Should hand-me-downs to siblings include underwear?

I was folding clothes the other day and Lilina came into the bedroom needing some underwear. I knew she was outgrowing the ones she had, so I pulled from the clean pile some of Rose’s underwear that were small on Rose and handed them to the 3-year-old.

Poor Lilina started protesting as I was pulling them on her. “But Momma, Rose’s underwear are too big for me.” (They were sixes that had shrunk so they weren’t as big as you might think. They were roomy but not falling off of her.)

But her protests made me wonder: Should I be passing down underwear even if I pass down everything else? Does the child deserve at least the dignity of having her own underwear?

My mother claims that to this day my dad is very possessive of his underwear because growing up all six brothers shared an underwear drawer. If you got up late or showered late, you ended up with the worst in the drawer. I have no idea if this is true or not but I hope I’m not creating some condition that my children will later discuss with a therapist by passing down clothes especially underwear.

It doesn’t seem right to throw away perfectly good clean underwear once a child grows out of if it though. But would I want to wear someone else’s undies?

My mother saved almost every article of clothing I have ever worn and all three of my children have worn hand-me-down nightgowns, robes, shorts and tops from me and even my brother. (Walsh and Lilina both wore an awesome Charlie’s Angels T-shirt that was my brother’s.)

Walsh wore Rose’s training underwear and Lilina wore all the same pairs. I saved all of Rose’s underwear and gave away Walsh’s to charity.

Walsh wore some of Rose’s stuff if it wasn’t too girly. And Lilina has worn 90 percent of Rose’s old clothes and even some of her brother’s stuff. She’s adorable in his old Georgia jerseys.

So what do you think: Is it OK to pass down clothes in general? Should underwear or bathing suits fall into a different category? Is that OK or does each child deserve their own undies?

83 comments Add your comment

some guy

August 25th, 2010
12:49 am

i bet the charity was super pumped to get a bunch of used toddler undies…

motherjanegoose

August 25th, 2010
4:04 am

WE never had this problem…boy and girl. NO….underwear gets tossed.
Good thing my painters are finished inside…I have errands to run. Y’all have fun with this!

smh

August 25th, 2010
5:28 am

Funny, the DH and I had a similar conversation several months ago. He says no on the underclothes. I have no problem with it between my girls. Once neither girl can use the underwear then they get tossed. I spoke to my depression-era mother in law, the DH’s mom and she agreed with me :)

Mike

August 25th, 2010
5:45 am

Underwear gets passed down. Absolutely no problem with it. I have faith in the cleansing power of my washing machine.My problem is beginning to be the sort. How to tell whose underwear is whose. I’m beginning to rely on the kids to tell the clothes apart. I pull mine out and the really obvious pieces, then make the kids pull theirs. The rest belong to Mom by default.

Jeff

August 25th, 2010
5:58 am

Underwear should not be interchanged, even between a couple. Boxers, maybe, but that’s it. Between a couple that is. Seems like I got off-course.

1sus

August 25th, 2010
6:26 am

I have one boy and one girl so that hasn’t been an issue. But I used and have certainly passed along underwear at the potty training stage. Sometimes just threw them out rather than clean if messy and didn’t feel bad since they were recycled.

motherjanegoose

August 25th, 2010
7:51 am

smh….DH mamas used to darn sox too. Wonder if any of the posters here know what a darning ball is…catlady? DB? Becky….you might know?

We throw out old socks now. Takes more time to mend them than $3-$5 to buy a new pair.
For me, it would take more time to put the thread into the eye of that darn needle…I would have to find my “readers” first…anyone else :)

Trivia for the day…

http://www.patternworks.com/productdetail/300415/—DARNING-BALL-SET-OF-3.htm

Have fun…I can leave my house!

gotta scoot!

A

August 25th, 2010
8:05 am

Sorry, but I think this is a silly topic. I don’t see how sharing underwear among siblings is a big deal unless you’re sharing between a boy and girl. If you’re doing laundry correctly, underwear should come out a clean as anything else. If you have a problem with handing it down, then buy a new pack…they aren’t usually that expensive!

BShepCarlin

August 25th, 2010
8:06 am

Oh yes, they pass the underwear down. I have 2 boys that are 3 yrs apart and the 3 yr old is wearing the old underwear from the 6 yo. My oldest grew so fast that the old underwear is like new really. I don’t know about girls, but boys just don’t seem to care about this sort of thing.

Lady Strange

August 25th, 2010
8:07 am

Clothes I can understand passing down, but underwear? Come on! No one wants someone elses’ used underwear. I don’t care how many times you wash it. Buy the kid some new underwear!

Photius

August 25th, 2010
8:08 am

I’m all for being cheap and saving money, but toss the undies.

CDD

August 25th, 2010
8:08 am

Underwear does get handed down in my house too, but only between 2 of my girls. They’re 17 mon. apart so everything the older one grows out of (in good shape) goes immediately to the next one’s closet or dresser. Trying to figure out who’s stuff is who’s around here isn’t a problem anymore since I’ve started doing laundry a certain way: son & oldest daughter get their laundry washed together. Then middle daughter & youngest daughter. Hubby & I get ours together or as add-on to make a full load.

Ah well, gotta run & get the chillins up now. Getting them up earlier to get ready for school starting Monday. Hope everyone has a great day.

JJ

August 25th, 2010
8:14 am

Ewwww….gross. No way would I want to share underware with anyone. That is just too personal of an item to be passing around. Underware is not that expensive to have to wear someone else’s. Buy Liliana some nice new underware that is her’s and her’s alone.

This is gross, and I’m outta here.

Congratulations

August 25th, 2010
8:24 am

If you are reading this blog, you have officially reached the end of the Internet. Obviously, there can’t be anything left to see. This is it, the end. A blog about hand me down underwear. Way to go folks! You did it!

TechMom

August 25th, 2010
8:29 am

I don’t see the big deal with young kids. Teenagers I get but I’m definitely in the who cares category. That being said, a 6 pack of kids underwear from Hanes or FoTL costs all of about $5 so if the kid thinks it’s a big deal, buy them new underwear. I might be weird but I actually can’t stand sharing socks. My son does not hesitate to grab a pair of my socks if his are all dirty or he doesn’t feel like walking upstairs. Probably b/c he stretches them out and will get them all stained and dirty (I have no idea how they get so nasty).

T – I do find it very bizarre that your mother saved all of your and your brother’s clothes. I get holding onto clothes for a couple of years while you’re having children but after that, save the sentimental stuff and donate the rest.

HB

August 25th, 2010
8:35 am

With toddlers, I think it’s fine, but please be sure to doublecheck with charities before donating them. Most don’t distribute undies, and they get tossed in the trash with other unacceptable items (like clothes too worn out to pass on — remember, folks, they’re looking for gently used items).

Stephanie

August 25th, 2010
8:41 am

I have a Girl/Boy combo, so we dont pass down underwear, but I would if they were the same gender. I dont see why it matters with siblings.

However, I am a big consignment sale shopper and I will not buy underwear or bathing suits used.That just seems gross- with the sibling sits all int he family and you knew who wore it!

CPT

August 25th, 2010
8:44 am

At age 3 – yes absolutely, the underwear is fine. At 16 – no.

Busy Mom

August 25th, 2010
9:00 am

With small children, yes! Those things are pricey. Maybe when they are older they won’t like to wear the hand me downs, but my young ones don’t care.

Peachy

August 25th, 2010
9:07 am

Underwear is a personal choice…for some it is ok ato pass down and others it’s not. It seems this bothered Liliana so get the girl some new panties…she is wearing hand me down everything else, so let her make this choice!

DB

August 25th, 2010
9:09 am

Sorry, but I just don’t believe in handing down underwear. I’m sure it’s fine, but there’s just a finicky streak in me that believes that any part of clothing that is regularly in that close contact with your butt doesn’t need to be passed around. Underwear is cheap. If it’s not ok to share used underwear with people outside of the family — don’t family members deserve the same dignity and consideration you’d give an outsider?

I remember when I was in high school and my mother decided to have her first yard sale. My cousin, who had a lot of experience with yard sales, came over to help my mom organize things, and for some reason, the topic of “things I couldn’t sell” came up. I mentioned “underwear — ewww!” My cousin said, “Doesn’t matter — put it out there, people will buy ANYTHING.” I told her “No way!!” and we had a bet if they would be sold, so I put a few old pairs out on the table.

I lost my bet.

Lori

August 25th, 2010
9:13 am

I don’t hand down the underwear and swim suits. I only hand down the clothes that are in excellent condition. Think about it, would you want to wear someone else’s underwear? If you wouldn’t want to, why would you force your child to? Each child deserves the dignity of their own personal items.

Just be sure to toss...

August 25th, 2010
9:13 am

the one’s with “skid marks”, or charge extra for them…

YUKI

August 25th, 2010
9:13 am

A good friend of mine gave me a bag of clothes from her boys who had outgrown it…shorts, shirts, and also underwear. She asked me if that grossed me out and at the time I said “no!”. But fastforward about a year later when my son started to potty train…I took out the underwear, washed them and tried to put them on him, but I just couldn’t do it! I went to the store and bought him all new. I know it’s different if it’s within the family. I’ll buy gently used clothes no problem, but underwear? Maybe if he has a brother at some point would I consider it but I think I’d probably just buy new. I save money other ways!

DB

August 25th, 2010
9:13 am

@MJG: I know what a darning ball is, but I’ve never used one! I used to do a lot of sewing when the kids were younger (and fit was not so finicky!), but I figured that if the socks were that worn, out they go. The only thing I’ve ever had darned/rewoven was a gorgeous heirloom tablecloth that I have that got a hole in it.

Becky

August 25th, 2010
9:18 am

Under 5-6, I see no problem passing them down..Of course I am the youngest girl (5 older), so I always had hand me downs of everything..No long lasting ill effects..My two have always had new, but when they outgrow them, they both want to pass them on to the girl cousins and the baby brother..As someone else said, between family, a good wash with detergent and bleach should get them clean enough to not have to worry..

@MJG..Oh yeah, I know what a darning ball is..My aunt had one, but I’m in agreement with you about darning socks, not gonna happen at my house..lol..

Most people that are worried about handing down underwear, never think twice about going into a store and trying clothes on that goodness know how many other people have tried on..Then when they buy them, they wear them without ever washing them..To me, life is too short to worry about clean used undies between sibilings..

JATL

August 25th, 2010
9:18 am

HA -I was just wondering this yesterday as I was doing laundry and realized some of my oldest’s undies are getting too small for him. Should I save them for the younger boy? Going into the hand me down situation I felt like everyone deserved their own shoes -although since in the early years some shoes get little wear and are in great shape, I’ve amended that a little bit. I think this is the way I feel regarding undies -if they are completely stain free AND the child doesn’t have a problem with it -then fine. If my youngest complains about regular hand-me-downs, too bad -he still gets plenty of first-run clothes (and shoes) but I might side with him if he complains about undies. I always get the absolute HEEBIE JEEBIES when I see underwear for sale at thrift stores like Value Village! YUCK! While his brother’s wouldn’t be some stranger’s undies -it’s still a little personal!

DigALittleDeeper

August 25th, 2010
9:29 am

Underware is the cheaptest items to replace in a wardrobe. Hand-me-down underware is NOT exceptable in my opinion and I don’t care who wore them. That’s just nasty. But, I’m not from a large family.

I’m also very leary of buying items that clearly shows that someone tried them on in a store. I’ve often asked the sales clerk to bring items from the back storage.

I also give away clothes to charities at least twice a year and I have never included underware. I just never expected anyone would want to wear my underware or my childs.

Cammi317

August 25th, 2010
9:37 am

Okay, this is just disgusting. No one should EVER wear anyone else’s underwear. I don’t care how much you wash/bleach them, that is just disgusting. This topic is going to creep me out for the rest of the day….UGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Denise

August 25th, 2010
9:48 am

I don’t think it’s gross at all. Actually my nephews (2 years apart) where the same size underwear so there is no “these are mine, these are his”. How can you do that with tighty whiteys unless you label them? That might be kind of gross to some but they all get washed and they’re clean.

Andrea

August 25th, 2010
9:54 am

I can admit that I am one of the most frugal (i.e. cheapest) people on the planet. BUT, this is extreme. I don’t care if they are 2 and 3 year olds. They should not share underwear. Recycle aluminum cans – yes, jean shorts – yes, shirts – yes, underwear – NO!

Mary

August 25th, 2010
9:55 am

If you, as an adult, are willing to go to Goodwill and buy someone else’s used underware, and you feel ok with that, then by all means, do it with your children. Seriously, underware is NOT THAT EXPENSIVE.

Your kids should have the best of what you can give them. If you cannot afford to buy new underware for your children, you have no business having children in the first place.

A

August 25th, 2010
10:01 am

Hi-I’m the mean A who promised not to troll anymore. The A above seems very nice and we have agreed that she is now A. I will go be someone else. She may have been A long before I was-I’m new to this but have retired.
Also, panties? I agree with A.

Old Man Tate

August 25th, 2010
10:03 am

My kids (boy 10 and girl 8) go without underwear. They like the freedom. They would die if they had to wear used underwear.

ODBAlpha

August 25th, 2010
10:10 am

Handing down clothes is bad enough, but handing down underwear? That’s just nasty!

Andre

August 25th, 2010
10:11 am

Oh no, this shouldn’t even be a discussion. Even if my money is low, times are hard, tree crashed into the house, car is in a river, there’s a 500 year flood, abnormal Earthquake in Atlanta, the power is off, water is off, my child will always have their very own underwear.

Sharin' Sharon

August 25th, 2010
10:15 am

Is it okay for spouses to wear one another’s undies?

Mama

August 25th, 2010
10:24 am

NO. No interchanging.

Mattie

August 25th, 2010
10:24 am

I would not pass down anything stained or stretched, even among siblings. But, I remember many nights when we would be together with friends and decide to throw the kids in the tub and dress them for bed. Nobody thought anything of borrowing underwear then. We had several cute pairs of Gap boxers that passed through several neighborhood kids too.

Now that my sons are young men of college age, they prefer Nike Pro underwear. At $20+ each, (which I won’t spend, Jockey is my price limit), they have been known to swipe a pair from the dresser of a brother.

KMM

August 25th, 2010
10:29 am

We had this conversation just the other day. I was keeping old undies to pass from our 3yo boy to the baby (also a boy) and my husband refused and insisted I throw them out. He said “we aren’t so poor that we can’t get them new undies!” I gave in there.

On the other hand, he wants to save shoes and pass them on, where I was raised that you should get new shoes because they mold to your feet and it could hurt the growth of the next kid if they don’t have properly fitting shoes. Any thoughts there?

Happy in Midtown

August 25th, 2010
10:33 am

I wear my wife’s hand me downs all the time- I don’t see the issue-

TinaTeach

August 25th, 2010
10:40 am

While I only have one kiddo right now (10 months old) if I have another boy we will certainly pass down underwear. I mean we use cloth diapers and plan to reuse them when baby no. 2 comes along so it just makes sense to do the same with underwear. Once they’re older (teenagers that is) they will get their own.

Mo

August 25th, 2010
10:41 am

I think each child should have their own fresh never been on anybody else’s bottom underwear. Children often feel funny enough wearing hand me down clothes, let them maintain some dignity please.

lwa

August 25th, 2010
10:48 am

Theresa– Lilina is already wearing a lot of hand me downs. Can she at least have her own underwear?

I don’t give it away and I won’t pass it down. It’s just nasty to me.

Darryl J

August 25th, 2010
10:53 am

NO..that’s just nasty. You would not share under with an adult sibling or anyone else for that matter why would you to that to a child. I understand the clothes option with hand me downs but underwear is where the line should be drawn.

jg

August 25th, 2010
10:53 am

This is a true story – my kid’s dad would never pay CS and would only send the kids HIS AND HIS WIFE’S hand-me-down clothes. Now we are talking the kids were 8 and 5 – and once he sent a box of at least 30 pairs of his old underpants POLO mind you – my son was 8 – Dad was maybe 29 at the time. I sent them to a homeless shelter. It would have been one thing if the Power Rangers were on the drawers (kidding). Goes down as one of the stupidest things he did to the kids.

jg

August 25th, 2010
10:53 am

and NO – you never pass on underwear. That is just gross.

LM

August 25th, 2010
11:11 am

When I had my daughter I used a diaper service for the first month or so. They were used, but clean and sanitized so I felt no problem using the service. Then I switch to cloth diapers until it was time for panties. Used her sister’s training pants and plastic covers. I don’t see much difference between the two. As long as they are clean, a little bleach goes a long way, I see no problem. What is the difference between cloth diapers and underpants?

LM

August 25th, 2010
11:15 am

MJG… my girlfriend and I were discussing darning socks the other day. she buys nice dress socks for her husband and when they get a hole she will darn them. I know how, just don’t have nice enough socks, but have also repaired sweaters when they get a pull or tear.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 25th, 2010
11:43 am

sorry Cammi — didn’t mean to give anyone the creeps.