As a kid I hated hand-me-downs. You know, the clothes, toys, or shoes that your older siblings would get brand new, but you’d receive after they outgrew them?
Every pair of jeans seemed to have a whole in the knee, every shirt had something on the front that I would have never picked out, and every toy was beaten up and faded. Don’t get me wrong, I received my share of new things, but there was also a steady stream of hand-me-downs from my older brother. I just didn’t understand why my parents wouldn’t buy all new stuff for me.
As an adult, my view of hand-me-downs has completely changed. I’m constantly scanning the side of the road for items with a “TAKE ME” sign propped up next to them. I’m the guy whose ears perk up when someone mentions they’re trying to declutter their home.
As a grown up, my love for hand-me-downs stems from the simple fact that the price is usually free. And no one is ever too old for free stuff, right?
Here are a couple of my favorite not-so-brand-new items that I’ve gotten my hands on in the last few years. Who says adults can’t use hand-me-downs too?
1. The Perfect Grill
The charcoal grill I used at least twice a week for over 5 years was shot. But I loved the grill so much that I put off buying a new one as long as possible. I just couldn’t find one that I liked enough to replace it.
Imagine my surprise when I saw the exact same grill, only in much better condition, sitting next to a mailbox free to whomever wanted to load it up and take it home. This hand-me-down grill was perfect, and lasted close to 3 years.
2. The $20 Computer
At the age of ten my son became extremely interested in making stop-motion videos with his Star Wars Lego sets. He would attach a webcam to our laptop and disappear into the basement for hours.
The problem was, that computer was also the one I used to connect to both my home and work emails. For this reason, I wanted to get him a computer of his own, but we just couldn’t afford it at the time.
One of our neighbors mentioned they had a computer that stopped working, and asked if I would look at it. It was a simple fix of just replacing the hard drive, which I did by purchasing a used one from a local computer repair store for $20. But by the time I got it back up and running, they bought a new computer, and told me I could keep their old one!
For $20, (the price of the new hard drive) I had a nearly new computer my son could use as much as he wanted.
3. The New-to-Me Snow Blower
I’ve lived in Minnesota all my life, and have seen snow storms that make me wonder why I haven’t moved somewhere warmer. Every year I say to myself, “This is the last year I shovel my driveway by hand.” But every year I decide I don’t want to shell out $800 or more for a heavy duty blower.
A few weeks ago my father called me and informed me that he was buying a new snow blower. My father is over seventy years old, and the current snow blower is just too heavy for him.
He told me if I wanted the old one, I could have it. Of course, I took it without hesitation! I’m already familiar with it, because it’s the snow blower I used when I was in high school. This blower is 28 years old but still runs perfectly, and I was glad to have a new-to-me tool to help clear my driveway.
Hand-Me-Downs Are for Adults Too
Each of the items on this list was a hand-me-down, and something I used to the fullest extent. They weren’t new, shiny, or the latest and greatest. But they filled a need without emptying my wallet, which makes any used item worth the price — free!
It’s important to keep your eyes open and be on the lookout for great hand-me-down items. You never know when the perfect match will cross your path.
What was the last item you received as a hand-me-down? Do you think your example of using hand-me-downs will help your kids understand this important lesson?