5 steps to a minimalistic and eco-responsible wardrobe for your child

5 steps to a minimalistic and eco-responsible wardrobe for your child

Is your child’s wardrobe overflowing but you still spend hours wondering what they should wear? Do you have a box with clothes too small and one with items too big and actually only a few things that currently fit? Do you buy mostly second-hand clothes but still find you’re spending way too much on your child’s wardrobe? Then read on, we might have a few tips here.

Ask for it

Relatives and friends are always asking what they could gift you and your child. The key here is not to hesitate to be very specific about this: “one summer outfit in size 9 months” “hat, gloves and scarf” “warm PJs in size one year”. Don’t forget to ask for a variety of outfits and sizes, no one needs 15 pairs of summer trousers. People will otherwise get carried away in the department store and might bring you stuff like a mini leather jacket or a pink tutu for a newborn. For real.

Labels matter

And we don’t mean the luxury Paris labels here. There is an array of quality labels that could / should guide you through your purchases. Ecolabel Index is the largest global directory of ecolabels, currently tracking 465 labels, in 199 countries and 25 industry sectors so check it out before your next trip to the shops. Also, if your read German, Green Peace has also put together an excellent report on some of the most common ecolabels in Germany and what they truly mean. Buy fewer but better-quality items which will last, if not a long time because your baby grows out of them, then at least through dozens of washes.

Think “outfit”

This one might seem boring, but in reality, even things we buy separately end up being worn with another item over and over again. Pick the whole outfit when shopping, even second-hand, it will spare you going out to the shops again “just” for the little white cardigan that will go with those trousers and coming out with unnecessary items. It will also make the dressing situation in the morning a lot less chaotic. I mean, if you’re anything like me, just go all out and store the outfits together in little boxes in the wardrobe. In the morning, you just need to pick a box and voilà.

Never buy ahead

Buying ahead, because something is on sale or because you’re at a flea market and it seems like such a good bargain isn’t as smart you think. You know the snow boots that were never really the right size? Or the ceremony dress your daughter never got to wear? Many bargains usually go from the “too big” box straight into the “too small” one because they’re never the right size in the right season, you don’t have an occasion to wear them or you don’t really need them. I bought about 12 summer pants for my daughter, only to realise when the next summer came that all she wanted to wear were leggings. That’s a waste of money and space.

Spring clean all year round

Kids grow up fast, so you need to purge their closets on a regular basis. Monthly at first, then a further apart as they get older (I’d say one month for every year of their age: i.e. every 6 months for a 6-year-old). Think of what you will do with the clothes before the purge: sell, donate or rotate. If you decide to sell, do it straight away (take pictures, post them online, etc.). Again set yourself a rule for how long you will have them for sale before giving up on the selling idea and donating them instead. Donating is quicker and easier; first find a cause who will accept what you have to give (many refugee centres or shelters only accept certain specific things). Just put the bag by your front door and deposit it the next time you go out. Don’t let things linger in cupboards; make sure you make it quick. What about rotating? This is the idea of finding a mother who has a child 1 to 2 years younger to whom you can donate the clothes in exchange for one or more outfits. Win-win all the way.

Why is any of this important?

  • For your mental sanity: the less you own, the less you need to organize / pick up from the floor / wash / donate / sell etc.
  • For your finances: the less you buy the less you spend. Fact.
  • For the environment: the less you consume, the lesser items need to be produced. Did you know it takes as much water to make a pair of jeans as it takes to water your lawn for 9 hours straight?

How about you? Do you feel like taking on the challenge of reducing your little one’s wardrobe?




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