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Wednesday, October 29

The Great Laundry Experiment

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A few weeks ago I had fallen down the rabbit hole we call The Internet and I came across a post from a woman who got rid of all of her clothing as well as her children’s clothing in order to cut way down on a chore she detested: LAUNDRY. Ok, so she didn’t exactly get rid of everything, she kept about three days worth of clothing and packed up the rest in boxes. Let me repeat that. Three. Days. Worth. I immediately had to know more! So I asked Laura if she would write about her experience and share a “how-to” here on my blog because I thought this was a remarkable idea and one that really resonated with me. 

When you think about housewives in days of yore, you forget that people didn’t have as much stuff! Kids only had around two to three regular outfits and one set of Sunday best. The same was more or less true of the adults. People didn’t have walk in closets full of clothing like we see now! Even though laundry has always been an issue for housewives, with the explosion of clothing comes the inevitable epidemic of hours and hours of laundry. Maybe if we took a step back and decided to cut down on how many outfits our children have, we can also cut down on our laundry. That was Laura’s premise, and you can now read how it worked for her!

laundry 3

By Laura Roberts

I stood in my laundry room, staring at the piles (and piles!) of clothes waiting to be folded and thinking about the other loads still waiting to be washed upstairs. Ugh!

That was the last straw. I had HAD it with SO MUCH laundry!

Right then and there, eyes wild and determined, I decided to try an experiment: I decided to pack up most of my kids’ and my clothing and try living with a minimal amount of items in our closets for one month. We had so much more than we needed; our family’s laundry situation was just plain OVERWHELMING. I figured that if I washed one load of laundry every day, we would always have something to wear, even if the selection was drastically reduced.

I started with my kids’ clothing. I began by packing up the “backup clothing”—the things they only ever wore if there was nothing else clean. Once I was left with the clothing they actually wore, I decided how many items of clothing they would have in their drawers for the next month, and the rest was washed, dried, and packed into the box.

My children were surprisingly supportive of the idea and the process; it made me wonder if they were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of clothing they had as well! As long as I promised not to give everything away immediately, they were happy to show me which pieces of clothing were their very favorites, and which ones they could live without for a while.

Those four weeks of minimal clothing were LAUNDRY BLISS.

There was a noticeable lack of clothing strewn around the house and over bedroom floors. There wasn’t nearly as many articles of clothing making their way into the car or piling up…anywhere. I didn’t feel suffocated by ALL of the clothing EVERYWHERE. I could breathe!

In order to stay on top of things, I did one load of laundry a day. Each morning I would gather up the dirty clothes that had been worn the day before. At some point during the day, I would switch the load to the dryer and then fold it. The clothes made their way back to closets by nighttime, ready to be worn again the next day. However, if I got behind for any reason, it couldn’t be for long! After two days, closets were looking bare. And after three days of getting behind, nudity was imminent! I couldn’t procrastinate, by much anyway. When you are operating with minimal clothing the best part is that it only takes a couple loads to get all caught up again…not TEN (and an entire day’s worth of your life) because those “backup clothes” have bought you an extra several days!

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I noticed my five-year-old daughter would choose what to wear more carefully. Prior to the experiment, she would get so excited about all of the dresses to choose from in her closet that she would change FOUR times a day, just to get a chance to wear them all. With fewer to choose from, the panic about wearing them all seemed to fade; she would pick one dress and wear it all day. I liked thinking that it was one less thing for her to have on her mind as well.

Laundry actually became enjoyable for me. I liked that it was something I could take care of, and be finished with…instead of feeling like there was always more that needed to be done. The load off my mind (pun intended!) was positively liberating! I remember even passing up some super-cheap and super-cute clothing at a garage sale because I was feeling so “zen” about our minimal clothing situation! I didn’t want to mess with that feeling. Ha!

I learned so much from that simple experiment.

I learned that my daughter actually does not like jeans! She did not wear them once the entire month! Her daily uniform was a dress and leggings, or a skirt and shirt. Now I know where best to spend my money when picking out clothing for her, or when sorting through hand-me-downs from others. I learned what patterns and colors are best for my two youngest, who are still pretty little and pretty…messy. Stain-hiding colors for sure! If it hid stains, it lasted longer in their closet…a concept that I didn’t care enough about before because they had SO much to choose from. It was almost like I was glad to have an excuse to get rid of a shirt or two because of stains. I learned how to choose clothing that would earn the space it occupied and would work hard for my kids, getting worn often and loved well…what fabrics, what fits and styles, and what brands, even! Some things did wear out pretty quickly; but when they did, we were satisfied that they had been used to the best of their abilities, worn right out, and were retired with love. I then knew exactly what needed replacing, and could select a replacement more efficiently.

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was a deeper appreciation for what we had. We took the time to look for lost articles of clothing, to remove stains, to mend seams…because each piece of clothing was an important part of their wardrobe. Strangely enough, it didn’t feel burdensome like I expected; it felt like I was truly caring for the things we had, with gratitude. I felt a kinship with homemakers of years past, who hand-washed entire loads of laundry, felt proud of their whitest whites, and made-do with a minimal wardrobe themselves. Have you seen closets in older houses!? Tiny! Compared to our standards these days, anyways. I also felt a sense of how silly it was to have SO much more than we needed, when so many others went without. Surprisingly, living with less made me feel more grateful and richly blessed than when we had more stuff hanging around.

When the four weeks were over, I opened up the box and grabbed a few things to add back to the kids’ wardrobe, or to keep in a small box of extras to have on-hand. The majority of the clothing ended up donated to a charitable organization. It felt good to spread the wealth! And it felt amazing to find what worked for our family which was a way to live without the weight (mentally AND physically!) of clothing clutter.

Interesting fact: I actually did this experiment with my clothing as well. I just remembered that the box I packed up is STILL in the basement, four months later! I clearly have not missed those clothes!

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Want to give this a shot?
Everyone’s ‘minimal amount’ of clothing will be different! But if you’d like to try cutting back on the laundry chaos for yourself, here are my best tips:

  • If you’re nervous about getting rid of clothing, just call it an experiment like we did, and do it for a month or two. It’s easier to do something drastic if you know it’s just a trial run. It might surprise you how easy it was to forget about your out-of-sight clothing!
  • Think about what you really like to wear, consistently. Do you have a “uniform” of sorts, or a style that you wear on a regular basis? I found that when I embraced my love of flowy/feminine tops, skinny jeans, and vintage dresses, the “extras” (clothes I only wore if all my flowy tops, etc. were dirty) in my closet became glaringly apparent…and easily weeded out.
  • Ask yourself: do I feel beautiful in this? Is this a staple item? Do I love it? Do I wear it often…or would I wear almost anything else first?
  • Give yourself a predetermined number of items (ie. I’ll keep three sweaters). It will help you decide which ones you like enough to make the cut!
  • Once you’ve pared back, get into a good laundry routine that works for you. This comes so much easier with less to wash! Once you find your groove, you’ll have your favorites available all the time. This will also make it apparent which items you are only keeping around “in case” your favorites aren’t available…they’re the ones that remain unworn!
  • Remind yourself to appreciate your clothing, and do what you can to take care of it. Again, it’s so much easier to do with less! And it’s so good for the heart and soul to live with appreciation and gratitude!
  • Don’t feel bad if you really need to bring something back out of the box. You’ve learned that you really use and miss that particular item!

Good luck! And many thanks to Bethany for inviting me to share our family’s experiment with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts/experiences!

Tuesday, October 28

The Mad Scientist Lab Halloween Decorations

MAD scientist lab halloween

When I was growing up in Santa Monica, a few blocks away from me was a street where three of the top special affects designers lived. Santa Monica has always been a town filled with Hollywood royalty and that extended to the high level crew members. Every Halloween these three special effects gentlemen would completely transform their homes into haunted houses, which was both thrilling and terrifying as a child. It really made Halloween extra special and I wanted to pay it forward by decorating my home for Halloween when I grew up.

The good news is I ended up marrying a set builder! My husband and I met on a movie set where I was in charge of the wardrobe and he was in charge of the set. So he was fully on board when I told him I wanted to totally go all out when decorating our home for Halloween. It started off smaller, but over the years has become a bit of a production. I have been choosing a different theme every year for the past few years (You can see Halloween 2012 HERE and Halloween 2013 HERE) and this year’s theme was “Mad Scientist”. 

Both my husband and I put together this scene, which the neighborhood kids always look forward to. It feels wonderful to be able to bring some of the Halloween joy I experienced as a child to the kids of my street. Enjoy!

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Monday, October 27

22 Sweaters For The Classic Women

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Ladies, I have fabulous news! There are a ton of wonderful sweaters being sold right now! Because the weather is always gorgeous during September and October, I tend to forget about buying sweaters until it is too late and all the good ones are sold out. But this year I said I would try to remember to buy a few sweaters earlier in the season, and guess what? It seems as if right now is the perfect time to buy! I thought you dolls might also be interested in investing in a new cardigan or two so I put together a round up of my favorite sweaters that are available online and separated them into the six styles of classic women. For those of you who are new to The Glamorous Housewife and need a bit more explanation on the six types of classic women, scroll down to the bottom of the article for links. Happy shopping!

CLASSIC PREPPY 

Sweater 6

Cropped Cable Sweater 

Sweater 21

Embellished Pocket V-Neck Cardigan 

Sweater 20

Cashmere Heart Intarsia Sweater 

Sweater 12

Dot Ann Cardigan (Similar Style Also Available in White)

CLASSIC GLAMOROUS

Sweater 7

Jewel Cluster Cardigan 

Sweater 13

Rose Intarsia Sweater 

Sweater 19

Jeweled Cashmere Quotation Sweater 

Sweater 10

Embellished Cropped Sweater 

Sweater 14

Ring Hand Sweater 

CLASSIC SIMPLE

Sweater 1

Woodburry Pullover 

Sweater 16

Kammy Sweater 

Sweater 11

V-Neck Sweater 

Sweater 9

Textured Tee

Sweater 5

Familiar Comfort Sweater 

CLASSIC VINTAGE

Sweater 18

Allover Martini Sweater 

Sweater 3

Cats But Not Least Sweater 

Sweater 4

Romcom Marathon Sweater 

CLASSIC MODERN

Sweater 22

Raccoon Sweater 

Sweater 15

Color Block Cashmere Crew Sweater 

CLASSIC BOHEMIAN

Sweater 2

Swan Tableau Pullover 

Sweater 17

Geometric Instarsia Sweater 

Sweater 8

Flamingo Garden Pullover 

Here are the links describing each of the different categories of classic women:

Affiliate links were used in this post.

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