Minimalist Wardrobes For Boys (Ages 3-5)

Minimalist wardrobes for adult women have become very trendy. But I’m frankly surprised to see this limited range. Everyone could benefit from a curated and thought-filled wardrobe.
Young boys wouldn’t be stuck in finicky pants when potty-training. They would wear clothes in good repair and sized for them. It would be easy for them to pick out their own combinations and dress themselves well. The independence they would get in return for the preparation put in would go a long way.
Parents would benefit from the confidence that their kid has enough clothes and would not be driven to shop due to a feeling or assumption of lack. When shopping is necessary, they would know exactly what they were looking for and this technique would allow them to hone in on what styles, sizes, shapes, (etc.) they prefer for their son’s clothes.
Turning my sons’ wardrobes into minimalist capsules has been an eye opener. I used to rush off to buy more clothes for them whenever I worried they had nothing to wear. These trips were unorganized and I tended to return with more shirts when I needed new pants or a new jacket when they really needed socks. And I was only dimly aware of what made for a good pair of boy’s pants. Obviously, this approach was an unsustainable practice. Now, I feel unburdened and certain of exactly what they have.
Special Considerations For This Age Group

  • Unless you’re very lucky in hand-me-downs (or a shop-a-holic), you will probably never need to “cull” a young boy’s wardrobe. This is because they grow out of sizes or damage their clothes so fast that the collection is pretty self-limiting.
  • I’ve found it necessary to look in the reverse direction. How many clothes do I need to get through a week (and in some cases a year) of regular activity?
  • Your number needs to accommodate “accidents” as kids are generally potty training in these years.
  • If your kid attends a pre-school or day care, the institution may require a small stash in addition to your son’s minimalist wardrobe. Don’t count these additions because you may not see them for weeks or months at a time.

My List of Essentials
I’m providing the list I use to keep my boys stocked as inspiration only. Your particular circumstances will shape your need. Climate, family activities, religious gear, and how often you do their laundry are a few factors that may alter your list.
Since I do diaper laundry (3x/week), I can throw any “accident” pants and underwear into the next batch of diapers. For this reason, I only need to do the boys’ laundry once per week.
7-10 pairs of underwear

7-10 pairs of socks

1 pair of sunglasses

1 winter warm hat

1 summer sun hat

1 winter coat

1 rain/light jacket

1 pair of snow pants

1 pair of snow gloves/mittens

1 pair of light gloves/mittens

1 pair of swim trunks

1 swim shirt

1 age/size appropriate PFD for swimming pools

1 pair of winter boots

1 pair of sandals/flip flops

1 pair of “school” shoes

1 pair of “play” shoes (usually a warn out pair of “school shoes”)

2 sweaters/warm hoodies

7 pairs of pajamas

1-3 plain long-sleeve shirts (to wear under short-sleeves when the weather is cooler)

7-10 pairs of pants*

7-10 pairs of shorts*

7-10 short-sleeved shirts*

7-10 long-sleeved shirts*
*I make sure that at least 5 of the 7-10 is nice enough for pre-school or other social activities. I believe it is important for kids to have some “play” clothes so that they can get completely absorbed in an activity and get messy without driving me crazy.
We prefer very simple, elastic waistbands for bathroom success. We’re also fans of natural, plant-based fibers and used clothing.
On My Loose Use of “Minimal”
I know this list doesn’t seem extremely “minimal”, but unlike adults, kids aren’t often able to re-use laundry between washes and doing their laundry multiple times a week can be stressful. I feel that this number strikes a nice balance.
Until Next Time, Live Lightly! 

Free Yourself With a Capsule Wardrobe

I never thought that I’d be delving into the world of conscious wardrobe design and fashion  – let alone writing about it!

See, I was one of those awkward teenagers who made serious errors in judgment just about every time she dressed. Further, even the words “fashion” and “style” had an air of otherness to them. Other people thought about this, those girls over there probably did, but not me. As a result, I had collected an eclectic mix of style, color, and pattern, much of which didn’t suit my personality, body, or lifestyle. And so, deapite having heaps of clothing, I never had anything to wear. 

That awkward teenager in unfortunate attire? Well, she became an equally awkward adult in probably worse attire (as my body grew less forgiving with age and multiple pregnancies). 

Stage left, enter YouTube, our new character. See, the beauty and danger of YouTube is that you can start with watching videos on minimalism and sustainable living and find your way to discovering that these topics relate to how you dress. Now, I had the missing piece, the motivation that made sense for me. I would learn to dress well to spend less time and money and to produce less waste for our planet. 

These days, I look better and more put together. I spend less time in my closet in order to achieve this. What I wear matches my lifestyle, personal tastes, and body. I spend money more consciously and I have a much smaller wardrobe.

Discovering the concept of a capsule wardrobe is life-changing. It isn’t just that I look and feel better and have more positive social interactions. I also got my first tangible taste in the lesson that less can be more. 

Capsule wardrobing is manageable minimalist change that allows a peek into the benefits of minimalism. No need to overhaul your life and home, no negotiating with family or housemates, just begin with your own clothes. Then, bask in some of the benefits of simplifying. 

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a streamlined, well-curated set of clothes that:

  • only includes clothes that fit you well and you love
  • has a limited number (the actual number can vary, but a hard numerical cap is helpful for decision-making purposes)
  • includes items that work well together to create more potential combinations to give the illusion of more clothes

A capsule wardrobe is useful for men and women as well as children.

A capsule wardrobe does NOT have to be monochrome or made solely of neutral colors. It is easier to combine multiple garments this way, but if you are thoughtful about selecting colors and patterns, you can make a colorful wardrobe.

Since the items have to pull so much weight, it is good to put careful thought into your selections. Does this support my lifestyle (maybe say “no” to the 3 cocktail dresses if you live in jeans)? Does this look good on my body (is it a good fit and color)? Is it my personal style? How often can I get away wearing it? And in how many different ways? The theory is that if you put thought into your selections up front, you won’thave to spend valuable brain power in the morning when you’re getting dressed.

Variations on Capsule Wardrobing

Capsule wardrobing has many variations. While you can find guidelines (such as Project 333, described below), tailoring your wardrobe to your life will make this practice far more useful. 

For example, your region’s seasons may impact how you capsule wardrobe. If you live in a stable climate, an all-season capsule might be achievable. There are also two and four season variations. Some items will be useful in multiple seasons so it isn’t necessary to have four capsules, say, without overlap. 

Some of you who work two jobs or have vastly different home and work lives may opt for two simultaneous capsules.

The main traits of any capsule wardrobe are curation and combination. 

Project 333

My favorite capsule model is Project 333. It works well in a four-season climate, has a following with a lot of free resources available online, and the item number cap (33) is a challenge that is nevertheless doable.

The Basic “Rules” of Project 333 are:

  • 33 pieces (shoes, purses/bags, outerwear, accessories, and clothes)
  • does not include: active wear, PJs, lounge wear, under garments, or specialty wear (such as swim suits or snow pants)
  • 3 months (you set up for three months at a time and put the remaining or off-season clothes away) 
  • you also want to refrain from buying additional clothes for the three month-duration

Project 333 is the creation of Courtney Carver. You can find more from her at: <http://bemorewithless.com/project-333/&gt;

Free Yourself

It may seem that this is a shallow subject, but all of us dress every day. When our choices remain unconscious ones, we can suffer from cluttered space, wasted time, embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions, impaired social interactions, money waste and so on. 

If we manufacture a conscious wardrobe, we can save time, space, money, and embarrassment. We can also make choices in line with our values. So what are you waiting for?

Minimalism 101

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism has taken on an elitist air. Popularly, the minimalist image is of a sparsely furnished modern home with no individual touches. And no children, hobbies, or, in some cases, underwear.

To be a minimalist, you don’t have to get rid of all but 50 things so that you can travel the globe by yourself. Though, if that is your pleasure, have fun! Minimalism is as individualistic as its subscribers. Because minimalism is a process, with no end point, anyone who employs the philosophy can consider themselves a minimalist.

So what is it that defines a minimalist approach? What makes someone a minimalist?

Minimalism is a process whereby an individual decides what brings value and enriches his or her life. It also means determining what doesn’t have value and doesn’t enrich. And it is about finding ways to increase the former at the expense of the latter.

We all do this to some extent. We gravitate toward things we like and are repulsed by what we don’t. But, if you don’t make conscious choices and don’t consider trade-offs in the process, you will find that chaos rules out and progress is slow or non-existent. Instead of freeing ourselves, we bog ourselves down with new commitments that could have made us happier. That is, when we accumulate activities/obligations we tend to tap into the wrong resources: our time and our energy. This leads us to feel stressed and exhausted. If we instead make trade-offs, something undesirable for something desirable, then we’re left freer and energized.

10 Benefits of Minimalism

  1. Fewer things to schlepp around. Less baggage to travel with, to live with, or to move with.

  2. Fewer things to clean, which means less time and energy wasted.

  3. Fewer things to buy, which can help you get out of debt and achieve financial security.

  4. Greater satisfaction with the stuff you do have. You’ve surrounded yourself with those things that bring you joy (these are now unburied, dusted off, and placed front and center).

  5. Less looking at stuff that makes you unhappy (those “skinny” clothes you haven’t fit into since your last pregnancy or that picture that reminds you of a fight you had with your Dad).

  6. More space to move in.

  7. More time for family and friends.

  8. More time to pursue your new hobbies, current interests, or writing your novel.

  9. Greater involvement in your own life (less auto-pilot).

  10. Greater awareness of what matters to you. This can help your relationships, bring about a passionate life mission, or allow you to finally identify what you require from a shirt’s hemline.

Tips to Get Started

Physical clutter is a great starting point in a minimalist journey and helps you hone your minimalist skills.

I recommend starting in your closet because it decreases the need to navigate inter-personal relationships right off, it is a finite area, everyone has to dress, and you can see the benefits of minimalism straight away.

Setting space or number limits on things is a great tool for decision-making and can immediately change a perspective from one of lack to satisfaction or even over-abundance. A closet-inspired example of this principle is setting for yourself a cap on the number of jeans. If you say, two is enough for your lifestyle, then you can pick your favorite two, sell or gift the rest and until those two get damaged, you won’t feel compelled to buy more.

Group things before you cull them. It is easier to get rid of the pants you don’t need when you have 20 of them staring you in the face.

Don’t just think about what you’re getting rid of, determine what it is you’ll get in its place (more space, time, energy, a nicer blouse with the money you got from selling those that didn’t fit).

Don’t focus on what to get rid of, focus on what to keep. Clear out the space entirely and then include those things you really want and need.

May this work bring value to your life!

Three Simple Tools to Change Your Life

Tool #1: Limits

I find it strange that I can wake up in the morning so full of gratitude. There is food in the pantry, a roof over my head, water, heat, and clothes waiting for me after I shower. I live in a comfortable home with security and love. All my needs are met. Then, I go to buy some winter boots (you know, not utilitarian, but trendy) and find a beautiful, faux-leather jacket, a blouse, and a pair of Pjs that look and feel oh, so comfortable. Where did all that contentment go? Suddenly, I experience the lack of things that I didn’t know existed this morning.

Many of us, myself included, confuse our needs with wants. I submit to you that it is the pursuit of unquenchable desires, rather than our basic needs, that sabotages our happiness. Needs are finite and few. For survival, we need air, water, food, shelter, heat/temperature regulation, and security. Any decent survival guide can teach you this.

Our wants are boundless, limitless, and striving after something that can have no end results in never feeling satisfied.

I’m not saying that everyone should eschew trendy boots or that faux-leather jacket. There are useful and beautiful things that can bring joy (until they fall apart). I am saying that I believe we could all benefit from focusing first on our needs, and then putting some kind of cap on our wants. Minimalists use this trick all the time. The exact practice of limits will vary from person to person. Two pairs of pants can feel meager – unless you’re living out of a back pack. A two-story home with a book habit might benefit from limiting books to one shelf.

The lesson here is that we can all be masters of our limitations and see how putting a self-imposed cap on accumulation can free us to experience not lack but plenty.

I mean, who doesn’t want to be happier while saving money?

Tool #2: Know Your Core Values

I’ve slogged through to-do lists without an ounce of passion. Who hasn’t? I’ve signed on to a job that has brought me no joy. Again, who hasn’t? I’ve felt that familiar desire to bolt, screaming, from the reality that I’ve found myself in.

I mean, I’ve worked at McDonald’s. As an environmentalist. As a vegetarian. And while my example may be specific to me, we all find ourselves at one time or another completely out of sync with what matters to us.

This is why the second tool can save you time and frustration. It can lead you to follow a life of meaning and alignment with your values. Your life can be infused with passion.

I can’t tell you what your values should be because they are unique to you. You won’t feel passion for another’s list. But identifying what matters to you can help you make the great life decisions that you deserve.

How do you do this? Start by thinking about a time when you were proud of yourself. Why were you so proud? How about when you were really happy? Create a list of qualities that you aspire to and spend some time with them. Are two pretty much the same thing? Is one thing more important than another?

I have a numbered list from 1 to 10. And everything on that list infuses my life with passion. I have begun to go to that list when it comes to the big decisions. And, every day, I feel more in sync with my core values.

Tool #3: Clutter Control

Clutter is the meaningless stuff that fills spaces in our lives. Ultimately, clutter can crowd out what we really want. It can add stress and steal joy.

We can have clutter in our homes (that garage that no one wants to enter – filled with forgotten stuff that breeds resentment). We can have cluttered schedules too. Since all of us only have 24 hours each day, why do we crowd our free time with the hobbies of yesteryear? Clutter control can take away stress and leave time for friends, family, and those hobbies we do love. Clutter can even invade our minds and hearts when we worry over problems we have no control over, invite toxic relationships to stay, or spin our wheels in circles over the mysteries or vagaries of life.

Of these kinds of clutter, the clutter of our spaces is often the easiest place to start. Most people begin with the physical stuff crowding them and when they discover the advantages of living with less, they begin to apply the philosophy to their schedules and thoughts too.

If you’re eager to start decluttering now, begin looking around you. Is there one thing you own that doesn’t bring happiness? Isn’t useful? Can it be sold, given, re-purposed, recycled? And if you continued with one thing every day for 365 days, what would your home and life be like in one year?

I hope that these tools bring value to your life.

Liquid Hand Soap Recipe


Ingredients:

  • a re-purposed liquid soap dispenser* 
  • 1 Tbsp Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap
  • 1/2 tsp Fractionated Coconut Oil
  • 5 drops dōTERRA OnGuard essential oil
  • 5 drops Liquid Vit. E 
  • Distilled water to fill

* a pump soap bottle sometimes provides a foamy texture. Why this isn’t a consistent thing is beyond me

Directions:

Put ingredients in container, close, shake. 

Composting Floor Scraps

Almost everything picked up with my broom or vacuum cleaner is compostable. 

Whether it’s the mountain of food accumulated under the dinner table after feeding my young kids or the popcorn crumbs in the living room after movie night, or the dirt tracked in on a rainy day or the “magical” mess that appears every day. It’s almost all compostable. 

That said, I’m going to pick out the stray plastic item off my dustpan and dump the remainder in the compost bin. And I’m going to empty my vacuum cleaner’s canister over the compost pile! (No more dust storm inside the house!)

(I’m never going back to a vacuum cleaner that requires a bag.)

It’s actually amazing that I didn’t even consider this before my aha! moment. But all these scraps previously went in my garbage.

How About You?

Does the idea of composting your floor waste strike you as odd? Or is it already a part of your routine? And if it is something you already do, was it going zero waste that made you do it? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, keep that talk walking!

Meal Planning for Less Waste

Americans throw away a lot of food. Part of this is due to impulse purchases but also loosing items in cavernous refrigerators for weeks at a time. By the time you find the avocado in the back, it’s too late! 

In order to tackle food waste, I’m going to change things up a bit. First, I’m using this fabulous app called: MealPlan

This not only allows you to map out the meals for the week, but also to build a shopping list. It offers a convenient way to scratch off what you do not need. So each week, I will plan out meals, check our food storage, shop accordingly, and stick to the plan to create less waste. 

How About You?

Do you have a way to keep your food waste in check? Is it meal planning? How do you accomplish planning for meals? Or is your solution different? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, keep that talk walking!