Minimalism and Children’s Clothes

caspar-rubin-37013.jpg
Photo by Caspar Rubin on Unsplash

I used to keep all of my children’s clothes.

As our first child, Caleb, grew out of things, I would pack them away in a sturdy plastic bin and put it in storage. I bought many bins over the years to accommodate ALL these clothes…bin upon bin built up quite a collection of boy clothes, from newborn through the toddler sizes.

Then we discovered minimalism a year ago and my entire approach to clothing began to change. Isaiah was an infant, so I was beginning to go back through those first bins of boy clothing to see what might be useful.

With my new minimalist perspective I saw clearly for the first time the folly of my ways. I had kept SO MANY clothes, many of which I didn’t even like. They were the ones that I rarely or never put on Caleb as a baby that sat on the shelf just in case I ran out of clothes I liked.

Why did I keep them?

Being frugal has something to do with it, but there is also this nagging voice that says, “You might need that one day.” That’s the voice I was not listening to anymore. I decided that if I really did *need it* one day, I could replace it.

I would not be chained to clothing because of an anxious voice in my head any longer.

My new approach was simple: I kept every clothing item that I liked and was in good condition. Everything else was thrown away or donated.

I got rid of a lot of clothes.

Space opened up (empty bins!) and I saw a way forward with my kids’ clothes that did not end up with me standing among towers of stacked bins, overwhelmed and wondering what to do with it all.

The psychological benefit of minimalism is huge. The mental space is as rewarding as the physical.

Now as my children continue to grow and I routinely sort through their clothing, the process is easy. If they wear it and it’s in good condition, it stays in their drawers (I do keep a few “play clothes” for each child that are not in good condition). If it is damaged or never worn I get rid of it. If it is outgrown, I keep it for the next child only if I LOVE it or it is particularly valuable/useful.

Minimalism has also changed the way I buy clothes. I used to love yard sales, consignment stores and bags of hand-me-downs. Now I avoid them. As much as I love getting clothes for a fraction of the retail price (or free), the time commitment involved is not usually worth it, at least at this time in my life. I do shop at consignment stores occasionally, but for the most part I buy new clothes for my kids as they need them.

And here is the key: each child does not need very much. A few pairs of pants/shorts, a few t-shirts, a few long sleeved shirts, and a few nicer outfits for church is all that’s needed. So buying replacements as items are outgrown or damaged is not a financial strain.  Plus I don’t shop at expensive stores, so that always helps the bottom line!

The empty bins, the space in drawers, the psychological freedom…minimalism has been such a gift.

Planning for the New Year

annie-spratt-178364.jpg
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It is vital for me to simplify if I want to accomplish anything.  Otherwise the overwhelm takes over and nothing productive happens.  Planning for a new year is one of these things.  I want to be intentional about the new year coming.  I want to have my priorities and goals in order and in mind so that I do not blunder through the year haphazardly.  But when anyone starts talking about roles and goals and intentions and priorities and planning I start to feel like burying my head under a pillow.  Where do I even start?  How do I determine what’s really important for this year?  Frankly, I’d rather do something else.

So I simplify.  I sat down with Trello this afternoon and made a board for the new year.  Then I wrote all my separate roles (wife, mother, etc.) as headers of separate lists.  Then I wrote down priorities or goals for each role.  I did not take a lot of time to do this.

Then I took my new weekly planner (which I bought at Walmart, by the way, and really like) and wrote out a sample week.  I do not have any desire to schedule every minute of every day, but rather I put down the basic structure of the days and certain things that need to happen.

For example, a new strategy I have going forward is scheduling two afternoons each week to focus on housekeeping, including laundry, instead of spreading it through the week (or not doing it at all!).  These afternoons will be on the days that I go to work in the mornings.  All that is written in my planner, along with items like when we will be homeschooling and my writing times.

Priorities in Trello.  A weekly rhythm in my pink, spiral-bound planner.  I think I’m ready for 2018.

Simplify to accomplish!