I often joke that Pigeon and Parrot could get their clothes dirty in a clean room. So we used to have a lot of clothes, which lead to a lot of laundry. It seemed that the more clothes Pigeon and Parrot had, the more clothes they went through and messed up in a day. Drowning in laundry, I had to find a better way of dealing with our clothes!
From internet searches, Pinterest hunts and talking to friends, the idea of a capsule wardrobe was standing out as a possible solution. But some of the capsule wardrobe examples seemed impossibly small and impractical, even the ones designed for children. Perhaps they were designed for children who sit and do art activities neatly without getting completely covered in the pens, glue and paints; or maybe those children never went outside and jumped in the nearest puddle, like my little birds frequently do. I should add a note here to admit that yes, I taught my children to jump in puddles… but having special needs, they just didn’t quite understand that when to/when not to is an important factor in puddle jumping. Anyway, back to capsule wardrobes! The basic idea was good, but we needed to adapt it for the ‘different kind of nest’ family members.
We kept the idea of all items of clothes mixing and matching. For Pigeon this was a genius plan; over the years since I introduced the idea of him dressing himself, we had had countless meltdowns. He had never quite worked out what items of clothing look good when worn together. Not much of a problem if all your clothes are calm colours or mostly blue. However, as he has a history of running off when outside, his Nanna and I bought numerous bright colours for spotting him through crowds, in ditches or up trees. Those clothes really had to be matched carefully or he would look like an accident in a paint factory! I am all for individuality and self-expression through clothes, but we needed to reduce the colour choices for more success in independent dressing.
Another capsule idea that we kept was the idea of a seasonal wardrobe. This has saved a lot of meltdowns. Both Pigeon and Parrot would choose to wear shorts in winter and long trousers in summer. If the weather allowed it, then I ignored their interesting choices; although letting them go outside in shorts and a short-sleeved t-shirt when the temperature was extremely low, was not going to happen – cue the meltdown! Removing the out of season clothes initially caused a few meltdowns, but recently both boys have had trousers on when it was cold and shorts when it wasn’t.
Then we had to look at the amount of clothing. That was tricky as I bought them clothes like parents do but, Nanna also liked to buy them clothes for birthdays, Christmas and just because she could (unlike when I was small and money was really tight). Pigeon and Parrot had too many clothes! Nanna gets pleasure from being able to buy them clothes, so I let her continue albeit with the request for certain colours and just bought less myself. As they grow out of clothes, I am not replacing them one for one, so we are gradually getting down to a sensible number* in each clothing category. (*That is, a sensible number for kids who get their trousers completely soaked and caked in mud every time we go out in the winter, despite wearing full waterproofs.)
So not quite a capsule wardrobe, but the main principles are there. Hopefully the days of bizarre colour/pattern combinations and meltdowns over inappropriate clothing are behind us. No more washing clothes every day or laundry at some stage of drying being an ever present trip-hazard. I call that a result!