Thursday, June 5, 2008


I have been just buried lately... buried under piles of clothes that is. A friend graciously gave us 3 huge bags of gently used clothes for the girls and, fearing for the stability of the floors under the girls' dressers, I decided it was time to do a another, long overdue, clothes purge.

It's always bittersweet to go through the outgrown clothes and remember all the good times we had when they were still small enough to wear them. We had TONS! I didn't get rid of any of Cookies too small clothes as she outgrew them because we didn't know if we would be referred a boy or a girl from Ethiopia. I'm all about hand-me-downs and buy high quality clothes for Princess with the expectation that they will last through Cookie and beyond. (I heart Hanna Andersson!) So I had about 3 years worth of outgrown girl clothes to sort through.

Then we have The Boy. Very few items of clothing were appropriate to hand down to him from his sisters. I have no problem with slightly feminine jeans or gender neutral shirts and jammies (Hanna again) but I draw the line at the hundred cute sun dress or the pink explosion that is 90% of their wardrobe. (Thankfully Princess seems to be outgrowing the pink stage!) While don’t have many hand-downs for Zboy, we do have an entire wardrobe of barley worn baby clothes in sizes 6/9 months, 12 months, and now his recently outgrown 18 month clothes. We were blessed by family and friends with a huge amount of clothes for him after our referral and the child went through 2 sizes in the 2 months after he arrived home. It was heart breaking to go through things that he'd worn once, or not at all and we aren’t saving any of his out grown clothes! There will be NO boxes of too small boy clothes in the garage for future siblings to grow into. Zman is firm. No. More. Kids. *Sigh*

I spend last night making giant clothes mountains in my living room. Girl and Baby boy summer clothes to go to the consignment shop. Girl and baby boy winter clothes to be saved to take to the consignment shop in the fall. A huge pile of size 5’s that Princess has outgrown but are still a bit too big for Cookie that will go back in boxes in the closet. Clothes that were in boxes for Cookie to grow into that now can be moved to her dresser. Clothes that the girls outgrew and Zboy can wear someday. Clothes that are too nice (read expensive) to take to the consignment shop and are set aside to be Ebayed. Clothes that are too special to part with and go into the “special” box; saved to pull out and look at someday when the kids are too impossibly big to have ever worn them. And, my least favorite pile, the trash pile, full of clothes with holes and stains that no one will want and so are off to the landfill.

Few things make me feel more like the greedy, rich American than shorting through my children’s abundant clothing and trying to figure out what to do with it all. The excess is just insane. Why does any child need enough clothing to wear a new, clean outfit everyday for a month without washing or repeating? Having been to Africa and seen children who owned ONE outfit, one set of clothes that would end up in that last pile at my house, I just feel sick about it.

Every time we do this purge of clothes (or toys) I swear that we are going to reduce and simplify. We are going to limit the number of outfits to 1 week’s worth and send all the extra’s to children in need around the world. Yet, the clothes still multiply; they never get sent to those kinds in need, and once a year (or so) the great mountain of clothes adventure ensues.


Tonya said...

Your children are BEAUTIFUL. I can totally relate to the clothing issue it is never ending in my house!

Debbie B said...

I'm already amazed at the ever growing closet for one little girl.

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Kelsey said...

I can totally relate! I just found your blog and love it.