Thursday, September 15, 2011


With Spring in the air, something familiar has been rattling around in my brain for the past few days.

It is the urge to do a WARDROBE PURGE AND PLAN

Every Spring and Autumn, when my little ones were still little, we would pull everything out of their wardrobe. Then we'd lay out the clothes available for the approaching Summer or Winter, and assess what was needed. This was always a gleefully anticipated time, a time to see how much they had grown as they tossed garments into the give-away or throw-away piles depending on their state of repair. We then packed away the out of season clothes. It was an exciting time to anticipate the adventure of a shopping outing with Mum. It was also time to go 'shopping' in the top of the wardrobe.... trying on garments for size and squealing with delight when they fit...

... What did I just say?

Yes, the top little cupboard above the wardrobe. This was the storage hole for hand-me-downs from older children. My children, like true Elastic Kids, were never too proud to gratefully accept second hand clothing from family and friends, and neither am I.

As we planned what was needed for the new season, I kept a few basic principles in mind to keep me on track.

1. Look at the colours of the garments that fit, and are left for the coming season. Are they mostly blues, or pinks, or greens?  What other colours would complement what is already there. Note this on the piece of paper which is going shopping with you. For instance, I remember one season buying items in shades of beige, cream, pink and orange for my daughter. This allows everything to mix and match.

2. My wise mum once told me that a child only really NEEDS three of each type of garment - one on, one in the cupboard, and one in the wash. So that was my basic guideline for seeing to their needs.
eg, three pairs of shorts, three pairs of longs, three warm tops, 3 dresses etc.

3. NEEDS and WANTS are two very different things.

4. For some garments, ONE will suffice. eg. warm winter jacket, raincoat, belt, bathing costume, sun hat etc.

5. I then wrote a list of what to buy for each child, in order of priority.

6. For that month I budgeted a modest amount for clothing and then treated my child to a planned shopping day with me, often including a yummy smoothie stop to keep energy levels up.

7. Any items that were lower down on the priority list were then pushed on until the next month.

In this way, my children's needs were met and they also learned the art of delayed gratification, as well as an appreciation for careful planning and careful shopping.

Now that my daughter has her own allowance, she plans and buys her own clothes. My son is  in his last season with me buying his clothes. I still feel the urge to purge and plan, so maybe later my daughter will let me help her look through her clothes.

My own clothes are another story - they WEAR out. I have stayed roughly the same size for the past fifteen years so I seldom need to replace them.

This all said, there is nothing to create DESIRE, than going shopping in good clothing stores. My best way to SAVE is to STAY AWAY. Browsing and not buying is depressing, so unless I am planning on buying something, I seldom step into clothing stores. Just yesterday I made the mistake of browsing the new Spring fashions with my daughter - she was looking for a dress. Oh my, I drove home WANTING so much. But this morning, when I looked into my wardrobe, I realized that I still have much more than I NEED.

Cultivating the art of contentment is a necessary skill for any Elastic Mom.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog, I was only thinking this morning that I must clean out all the toys I've been hoarding and decide what to keep and what to give away. My sons are grown up and roll their eyes at me when I tell them I am keeping these toys for their children, but you wait whatever I decide to keep I'm sure they will be grateful when the time comes. Take Care