08 October 2014

Another round of hand-me-downs

I expected there would be a lot of perks to living in this apartment. I mean, there’s the space – not just in the square footage, but in the basement and attic. There’s the walkable neighborhood aspect, so that I can get to work, church, the grocery store and library and post office, all without hopping in a car. And it’s fun to have a prestigious address, at least for once in our life. (Did you know our formerly private street is a registered historic landmark?!)

What I didn’t necessarily expect, though, was the community aspect of this neighborhood. It’s a street filled with relatively wealthy people, and virtually all of them are either retired or interior designers – sometimes both. They love their houses, they love each other’s houses, and they love interacting amongst their houses. Not only do they regularly swap and sell furniture to each other (just the other day, Mr. P helped a neighbor carry antique rugs from one home to another) but they generally like passing on anything that someone else might find useful.

And that is how we ended up boxes and boxes of baby clothes from our neighbor.

As if we didn’t have enough hand-me-downs already, right? Somehow we have become those people who get the contents of other people’s basements. We are fortunate! And also kinda overwhelmed because omg even more stuff.

I can’t explain the whole story behind how we ended up with these boxes – I know they come from our neighbor’s sister, who lives in New England, and I guess he went to help clean out her house, and brought these back knowing that our landlady had spread the news of our growing family? Or something? All I know is that we have boxes of some other little boys’ clothes, all freshly laundered and packed up with care.

There’s some good stuff in there, too! Because the family lives up north and had several boys at different times of the year, we got cute good winter clothes out of it. Like this adorable snowsuit... ish-thing. (Why is there a handle at the bottom? Is it possible to even strap a kid into a seat with this thing? Is it mostly for sitting in the snow looking cute? Would the answers to all these questions be more obvious if I were already a mom?)

There’s also bigger boys’ clothes, which is nice because you don’t get another baby shower when your kid is three years old. I hadn’t combed through much more than onesies at this point, so I was enamored with the tiny pockets on tiny corduroy pants.

So thanks to our neighbor, we now have a nice collection of semi-New-England-WASP-y clothes for our eventual toddler – pink shirts, plaid pants, and Kenneth Cole sweater vests. Heeeeeee.

Not gonna lie, I find these adorable.

HOWEVER. There is a bit of a downside to all this. First of all, there was quite a bit of digging to figure out what I’d want to keep and what should be passed on. Honestly, we were a bit spoiled by the hand-me-downs from our nephew (all classy stuff, gently used, with just one kid’s use prior) so I had to sort out anything that was just too worn or – in my snobby opinion – just not something I’d dress my kid in.

But the other big issue is that there’s actually WAY MORE STUFF than what I just showed you. My understanding is that our neighbor brought down EVERYTHING – including strollers and carseats, as well as clothes for the entirely opposite gender of child, none of which is useful to us. And yet. Here it is, all in our basement.

(Sorry for the grainy mobile photo in crappy basement lighting, but it just makes it look as ominous and daunting as it feels.)

I’m pretty sure our neighbor just wanted this out of his house, so whatever, he has so many other things on his plate and he just wanted to make this SEP. I can sort out what we can use and pass on the rest as a small price to pay for getting a free collection of tiny plaid pants.

The problem? Those carseats. I can’t figure out what model they are, or if they’re still safe to use (apparently there are supposed to be expiration dates somewhere on them, but I haven’t found one), or – most confusingly – if they’re even legal to use in the States! They only have a maple leaf sticker on them saying they’re legal in Canada (New England family, remember? Perhaps you noticed the French diaper boxes above?). Unknown history aside, I have no idea if they’re legal here, firmly in the middle of the United States. Hmm.

Considering that these seem old, and I have no way to know how old, nor do I know if they’ve ever been in an accident, or if they’re legal to use here... I’m afraid to pass them on. Is it a horrible waste to just throw them in the dumpster? Including the accompanying stroller “travel system” which oh gosh, seems so wasteful? Can I get over the massive guilt of trashing something hauled halfway across the country for us? Please advise, dear readers!


Christal said...

I am enormously tickled that you have an outfit with handles. :-)

Miranda said...

I completely understand! We still have carseats that we bought for Lexie that have expired now, but it seems terrible to throw them away. I am no help at all! But when we make the move, I guess I will have to just let it go and put them out by the road. Maybe then if someone else uses them, I don't have to feel guilty... Maybe if you donate them somewhere, it becomes the other person's responsibility to check their safety. You can assume they were thrown out or used as a cat recliner or something.

Amber said...

I was intrigued by this car seat question...but unfortunately left without any answers. Apparently you're not supposed to bring in car seats from the U.S. if you live in Canada because of different safety standards, but I found nothing on bringing seats from Canada to the U.S.

I can tell you that our U.S. car seat doesn't have an expiration date on it, just a manufacture date. It's my understanding that it expires a certain number of years (7?) after that date.

Maybe if you knew the ages of the children, you could figure out if they are expired. I'd say better safe than sorry and toss the car seats if you can't figure it out. Plus, you never know if the seats have been in an accident, and you're supposed to throw them away after any accident, even a fender bender.

Carlye said...

Looks like you could ship the unwanted things to this place in Austin, TX, but I assume shipping prices on a stroller and car seat would be prohibitive. http://www.babyearth.com/renew
You might also check with your church to see if they know of anyone/anyplace that might be willing to take it. Overabundance is a good problem to have!

Janice said...

Load the car seats into your car. Go to local police station and ask for assistance. Around here they police hold car seat safety checks to make sure parents have secured the seats properly. They should be able to tell you if the seats you have are still considered safe.
Strollers, I doubt they have expiration dates, but if you don't need or want it, that's another story.
What to do with opposite sexed items you don't want to store? DONATE :) If you have more than one large garbage full of items, you can call the Salvation Army, arrange for their truck to come to your home, they will load it up and haul it off, no charge. Be sure you inventory it though as you can deduct the donations from your taxes :) You would be amazed at how much it will total in value when you itemize it. Please don't just put it on the curb. Overnight dew and day time weather conditions will ruin the items.
Hope this helps a little.
When you sit back and think about it, it's actually a very wonderful position to be in, to have so many items you can pick and choose what to keep :)