Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A pair of jeans and a hoodie

Part of the appeal of moving to Colorado is that there are four full fledged seasons here. Being from California and having lived there most of my life, I can tell you it is something I was a little unfamiliar with at first. California has essentially one season. A entire year's wardrobe consists mostly of warm weather clothes, plus a pair of jeans and a hoodie. Not so here.

When we first moved here, we knew for sure that we would be needing winter clothes for everyone. We had a few pairs of pants and sweatshirts for the kids, maybe a decent midweight jacket, and that was it. That first year involved a tremendous amount of shopping as a result, and I tried my best to economize. I shopped at resale and consignment stores, and bought what I could on ebay for less.

I've learned over the years we have been here that the clothing sections are extremely seasonal. If you want shorts or capris especially, you have to snatch them up while they are out, or they'll be gone for 6 months at least. Same goes for flip flops. I can't understand why....I seem to be able to wear capris and flip flops all year, even in Colorado.

Colorado does have four seasons, but what I didn't realize is that sometimes all four seasons can show up within a 24 hour period. The weather here can be very unpredictable. It's especially hard to predict in the Spring and Fall. For that reason, Spring and Fall are the hardest seasons of the year for me in terms of clothing for the kids.

This time of year, it can go from 80 degrees to snowing in a matter of hours, and you essentially have to be prepared for everything in between. Put away the winter clothes too early, and there will be a storm for sure. Drag out the summer stuff at the first hint of a heat wave, and you guarantee yourself 4 more weeks of freezing weather. The only feasible option is to have a little of both out for months at a time. Which wouldn't be such a bad thing, but I have four kids. And four wardrobes to contend with every time the seasons change.

Phasing stuff in and out of Aidan's closet has gotten easier as he has aged a bit. Plus, he's a boy. They need jeans, short sleeved shirts and hoodies year-round. Add in some long sleeved shirts and boots, and you're good for the Winter. Add in shorts and swim trunks, a pair of flip flops, and you're good for the Summer. Boys are easy that way.

The girls are an entirely different story. Since they have been sharing a room, they have also had to deal with sharing a closet. No small task, I guarantee. It was hard enough to transition their clothes when they had their own rooms. You see, girls just have more options, more stuff. For instance, girls have dresses. Short sleeved, sleeveless, long sleeved and jumpers. To go with the dresses, they might need leggings, tights, knit tights or just bike shorts. That's 8 categories of clothing right there. And don't even get me started on the outfits. Boys have clothes. Girls have outfits. Big difference.

Changing out the girl's clothes is a huge undertaking, but one that I seem to have mastered. I have to get out the clothes from the departing season first, then sort the new season's clothes before they see the inside of their bedroom. This Summer, I decided that rather than try and keep the girl's clothes separate, I am just combining them. They wear each other's stuff anyway, and it's really not worth the effort to try and keep it separate. So, instead of having Ally's shorts and Ashley's shorts, this year we will just have shorts. We'll see how it works. Sure made putting the clothes away faster though.

I haven't gone through AJ's stuff yet, mostly because I can't decide what to do with most of it. He is growing so slowly that I am afraid to get rid of anything - most of it might still fit next Fall at this rate!

And there's always the issue of the snow stuff. The boots and gloves and caps and coats and scarves. Coats and jackets are their own subject here too. You need a heavy winter coat, but you also need lightweight coats, windbreakers, raincoats and a decent number of hoodies. I'll get to sorting through all that eventually. It's only the end of April, might be too early to put the heavy winter stuff away. I wouldn't want to jinx it.

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