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:
And why I started the hard work of defining "enough" for our family