I needed to go through Elizabeth's shirt drawer. Well, ALL her clothing drawers, but the shirt drawer was most urgent, especially because soon it will be time to put away short sleeves.
It is very tempting to overbuy for her. I have the following excuses prepared:
1. She is my only girl. (I can spin this either way: for the boys, I justify overbuying by saying I'll get so much use out of handmedowns.)
2. She's so EXCITED by new clothes. If I come home from an outing and I say I bought her a new shirt, she is LEAPING AROUND with excitement. It's very gratifying, especially compared to the boys. She likes to help shop for them, and I find her little opinions amusing.
3. She has been in the same size for SO LONG. So each year when the clearances roll around, I buy more extremely inexpensive clothes I can't resist---but it's been three years now, I think, so things have really PILED UP.
4. She DESIGNS each day's outfit. She has specific ideas. I feel motivated to make sure she has all the resources she needs for an all-yellow outfit or an all-stripes outfit, because I find the results so fun.
5. I like to buy things.
So. This is her short-sleeved-shirts-and-tanks drawer, dumped onto her bed:
I started by putting everything in piles, mostly by color because I find it easier to get rid of things if I'm thinking "This child does NOT NEED fifteen pink shirts, so which of them will we keep?" instead of thinking "Should I get rid of this shirt? ...this shirt? ...this shirt?":
Once the piles were established, I went through them one at a time. Here is the pink pile spread out in front of the other shirts. It's kind of a confusing picture, I realize, with an insufficient sense of pile height, but it's what I've got:
The first thing I noticed was that FIVE of the shirts featured butterflies, so that seemed like a good culling area. We kept one that had an overall pattern of butterflies (as opposed to one big featured butterfly), one that doesn't really look like a butterfly because it's made up of words, and two that feature large butterflies but they go with almost all of her skirts and she preferred one and I preferred the other so we kept both.
...So....we got rid of one shirt. Hm. This is an unpromising start. But I also noticed there was a butterfly shirt in white that was nearly identical to the one I didn't want to get rid of in pink, so I got rid of the white one:
There was also a SECOND butterfly shirt in the whites pile that seemed boring compared to the ones we were keeping, so that one went too. So that's THREE shirts gone, even though it's only one from the pinks.
I got rid of the pink Hello Kitty shirt, because I know she has a bunch of those in various colors and this particular one isn't a favorite. And she never wears the solid pink shirt above it in the photo, so that went too.
I got rid of a pink shirt that has an adorable fake ad for a rollerskating rink on it, because Elizabeth won't wear that kind. WHY WON'T SHE? I love that kind! But she won't. There were more than three of that sort, but here are the three I was saddest to get rid of:
Here's the After picture of the pink pile:
Fast-forwarding through the rest of the piles because otherwise this could get
One reason I like the "dump it all out and sort it" technique is that there were quite a few shirts I'd had no idea she had two almost-identical ones. She had the same navy blue polo in XS and S. She had two Peter-Pan-collared light-blue school-uniform-type shirts. She had two green Hello Kitty shirts. For those it was pretty easy to just say "Okay, I will choose ONE."
I also got rid of her kindergarten graduation shirt from a year ago, and her camp shirt from this past summer, both of which appear to be men's size small and go down to her knees like a dress, and also the tie-dye one she made at school that she enjoyed at the time but has never worn since.
I had her sit with me for part of the process, and that was helpful too. There was a very pretty shirt I lightly scolded her for not wearing, and she said, "It looks like a DRESS for a BABY," and I thought, "....It DOES look like a dress for a baby." Toss.
There were also quite a few where, if I'd considered them individually, I would have felt like keeping them---but seeing them against all the GREAT shirts, they were easy to let go.