Earlier this week I received a comment from Angelina requesting that I write a post about minimizing kids’ wardrobes. Below is what she wrote…
I love your blog, I read it everyday. I am a stay at home Mom with two kids. I was wondering if you can write about Minimalist Wardrobe for Kids. My kids have so much clothes, I don’t know how to keep up with them. My mother in law buys them clothes all the time, non-stop. The clothes are driving me crazy.
Keep up the great job, I can’t get enough of your blog, I’ve recommend your sites to my family and friends too.
Now first up I would like to say the I would not consider myself a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination although I agree in principle with the minimalist movement. I prefer to think that at best I am only at the start of that journey but like the feel of the trip so far.
That being said I will be happy to give my take on Angelina’s problem. Now I am going to be quite blunt here because I think there is no other way around this and I think in the long run Angelina will agree with what I am about to say. Her own comment/request hinted at the real problem here and I think she just needs a little advice on how to handle it tactfully. I am not always the most tactful person though I must admit but I will give it my best shot.
Angelina’s problem isn’t her children and it isn’t their wardrobe the problem is that her Mother-in-law doesn’t know when enough is enough. She means well I am sure but excess is not only bad for the environment but it is also not a good lesson to teach children. Unfortunately, the only solution to this problem is to make a request of the MIL to cut back on this unnecessary supply of clothing.
Now I don’t know how close their relationship is but, no matter what, she cannot idly stand by and let this continue. We often make the mistake of sacrificing our own needs for the needs of others but when the other person’s actions are having a negative effect on more than just ourselves (although that really is enough in some cases) then it is time to stand up for what you believe in.
There clearly needs to be a conversation between Angelina and her MIL and perhaps it should go like this.
- Lead in with a compliment…“‘MIL you provide such lovely clothes for the children, they are always so neatly dressed and I can see you love them dearly”….
- Continue with a little gratitude…“and I am grateful to you for your generosity”…
- Then comes the BUT… “but the quantity of clothes you provide for the kids is just too much. There is no way they will ever get the full value out of each item when there are so many to choose from and it is such a waste. This excess is not a good lesson to teach the children and not good for the environment either”. You may want to add something here about your goal to cut down on clutter in your home.
- Now is when the request comes in with a little lacing of more gratitude for sweetener…“It is not my intention to upset you but I really would prefer that you cut back on the quantity of clothing you have been buying for them. I do appreciate your generosity but it is just too much. Do you think you could do that for me?”
At no point in this conversation have any demands been made. There is a good balance of gratitude and a clear explanation of the concerns both for Angelina’s thoughts on the waste involved and the feelings of the MIL. I think this formula can be adapted to fit with a number of situations to request people to cut back on the excess they provide you against your personal requirements.
I have made a page of this called Request Formula in case you would like to reference it for future issues. I am always open to suggestion on improvement so if you think I need to add something to it please feel free to let me know.
Well Angelina, I hope this was helpful to you and I look forward to hearing how things went for you with your mother-in-law.
ITEM 219 OF 365 LESS THINGS
We bought this set of snorkel gear when on vacation once. We should have left them at the beach for someone else to take as they have never been used since. I gave them to the son of a friend because they go to the beach all the time.