Family wardrobes- simplifying? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 03-01-2005, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone done away with the majority of clothing in their wardrobes and made do with very little?

I'm so overwhelmed with the constant laundry at my house.

What does a family *really* need in terms of clothing? What can we make do with? My kids are at a growing stage so that I'll have to purge the small stuff and buy summer wear, but how much and what should I get? I always seem to go a bit overboard..

I really want to narrow down what's in their dressers and closets. I've got a good start and done away with nearly 2/3's of my clothing and only kept what I really like wearing. I'm finding it harder to judge what the kids will need.

Can anyone help me get started?

Thank you!!
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#2 of 17 Old 03-01-2005, 09:51 PM
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I wish I did have some ideas for purging one's closet's.....however, just a thought...the fewer clothes that you have, the more often you will actually have to do laundry. Yes, there are things in our closets that are hardly ever worn, and while they could be tossed/donated/sold and space would be gained.....I'd still actually be doing the same amount of laundry, b/c in the course of a week, I still wear what I wear. We *try* to do a load or 2 every 2 or 3 days...and on seriously motivated days when both dh and I are home, we may get 4-5 done...our laundry is in the basement it is definitely out of sight and if a huge pile develops, well, it just develops and I get to it when we start running out of underwear. So, unless you have nowhere to hide your pile of laundry, I'd just forget the laundry stress, unless of course, you are out of underwear!!! Do you wear items multiple times? Like jeans? or sweaters? How often are you washing your bath towels and bed sheets? Our diapers days with our dd are over, thankfully, so if you are dealing with diapers too, for me, *having* to do a load of diapers usually made me put another load in when I took them out....anyway, Not really what you were looking for in an answer I guess, but sometimes just changing your perspective can do the trick!

Good luck!
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#3 of 17 Old 03-03-2005, 01:34 AM
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I agree. The amount of laundry we do sorta freaks me out -- but it doesn't have anything to do with how many clothes we own. My goal is 7 everyday outfits per child per season plus 1 speical dress up outfit. It isn't really that many clothes. I do laundry a couple of times a week because I can't stand doing a bunch of loads on the same day.

I put out of season clothes that may work again next winter at the top of the closet.
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#4 of 17 Old 03-04-2005, 12:00 PM
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I think that 7 everyday outfits plus a dress up outfit is plenty, like someone else said.
If you're looking to simplify when buying new clothes, try to stick to a particular palette, so that it is all interchangable. Buy bottoms in colors that will match a lot- denim, khaki, navy, etc. That way, any shirt will match it.
I find that one load of laundry a day (washing, dryng, folding and putting away) is more managable for me than several at once.
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#5 of 17 Old 03-04-2005, 07:08 PM
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For the summer, I try to stick with one piece outfits for my ds, and dresses for my dd. I really helps with laundry and sorting because it is fewer pieces and no "matching" to worry about. We try to have enough for 1 week, plus a few maybe 10 outfits max. If a special occasion comes up that we need a special outfit for (wedding, etc), we buy it then.

For myself, I don't really have much in the way of clothing. I have maybe 5 or 6 shirts, and 4 pairs of jeans. That is my ultra exciting wardrobe : I could definitely use more, but it's just not in the budget right now.

My dh has much more clothing, but that's because he has his dressy work clothes, and his regular clothes. I don't really worry too much about simplifying his wardrobe because he does his own laundry
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#6 of 17 Old 03-10-2005, 08:26 PM
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I'm wondering the same thing. My 2 dds are sharing a 10x10 room, and there seems to be stuff growing from every corner. I'm thinking 5 play outfits for my 2 year old (from wal-mart, those really cheap ones that are $3 each piece, mix and match). WHen they get holes or big stains I can just pitch it. I will also have her 5 nicer outfits to wear to town, or when we go to some event. Shoes, I'm thinking one pair soft shoes, 1 pr. tennis shoes, and one pr sandles. Baby is a bit harder???

As for it being the same amount of laundry, yes, it is, but I think that w/ less clothes, it will be less likely to be piled up b/c I will *have* to wash it and put it back in her drawers. I won't be tempted to let it sit in a basket in the basment waiting to be folded
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#7 of 17 Old 03-10-2005, 11:18 PM
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Why do your kids need 3 pair of shoes in each size??

My girls each have a pair of sneakers plus a pair of dress shoes, and winter boots. In the summer, sandals double as dress shoes. At least, that's what I buy them, somehow extra shoes seem to accumulate (like Leah's outgrown shoes end up as backups for those times when Hannah can't find one of hers.)

We typically "dress up" ever week for Shabbat, so I like my kids to have at least 2 dressy outfits per size. Also, there are 2 Passover Seders in the spring (when we usually get new clothes) and 2 days of Rosh Hashona in the fall, so they really do need at least 2 dressy outfits per season.

For everyday clothes, 7 would probably be enough, but they like to have variety so we usually have 10-14 outfits per season per child. I wash their clothes but they're responsible for putting them away. I like having a few more than they absolutely "need" but we have thinned out lots of clothes recently. If they're not going to wear something, even if it still fits, it goes in the give-away pile.

Ds is potty-learning right now, and likes to do crazy things like wear 2 pairs of pants at once then pee in them, :LOL so I wash his stuff at least twice a week. I'm not even sure how many clothes he has- all his in-season pants and shirts fit in one drawer, and when he runs out of clean pants I do laundry (since, in addition to going through 2-3 pairs of pants in a day, he likes to keep the same shirt on for a few days. He doesn't run out of clean shirts!!!)

Ruth, single mommy to 3 quasi-adults
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#8 of 17 Old 03-10-2005, 11:26 PM
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#9 of 17 Old 03-10-2005, 11:59 PM
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Since having my son I haven't been able to fit into ANY of my pre-pregnancy clothes. I decided that since I needed to get some new things anyhow this would be the perfect time to simplify my wardrobe.

I gave away ALL of my other clothes (except for a few nice sweaters, my wedding dress, etc.) to my sister. I found a comfy, nice looking long-sleeved t-shirt (can be dressed up if necessary)and bought eight all in different colors/patterns. Add two pair of jeans and a pair of cords and instant everyday wardrobe.

I plan on doing the same thing this summer with some nice tank tops and a couple pairs of shorts and a casual skirt or two.

My husband kind of has the same type of system and it works well for him too. Our son already has so many clothes that it is getting out of control. Lately I've been feeling inspired to approach his wardrobe in much the same manner. Just this evening I was telling my husband how practical it would be if the baby had nothing but wool soakers/longies and tie-dye t-shirt- not to mention terribly cute!
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#10 of 17 Old 03-11-2005, 02:24 AM
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I just ordered summer clothes for DS (it's already getting hot here), and I decided to go with navy blue and red as the theme. So red, blue and khaki bottoms, and only shirts that match them. I think I got seven shirts and five shorts.

I find that I put him in the same six or seven outfits all the time even if I have more to choose from, so I'll probably have to fill in a little bit, but not too much. Oh, and I ordered him some Teva-type sandals for $15 from Lands End. I won't get him other shoes unless I have to.

I hate shopping, so I'm thrilled to be done with the next season and the next size up!


Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#11 of 17 Old 03-12-2005, 05:17 AM
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We’re doing that. DC only wears a few pieces as it is so we’re giving the rest away. I’ve decided to spend a little extra on two pairs of shoes/year.

Also, we definitely rewear clothes for days at a time ~ cuts down on laundry big time.

If this is a simplicity thing rather than a frugality thing I would recommend splurging on some items that you really, really love and that are good quality. That way, you simply can’t justify buying more anyway, yk?

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#12 of 17 Old 03-14-2005, 05:01 PM
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My cousin threw out all of his dress socks and ONLY bought the same kind of black dress socks, so there was no matching. I should have done that with DD socks - just white (I like Old Navy). She's lost some anyway. Going forward, unless she demands it, I'm going with all white socks for babies or children.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#13 of 17 Old 03-15-2005, 07:42 PM
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I'd have about five pair of underpants and five pair of socks.

For boys about four pair of pants. Three or four pair of shorts in summer. Five or six short sleeved shirts in summer, four or five long sleeved in winter along with a couple of fleeces.

One pair of sneakers, the old worn out pair for mud, etc. and a pair of boots in winter and sandals in summer.

Girls delete a pair of pants/shorts and add a dresses and/or skorts.

Most people have too much crap. Closets full of unnecessary crap. I have two pair of jeans, one pair of really messed up jeans for things like yard work and painting. I have a pair of dressy black pants, yoga pants, two skirts. I have four knit shirts, three blouses, a blazer, and three fleeces. That's it (of course underwear and socks.) We really don't need half of what we have, even I could cut my minimal wardrobe by 30% or so and not really miss anything.

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#14 of 17 Old 03-18-2005, 03:26 PM
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We moved last summer, from an apt that had 4 huge closets with sliding doors (plus 2 linen cupboards and a storage locker) to a house that has ONE tiny closet for all three of us and our linens.

The laundry facilities in our apt were crap, so we went out to a laundromat every 6 weeks. That's right, 6 weeks. So you have some idea of how many clothes we had! We don't have a car, and it was our most dreaded household task.

I was more excited about buying a washer and dryer than the house itself! I made DH take a picture the first time I did a load!

DH will still tell you that I am I clothes horse, but I have gotten rid of a ton of stuff, and rarely make additions to my wardrobe anymore. I'm a WOHM, so I have suits and stuff too. I don't buy anything anymore that needs to be drycleaned, and I buy stuff that is multi-seasonal. I wear pretty much the same clothes on the weekend that I wear to work, even though I have a fairly corporate environment. But a T-shirt is OK with the suit or jeans. My style even on weekends is not ultra-casual, so I don't have 2 wardrobes. Get rid of anything that doesn't fit you NOW. Get rid of anything that you haven't worn in the last year.

A lot of our stuff is in storage in the basement, since we have no closet space in our bedroom, and no front hall closet. So I have about 10 pairs of panties in the drawer. As a pair wears out, I pull one out of the basement. Same goes for jeans. I keep one pair in the drawer, and when I toss them, I have another pair in the basement (if they fit!).

I have WAY more clothes than I need for DD, but I rarely buy much for her, its mostly handmedowns. I stick to one pair of shoes per season. I like black Mary Janes for most of the year - they go with everything from party dresses to jeans - and white sandals in the summer. A pair of rainboots for spring/fall and a pair of snowboots in winter. And no fights about which shoes to wear - ever!

I am having a VERY hard time convincing DH that he doesn't need to keep ALL of his 75+ t-shirts upstairs. (His is a jeans and t-shirt kinda job.)
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#15 of 17 Old 03-18-2005, 03:56 PM
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Fiercemama, ha! Our house doesn't have *any* closets! I think in the early part of this century they weren't built in because people had wardrobes to store their clothing. And our house hadn't ever been updated. What we did was enclose our back porch and turned it into a laundry room/communal closet. Very convenient!

Each child has two 14x18x6" open shelf baskets (gotta love IKEA!) for *all* their clothing, plus a few extra for miscellaneous or sharable items like socks, hats, etc. My husband and I also have two each for anything of ours that can't be hung up, with the rest of our clothing hung on two stacked steel rods, about four feet long, suspended by chains from the ceiling. At some point, as the kids get older and their clothing gets larger, we'll probably put in a couple more rods.

Anything that can't fit into this system is either given to the goodwill or put in storage. It doesn't make for doing laundry less frequently, but it is easier to keep up with it when there's not as much to pile up.
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#16 of 17 Old 03-22-2005, 09:16 AM
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DD's clothes are almost exclusively hand-me-downs & gifts, so she has way too many but I don't care. For my wardrobe I have bottoms (pants and skirts) in denim, black and khaki only. If I buy a shirt, it has to go with at least 2 of those colors and preferably all 3. It helps a lot with gettting ready for work. I don't have to think too hard about it. Almost everything goes with everything. I have a few casual dresses as I like to wear dresses in summer. We rarely go anywhere that requires dressing up, but I do have one hanging there just in case. I'll have to dust it off if I ever decide to wear it again!- LOL

For shoes, I have a couple of pairs of black shoes that I have accumulated over the years, trainers for everyday, skanky old work in the yard shoes and a few extras. More than I need for sure, but I can't bring myself to get rid of any.
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#17 of 17 Old 04-02-2005, 11:58 PM
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fourlittlebirds, I am so jealous! I have wanted a laundry room/communal closet myself for years! I spend so much time hauling clothes around, it drives me nuts!

Ideally though, I would have a bath/shower connected so everyone could get dressed without traipsing all over the house. I don't care, but my kids are approaching the age where they do.
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