As I sip lemonade on my sun-drenched deck, basking in one of the few remaining days of summer, bizarre visions of snow squalls and sub-zero temperatures drift through my wandering mind. This may sound rather peculiar, considering the thermometer reads 20 degrees and I’m sporting a tank top and sandals. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Chi-Chi and Muffy are parading through the house in attire suitable for an Arctic expedition. Just moments earlier, a scavenger hunt in the hall closet lead to the exciting discovery of treasures from a recent trip to the local thrift shop. Muffy is proudly toddling along in a cuddly, cozy red LL Bean bunting suit with the $2.99 price tag still attached. Chi-Chi is decked out in a smart navy blue Land’s End snow suit and matching Stride Rite winter boots. His complete outfit set me back a mere $24, which is a far cry from the $200 retail price (including shipping, duty and taxes). The true accountant in me surfaces as my lips form a wide, satisfied grin. I feel a deep sense of pride as I tally the savings in my head.
As the “baby” of the family, I grew up cringing at the mere mention of the word hand-me-down. I had little need or desire for my sister’s outgrown and unwanted leftovers. I hastily snubbed any previously owned article of clothing that snuck into my closet. Needless to say, the tables have now turned, and as a parent, I pounce on any opportunity to clothe Chi-Chi and Muffy in second-hand threads. No doubt, others may find it premature to be shopping for a winter wardrobe as we cling to the fading summer. Experience has taught me that this is a prime time of year for rummaging through second-hand shops and scanning eBay listings for super deals on cold weather apparel. Ninety percent of Chi-Chi and Muffy’s closet is comprised of gently-used attire. I frequent the thrift shops regularly, keeping my eyes pealed for a bargain. I’m rarely disappointed and my efforts are often rewarded with fabulous finds of high quality clothing in pristine condition.
Not only are hand-me-downs easy on the pocketbook, they are also friendly on the environment. Reusing and recycling second-hand items is a great way for families to reduce their ecological footprint and practice the “Three R’s” in day-to-day life.
In setting a positive example, my hope is that Chi-Chi and Muffy will inherit an appreciation for hand-me-downs and the benefits they offer. My dear mother is likely chuckling to herself as she reads these lines. My days of giving cast-offs the cold shoulder are long gone!