Saturday, June 26, 2010

Simplifying the Closet

....I've been studying Simplicity Parenting since February, and have simplified Alex's room and the Playroom with ease. I decided that if I was going to accept S.P's offer to be a monthly guest blogger, I needed to finish the job...


To say I have a 'problem' with clothes is perhaps an understatement. I am proud to have paid retail prices for less than 25% of Alex's wardrobe, however I think this has also been my downfall. I love the thrill of the hunt-- the bargaining at a garage sale or the bidding over Ebay. I've also discovered the benefits of reselling quality clothes (I pretty much financed Alex's 2T-3T wardrobe with sales from her 24M stuff) and so am able to rationalize 'new' clothing purchases as an investment. I have to admit that I feel people judge me by what my daughter wears, and I want them to know that I take good care of her! Thus the glut of clothing...

As I read through Simplicity Parenting the first time I swallowed hard when realized that I had overstuffed Alex's closets. Especially when I began to monitor her clothing choices-- she only wanted to wear the comfy play clothes anyway (and who could blame her?).

"By simplifying clothes you ease transitions. You offer freedom from choice and overload, while still allowing for the slow and sure development of personal expression." (Kim John Payne)

While I still subscribe to the thought that I need to prepare my daughter for the 'real world', and instill a sense of pride through her appearance, there is no reason that a 2 1/2 year old needed literally seventy-five clothes hangers and 17 pairs of shoes in her closet. It was an overload of choices (and this is a representation of only her currently-fitting summer clothes- spring/winter/fall are in storage). So I attacked it.

BEFORE:


AFTER:
How I did it: I have not yet gotten rid of any clothes-- they are in 'clothing purgatory' in my studio (I know I'm lucky to have the extra room). This was really hard for me, as each purchase was a conquest, so I'm taking it in baby steps.

The criteria I gave myself:
-Alex only needs 2 fancy dress-up outfits. Pull the others
-Does it still have tags? (If so, pull it)
-Has she worn it in the past two months? (If not, pull it)
-Is it comfortable for play? (if not, pull it)
-Shoes: If they don't fit well, pull them. I am going to try to eventually whittle her shoe collection down to just the three pairs on the top shelf and 2 dress shoes.

We're down to 25 hangers and 10 pairs of shoes (plus 2 slippers)! Eventually I'll list the purged inventory on Ebay, but I'm just going to see if she can live with this. I'm sure she won't even notice-- that's the beauty of simplifying a crazy space...kids are so comforted to have some 'breathing space' that they don't worry about where the extra went!

This was our last purging job. I'm proud that I was able to rectify the chaos that I had created, and relieved to be able to give my daughter a calm environment in which to grown and learn. It will make the rhythm of our mornings smoother. "When you simplify a child's clothes, you simplify daily life" (Kim John Payne). That is our goal.

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