In one of my previous posts, Journey to Minimalism, I began sharing how we are downsizing and purging our clutter and stuff as we learn to be minimalistic.
The two realms of my household I most wished to bring back into balance after discovering the glories of pursuing minimalism are namely – toys and clothes.
Now, you must understand, we live in a small house, so even though we have considerably fewer toys than in the average American home, it still sometimes feels like a lot in our three-bedroom, two common room house. Toys can so quickly get out of hand, even if it’s just books and army guys and some matchbox cars lying around.
When it comes to toys, my philosophy is that I would like for our children to grow up with a few choice toys that will stand the test of time, toys that are made of real materials or are durable and versatile enough to be many different things – whatever they want to imagine. A few examples:
- Lincoln logs or building blocks sets
- matchbox cars
- a collection of dice
- Anything that stretches their imagination and encourages make believe
However, where books are concerned, I’m fine with keeping most of them for now, since we go through our personal library on a regular basis and give away the ones we haven’t read in a while that can stand to be purged.
Back to toys, I am trying to get into a toy rotation where the kids can trade out different ones (or collections) for something of equal value/quantity. This way, the amount of toys in circulation remains the same, but it’s like Christmas since the traded toys are “new” to them again. This system makes so much sense, and I have to keep trying to be more consistent with the rotation end of it.
And this doesn’t just apply to kids’ toys – adults have hobbies and interests that can blow out of proportion just as easily, if not more. For me, it’s mainly yarn, sewing supplies, thank you card collections, notebooks, memorabilia, sheet music… You get the idea. Currently, the yarn and fabric are under control, sharing one large basket, and that is saying something. As for the paper contents of my desk, that’s the next project for downsizing.
This was a bit trickier. I don’t know about you, but we’re in a constant rotation of borrowing, trading and storing kids’ clothes, and as I’m not finished fluctuacting sizes myself, (weight loss, pregnancy, post-partum, etc.) the amount of clothes stored is indeed the challenge. Come to think of it, Caleb is the only individual in our household out of six who doesn’t change size. Except for this year because he has recently lost some weight. (Go, my love!)
Any way you slice it, our clothes situation is one that is constantly evolving and won’t stop for quite some time to come. So, likewise, my plan of action to manage it must be flexible, but systematic, so we can maintain our ideal of simple living. (And we still have a long way to go.)
The kids’ clothes are mainly the way I like it, and I’m at the point where I think I can go through my own for another sweep through and get rid of a few more things I’m realistically not wearing or won’t end up wearing as much.
And here’s the sweetener. The idea is to carve away excess clothing to reveal a minimalist wardrobe where I would choose any one piece first out of my closet. I have to stop settling for clothes that are just ok, because they won’t get worn. Not when they’re put next to items I actually love to wear. And those clothes I don’t wear end up robbing space. So, I’m going to start gradually fill my closet with choice pieces that I love to wear and that are good quality, so they last for years to come.
A concept that takes the minimalist wardrobe even further, but one I haven’t yet attempted, is the capsule wardrobe. I really like this blog post featuring a gal named Caroline Rector, about how to create your own capsule wardrobe – which, in her definition, “is a wardrobe that represents more time and energy for what really matters (less time spent deciding what to wear/less time spent shopping/less time doing laundry or caring for clothes) more money for our dreams and helping others (less money spent on clothes that never get worn) and more contentment and happiness.” Uh, yep. Sign me up!
It is essentially a wardrobe comprised of clothing pieces that go with any other select combination of pieces. From samples of capsule wardrobes I’ve seen, they contain lots of neutral staples, punctuated with some flair, personality-remniscent ones.
We’re constantly bemoaning the fact that “we have no time,” no? That we “don’t have anything to wear” but yet there’s a closet full of clothes staring us blankly in the face, right? And then we try on way too many of the wrong outfits only to wear the one we began with and end up rushed and ultimately (well, in my case!) late to my destination. No bueno.
Building a capsule wardrobe looks like a good answer for this all-too familiar time wasting crisis to me. If my wardrobe is already full of clothes that I love to wear, clothes that fit me, clothes that go with any other piece in said wardrobe, dressing would be a piece of cake! And I can consequently spend much more time on things that actually matter to me, which is the ultimate goal. Unless of course, you happen to be a fashion designer and loving clothes is your job. Ha.
But for me, a country gal with no place to go other than the grocery store and church and a couple appointments here and there, a snazzy city wardrobe isn’t for me. I want to be able to choose what I wear within 20 seconds or fewer. My time is much more valuable spent outside my closet. And I suspect the same is for you.
So, back to minimalism, again, it is ALL a process. And one I’m heartily enjoying, because the time I spend downsizing is going to yield long- lasting benefits, both for me and my family. Less stuff, more space, less stress, more time, more depth in relationships, and ultimately, more communion with the ones I love, as I learn to serve them and all around me.
God bless you always, and especially today.
Thanks so much for reading.