A Year Without….Excess


Step 2: purge

Somehow, I fell behind on laundry over Christmas. In the aftermath, sick with a cold and missing my voice, I spent days catching up. The more I worked, the more the mounds seemed to grow. While folding, and hanging, I came to despise the carefully chosen pieces of my children’s wardrobe.

I wrestled with the idea of less. Three of our four family members share one closet. It’s average by modern standards. We each have a dresser. The little boy in our family has a closet and dresser of his own. Two years ago, before the boy arrived, I moved all of our clothing into one room. It made putting things away easier. I could stay in one spot, put something on Netflix, and feel like I had some traction in tackling laundry.

It’s helped but hasn’t changed the fact that I hate laundry. The entire time, I think of all the other things I could be doing. Three days of it between Christmas and New Year’s wore me out. Ruthlessly, I sorted through everything. The children were left with enough clothing to last a week. Bedding was discarded until a reasonable amount remained. Everything was distilled until my two girls now have one dresser between them, and a small assortment of dresses hanging up.

Of course, this is winter clothing (we live in Canada). There are boxes of summer clothing on the top shelf of the closet.

“They have three dresses,” Athena kept saying as we recently read through the series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It made sense to her – one dress to play in, one for school, one special one for church and other significant celebrations.

We live in a culture that makes that degree of minimalism impossible. But my girls seem satisfied with less. In fact, it’s made it much easier for them to find something to wear. Previously when I would send them in search of something, they could never decide. I would always end up selecting their clothing, something I thought strange since they’re now 7 and nearly 9. The amount of options simply overwhelmed them. Without excess, they can easily pick out their own clothing. And with less to wash and put away, I hope to have more time for adventure.

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