“Hand-Me-Up” those Cell Phones, Laptops, Jeans, and Sweaters


A client mentioned that her daughter cracked her iPhone screen, and used that as a reason to upgrade to a brand new phone. Instead of fixing it, she wanted a better camera—some of those fancy new features sounded so enticing.

Enter mom, who, while no longer springing for her daughter’s new phones, was still paying for the family plan and was kept in the loop on all things iPhone.

Hey mom, daughter said, why don’t you fix the screen on my broken phone and keep it for yourself. It will be an improvement from the dinosaur you are carrying.

And you know what? She did.

New screen, pretty new case, and my client was sitting at the cool kid’s table.

So, what is it about “hand-me-ups” that we enjoy so much?

It could be the connection to our children that using the item brings. Maybe it is the thrill of saving money. Perhaps it’s pleasure in the commonality of liking the same things.

Bottom line: our kids have said they are ready to part ways with an item, and we are tickled when we can make use of their discard.

Macmillan Dictionary says there is evidence for use of the term “hand-me-up” as far back as the 1980s. It’s defined as passing on articles of clothing from children to their parents or older members of their family.

Computers. Bicycles. Ski jackets. It’s all fair game.

The kids have grown, age-wise, and size-wise. The tables have turned as we now “shop” in their closets when we visit them.

But beware: you may look so good in that discarded Gap cardigan with the Express tee that the kids will be borrowing them back!