Momma Goes Minimalist: 21 Frugal Tips and Recommendations for Downsizing Kids’ Closets

Today was the day! Laundry day! If only you could see my laundry room (Trust me this picture does not do it justice!). Somewhere, in the middle of the huge mount-o-clothes, I thought to myself, “Why on earth do these children have so many jeans and shirts?” And that was it…Momma went minimalist with the kids’ closets. I guess you could call it a breaking point of sorts (smile). It’s something I have wanted to do for a while and today I finally pulled the trigger.
I mean, it had to stop at some point! It’s simply not sustainable to continue collecting clothes. Call me crazy, but I would literally have anxiety just looking into my children’s closets. Even when I took the time to neatly fold and organize all the clothes (which wasn’t often), it still was overwhelming.
Here are a few ways I anticipate my life with less clothing to look like:
-Instead of constantly clean, folding, and putting away laundry, I’m going to have so much more time.
-Mornings will be way less stressful. With only a few items, it makes the choice of what to wear an easier one.
-Our closets will be easier to maintain, well-organized, and uncluttered. Enough said!
-Laundry days will be easier. Probably more frequent, with smaller loads, but definitely easier.
Why do we own so much?
This whole process today made me stop and think about the psychology behind why we own so many clothes. I think most of us have bought into the lie of society that says “more is better”. And because of this, we seek to hoard more and more and more articles of clothing each new season. We’ve bought into the big sales gimmick. Somehow they have convinced us that the newest clothes with make us happier, definitely more fashionable and way more popular among our peers. And the saddest thing is…I found myself subconsciously teaching this to my children!

Although not true for everyone, it seems as though many of our clothing choices are strongly tied to our identities. The need to consume things, to stay on top of the latest fashions, or to buy things just because they were cheap says few things positive about our identities, doesn’t it?

Let’s consider taking a different route with our lives and setting a different example for our children. I’m going to try owning fewer clothes! Will you join me in experiencing this freedom? You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it.
Here are a few practical steps that lead me to this point:
1.  I had to admit that we had too much! And boy was that easy (smile).
2.  There was a determination that clothing does not define my husband, my children, or myself. Our character defines us, and sometimes clothing actually gets in the way of that!
3.  We set, and committed to, a monthly budget for clothing purchases.
4.   I decreased shopping trips and stopped purchasing clothes just because they were on sale.
5.   Discussions began with the children regarding the importance of focusing on internal beauty rather than the external.
And here are the established rules we agreed on!
Everyone was able to choose:
·        5 pairs of jeans, pants, skirts, or leggings
·        7 tops (and 2 dresses a piece for the girls)
·        1 hoodie/sweatshirt
·        1 coat
·        1 lightweight rain jacket
·        2 pairs of pajamas
·        1 pair of gym/tennis shoes, 1 pair of boots, and 1 pair of shoes of choice
We will wear jeans, pants, and pajamas for 3 days or until visibly soiled. And what about buying something new? That’s okay…you just have to be willing to give away, discard, or recycle something you already have; out with the old, in with the new. This way the amount of clothing is always maintained and it will really makes us question how badly we need/want that extra pair of jeans, leggings, dress, skirt, T-shirt, or…
A few things you may want to know about our family:
-We homeschool. I’ve heard people say, “It’s easier for you to do this because your children are homeschooled.” Maybe so, but does that mean you can’t do it if your children go to public school? Absolutely not! These principles still apply.
-My children and 10, 6, and 2. Yes this is possible, even with small children and even with teens! What a great lesson for them to learn now! Granted infants are a different story, but it’s still worth your time to evaluate their stuff too.
-I hang my clothes to dry…indoors. Thanks to the HOA in our current suburban neighborhood we are not allowed a clothes line (Don’t ask! I don’t know either!). I do have a retractable one in the garage and several collapsible drying racks in the laundry room. We also live in arid Arizona where our clothes literally dry within hours of hanging. We’re looking at more frequent, smaller loads of laundry so we’ll see how this goes!
 -I love hand-me-downs and I do save my eldest daughter’s clothes for her younger sister. In fact, to be completely honest, I have packed all the clothes away into a couple tubs in the garage should the need arise and we become desperate for additional items. Something tells me…we won’t be missing them (wink).
So what do you think? Can you do it? Do you want to do it? Share your thoughts with us!
WARNING: There is a danger here to read what I am doing and assume that you have to do it “just like her.” No, please! That is not my intention (smile). This is just a challenge for my family. If you choose to walk down this road, consider your family’s own unique needs and shape your path around those. I am by no means an expert on this topic! My sole purpose in sharing this with you is accountability.  

See this post and a host of others like it here: Fat Tuesday, New Nostalgia, Tip Me Tuesday, Handmade Tuesday, Tutorial Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Terrific Under $10, Raising Homemakers, Wicked Awesome Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Your Green Resource, Creative Juice Thursday, Friday Favorites, Farmgirl Friday, Frugal Friday, Gallery of Favorites, SNS 111, Weekend Bloggy Reading, Show and Tell, Get Schooled, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Made By You, Just Something I Whipped Up

Inspirational source that started me on this journey:
http://www.becomingminimalist.com/2010/07/05/a-practical-guide-to-owning-fewer-clothes/comment-page-1/#comments

Comments

  1. Jill@ RealFoodForager.com says:

    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/12/fat-tuesday-december-6-2011/

  2. It's definitely do-able. My family just did this (sort of by force) when we moved from Chicago to South Korea a few months ago. Airline luggage allowance was 2 suitcases per person for me, my husband, and our then-2.5 year-old son. In other words, we moved our entire lives across the ocean in 6 suitcases. Needless to say there was a lot of soul-searching over which clothing and shoes were coming with us. Our total piece count was a bit higher because both Chicago and Seoul have climates that require everything from tank tops to snow boots. Also, we converted to line-drying only, also by force, since there are no dryers here. It's a bit of a challenge, sometimes taking multiple days to dry, thanks to weather conditions that are simultaneously chilly and humid. Fortunately, it's cultural and laundry-drying porch rooms are built right in to each apartment here. In general, I'm loving the lower volume of clothing, the reduced energy usage, and the value that we're placing on those clothing items that did make the cut!

  3. Nichole's Modern Homestead says:

    My husband and I were just talking about having too many clothes! We will be going though our laundry very soon too!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm with you. Two kids/two parents. I do laundry once a week, never in between, 4-7 loads depending upon season and whether I'm doing sheets and towels that week. Clothes are folded on a bed so they get put away the same day. We have a few more clothes than you describe, but teenage daughter, for example, only has 3 school jeans and 1 weekend/work jeans. She has more shirts, but they get hung up between wearings. All clothes can be worn numerous times before needing to be washed, unless they're on a kid at that stage where everything is filthy every day, like my little boy. He's got pants for every day plus extra for the 2-pair days! Still no in-between wash loads! That's my balance–enough clothes to make it through a week without extra laundry!

  5. Anonymous says:

    we are a family of 7 and when we had to live in our camper for a couple of months we too had to be very careful about what we packed. We had no washer/dryer and space was LIMITED in that tiny camper. I found we managed just fine with literally 1 weeks worth of clothing for each person. I'm glad to be living in a house with a washer & dryer now but I've also managed to keep the clothing to a minimum and it really does help with managing time and space.

  6. Katherine says:

    If it weren't for hand me downs growing up, I would have had very few clothes. I'm not a parent, but can appreciate the enough is enough sentiment. I'm not even a clothes horse, but shoes… well let's just say I have more than I need.

  7. Anonymous says:

    We have a lot of clothes but I don't shop for them. My mom does. She can't help herself. If I were buying the clothes it would be second hand stores and organic or bamboo materials for more sustainability. I do take the clothes to consignment shops though…as a first stop before donation.

  8. As my mother fills my new "professional" wardrobe with deep-discount finds (and not always things I even like), I'll certainly be thinking of this. My life is transitioning from a bicycle-commuter student to a young professional and my clothing needs will be different (no more washing a t-shirt a day from the sweaty commute… and believe me, I've tried to re-wear those!) But I, like Amy G, live in Canada with opposites in heat and cold. Maybe I can pare those favourites down to just a few and add some versatile jackets to dress up the existing wardrobe. I feel quite inspired! Thanks for the post!

  9. Anonymous says:

    We have a large capacity washer and do laundry once a week. That being said, The kids could easily still do with less clothing. I'm looking at: 8 pairs of jeans, pants, skirts, or leggings, 10 tops (and 2 dresses a piece for the girls), 3 hoodie/sweatshirt (this is a location adjustment; It's colder here and they are worn as shirts) 1 coat, 1 lightweight rain jacket, 1 lightweight fleecie or jacket, 2 pairs of pajamas and 1 pair of gym/tennis shoes, 1 pair of boots, 1 basic loafer, and a pair of black and brown dress shoes. (My girls are VERY girlie, and if I could get them down to these shoes,, I would be THRILLED!)

  10. I have a friend with a daughter that changes clothes, very expensive clothes, several times a day.
    After a conversation with my friend about it, I took my young, teen aged son shopping for jeans and he couldn't make up his mind after stops at multiple stores and rejections of every pair of pants I gave him to try on. Finally, in a fit of frustration, I said "Shopping with you is as bad as shopping with a teenaged girl!! What exactly are you looking for in a pair of pants?" He said "Remember those pants I used to wear with the big pockets?" ummmmmmm….."The ones we got at Wal-Mart?" He said "yes!Those! All right! Lets go! He said he loved the jeans at Wal-Mart and I said "And that's why I love you." :)

  11. We have a minimum of clothes too. It just makes sense. We are homeschoolers who have some clothes for venturing out in public, and some older, won't-come-too-clean-anymore clothes for around the house and yard. Works for me!

    Incidentally, I live in an HOA too and they CANNOT restrict you from having a clothesline. They can tell you where they want you to place it, but it's a federal law that states that anyone using natural resources cannot be prohibited from doing it. Trust me, our HOA is overboard with every little thing, and even they cannot do anything about our clothesline.
    Best wishes!

  12. Sarah Smith says:

    This is great! We always seem to have too many clothes for our kids. We actually don't buy any at all (okay, socks sometimes) because the grandparents are constantly buying them clothes. It is ridiculous, though, when we can't get the dresser drawers closed. I REALLY like this idea, and how simple it could make getting dressed in the mornings.

  13. We live in Colorado so have large swings in temperature, have an over-abundance of hand me downs and also have separate school uniforms, so we are over-challenged with clothes issues! I have been contemplating down-sizing for awhile. We do go through 2x per year and pass on what doesn't fit or the girls don't like, but it leaves us with an outrageous amount still. I think I will start by NOT putting clothes away in drawers/closets for 2 weeks and then whatever is in the closets/drawers will get removed to storage to see if they miss anything. Then just put in the 2 weeks of stuff they have worn. Seems like a good approach to a LARGE issue.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It's a fantastic idea. My MIL sends boxes of clothes to my kids and buys out the mall each time she visits. I cannot manage all the clothing! My solution is to keep a similar amount of clothes (that you describe) and put the others in the waaaaay baaaaack of the closet. My kids can trade out a shirt for a shirt, but they can only keep so many clothes in rotation. This idea came from my frustration with Mt. Laundry! I have more time now and my kids are more responsible. I think they like have less choices in the morning.

  15. Stacy Makes Cents says:

    Annie has a lot of clothes….actually, we all do. But I'm so cheap you know I didn't pay much for them – if anything. :-) Dressing Annie up every day is one of the highlights of my day – odd, I know.
    I try to cut down on the overwhelming laundry thing by doing one load per day – sometimes two. It has helped simplify things around here.
    Kudos to you. :-) I think it's a great idea…..but I don't think I can do it. HA!

  16. I did the same thing a year ago. We don't have much money and we're lucky to have generous people in our lives. Between the grandparents and hand-me-downs from other families the kids had a ridiculous amount of clothing (think 12 pairs of pajamas for one kid!) Live has been easier since we downsized. Instead of a specific number of items, each kid was assigned a location/drawer for each type of clothing. When it is full, something must go. It's worked well for the last year.

  17. I have been doing somehing very similar with my 2 girls for a few years. Each season we sort through all their clothes for the upcoming season, what doesn't fit goes in a "bye-bye" pile, what does fit is assesssed to see if it is liked well enough to continue being worn, then we determine what, IF ANYTHING, we need to purchase. I have kept very similar quantities for my girls as you have above, with the exception of a few extra sweaters/sweatshirts for the Midwest winters. My oldest is the only one that has had trouble, but she is better now at not being to emotionally attached to clothes. I have fewer things for myself — 2 pair of jeans, 2 pair of sweatpants, but a couple more sweaters. Our struggle has been grandmas. This year I finally told them they can't keep buying the girls so many clothes, they are just getting the girls in trouble for not putting their stuff away — no more room in their drawers. It seems to be helping.
    And we LOVE hand me downs! Those were always my oldest's favorite things – the things that someone else gave up for her. She would light up. My youngest wears some hand me down hand me downs. :) And we keep the oldest's clothes for the youngest as well as having enough to share with others.

  18. Tracey Davis says:

    I have been considering this as well. I am very good about my closet, but we get a lot of hand me downs, and I have trouble parting with clothing that has been given to us. Good idea to pack it away "in case" though. I think I'm taking the plunge and putting it on my to do list.

  19. Great tips! I'm in the process of purging stuff as well. Sometimes the 'stuff' almost makes me feel claustrophobic.

  20. Dr. Lisa DeRogatis Sulsenti says:

    I found this post to be relieving! I find myself sorting through clothes and narrowing it down often too. What triggers me to do it is when I have to buy seasonally for my oldest who is 13 and I only buy enough to get buy for him. (he is growing like a weed and his clothes can get pricey as he is in mens sizes) Then, I notice how much my youngest who is 7 (youngest of 3 boys) has and I realize he just has too much. The child with the most also only wears the same few things! So, alas.. you are so relieving and correct! :)

  21. Katy @ Purposely Frugal says:

    I just want to say, that I feel your pain with the clothes line! We live in a nice trailer park. I started hanging my clothes out to save on electricity. I did it for months with nobody saying anything.Then we got a new neighbor, who started hanging his clothes out front, and then the trailer park manager asked me to stop. What really urks me, is that our neighbor has kept doing it and apparently not gotten in trouble…all well, I guess I should stop whinning about it. I just don't think clothes hanging out looks that bad, I think it looks frugal!

  22. I'm from a large family, I'm the oldest of 11:) We were very (VERY) blessed with hand-me-downs when i was growing up! But one thing I've learned from that in my own experience with my boys is…..Keep the love on the move:)) sort through it IMMEDIATELY, keep ONLY what you actually need and pass it along to another family or shelter! There are also places that ship clothes over seas to needy countries and they take donations as well!

  23. I have also found that if you shop less, you buy less :)

    Great Post!

  24. I really need to do this, but more with my wardrobe than my kids. I hang onto the size tens i am NEVER going to fit into again "just in case" ::shakes head::

  25. This is a great topic!
    While I'm not purging my daughters closet, I am being good about not replenishing it at an unnecessary rate. This fall I let her pick out 1 new outfit for school and that was all we bought. Seriously, she has plenty of clothes, they all still fit and look great – why do I have to buy new school clothes every year?
    As a family we're really good about reusing & recycling, but we need to focus on reducing!
    BTW – we are a 2 parent/2 kid family – and I ONLY do wash 1x a week too!

  26. No shorts? You must live in a colder climate than we do. (: We definitely need summer clothes here.

    Unfortunately, I tend to be both hard to fit (petite and curvy) and hard on my clothes, so a limited closet just means I wear them out faster and have to spend lots of time trying to find more. /: I try to keep it pared down, but I have to balance that with trying not to have to shop too much.

  27. Good Girl Gone Green says:

    Great tips! I have down sized my wardrobe the last few months. It is so liberating!

  28. Several people mentioned living in climates where you need a different wardrobe for summer vs. winter. I also live in a climate like this and one thing that helps me is to rotate the clothes for the season. I happen to have a large closet, so the out of season clothes go in the back on hangers or in storage bins, but this is also a good process for people with small closets to store out of season clothing somewhere else and keep the closet from getting too cluttered. This process of moving clothes not only keeps the seasonal clothes most accessible, it also provides a good time to evaluate what you have not worn and get rid of it.

  29. Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma says:

    I couldn't do 2 pairs of pjs. My kids are 4 and 2, and they trash their clothes…

    And my son goes to public school, so I'd say 7 of each for us. That's about what we have… But they ruin clothes {but most of our stuff is hand-me-down, thrifted, or gifts} :)

    But I did just downsize quite a bit in my own closet. I think it's easier to own less pants than tops with kids. Tops get ruined faster…

    The clothes that you didn't need: are you boxing them up and rotating?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Faith from Crochet by the Sea…has this to say about that…
    Hi…found you on Deborah Jeans Friday Bloghop….I like the theme of your blog..downsizing…an ambitious goal. It is clothes we have to much of..Working on the downsizing of first, my craft craziness…yarn
    and things..I have run out of room, and while not as much as some, too much for me. How many things can I make at one time? Trying to use up what I have, organize and yes even give some away to Goodwill, or SA, or Purple Heart, they are frequent visitors here and hopefully our items will benenfit somebody. It must start with me, and then the children..ages 16 &9, packrats…oh bother:), good food for thought here, I'll be back……glad to meet you.

  31. Katie @ Imperfect People says:

    I am on a massive less stuff campaign but wow! That is cutting it down pretty drasticaly. I am inspired but I don't think I can cut it down that much. BUT i do know I can cut it down more. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  32. April @ The 21st Century Housewife says:

    I would struggle to downsize to this extent but there are still some great tips here. I am sure many folks with young children will find it very helpful indeed and you also raise some very important points about not confusing our identity with what we wear. I am so pleased you shared this post with the Gallery of Favorites – thank you!

  33. Hit your blog via skip to my lou. I realized at the new millenium that our stuff owned us rather than the other way around. We have downsized considerably(except for a huge house, we like our room) and it has been one of the most librating things we have done. We recently moved cross country and we took up only 1/3 of the space than it did when we moved 8 years ago. I am thrilled to know that we are on the right track. Thanks for your tips…great blog

  34. Great read and tips… Thanks for sharing. We just moved and even though we donated items and had a garage sale before moving, I still find we are donating to downsize!

    xo Lynda

  35. I have to say, I came across your blog a few days ago and…. I love it! I have always wanted a mini type farm, but I don't want to completely give up living right in the middle of town. So, I have been reading your blog and doing my research and find that your blog is so informative! This post actually really hits home because our dryer just broke. We bought a retractable clothes line, and here in Florida it takes literally ALL DAY to dry one load of towels. After evaluating our 10 loads of laundry we had to replace the dryer… but we are certainly doing things different now! Great post!

    http://www.dekotamaries.blogspot.com

  36. I just ran across this post and I think it's great!! I was just thinking the other day that I only need 2 pair of jeans and 2 pairs of black pants. 1 to wear and 1 to wash. How freeing this will be. I don't have to think about what I will wear. I will only keep what I really love wearing. I am absolutely downsizing my closet!!! Thanks for your blog!

  37. How is this going? Do you find that you have enough clothes? I've been trying to do this but then the gramas buy stuff or they stain or rip their clothes and need replacements.
    I also have an 18 gallon tote for each child (except the baby) and their clothes go into their totes from the dryer. No folding involved.

  38. @Mary It's going great!!! We definitely had to do some more decluttering after Christmas:) But it's much easier to stay on top of it when there's less.

  39. HaggyHouseWife says:

    We just did this last month.. my oldest son went through a growth spurt that was having me hunting at goodwill every week for pants.. with two daughters who share clothing most of the time and a five year old boy I can't imagine paying retail for any piece of clothing…
    I guess that was why I had 7 trash bags of clothes hauled out of their room.. if it doesn't fit pitch it.. stained or ripped bleach and a sewing machine can be perfect school lessons.. then we throw in a little life lesson of Mama having a melt down because she just broke her 2nd needle on a pair of pants that no one wanted in the first place.

  40. We’ve always limited kids’ clothing although there are seasons when we’ve received many hand-me-downs for my girls that they had too much. Sometimes it is ok to take a bit of time for them to discover which really are their favorites; then it is easier to part with excess. My 15 year old son has never even had five pairs of pants – nor wanted them. He has a couple pairs of favorite jeans, a pair of cargo pants for camping/paint ball type activities and a pair of nicer sport pants which he uses for reffing soccer or wearing in sports during warm up if he wants. He wants clothing he feels good in but not an abundance of anything.

  41. Andrea-Thanks for the great article! My husband and I recently downsized our whole lives, including our clothing. Now we have only what we use and we use everything we have. We no longer have to move our seasonal clothing out of and into storage during the year. Keep up the great work!
    KateH.

  42. After living in Costa Rica for a year, without clothing stores locally, (a 4 hour drive to San Jose to shop),no sales or American sizes, my clothing supply diminished drastically through use and washer wear and tear. Due to the diminished supply and the fact that getting clothes to dry on a clothes line in the rain forest (no dryer to be had for any amount of money…)is almost impossible, lead me to drastically change my attitude about clothes. Clothes are for keeping the tropical sun from burning your skin, to keep ants, scorpions and other creepies from biting or stinging, and to attain some modicum of modesty. Fashion is irrelevant, what becomes important is whether or not it is dry and does it smell moldy. I have learned to wear outer clothing until it is detectable dirty by sight or smell. Since laundry was an all day ordeal, what with the small washer capacity of a “Tico” washer, (Costa Ricans call themselves Ticos),low water pressure, (it could take 30 minutes for the tub to fill), the fact that you had to stand right with the washer since there was no automatic spin, you had to take heavy wet clothes out of the washer drum and place them in the centrifuge to spin, hang them under cover and then hope that the rainforest was going to play nice and not breathe tiny drops of water all over your almost dry clothes…. I am back in the States now, but I still have not taken up my old clothing habits. I have two skirts each for warm weather and cold, tank tops and over shirts for 3-4 days and button up sweaters to extend the warm season well into fall. Jeans take too long to dry so I have gone to the “hikers” pants that dry in less than a 1/2 hour on the line. Some have zip offs that make them below the knee shorts. I can honestly say it is very liberating and I have yet to hear anyone say…”didn’t you wear that yesterday?”
    Elle at http://www.aviewfromthecottage.blogspot.com
    This blog is presently “resting” since I have been back and forth to Costa Rica much of this past year, but there are a lot of useful posts on the site already, (with more in the Q to be posted soon), and a sidebar with a chronological set of stories from our frugal life in Costa Rica… come check it out if you like!

  43. My girls dress (4 and 2) only in dresses, with leggings. It’s easy and feminine. I don’t have the patience to match pants and shirts, lol. I’m going to pare down their wardrobe to 4 dresses.

    I have a 3 month old, and he goes through so many clothes between spitup and babypoo and CDs, we do a lot of his laundry daily. I think i will be using more bibs, though, and try to cut down a bit.

    My 6yo son dresses himself, but I will cut down his choices to 4 shirts, 2 shorts, 2 long pants.

    Everyone has 1 church outfit out at a time.

    I do keep rubbermaid containers of clothes in the garage that are rotated between our home and my SIL with similar aged kids (there are 13 children between our 2 homes!.) Each size has it’s own box. This keeps us from every purchasing new clothes for the kids.

  44. My kids had enough clothes, but not a super amount of clothes, but it never occurred to me to edit/rotate or otherwise limit them. It’s a great idea, and I wish it had thought of it back then. What I DID do, though was teach them at a young age to do their own laundry. This came about after I found many of my daughter’s clothes on her bedroom floor, because she couldnt decide what to wear. These were mixed in with already worn clothes, and I couldn’t tell which was which.

    When they were responsible for washing their own dirty clothes, it cut down on a lot of that!

  45. Love you post! I just stumbled onto your blog today…am looking forward to reading more of it!
    We did something very similar with in the last year. I did my entire house but started with the clothes. It is amazing home much less stressful things can be this way.
    One small tip..(this works best for girls and mamas too;o) shop with outfits in mind. My daughter who is 4 loves picking her own clothes in the morning and instead of mixing and matching she has outfits hung together in her closet. I have started the practice with our youngest who is 1(i hang the onsie and everything together) saves drawer space and time when getting everyone ready in the morning. We also homeschool so im sure it makes it easier. My kids have no clue about the social pressure of what is in style. Lol
    My son (7) is the easiest of all. A few pair of pants and shirts..and a handful of shirts(he is really into the character ones from walmart) he is one happy kid. Lol

  46. Rachel says:

    I read, about ten years ago, that people generally only wear about 20% of the clothes that they own, and I thought, “so why not get rid of the extra 80%?” But my philosophy about clothes was molded by watching “Housesitter” with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin. LOL! She only has a suitcase of clothes in that movie and puts together so many cute outfits from those few pieces. I loved the idea of that sort of minimalist style even way back in 1992. Another thing that influenced me as regards to clothes is Thoreau’s quote, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” Not that I don’t buy new clothes, but I do carefully weigh why I want them and for what purpose they will serve before I buy anything. – That is a great idea to limit the clothes of everyone in the house. It puts the focus back on being clothed and not being your clothes.

  47. I agree with you about downsizing the clothes. I don’t think we could get away with that few of items, or that I would want to. I do find my daughter will wear a few things most of the time though.

    What I have found is that a lot of the excess and clutter comes from well meaning family and friends who bring baby gifts, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, happy-to-see-you gifts, and on and on. It really adds up and it is all not necessarily stuff that I want hanging around. For example, who needs 30+ 0-3 month baby outfits?!? I try to buy as much used items as possible, because so much stuff is in great condition that I can’t justify buying it new. I love that buying used is now chic instead of embarrassing because you must be “poor” like when I was a kid.

  48. First I want to say I love your website! In my case I get a lot of clothes from my cousin and older sister and very cute stuff they are but I always separate what I know I’m not going to use (no matter how cute it is) and keep just a few things for myself. I also keep things that I can mix-n-match into many different looks but now that I’m about to move I will be downsizing my closet again and I love it! I’m happy with owning a few things I need and not being owned by a bunch stuff I don’t need!

  49. This information is so helpful as I am brand new to minimalism. I don’t know how I will convince my 16 year old daughter that she has too much stuff but I will certainly try to lead by example.

  50. Do you have any tips for toys and other stuff?
    We have 4 kids, 7 and under. I am amazed at the stuff that seems piled everywhere. My husband swears it multiplies while we sleep! I’m tired of spending every waking moment cleaning up or washing “stuff.” There has to be a way to take back my house!
    ♡ your posts! So glad I found you. ♡

  51. I found this on Pinterest! Just the list I was looking for. I will admit that I will modify it to be a bit larger, but that is strictly from our lifestyle. We are a family of six and homeschooled until recently. I usually clean out the children’s clothing often. I keep a few of their favorite pieces even after they have outgrown them. I sell the rest at a second hand children’s shop. What they don’t buy gets donated!

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