For me, the purpose of minimalism isn’t to count my items or to let go of things for the sake of being “minimalist”. I can’t do much of anything without a purpose behind it- it feels empty. And for me, minimalism holds tremendous purpose - it’s the pursuit of less, to make space in my home and, in turn, my life for more living, and less cleaning up after memories I wasn’t a part of.
It’s a learning curve though. It’s hard not to hold onto things “just in case”, especially when it comes to your kids’ clothes. Maybe you fear that you might need it later. Maybe the weather changes a lot where you live (we used to live in Northwest Arkansas where the weather was different almost every single day, so I get it). While these concerns are valid, remember to be real with yourself.
What do your kids really wear and need on a regular basis? What’s truly serving a purpose in their wardrobe and what’s just filling space, making you feel safe?
How to Declutter Your Kids’ Wardrobes
1. Go into their dressers/closets and pull out what you know they haven’t worn in two weeks or more.
This doesn’t count out-of-season items you know you’re gonna need when the time comes. If your kid has a winter coat you predict will still fit when that season hits, hold onto it! Minimal does not equal wasteful. Or stupid.
2. Let go of what you think they can do without.
Don’t be afraid to be ruthless. It’s better to simplify to the extreme, box up what you think you can let go of, then wait a few weeks before officially donating any of it. If you had to go out to the garage for that fourth pair of jeans, maybe you need to hang onto it. This is a great way to declutter without terrifying yourself before officially donating clothes.
3. Don’t let socks and underwear overthrow your kingdom.
To help give you a visual of what works for our family, here are some photos of my kids’ wardrobes. These were taken during a mild season, and they do not include their winter coats or swimsuits.
There are also a few items (like dressy shirts) missing from these photos because, laundry.
I’ve got four kids, three of them are boys (messy, dirty, wild boys) and this is what works for me. I hope this makes you feel safe that it can work for you too!
“So… how often do you have to do laundry with a minimal wardrobe?”
A lot of people think that having fewer clothes means doing more laundry, but it’s actually the opposite. Less clothes, less to wash, less laundry. Do I do laundry more often? Yes. But listen…
There’s NO POINT in holding onto clothing for the sake of doing laundry less often. It’s much better to only keep what you know you like and your kids are actually wearing and get into a rhythm of doing a load in the morning, or every other morning, or twice a week, or whatever works for you.
I can get away with doing laundry once a week, even with this minimal amount of clothes, especially with re-wearing jeans that aren’t destroyed and things like that.
Note: Never heard of rhythms? Need help setting some up for your household?
Rhythms are life-changing habits that keep you from bottlenecking in your role as a mom.
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“What about hand-me-downs?”
From other people:
This is one reason it’s important to be ruthless when you purge. When you create this much white space, it’s much less stressful when new clothes come in. You can rest easy knowing it would take a lot to set you back. You don’t have to feel uptight when a friend brings a bag of clothes over out of generosity.
If you hold onto every single thing you “might” need later, you’re honestly wasting your time. If you’re dedicating time to declutter your kids’ wardrobes, use it wisely - go all in, be ruthless!
When someone gives me a bag of hand-me-downs, I graciously accept it and sort through it when I have a chance, setting aside anything I think might be truly useful. I donate everything else or pass it on to another friend whose kids fit that size.
Most people assume I don’t save clothes from one kid for another, which is silly because I have no desire to intentionally waste money. If there’s an item of clothing that’s somehow still in good condition (rare) I will hold onto it for my next kid. I only buy my kids things I like, that I want them to wear, and that work for our lifestyle, so if it’ll work for a sibling there’s no sense in getting rid of it!
Keep in mind though, that I have three boys back-to-back-to-back, so when one outgrows something, his brother is right behind him, and that piece of clothing isn’t going to be stored for long. If your kids are spaced out further and it’s going to sit in the closet for years, it isn’t worth it in my opinion. Styles change, fabrics fade, and that’s space in your home you’re giving to something that will save you maybe ten bucks. It’s up to you what you do (#youdoyou) but that’s my opinion.
“What about baby clothes? What if you anticipate more kids in the future, but don’t want to hoard?”
I keep the same philosophy with baby clothes as I do for sibling hand-me-downs. If there’s something you used, that served you through your baby days that is still in good condition and makes you excited to have another baby in the future, keep it!
Do not ever get rid of something solely for the sake of being minimal. It’s a waste, it’s legalistic, and it’s not purposeful. Get rid of things because they no longer serve you and very likely won’t serve you in the future, because they’re used up, because you’re leaving that particular season of life, or because their purpose has been served, and their time with you is done.
Ready to declutter your kids' wardrobes? Get started with my free Wardrobe Decluttering Action Guide!