The last time I wrote about my clothing check list system was back in 2008. I think at this point we can call it the “Time-Proven, Well-Worn, Updated and Revised Clothing Checklist” but looking at it that seems sort of ungainly so let’s just stick with “The Clothing Checklist”
The original list was created in response to the fact that I had managed to accumulate way too many clothes for every single person in my household. We went well beyond the Proverbs 31:21 “She is not concerned for her household when it snows — all her charges are doubly clothed.” and were over-clothed by – a bunch. Drawers and closets yawned with too many options and too much stuff. The children’s rooms could be carpeted in clothing (and most times appeared to be), the laundry was never under control.
Once I put together the list I was able to cut back our clothing to a manageable amount. As long as we pull the list out a few times and cull. Friends hand you stuff, grandparents send gifts the inflow doesn’t stop. Clothing also dies: it is torn, stained, outgrown. So once you have cut down to the list, and gotten rid of the dead items there are gaps especially with boys and jeans and knees with holes. The list helps with all of that by setting limits and creating an automatic checklist.
Limits are especially helpful when working with your children. Yes, they may love all 10 pairs of pajamas that they own, but really the list says two – so pick.
Lent is coming up soon and with it the 40 bags in 40 days for Lent. One of the constant questions I see on this blog is how to declutter with children. There is no denying that children bring with them a bunch of stuff. But they also can learn the value of simplicity very early and are indeed happy when there world is not overburdened with stuff.
Here are a few ideas I have collect to help anyone who might be struggling with how to get their littles on board with decluttering.
10 Tips for decluttering with children.
Involve your children in the process. – Let them have a say in what stays and what goes. By having a discussion over some of the things that it is more difficult to let go of you help them build good mental habits for the future.
Declutter once a month: Schedule a time every month to go through and get rid of the build up. This includes broken toys, stained or otherwise ruined clothing and anything too small or outgrown.
Purge toys and clothing before every birthday and Christmas (gift giving holiday): Make room for the new.
15 Min bedroom pick-up every morning: Make it part of the morning routine. Make the bed, pick up laundry, throw away any trash, put away anything that is out, put away anything that doesn’t belong. A fresh start every day is a wonderful habit to build.
Let them be generous: If your child wants to give something away don’t try to talk them out of it. Maybe your Great-Aunt Sally did buy that stuffed dolphin on her trip to Guam. IF Jr wants to let it go don’t complicate it with your own sentimentality.
Teach them to let go not to hold tight: Empower your child to let go of things they no longer play with. Praise them when they drop something into the donation box.
Only allow in what you have space for: If your book shelf can’t fit the new book what will you let go? You love your new swimsuit, let’s get rid of the old one.
Don’t do the toy box thing: Toy Box = Clutter Bomb. Children have a hard time with toy boxes, they will empty them to get something on the bottom, favorite things get broken, little things are lost. Replace the toy box with cubby, bins or open shelving. Collections like Barbies, toy soldiers, tea party and Legos can be in containers but not everything mixed in together.
Capture the memory not the thing: Take pictures of your children holding their art projects, school projects, paintings and all those wonderful things they create.
Let even good things go: Just because something is wonderful doesn’t mean it is something you should keep it. No matter how beautiful, useful, educational or expensive something is, if it isn’t bringing joy to your child you should let it go so it can bless someone else.
FOR TODAY : August 4, 2008 Swimming lessons, sourdough and a bunch of organising.
Outside My Window… Another lovely summer morning. The sky is blue, the trees are green the flowers are blooming. I am thinking… About how much I need to do this week. I am thankful for… Swim lessons. The children have such a great time going to swim lessons. From the kitchen… Sour dough bread today. I am wearing… brown pants and a olive colored shirt. I am creating… I got my knitting back from my Mother in Law’s so I will have something to work on while I am appointment hopping this morning. I am going… I have a Dr appointment this morning and then we have swim lessons. I am reading… Laundry, and A Mother’s Rule of Life. I am hoping… For so many things. I am hearing… My oldest son got up early and is playing with some toy in the living room. “Jump!. Roll! Dodge!” a battle maybe? Around the house… I am preparing a new garden bed almost done there. One of my favorite things… My Stand mixer. A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: I have some work, swim lessons, sewing maybe and a lot of organizing.
I find that simple useful things usually have a great deal of beauty to them. Today I am singing the praises of simple white dishware, the kind you can find almost anywhere, stoneware, solid, usually creamy white in basic shapes. It is inexpensive, easy to clean, usually dishwasher and microwave safe and sometimes even oven safe. The essence of kitchen simplicity
But, its boring. Yes, sort of. If you are the type who has to have something colorful and exciting then I suppose they are sort of boring. Fiestaware or something might be your choice. But for me I like the simplicity of white.
Since you can find them anywhere they are very easy to replace. The five year old dropping a plate will not be a tragedy. White also makes for easy cleanup. Even a young child can learn to wash a dish. Unadulterated white makes it easy to see that a through job has been done.
On the flip side I love fine china. There is something really nice about having dinner on fine plates. I have three patterns that I collect when I have the chance. These are items that bring a good deal of pleasure to me, one set has been handed down from my father’s mother and the other are just two sets I love. My hope is that my daughters and granddaughters will also love them.
But for everyday use nothing beat those nice little white stoneware dishes.
FOR TODAY : July 14, 2008 We got back from camping yesterday so today is definitely a little different than normal.
Outside My Window… I am hopeful that today will not be as hot as yesterday. I was wilting by the late afternoon. When we upgraded our heating system we decided NOT to get air conditioning as we only really need it a few days out of the year. SO for about a week two or three times every summer I regret that we didn’t do it. This is probably going to be one of those weeks. I am thinking… About the fantastic time we had camping. I will post more on it later today, but it was such a great trip and I am SO happy we went. (Thanks Jennifer for encouraging us to go!) I am thankful for…All the wonderful people in our homeschool group. They are such good parents and they have such great children. I am so glad that my parents are here in town too, they took care of my dogs and plants. From the kitchen… Nothing yet. IF it isn’t too hot I will make some bread. If it is I will restrict myself to cucumber salad. I am wearing… A black and white floral dress. I am creating… The revised camping list. I am also working on some new plans for the fall. I am going… To take the children to the park this afternoon I am reading… One Man’s America, Laundry, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell and It’s All Too Much. I am hoping… That the heat subsides at least a little. I am hearing… The fan. Around the house… I have camping gear everywhere. Just like last week only now I am trying to get it all put away. One of my favorite things… My embroidery threads. They look so pretty in their box. A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Recovering from the camping thing. Ordering butterflies. Finishing the homeschool plans for the fall and doing a good bit of reading.
Here is picture thought I am sharing…(coming later today)
Frugality, it is sweeping the nation like some sort of wave or something. I laughed when I heard this on NPR yesterday. Featured on the Your Money segment was Natalie McNeal, who’s blog is The Frugalista Flies: The frugal side of fabulous. I haven’t really checked it out. I am not, and really have no pretensions to being, “fabulous”. Since I don’t do manicures or club-nights to start with I am not about to give them up. But I still love the idea of the blog. Especially for single women I think there is a lot of pressure to be “in” and to have and do all those things that everyone else is doing.
One thing Natalie said yesterday was that letting your family and friends know you are tightening the budget will help you stay on the wagon. It is true. In fact I will go one further and say, “Your girlfirends are probably shuddering over their Visa statements too. If you say, ‘Hey, I am cutting back on spending let’s go to the free concert in the park instead of the club this weekend?’ you might find them grateful.”
One other thing she mentioned was acountablity and how blogging about her budgetting adventures helped her stay on track. I completely agree with that, which is one reason I started my 40 Trash Bag Challenge. Just knowing that people who read my blog will see the progress (or lack there of) with my de-cluttering efforts is a huge incentive to keep going with it.