Minimalism

Minimizing Kid’s Clothes

baby clothes folded

There’s something that happens when you become a mom.  Suddenly, you get to dress another person.  Not only that, he or she is adorable and small. And you’re in complete control!

Over the years I’ve noticed that buying the kids’ adorable outfits gives me a little high. When Ryan was deployed clothes shopping for the kids was a way to entertain myself.  I’d try to find a good deal or buy a bunch of their next season’s wardrobe ahead of time.  However, this resulted some seasons with a TON of clothes.  I just kinda stuffed it all into drawers and closets and figured they had “variety.”

When I first discovered minimalism, it was right before Christmas 2016.  We had already gone through a lot of stuff, knowing it was going into storage.  I also had to pick only a few pieces of clothing for each of the kids.  The rest of their clothes went into boxes.  I remember it passing through my mind that I was boxing up clothes that likely wouldn’t fit come next season.  However, I rationalized “just in case”. (The antithesis phrase of a simple life.)

Well, here we are four months later.  It’s May and the weather is attempting to become warmer.  (It succeeded today, though tomorrow we dip way back down.  Spring . . .)  With May comes our possessions, jam-packed into a 10×20 storage unit.  In my defense, we did NOT pack the items ourselves.  The Army contracted a company.  In retrospect, I wish we had packed ourselves because they did NOT economize the boxes.  There are boxes with empty boxes inside! Yet, among the chaos I was actually able to find the kids’ clothes fairly quickly.

In the past, I would probably have kept 90% of the pieces since most still fit, at least for now.  However, because minimalism makes me really take each piece into consideration and only keep what’s necessary, about 70% of what was boxed was donated.  That includes shirts that are perfectly good still.  They fit, they’re in good condition.  The only thing wrong with them is that there are just too many!  How many shirts does a boy need?? I do laundry at least twice a week so he can easily do with 5 tops and be fine.

Since it is the turn of the seasons I’m allowing him five long-sleeved tops along with seven short-sleeves.  If I don’t see them rotating enough I’ll probably minimize again, but frequently, especially in summer with water play, we can go through a coupe shirts a day.

As for my daughter, she only got to keep few items that she “loved.”  Since she’s completely in charge of her own wardrobe now, she MUST love something or it just doesn’t get worn.  And if I notice an item doesn’t get touched often, we donate it.  It doesn’t matter if it was a gift or a recent purchase.  It’s not worth the space it takes up and another child could benefit from the piece more.

I love that I’m instilling in her the same values I try to live with myself.  Less really is more: more time, more space, more freedom to pursue other activities and passions.  Things aren’t free: they require space, maintenance, and cleaning.  So think twice about anything you have or bring into your life: the price you initially pay is not the only price it will cost you.  

My take-away is this: don’t be afraid to minimize your kid’s wardrobe.  Less clothes means less laundry and more space in your drawer to organize them neatly.

Here’s a minimalism experiment to try!  Pull ALL of your kids’ clothes out from the drawers and closets.  Either with the child or alone (if he/she is too little or uninterested) pick out a week’s worth of tops and bottom, along with any special occasion clothes you may need, like church clothes.  Then box up or bag up the remaining clothes.  After a week, see if you actually miss any of the clothes or whether they’ve been forgotten.  Doing this temporary “packing party”, as The Minimalists call it, is a great way to test yourself and see what you really need and what is excess.

Let me know if you try it and what you thought!

Until next time,
~Laura

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