Friday, May 20, 2011

Controlling the Clothing Chaos

May is the exact wrong time of year to have a yard sale!  Between getting the garden in, end of school year things, sports schedules, and everything else going on, it just is too much to try to get ready for a yard sale too.  This trailer park's community wide yard sale is this Saturday (9-4, stop on by if you're local!).  *sigh* 

I don't remember if individual yard sales are allowed in this park according to the lease, but, even if they were, it is better to participate in a community wide one since they take care of the advertising and promotion, plus the fact that it is community wide draws more people, so I guess I need to suck it up and get ready for this Saturday's sale.  *sigh*

Last night, as part of my preparations for the sale, I pulled out all the children's "too big" clothes and organized them by size.  Whoa!  I had far too much piled up!  The crazy thing is that I didn't buy any of it!  It was all hand-me-downs from my older kids and from well-meaning friends passing on their families' hand-me-downs.  The thing that boggled my mind was the bags from other people.  (Friends and family, I'm not even sure which bags were from who, so I'm not picking on anyone in particular here, if you feel picked on.  And thank you for your generous gift of clothes, but please no more for the boys!)  In one bag, so I know it was from one person, I found more than 20 pairs of 2T shorts!  In another, I found more than 20 short sleeve shirts of the same size!  What on earth does such a small person, or anyone for that matter, need with so many clothes?
The size 2T-3T clothes I went through.  There were similar amounts of 4T-5 clothes, then it dropped off since most of the larger clothes are in use or stored somewhere else.
Maybe I'm strange, but I really don't see the point of someone having that many clothes, unless maybe someone doesn't have a washer and dryer in their house and can only make it to a Laundromat every couple of weeks.  But every family I know that has masses of clothes for their kids, and themselves for that matter, does have laundry facilities in the home.  I've been shocked many, many times when going to other people's homes and seeing all the clothes.  In many families, one member of the family has more than my entire family of six!

Having too many clothes is expensive.  Not just acquiring the clothes, since, like I do, many families get them from Freecycle or friends or relatives.  Even if you get these masses of clothes second-hand from a thrift store or on clearance at Wal-mart (as a number of tags on the hand-me-downs never even worn state), it adds up!  Once you have the clothes, you have to have a place to store them.  That's probably part of why my family does fine in a single-wide trailer when most families of our size seem to think they "need" something that is near palatial by my standards--they have to have a place to keep their stuff.  A lot of families seem to think they "need" storage containers and space bags or the like to hold all their off season clothes because their drawers and closets are overflowing with the current season's stuff. 

But how much of that stuff is actually ever worn?  If you look at what kids chose to wear, they probably gravitate to the same few clothing items every time they are clean, or even if they aren't clean.  Many clothes, like the ones from Wal-mart I mentioned earlier, never even get worn.  So why spend the time and effort to maintain them?  Even clothes that rarely or never get worn steal away your time and energy if your kids are like mine.  It seems like they don't know how to get dressed without throwing everything they don't want to wear on the floor.  A lot of those clothes, even though they were never worn, end up having to be washed, folded, and put away again.  I try not to keep more than 5-6 of each thing available to the kids because of this.  They don't need more than that, really they only need about 3 of each since I do laundry daily, and it keeps the chaos down to a minimum.  With three kids 6 and under, "a minimum" chaos is still plenty!

1 comment:

  1. I could not agree with you more on the clothing issue.I feel like I am always editing my children's wardrobes. They never seem able to get their laundry put away. I got to thinking that maybe they had too much. The kids seem to wear the same clothes everyday. When they were younger it was because it was a favorite dress or shirt. Now it might just because they work off the top of their clean laundry pile. Or is it because we only use 20% of our clothes (or stuff) 80% of the time. It certainly feels that way to me.