Phew! The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for our family! We moved out of our home and in with my in laws, a half mile away for 10 days while our floors were refinished. They look BEAUTIFUL! Who glued linoleum onto them because I want to have the kind of chat Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC How to Catch a Predator has when he walks into the room. And I want to tell them they're free to go, but have cops waiting outside to arrest them.
Anyways, I'm getting to the capsule wardrobe thing. My in laws are SO gracious and let us stay with them for 11 months while we house hunted right after we got married, and then for 3 weeks last summer while we got our living-dining floors refinished, and AGAIN for a week and a half this summer while we got our kitchen-foyer floors refinished. We came this time with 3 kids, 1 puppy, 1 dog, and 2 adults so if you see them, buy them a beer!
Okay almost to the wardrobe thing. But first, I confessed to my Facebook friends while I was packing up the entire first floor of our home to store before we left for 10 days that I needed 30 YES THIRTY boxes for my kitchen things. Yikes. I've been on a mission to purge my home of extra clutter all year, so packing up my whole kitchen shed a light on the next area I need to tackle.
I don't have a ton of clothes. My husband has quite a few, my 4 year old son doesn't have an outlandish amount, but my GRILLS (my little boy coined the girls "The Grills" when he was 3 and it has stuck!) have ALL THE CLOTHES! I justify it because they are 15 months apart and all of my older girls clothes will be worn by my youngest girl. I don't think we have as many clothes as a lot of families, but we have too many. FOR SURE. And ya know, I am so grateful for what we've got, but as soon as I let something get me off my laundry game, my bedroom becomes a dumping ground for all of the clean laundry and I just pick through every day for clothes for us all until I play catch up and get back on my laundry game.
It's stressful, makes me dread part of the morning, makes me not want to be in my bedroom, and is always a lingering chore mentally that I shouldn't be relaxing, I should be up in that room sorting. And it torments me day in and out until I address it.
I feel on top of the world when all of our laundry is done, put away, kept up. But I miss one day of doing a load of laundry, and the next thing I know I have 34 towels, sheets, 100 kid outfits, 2 pillows, and 6 Legos strewn down my basement stairs beckoning me to come handle it. Capsule wardrobes are supposed to drastically improve laundry situations while being better for the environment, and less stressful in terms of a cluttered closet.
If you don't know what a capsule wardrobe is, it is when you sort through your clothes and leave only simple pieces that won't ever go out of style, that can be worn throughout each season. If you need to purchase some things to augment what you've got, you do so with quality over quantity in mind, and keeping with the timeless aspect. The idea is that you should just be able to go into an uncluttered closet and pick any top, with any bottom, any shoe, and be ready to head out the door with no thought. Everything can be mixed and matched to create an effortless clean look.
Some people like to create a capsule wardrobe based on what is "in" and that is fine too, they are not timeless items then, but rather a minimalist wardrobe. Hopefully this doesn't sound too restricting! You really don't have to have ONLY 20 pieces in your closet. You don't have to get rid of a favorite ugly Christmas sweater or anything you LOVE! It's more about taking away stress and clutter, and adding in tidiness and peace.
So let's get down to business, when packing for our little stay I thought this would be THE PERFECT TIME to test out a capsule wardrobe for each of us! Now, we are in Michigan so this made it challenging because what was supposed to be typical mid-September 75 or less degree weather ended up being about 6 straight days of 100% humidity and 88 degrees. Yuck. I didn't do my research and it came back to bite me.
For myself, it was easy because I only have 4 shirts, 2 pants, 1 short, and 1 legging that are acceptable for public. I grabbed one longer black cardigan and 5 pairs of underwear, 3 bras. No socks because it's still flip flop weather. One work shirt and work pant and one pair of black socks for my one waitressing shift a week. I forgot any pajama so I just slept in my shirt of the day and undies.
For my husband, I brought 4 work shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of socks, 3 lounging shirts, 2 lounging shorts, 1 shirt and 1 short 1 pair of socks for his 2 golf outings and church. Flip flops, work boots, tennis shoes, golf shoes.
For my son who started preschool while we were there, I packed 6 long sleeve shirts, 4 short sleeve shirts, 3 pair of shorts, 5 pair of pants, 3 sweatshirts, a new package of socks, new tennis shoes, his Keenz sandals, 2 pair of pajamas and 10 undies.
For my daughters who are 1 and 2.5, I brought for each of them: 2 pair of pajamas, 2 shorts, 4 long sleeve shirts, 2 short sleeve shirts, 2 shorts, 5 pants, one pair of shoes, and 10 undies for my 2.5 year old. No socks.
I left behind HOARDS of clothes all stuffed onto the toddler bed that is butted up against our bed and while I DO wish I'd have checked the weather and brought mostly summer stuff, we were fine. I didn't miss most of it! I brought 5% of our clothes and didn't miss the other 95%!
I should be doing a load of laundry a day or every other day, so at first it was weird to be like um I'm wearing 1/3 of my clothes right now what will I wear on Friday!? But then I remembered WELL FOR PETES SAKES I COULD WASH MY CLOTHES! I think this MAKES me have to do laundry or have to pull up in the pick up line indecent. When I adjust to HAVING to do something by force instead of choice, it does come with a certain level of responsibility, so a little stress too. But by day 4 or 5, it just was what it was.
I'll admit that becoming a mom of three in three years kind of left me, an already messy, unregimented and undisciplined person DROWNING in house work as I often did(okay do) my house work as an afterthought as opposed to being as essential to my survival as changing diapers and feeding my children. I'm not a proactive person naturally and really have to make a conscious effort to do my chores. This seems like a good solution to eliminating a lot of excuses for me because I will sit down after the kids are asleep knowing there is laundry that SHOULD be done, but doesn't HAVE to be done because we have more clothes to wear. This is a mindset that gets me into trouble because I apply it in other areas too: it's not bad enough to address, I'll wait until I almost can't fix the situation until I tend to it. Its like I know there is smoke coming out of my toaster, but I'm not going to get up until flames are 3 inches from me. NOT GOOD! So where laundry is concerned, I'll just have it pile up until we almost don't have any clothes to wear and I'm in a bad mood and huffing because I have to switch laundry out at 11pm when my husband is about to go to bed and I need him to watch the baby while I go do it. THIS ALL COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF I UM JUST DIDN'T OPERATE LIKE THIS! HELLO!
So my practical advice, if you want to take advice from someone who doesn't put out fires until they interrupt her OutDaughtered binge watching, would be to take a time slot, empty out every drawer and hanger, and pluck out only what you love and what can be easily paired together. Keep your other things somewhere out of sight (neatly, maybe a large tub if you've got it! You want to get the full-ish effect here not become disgruntled that you've got 698 pounds of clothes strewn in a corner.) and work it for a week or two! Then at the end, add in what you really wished you had, and sell the rest!!
Enjoy a more peaceful dressing routine!