How to Shop Simply

My, but simple living is different this year.

August, for one, is back to school time, which you might think isn't pertinent to me since my toddler is not entering the hallowed halls of any local elementary this fall. You'd be wrong. S is 18 months, which means she has suddenly grown long limbs and shot up eight inches or so overnight. Maybe not quite, but she is big. And the last time the weather was cool, she was small. So she needs new things.

Shopping while living simply used to mean...don't do it. Don't shop. Do without. Make it instead. Just wait. Buy it used. Find a hand-me-down. These things all still apply, but I've struggled to strike a balance with S. I want her to have nice things. I want her clothes to match, when reasonable. I want her to be comfortable and, yes, to occasionally look adorable.

But I also want to instill in her the values I try hard to sustain in my life: balance; prioritizing the immaterial; quality over quantity; etc. So S's back-to-school wardrobe looks like this:

5 pairs of organic cotton leggings in neutral colors
1 organic cotton dress (stripes, with pockets)
1 long-sleeved organic cotton tshirt (gray)
3 pairs organic cotton tights (2 brown, 1 multi stripe)

Still to purchase:
Additional organic cotton tshirts/bodysuits (I wish they made onesies for children of all ages...I'm afraid it'll have to be more tshirts, fewer bodysuits)
1 pair squeaky shoes (I can't stomach putting her on a leash, but keeping track of her by her squeaky footfalls is a perfectly acceptable solution to my on-the-run toddler)
1 pair tiny Toms (because I can't resist their cute factor...and they're for a good cause!)

To make:
1 bubble skirt
1 flannel dress
1 corduroy dress
1 pair corduroy bell bottoms
1 fleece jacket with hood
2-3 short-sleeved dresses for layering

Full disclosure: my mom is crazy for buying S clothes, so we also have a handful of things from her (including a drawer full of crazy-patterned leggings and tshirts for S to sleep in -- we don't, of course, do flame retardants).

I'm trying to bear in mind this concept of balance -- I don't want to go overboard (either buying too many things or keeping her in her trusty burlap sack all winter) and I also don't want to overthink it (though the length of this post might suggest otherwise, it is, after all, just clothing...).

I'm bearing in mind three cardinal shopping rules:
#1: Will she wear it? (Is it comfortable, the right size, etc, as well as Do I like it?)
#2: Will it last? (At least through the season...)
#3: Is it reasonably priced to start with?

Now if only I could apply the same rules to shopping for myself...

Filed under: Parenting, Simple Living

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