You know that I recently read and loved The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I also wrote about protecting the child's sense of order and how Montessori really supports the theory of less is more, everything in it's place.
Since writing this article I have been asked about the children's wardrobe more than anything. It appears many parents are struggling with cupboards overflowing with children's clothing that not only are difficult to manage but are also difficult for the child to use.
It's easy for us in some respects because the children's wardrobe has always been pretty minimal. But there have been times when the clothes pile up and half of it doesn't even fit anymore. The children's wardrobe is much like every other area of our home that we need to keep updating and assessing "do I love this" or as equally important "does this fit".
From a Montessori perspective the child's wardrobe is so important. Selecting their own clothing, at least within a limited selection and allowing when appropriate (or when the child is ready - I also know many struggle with this also) the child to dress themselves. If the baskets or drawers are difficult to open or it's difficult to find just the shirt they are looking for, it can be really frustrating for the child and frustrating for the parent. I fully support that a minimal, well organised wardrobe works best for the child. I feel it's also out of respect for ourselves and respect for our clothing. Clothes generally keep better if they are neatly folded or hanging with a bit of breathing space.
Since moving to Queensland we need less winter clothing. No thermals are needed here. I've put all of the unneeded clothing in storage and out of the way. The boys have hanging clothing all within reach. This hanging clothing includes their shirts, jumpers and coats. Their folded clothing includes shorts, pants, underwear, swimmers and pyjamas. Today I made a list of all of Otis clothing. He actually has many more clothes than I thought and suddenly his wardrobe isn't feeling very minimal. However it's the size and amount that is working for him. (He has 4 pairs of shorts, 2 board shorts, 5 long pants, 2 woollen jumpers, 7 long sleeve shirts, 8 short sleeved tshirts, 2 sets of pyjamas). If you are interested in the hanger we are using for Otis' clothes I wrote about the wardrobe extender here.
The boys dress themselves and choose their own clothing everyday. When buying new clothes I will always involve the boys however Caspar (at 7yrs) is not at all interested. Otis (at 4yrs) loves picking out clothes and definitely has his favourites.
I recently added a full length, low/child height mirror to the back of their bedroom door. Now they can check their clothing once they are dressed. (Otis had an incident with some vine on a recent bush hike and has a few scratches on his face - they are healing well and quickly!). Caspar doesn't care much for the mirror but Otis loves to admire his selections each morning. Most adult bedrooms have this why not for the children's room too?
This is by no means a post about shaming overflowing wardrobes, more about how we make our children's wardrobe work. Tomorrow on the blog I am answering some Frequently Asked Questions so please feel free to comment if you feel there is an area I haven't covered.