On Mondays I share just a quick word - usually something I have jotted down from my recent readings - to ponder as you face your week head-on. Monday musings, if you will. Raise those coffee mugs high - here's to another week!
On Fridays (or, in this case, Monday) I join the Five Minute Friday community and write for 5 minutes flat on the one-word prompt given for that week. Lots of fun and a little scary to be so vulnerable. You can read more about it over here. This week's word: friend.
So I got this crazy idea a few weeks ago to just do it, just put my name out there. My full name. Out there for anyone in the world to see and say "hey, come on over." I wasn't trying to invite the world, I was hoping for a neighbor. And you know what? She came. She found me on that website. We listend to the real life stories shared in the (in)RL webcast, and we shared some of our own stories. It was so encouraging, so surprising, so real and so good. The funny thing about friends is they always come unexpectedly, in places I never thought to look. They come when I get over myself, open the door, say "excuse the mess" and listen. I am learning everyone has a story, a story I need to hear, and when we exchange stories we become friends...and become all the better for it.
Let's be honest, I don't care what those cute little signs on Pinterest say, laundry is not "loads of fun" for anyone. Nope. Not at all. If I lived in a climate and a society that permitted it, I would most definitely let my children run around in their skivvies until...well, probably until their first day of school. Kids are much more washable than their clothes and it seems silly to me to cover something washable with something that is difficult to clean. Except for the fact that we live in New England and it is chilly - or just down right COLD - 14 months of the year.
So, since Plan A (let the children be nudist) isn't a viable option, my plan B to this dilemma of "too much" laundry is to define "enough" and donate the excess to those who could actually put these clothes to good use so they can torture me no more.
Not too long ago I read that someone downsized and kept only the amount of clothes you would pack for a week long trip. (I couldn't track down the exact source, but I think it was from over here at the lovely Assortment Blog) I feel this is a very comfortable definition for me to adopt because of the freedom it allows while still providing measurable limitations. I have a 4 year old explorer who is hard on his pants, a messy 2.5 year old fashionista who loves shoes and believes a girl could never have enough tu-tus, and a teething (read: drooling) 13 month old who....lets just say needs a lot of wardrobe changes throughout the day. They all have different clothing needs and that is reflected in what I would pack for them if we were going on a week long trip. This is also a good definition for me to work with because it just so happens that my two oldest share a converted entertainment armoire with two large -- maybe you could even say "suitcase size" -- drawers. Also? Going a week without having to do laundry is exactly the kind of vacation I want right now so I'm all in.
I thought this would be a huge task that would take hours and hours to complete, but I was pleasantly surprised. Focusing on one child at a time, I simply laid out the pieces of clothing on a bed as if I were packing for a trip. Of course, I chose the best fitting, best conditioned, most versatile clothes, because that's what I do when I pack. The entire process, for all three kids, took about 1 hour and 15 minutes..... then we had a few melt downs, purple play-doh on the white rug and a few other mishaps that pushed my completion time to two hours past the "almost complete" time and made this a two, not one, cup-of-coffee-long project. Even so, it took a lot less time than I had imagined. Honestly, before I actually started this project I thought I'd never live to see the end of it.
I picked the worst time to take on this challenge as we are in early spring and the weather is totally unpredictable. Two weeks ago we hit the beach because it was a sunny 80 degrees. Two days later we woke up to snow on the ground. This is NOT an exaggeration. So, ultimately, I probably ended up with more clothes, especially tops, then I would for just a week long trip with predictable weather.
In the end I counted the final pieces that made the cut and there were roughly 30-35 pieces per child (including PJ's). The rest went into bags and passed onto friends and family, or donated, with the hopes that they will bless someone instead of just overwhelming me.
Also? After letting a day pass (after the "after" picture was taken) I went back and cleared out a bit more because I felt like I had allowed myself a little too much. Since we are still contending with unpredictable weather extremes, the extras I took out this time I set aside for easy-access "storage" in case I change my mind. If they sit there untouched for more than a month I will get rid of them, as the kids will outgrow them before Autumn.
I feel victorious - my children are still well clothed and I see THIS a lot more often with much less effort:
What do you think? Thoughts? Questions? Tips? I'd love to hear 'em!
You may also be interested in Enough Clothes (My 10 Piece Wardrobe)
And why I started the hard work of defining "enough" for our family
I'm a blog-at-home mom who writes because my sanity depends on it. I'm a Jesus-lover, family gal, coffee addict, recovering hoarder in a small New England town that bears a suspiciously close resemblance to "Stars Hallow" (and if you know where that is, we're friends already!). I am working towards simple living, one step at a time.
If you're curious about the name of my blog, you can find out more here. Thanks for stopping by!
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