My year of less is more: decluttering kids' clothing
|My little box of baby clothes|
However, I have been thinking a bit about how to manage the childrens' clothes. One of the wonderful things about kids getting older is that their clothes can often last more than one season. When they were younger there was a lot more sorting and storing and shuffling around that needed to happen. I used to have two big plastic tubs in the garage which were full of girls and boys clothes. When I went through the boxes in January I discovered that the younger kids were too big for a lot of the clothes or they'd perished and weren't useful anymore.
When storing clothes for younger kids, my advice would be to really selective about the quality of the clothes you're keeping (ie. keep the good stuff and clothing bin the rest of it). And if there's a bit of an age gap between kids they can go out of style so keeping good quality classic items (like a good pair of jeans or pyjamas) is worth it. Also think about how many items of each type of clothing they'll actually need. I found that by the time I was keeping stuff for my third girl she had way too many items of the same type of clothing (and often pretty daggy). She was never going to be able to wear them all.
I have to admit that it's A LOT easier having a school uniform once they hit school age. Managing clothes has got much simpler. For all of you reading this who live in parts of the world without uniforms I do appreciate that my lot in life on this front is a lot more straightforward.
Basically my kids don't really need a lot of clothes because they only need a few changes for the weekends. However, this does catch me out when they need to go on a camp or we go away on holidays (holiday packing is another blog post by the way). They often don't have quite enough clothes but since a number of my children rarely change their clothes on these things I don't feel too anxious about it.
Just before the school year started I decluttered my 9 year old son's drawers. I discovered that he had literally a mountain of clothes that he never touched. When I sorted it out I have a sneaky suspicion that my 15 year old had been putting all his too small clothes in his younger brother's drawers! When I put back what was left he had three pairs of shorts and a couple of pairs of jeans.
I did however keep a mountain of t-shirts because I discovered that he has a t-shirt of every colour of the rainbow which is handy for the endless dress-up days our school seems to have (eg. environment day =green, harmony day=orange, NAIDOC day=red, black or yellow). He can now provide a t-shirt service for the rest of the family. Day-to-day he only actually wears about two of the t-shirts that are his favourites.
We also have a teenage girl who has many items of clothing that she seems to accumulate out of thin air but doesn't seem to wear a good percentage of them. My trick with this one is that she's only got allocated two small drawers and two large drawers for her clothing so eventually that gets pretty frustrating and she has to sort them out. We've always been really limited in the amount of space the kids have for clothes and that's helped me regularly declutter and forces them to not hold onto everything.
And what about their cute baby clothes? I've just allowed myself a tiny little box where I've kept a few items that remind me of how small they were (like the jumpsuit they came home in or their first pair of shoes). I'm even pondering whether or not I should just take some photos and ditch this box but in the meantime you can appreciate that I'm being at least a little bit sentimental!!