Archive for October 2013

A temporary hiatus

I will be taking a break from blogging for the next couple of weeks, but when I return we will have a guest post by my husband discussing his view of minimalism and how it has impacted him.

In the meantime, check out this great article that was posted on one of my favorite sites, detailing one blogger's goal at reducing waste in her home as I talked about last week.

Minimizing your waste

One of my favorite blogs that I have been totally obsessed with lately is Zero Waste Home. This delightful Frenchwoman Bea Johnson is transforming the environmentalist landscape in America with her picturesque home and shopping habits. I don't think its her intention to make composting look glamorous but she somehow does it and more. One of the things that I love most about her minimalist/environmentalist philosophy is that she goes shopping twice a year for clothing for herself and her family and only shops at the thrift store and other second hand stores. I've been so inspired by her story and her charge as an activist to be a better steward of our planet and resources, not only physical but monetary as well, because as Bea notes on her blog, once you start buying in bulk (without packaging) you save money.

I've been looking for ways to incorporate a little bit of her philosophy here at home. So here are my changes so far. They are tiny and may sound insignificant but the paper and plastic waste add up and so do the dollars.

1. I've switched to brushing my teeth with baking soda for a little while. It can be bought in bulk, it's inexpensive, natural and the container it comes in at most stores is recyclable. Along those lines, I'm not buying mouthwash anymore.

2. We grow our own lettuce now. Not only are the lettuces beautiful but they taste better, and it has saved us up to $8 a week on buying bagged lettuce at the grocery store. Don't be intimidated by growing some of your own herbs and veggies. Our lettuce is planted in two clay pots sitting in the sunshine in our backyard and is thriving.

3. I'm going to use up all the blush and eyeshadow I have before buying anything new or making anything new. According to Bea's blog, she makes most of her cosmetics.

Check out Bea's video on youtube to see how she incorporates minimalism and waste reduction at home.

I love to hear tips from Chic Planner readers, so what are some things you are doing to eliminate waste in your home in any form or what's holding you back from becoming a zero waste home?

Organizing the kids' closet

I maintain a capsule wardrobe for my children so I want their closet to be clutter free just like mine. My boys share a room, which I absolutely love, so it's important that I have a system for keeping their clothing separate and organized.

Currently, I have little coats and sweaters along with dress outfits hanging. On the second floor of our changing table which is stored in their closet (another thing I love) I have three blue bins that store their every day play clothing and their jammies. I have one bin that holds all the jammies for both boys; my boys are pretty different in size, so it isn't confusing when grabbing a pair whose is whose. The jammies bin is always to the very far left of the bins. It's not labeled, but everyone knows where it is including the boys and our babysitters. The bin in the middle belongs to my youngest son and currently holds little shirts and shorts and his socks. The bin to the far right belongs to my oldest son and has shorts, jeans, and short sleeve shirts in it. Since we are transitioning out of summer and into fall, the bins will get sorted again, long sleeve shirts will replace short sleeves and shorts will be put in storage. 

I have two plastic tubs stacked on top of each other that hold baby items and out of season clothing and shoes. I prefer to always use clear plastic containers but I think these were re-purposed from holding Christmas decorations at one point, so I just used what I had on hand. 

I would love to know: what tips do you have on organizing children's closets?

A detailed plan of my child's wardrobe

Since last week's post, where I wrote about how I plan my children's clothing, Chic Planner readers have inquired about my exact numbers and what my list actually looks like. As I mentioned last week, I like to use numbers as a guide. It helps me to remember what I really need versus what would be nice or is a luxury. Regarding clothing for children and really any items in my home, I like to err on the side of just enough so I can see how much I can get by with. I’m always trying to figure out a way to live with fewer items in our house.

I’m not sure about the children you know, but the children I’m familiar with can be completely covered in mud in literally a minute, thus requiring multiple wardrobe changes over the course of one day. So, I start with the minimal number needed of an item and if I find it's not enough then I can always purchase more.

So here are my numbers that I have projected for the fall/winter seasons for one child. This list is for my oldest child and there are a number of items that still fit from last year - bonus! I've also noted in brackets how I plan to purchase items still needed.

Current wardrobe:
knee socks (see dress shoes below)
sweatshirt hoodie
sweater cardigan (still fits from last fall)
3 pairs pants
4 long sleeve tops
dress shoes (purchased from an FB trading site in the spring. Paid $10 for them, bought some white shoe polish and they are as good as new. The sweet girl that I bought them from even threw in 2 pairs of knee socks in different sizes. Sweet!)
winter coat * - received as a hand-me-down the most precious little pea coat from a friend. Not sure if it will still fit by February, one of our coldest months in Alabama, so I’m keeping it on my need to purchase list just in case.

Need to purchase:
winter coat (requesting as Christmas gift from grandparents. It's the south folks, sometimes we are in short sleeves on Christmas day)
4 footed PJs (probably Wal-Mart or the thrift store)
2 sets socks (will purchase new from local children's shoe store)
2 pairs Keds
3 dress outfits (plan to purchase at thrift store and from friends on trading sites)
4 pairs of pants
3 long sleeve tops

As you can see, I still have a number of items to purchase but I am attempting to live with less, because as I mentioned a few weeks ago, we have cut several categories out of our budget. This means I’m not really looking to purchase everything on my need list but instead I’m making do with what we have. My children are for sure sporting the capsule wardrobe this fall and winter. :)

I also like to record any purchases on a separate page in my notebook so that I can keep track of how much I spent on each item in case I decide to consign it next season, and so there is a record of how much we're spending on our children's clothing. It's important to know that when figuring out one's shopping budget each month or year.

There you have it, my detailed list of clothing for my older child. It’s not fancy but it’s simple and it didn’t break the bank. J

What are your plans for outfitting your children for the fall and winter seasons?

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