing them on, but we're done with them and have no storage space to keep mountains of chunky double-knitted cardigans here.

mameulah Tue 14-May-13 10:11:48

I totally get it and no you are not being ungrateful. imo

We were offered lots and lots of second hand things when our pfb was born. People offered it in lots of different ways, and I quickly learned that very few people were happy for you to simply have it. For them, they had spent a fortune on it, for me it was unnecessary baby stuff they had no further use for. One person offered me baby stuff, then offered me to buy it from them, then dropped it off at my house.

I knew I had to get a present for these people but my friend, who has two older children, warned me to set it up so that I didn't become a dumping ground for more clothes etc (apparently they become more warn the older the children get) not to be too generous.

Sorry for rambling but absolutely refuse to take the bag unless you are allowed to keep it. If there is precious stuff in the bag that would need returned then sort through it in front of whoever gave it to you.

gail734 Tue 14-May-13 10:24:16

Feel your pain, OP. I have two SILs. One "hands down" beautiful, nearly new, washed and ironed baby clothes which simply have to be laid in a drawer. It's like having a laundry maid when she turns up! Other SIL gives me a giant bin bag containing a mad knot of clothing. I "edit" it and take anything that's too small or done-in to a clothing bank. It's a big job that takes a while! The "don't get rid of it" stuff is just stressful. My second SIL (brothers' wives) has done this with her maternity clothes. She doesn't want them back, but I'm not allowed to get rid of them!!

gail734 Tue 14-May-13 10:28:20

Oh, and like Miaow I have a mountain of tiny, lovingly hand-knitted cardigans. Does anyone know of a charity that would actually want these, beyond just taking them to Oxfam? I just don't think anyone in the UK dresses a baby in hand-knitted stuff any more.

ebwy Tue 14-May-13 10:51:08

preemiesuk take all baby clothes up to 0-3 size (and especially knitted stuff!) and send it to the special care baby units in hospitals, having sorted it out as some hospitals only want certain things and others take everything they can get.

send to

138 Farmers Green

gail734 Tue 14-May-13 11:11:23

Oh, excellent ebwy. My MIL and her friends are all prolific knitters. I have tons!

Hawkmoon269 Tue 14-May-13 11:17:33

gail are you serious? My dc were knitted some beautiful jumpers, cardigans and hats. Nothing nicer than a hand knitted wooly cardigan surely?! (And they were knitted some not so great things with polyester that made my teeth itch...)

Wishwehadgoneabroad Tue 14-May-13 11:41:54

gail If you have any that would fit a 17lb 6 month baby I would love them!!!

Hand knitted stuff is the best!!

hedgehogpickle Tue 14-May-13 13:12:24

Thanks ebwy, that's really useful to know - will definitely be sending some stuff their way smile

MiaowTheCat Tue 14-May-13 13:17:40

One of our local charity shops has done a window display this month of hand knitted cardies in various sizes hanging in the window above baby toys. Damned display makes me bawl my eyes out everytime I go past as in the middle of the newborn and 0-3 stuff is one teeny tiny premature sized cardie that would have fitted DD1 like a glove when she was born.

They think I'm a nutter probably.

Can't bring myself to give our tiny stuff to the local NICU - still feel incredibly angry and bitter about how they treated us and still bear the mental scars of it.

gail734 Tue 14-May-13 14:10:51

Wishwehad Everything I have is tiny newborn size and white! (Neutral - did not know gender of bump.)That's why I'm looking for a home for it all! My DD now weighs 20lbs. One "send knitting to Africa" charity specifically says they don't want white stuff, it isn't practical.
Miaow Sorry to hear about your bad experience.

jazzandh Tue 14-May-13 14:18:41

I have a friend whom I pass some clothes onto but I do only pass on the better bits....

Anything else that is ok I give to the health visitors when I am passing. They are always grateful as they have plenty of families who have absolutely nothing...

idiuntno57 Tue 14-May-13 14:56:01

YABU If you don't want stuff don't take it. I take things then sort, pass on, keep or recycle.

You kind of get to know which givers have the best stuff.

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