At first sight, children’s clothing seems to follow similar rules and issues as adult clothes do, but that is really far from the truth: for one thing, there is a true need to sift through their clothes regularly simply because children grow so quickly and clothes that fit a couple of months ago may already be too small for comfort. Personally, I believe that is an advantage, as it teaches an understanding that we only ever need a couple of each to get through the time it takes for the next laundry day to come along – a concept that eludes many adults and leads to overstuffed wardrobes and drawers across the nations. So, let’s have a good look at the clothes your child owns.
Before you even start sorting and organising, give this first idea some thought: if you regularly find laundry on the floor of your child’s room, make sure to either have a laundry basked in the room, or teach your child to put those dirty clothes into the big laundry basket you surely have around your home somewhere. I’m very much in favour of the second approach because it holds a good cleaning up lesson, it removes that one chore from your own list, and also because the room already has so many functions that you really do not want to add another one that only takes up more space. Either way, doing this will already reduce the number of clothes in the room.
Be that as it will, you might want to cut some of those items out and reduce the pile to something more realistic. Of course, this is where your child also has to have a say.
Find out if there is a particular emotional attachment to either of the clothes – your daughter might have met her best friend forever wearing that dress, and your son’s favourite StarWars T-shirt might be battered but he wears it all the time, regardless. Don’t forget, it is THEIR wardrobe in the first place and some of their decisions might be tough on you, but you can still retain a certain level of control while taking their wishes into consideration.
Finding a home for each item or category is similar to the one employed for toys: “where would you look for these sweaters?”, “do you really need all of these?”, etc. At the end of the exercise, you should have a wardrobe, dresser or chest of drawers that contains only currently used, clean and presentable (well, except for that StarWars T-shirt, that is) clothes ready to be found and worn.
That leaves one loose thread: the box from step two! While it may only contain clothes that don’t fit or are damaged, there could be an emotional reason for your child to keep at least some of them.
It’s up to you if you bring up that box now, later or never depends to some degreen on the age of your child. If we are looking at a toddler or a pre-schooler, and they have not mentioned anything missing in step three, there might be a rationale to keep the box out of sight for a couple of weeks or months, and then summarily dispose of it if the child never asks about any of the ‘missing’ items. However, slightly older children might rebel against your choice to remove something they might not actually want or need, simply because they were not involved in the decision. As a parent, you know your children best, and you probably know which approach works for each of your children separately.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.