General Etiquette > Family and Children

Baby clothes

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Hey I was wondering something and I was hoping you ladies could help me. One of my friends when she found out we were pregnant wanted to know what the baby was so she could give us her outgrown children's clothes of that sex since she wasn't having any more and no one else was pregnant. We found out and told her. We arrange to get the clothes since she lives elsewhere and when she was dropping off the clothes she said something about wanting them back when we were done..Which was news to me since she never mentioned that... Well I called to confirm since whenever I give something to someone which are hand me downs I don't expect them back. She said yes she wanted them back since her SIL was trying for a baby and she could pick them up if we didn't want them. I said we could use a lot of them but the ones we couldn't we can give back. Then I asked well what about when when we are done since we plan on more kids..well what she wants us to do is mark all of them so she can get them back after the baby outgrows them and if we have more then we buy our own...She originally said nothing about that and sounded happy to get rid of them due to I feel almost like we are being used for storage with the side benefit of getting some clothes to use for a short term basis. So each time baby out grows the set of clothes we have to ring her up and set up a time for us to drop off the clothes..she lives an hour a way.

I guess I was confused..and a little upset since I now have to go through the clothes and hopefully remember which are hers and which are ones I husband doesn't think anything of it..I thought I might have been a bit rude asking all the questions trying to clarify it..So what is the etiquette of giving hand me downs from friends? I am very grateful for the clothes just a bit mystified.

Tilt Fairy:
I think the best thing to do would be to try your hardest to separate her clothes from your clothes and just return the whole lot to her. It does seem unusual to ask for hand me downs back. Its not really a charitable gift but more a temporary item you can borrow to help you out. I wouldn't like it much either. But since she has told you this, I think it would be better, stress-free and better for piece of mind in the long run to not accept anything and just buy your own. Otherwise you'll be walking on eggshells with the clothes. That way there is no awkwardness. Maybe tell her that you can't guarantee that the clothes would remain unsoiled and you don't want to have to upset her by not being able to hand her clothes back in a good condition (babies are messy!). Even though the clothes may be helpful for you in the short term, with how attached this friend seems to be to these baby clothes and that her wording has indicated that 'the clothes are still her property' instead of an unequivocal gift to you, I think it would be better to just let this go. Otherwise it may lead to more upset on both parties further down the line.

At least if you buy your own clothes, you are not obligated to anyone. Just thank her and let it go. Return the whole lot.

could you mark the tags or something to identify them?  and if your husband sees it in no big deal put him in charge of sorting and doing inventory.

Harriet Jones:
I'd just go ahead and return them all, rather than trying to mark them or keep them separate.

Well, in my circle, there are clothes that have cycled through several babies, and have made their way back to the original owner.  And people try to get "speciality" items like coats back to who it came from.  But asking to mark them and return them as they are outgrown seems to be be more work than they're worth.  I'd just give them all back, no hard feelings, and do some secondhand store shopping.


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