There wasn’t usually a day that went by that didn’t start with tears. Either their favourite shirt was in the laundry or the third pair of pants they tried on didn’t feel right. With numerous outfits being tried and tossed aside on any given day, I would find dresser drawers spewing with unfolded clothes and of course the pyjama drawer was now filled with socks, hoodies and the odd t-shirt. Not to mention finding freshly folded clothes in the depths of the dirty laundry hamper! Something had to give. So when my favourite, Jen Hatmaker wrote about reducing her wardrobe for a month, I latched on to the concept.
I sent each of the kids into their rooms with a garbage bag, a rubbermaid tote and a good attitude! 🙂 The garbage bag was to put all the clothes they no longer wanted, that we could donate to our local thrift shop. The tote was to put clothes they liked and thought maybe they would wear again, but likely wouldn’t need for the next month. The goal was to end up with seven outfits in their drawer. These seven outfits would get them through the next month. I was to hear no whining, arguing or complaining about clothing choices over the course of the month. If I heard complaining, I told them I would extend our “clothing fast.” It was a big job. If you decide to take on this task with your children, allow an hour or two per child. Once our project of sorting and organizing was complete all three of the girls had seven outfits each in their drawer. All three felt accomplished. They could see what was in their dresser and closet now. I believe that a huge stressor was removed from their daily decision making because we narrowed down the choices they had.
Once they had their clothes organized I headed into my closet and narrowed down my wardrobe as well. I picked a pair of black yoga pants and a hoodie, a pair of black jeans and a grey t-shirt from one of my favourite adoption organizations. I also chose 3 blouses, a pair of leggings and 2 pairs of skinny jeans. The rest of my clothes got moved to the farthest corner of my closet. I was nervous about my selection but was bound and determined not to be a prisoner to my clothing.
Well yesterday was the end of our clothing fast. I was allowed to choose anything in my closet to wear. I stood in front of my clothes for almost 10 minutes. I pulled several outfits out of my closet and ended up with a huge mess on my bed. So not only did I waste 10 minutes finding something to wear, I also had 10 minutes worth of work cleaning up the mess I had created. So I learned something. My clothes waste my time, my thoughts and my energy. I have decided that I will choose another handful of outfits for the month of April. I don’t need choice. I need clothes in my closet that I know for certain I will wear. I’m certain, I won’t keep the same outfits in my closet from last month as I am quite sick of them at this point! Haha!
My girls have been dressing each day with ease. The mountain of laundry I am faced with each week has turned into a hill. One declared today that she doesn’t want her clothes back because it made her room too messy. Another said she thought it was simpler to have fewer clothes in her drawer and the other is begging me to get the totes out of the garage so she can fill her closet back up! We are going to get the totes out and we are going to go through them again. The outfits we didn’t miss are going to be given away, and the ones we remember and think we will wear this month will be put back into the drawers. It is my goal to end up with 14 outfits. That should be plenty. It will give the kids plenty of outfits for play and special days but will also be a manageable number or items in their dressers.
If you ever felt overwhelmed by the laundry, the untidy dressers, or the time and tears wasted on deciding what to wear, I strongly recommend working with your child to choose 6 or 7 outfits. Be sure to choose outfits that fit and feel right and your child is certain to wear in a month. Same goes for you mom! Narrow down your wardrobe. You don’t have to get rid of all of your clothes, but chose 6 or 7 outfits for yourself that you find yourself gravitating to most days. choose outfits that feel comfortable but also be sure to pick something that you can wear out for dinner or a coffee date with a friend. I dare you to try it for a month. Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself. I didn’t realize how much time I spent on my wardrobe until I had gone with a smaller one. I think when I go shopping, I’ll give my purchases more thought. If I don’t think I could where it every week, I likely won’t buy it.
Let me know what you think. Would you try something like this? If you have done an experiment like this before, were you able to stick with a limited wardrobe, or is your closet jam packed again?