The biggest complaint I hear from my mum clients, is the endless chore of laundry.
Nearly every house I walk into has baskets of laundry in various stages of the ‘dirty to drawer’ process. I am sometimes amazed at the sheer volume of clothes that some families have. I do not have a magic wand to get the laundry done, but I hope to help you to rethink about the amount of clothes that you need, and the processes you use to get the job done.
HOW MANY CLOTHES DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED?
There is no hard and fast rule. The amount needed varies depending on age, climate etc, but here are some ideas to think about…
- 0-5 years – They need a fair amount. There are leaking nappies, messy eating habits, lots of ground level play and more to contend with. Despite this, your child doesn’t need 20 pairs of pants and even more tops. It really is a waste of money and space to have a full wardrobe that they will grow out of before hardly wearing. I strongly believe 3-4 bottoms and tops and a dressy outfit are enough for most kids.
- 5-18 years – School aged kids are predominately in a uniform during the week. For boys uniforms, I recommend three shorts and three pants, plus no more than five short sleeved shirts and around three long sleeved shirts. Girls need two-three summer dresses for school, two winter tunics and no more than tops. Now all they need is an outfit or three for the weekends to suit the season and a dressy outfit or two for church or parties. I know that my kids seem to wear their favourite outfit most of the time and the surplus remains virtually unworn, which is ultimately a waste of money and space!
HOW MANY PAIRS OF SHOES?
The biggest clutter problem I see in clients’ homes is shoes. Speaking from experience (I have three children myself), your kids really only need one pair of sneakers, a pair of sandals and one other like boots or dress shoes. When you have more than you need, you create more mess. Some clients have confessed that they have so many shoes because they consistently misplace them and have to buy a new pair.
Living a decluttered life isn’t about living without, but rather really using what you have to its full potential.
HOW MUCH SPACE?
Another factor to consider regarding how much clothing you should have, is how much space do you have for clothes storage? Whether you have a large walk in wardrobe or just a tall boy, it seems obvious, but if you don’t have the room you can’t store that many clothes. Hoarding clothes for ‘just in case’, shoving them into drawers, plastic tubs, garbage bags and alternate cupboards is not the smart way to manage clothes.
It is better to have smaller numbers, neatly in their space, easy to find and readily worn and often used. That is a better utilisation of your valued time and space.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU LAUNDER?
Quantities needed can also be influenced by how often do you do laundry. Are you a ‘load every day’ kind of person, or only get it done on the weekends? Even if you only do the laundry once a week, do you really need 25 pairs of underwear?
Whatever the frequency, my biggest tip to stay on top of laundry clutter is to finish the cycle – wash it, dry it, fold it and put it away. Stop using the word ‘Later’!
Time yourself… it really doesn’t take long to fold that basket of laundry… five minutes, maybe ten? Not only is the job complete but also you will no longer feel that nagging of the full basket taunting you. Get the family to help out; it is their clothes. My trick is that I leave the pile of folded laundry at each kids’ space at the table. When they get home from school they have to put it away or no afternoon tea.
Whatever your circumstances, take the change of seasons as perfect opportunity to evaluate your clothing quantities. If it doesn’t fit, doesn’t make you feel good or get you compliments get rid of it! If it hasn’t been worn in a year, its probably time to let it go too. Be ruthless. You have nothing to lose but the amount of laundry you do!