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Minimizing our Wardrobes

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I am so grateful for all the support and advice during this time of transition as we downsize from 1800 sq ft to 900 sq ft.  I am fully embracing this change and ask I mentioned earlier this week I have already begun downsizing in regards to our furniture and planning what will go with us to the apartment in that regards.

Someone mentioned “minimalist blogs” and another zenhabits.net. Since then I have been reading voraciously on this ideal.  And I am convinced that this is the way for us to go.  So now I have to get the kids to buy in because let’s face it, the majority of our day to day clutter…it’s theirs!  So here is what I’ve done so far in this regards and if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them…

  1. We discussed the space issue in the apartment and how it feels when  a room in our house is full of stuff vs just a few usable items.  This was easy to demonstrate this week as we have cleared out rooms and seen them go from crowded feeling to really big and open, free.
  2. I sent the three oldest a link to this article: http://zenhabits.net/a-guide-to-creating-a-minimalist-home/ and asked them to read it so they would understand where my mind was.
  3. And then I went all in, dragging them with me…I gave them a list of clothing items they could bring on this move.  Everything else must either be trashed or donated.  And the twins were assigned the task of getting their closets in order yesterday.

For those of your interested, this is the list I gave my teenagers:

Underwear7+Socks10+
Undershirts7+Pajamas3
Jeans2Dress Pants1
Cargoes1Nice Shorts2
Athletic Shorts1Pant of choice2
T-shirts7Dress shirt2
Hoodie3Winter Jacket1
Polo2Suit1
Athletic Shoes2Dress Shoes2
Slides1Sandal1
Boots1

I did make some exemptions from this list:  1) Sea Cadet does not have to count his Navy uniforms, etc in these numbers, but all Sea Cadet paraphernalia must fit into the tubs we previously purchased to keep them in; and 2) History Buff does not have to count his additional number of dress clothes he has for his TeenPact participation, but they must fit in one hanging bag which he takes when he goes to conferences.

I realize that this could not be a universal list, and I still think the numbers are a bit high, but I think it’s a good start.  And I am going to try really hard to enforce a 1 in – 1 out type of philosophy with new items.

I will be taking this same philosophy with the younger two, but since they out grow their clothes almost every season still they don’t typically have a cross season wardrobe so it will be limited by number of outfits I think rather than particular items.  Make sense?


14 Comments

  • Reply TPol |

    It is a tough job for sure. I need to do a purge too since stuff is coming out my ears nowadays. However, I can’t part with some of the stuff just because I consider myself frugal. I guess it is “frugal person’s dilemma”.

    Do you have a washer and dryer in the new apartment? Laundry might get tricky with 4 kids and less clothing items. Do the older kids help you with laundry?

    • Reply Hope |

      TPol,
      I am having the same struggle with some things especially those things we use say once a year…Christmas tree. It’s in storage now and I’d really like to get rid of it as I’d like to get rid of storage once all the dust settles, but we do use it…about 30 days per year. And well, the alternatives just aren’t good for me yet…this isn’t the only example, just the one that stands out.
      Yes, the apartment comes with a washer and dryer. Which means I will be selling my current washer/dryer and even refrigerator when we move, but those will be the last to go. All of my kids do their own laundry. The little ones started when they were 5, the twins when they moved in with us at 12. They do their own clothes and their own bedding. I take care of towels, etc. They each have a day of the week as their laundry day and are often throwing items in with each others if they are wanting a favorite something or other cleaned or forgot to do their own and have run out of undergarments.

  • Reply Ann |

    I so wish I had done this with my kids. I didn’t get organized (via Flylady.net) until they were out of the house. But I think it would have been so helpful if I could have been more organized with the 4 kids at home and taught them better about organization and running a household. (Although 3 of the 4 of them run very organized households now, so maybe they learned what they didn’t want to do by watching me 🙂 )

    • Reply Hope |

      Ann,
      My mom was ALWAYS super organized and our house was also so well organized so I know I get a lot of what I do from her. But growing up she did it ALL. I have no idea how she did it, especially with 5 of us spaced out over 14 years. She was and is amazing!
      With that being said and being a single mom, there is no way I can do that. My kids from a early age took on some responsibilities, ie laundry, helping in the kitchen, etc. Now with the youngest being 9, there is very little around the house that they cannot do, and even less that they don’t do. (Meaning there are times with their independent nature they try things that they shouldn’t…ie pumpkin carving.)
      I don’t think that the added responsibilities have inhibited their childhood at all and have in fact just made them just more competent and reliable in what they do do. As a homeschooler this make me extremely proud.

  • Reply Ashley |

    Check out zerowatehome.blogspot.com
    Unfortunatley, I don’t find the site to be organized very well so its hard to find old posts, but she has done many series on clothing and how she can wear the same thing multiple different ways (admittedly, probably easier for females than males since she makes shirts into dresses/skirts, which is unlikely to help the boys). I am absolutely fascinated by how little she has wardrobe-wise, and yet she always looks stylish and put-together! She once went on a trip (again – couldn’t find the old post! argh!) and wore the same shirt for something like 14 days – a different way every single day!! It was crazy!!!
    Anyway, you guys can do this! There will be some growing pains, but it can be done! Good luck!!

  • Reply KLM |

    I realized how little clothing I actually need when I was pregnant and didn’t want to go crazy buying maternity clothes. From about 20 weeks on, I made do with 4 pairs of pants and one pair of jeans–I had a dress or two, but I never wore them. I think I had 4 t shirts, a long sleeved t shirt, 2 blouses, and 3 sweaters. Admittedly, by the time I delivered, I was so sick of it all that I was glad to put it all in the basement, but it was a lesson in the excess of my pre-pregnancy closet.

    • Reply Hope |

      KLM,
      I know for myself and my older three, we all have “favorites” that we wear over and over again. I hope with this minimizing and then the 1 in-1 out rule we can really see how little we need. (My youngest son just wears what he can put his hands on…doesn’t matter if it’s clean/dirty, his or not…I know that will change, but for now I will just make sure he has enough to get through a week and call it a day when I go through his closet.)
      The nice thing about the 1 in, 1 out rule is that by the time we are sick of one of our faves, it can be purged without feeling back for not having worn it when it’s time to replace it. At least that’s my theory.

  • Reply SammieK |

    I hate clutter, I’m like an anti-hoarder I’m always going though cupboards and seeing what I can throw away/donate. Lucky I have a very easy going partner lol. I love the feeling of looking into closets and everything being in its place, and only what I need/use.

    It was a big help last year, as we packed up all our stuff from our two bedroom apartment in Melbourne Australia, packed everything neatly away at my parents house and now we’re living in Toronto for a year. We’ve been here since last Nov so we have ten weeks til we go home 🙂 It’s nice knowing we have all our stuff waiting for us to move into a new apartment, and we only have things we really need – I didn’t pack any junk.

    This year alone we’ve travelled to Paris and London, Cancun, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and three weeks around the US (NYC, Seattle, San Fran, Vegas and LA). North America is nice, but I can’t wait to be home!

    I love that your kids do their own laundry! I’m so going to train my future kids to do that lol.

  • Reply allison |

    HI! Does anyone know if any new bloggers will be added since the site is down to 2 bloggers now? Thanks

    • Reply Kili |

      Allison, I too would like to hear from Jeffrey and Nate regarding this issue.
      I liked Adam’s suggestion to pop in with an update every month or so.
      Because I really was interested in his and Emily’s story too & think they have an interesting perspective to add.

      Jim is still shown on the side bar & maybe it would be a good idea to replace him with another regular male writer (can’t remember the name of the male writer who also offered, who’d have a different perspective b/c not having a family…he seemed like a good possible choice.)

  • Reply Karen |

    Something that I stumbled upon a while ago that I believe I am going to give a go when the weather changes here in the Seattle area is Project 333. I recently moved in to my BF’s home and we are on a decluttering mission. We each have one dresser and have to share a closet. We do attend Steampunk and Renn Faire events but those costume clothing will be housed elsewhere. Good luck with your efforts in downsizing!

    Link http://theproject333.com/

  • Reply Hannah |

    I love being clutter free. Especially in small spaces, its a necessity. We’ve moved so much in the past few years, and each time I pack less and give away more.
    Clothing, this is minimal, as we just don’t end up wearing a lot of different things. I have 5 work outfits which also double as church wear, and a couple casual outfits. Id like some more casual clothes but those are hard to find.
    I hope your children learn to appreciate the absence of clutter. People tend to think that having emptyish rooms means they are poor and that is somehow shameful. This isn’t true. A tastefully decorated room has a few pieces of furniture, some art, and items from day to day life. This is to be prized over a room filled to the brim with stuff.
    Clutter free is so freeing!

So, what do you think ?