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Summer Kids Capsule Wardrobe and Free Checklist!

Learn all about how to create a capsule wardrobe for kids by taking these simple steps. Find out the many benefits of keeping a minimal amount of kids’ clothes and how it can save you time and money! Don’t forget your free printable checklist at the end of this post!

a graphic showing a kids capsule wardrobe made up of neutral boys and girls clothes

When my first two girls were toddlers, and their closets were jam packed with the sweetest little dresses and tiny skirts, bonnets, and stockings that I had found for a couple dollars each at garage sales. So many little things that my girls hardly ever wore!

Why? Because I had a few favorites that I kept reaching for when I would dress them each day. And as they got older, they would always pick the same 3 outfits for themselves day in and day out.

As our family grew, and I had less and less time to spend scouring sale racks, and less room in my house for storing bins and bins of little clothes. It was time to come up with a plan!

Have you checked out my newborn essentials checklist yet?

I wrote down a list with each type of clothing they wore and numbered each one, that way I had a goal set that helped me limit how many outfits I could buy and it helped me to make sure everyone had what they needed each season.

My kid’s closets aren’t packed to the brim anymore. They have a few cute and quality items that they love and wear on repeat. I spend less time doing laundry, and less money in the long run!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Get my full disclosure here.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing items that work well together, and when layered different ways can create different looks and outfits. It is usually made up of a limited number of basic pieces with classic colors and patterns.

Have you started a capsule wardrobe for yourself yet?

So how does this work with kids’ clothing since they are constantly growing from one size to the next? The same way it works for adults, but maybe with some extra fun colors involved!

Since kids are constantly growing and changing sizes, its really helpful to have less to keep track of and less to buy each season and size!

what are the benefits of having a capsule wardrobe for kids?

Less Laundry

Need I say more Mamas? Laundry is supposed to be this thing that nobody can keep up with, right? Well I’m here to tell you that having fewer clothes in your home, leads to less laundry. Its that simple!

Check out my 10 tips for keeping up on your laundry pile.

save Time Spent Keeping Track of Clothing

Less time sorting clothes for the changing seasons and much less time spent picking up clothes when the toddler decides to dump out every drawer for the 20th time in a week!

Less Space Taken up in Your Home

The less clothing you own, the less room needed. Fewer bins in storage and less crowded closets!

Spend Less Money

Sticking to a small wardrobe, you’re allowing yourself to buy a certain amount for your kids, no matter what cute clothes or great deals come along. When you’ve filled out your capsule wardrobe checklist, that’s it!

Enough clothes is enough clothes!

Hand Me Downs are Much Easier to Keep Track Of

When you have several kids, hand me downs can be really overwhelming. Keeping a minimal amount of clothes makes it a lot easier to keep track of it all, and saves storage space.

Have you checked out my simple clothes storage plan yet?

How To Make a capsule wardrobe for kids:

1. Figure out how many outfits each child needs

The easiest way to do this, is to figure out a maintainable laundry routine. If you wash laundry every other day, that’s 3 days worth of clothes each of your kids needs to make it through that time.

Now you might be thinking, 3 outfits?! Well not quite. Age and gender have a lot to do with how many outfits your child needs for 3 days. For example, a 3 year old boy is going to need a few more pairs of pants than a 10 year old girl will.

Think like you’re packing for vacation.

And then add an extra outfit for “just in case”. The older your kids get, the more choices they will probably want, so the numbers will need to reflect that. Here’s what this looks like for my kids:

a chart that shows how many outfits your kids need for a capsule wardrobe

dressy clothes

Now this list doesn’t include dressy clothing for church and special occasions or apparel for specific sports.

Each of my kids has 2 dressy outfits for their seasonal capsule wardrobe plus a holiday outfit for Easter an Christmas. This is plenty for them to have a couple of options to choose from each Sunday but it keeps decision making easy.


For pajamas the amount your kids need will depend on how many days it takes for you to get your laundry washed and dried.

For our family, since it takes 3 days at most for laundry to get from the dirty laundry basket back to the dresser drawers, my kids each need 3 pairs of PJs. Little babies will need 5 or 6 since they sometimes need to be changed in the middle of the night (those little diapers just don’t seem to do the job).

2. Make a checklist list of each type of clothing your child wears

This list will vary by season, age and gender. I’ve included a free printable kids capsule wardrobe checklist to help you get started right away! All you have to do is fill in the number of items your child needs to make the number of outfits you planned out in step 1.

3. Use this list to declutter the clothing you already own

This is not the fun part. You just have to go for it though! Make a pile of everything your child currently fits. Then make piles of each article of clothing.

Using your list, go through your kids’ closets making sure you are only keeping the number of items you have “allowed”.

So say your list says your 3 year old needs 6 pairs of shorts for the Summer. Make sure you’re keeping the 6 pairs of shorts that you and your child reach for the most.

4. Use this list when buying for the next season or the next size

This is the fun part. You might think that having a list to stick to feels limiting. But, I like the freedom to be able to spend a little more on a couple of good quality items that my kids can pass from one to the other and its nice to get to be pickier about colors and prints!

tips for Success:

start with the changing of the seasons

It’s easiest to start a capsule wardrobe for your kids when you’re getting to the end of one season and about to start the next.

The reason is, you’re already having to go though their clothes to store or declutter what they don’t fit anymore and buy for the next season, so you might as well get jump right into applying your capsule wardrobe plan!

stick to tried and true brands

What styles do your kids find the comfiest? What brands do you notice hold up throughout the whole season?

Stick to a couple of brands you know and love.

My favorite places to find timeless style and long lasting quality are Hanna Andersson and Boden.

when it comes to patterns and prints

Decide whether you want your fun prints and patterns to be in the accessories or the main part of the outfit.

Leopard print is classic and fun, so are bold stripes! But a leopard print dress and striped cardigan is going to look a little crazy.

And if those two things are in your kid’s closet, you know that’s probably the combination they’ll come downstairs wearing when you’re about to head out the door to Church!

a graphic showing capsule wardrobe staples for little girls

creating a kids Capsule Wardrobe on a budget

Here are a few ways to build a kids’ capsule wardrobe on a budget:

  • shop used online – search for tried and true brands at places like Poshmark or eBay
  • go thrifting – remembering to be intentional so you don’t bring home more than you actually need
  • shop end of season clearance – stalk your favorite shops in August and February for deeply discounted wardrobe staples for next year
  • shop at consignment events – search online for consignment sales coming to your area

FAQ About Having a Kids Capsule Wardrobe:

Do You Have to Have a Color Scheme for a capsule wardrobe?

You definitely could, but buying for more than one child, that’s going to be hard to maintain and keep track of. I find the best way to do it, is start with a few items you really like color wise and base the rest of the wardrobe off of that.

Keep your fun patterns to one type of clothing in the wardrobe. Maybe you keep your girl’s dresses solid colors and get her fun bows and tights as accessories. Or the other way around.

Remember the goal here is to make everything as inter changeable as possible to make it easy for your kids to dress themselves each day.

One pieces and rompers are my favorite since they can be fun patterns and there’s no need to make sure tops and bottoms will match.

a graphic showing capsule wardrobe staples for little boys

How many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe?

I went over this earlier in this post, but the best way is to have a real laundry routine, and then keep track of how many times a day your child seems to need a change of clothes.

Babies definitely need several outfits a day, whereas an 8 year old could probably wear the same outfit 2 days in a row!

Think outfits instead of articles of clothing in the beginning. 5 outfits might end up being 10 articles of clothing depending on whether your child wears separates of one pieces.

The older your kids get the more choices they will want when they get dressed. But they also are slower to go through sizes, so having a few extra outfits in their closet is worth it.

a neat pile of matching pastel dresses for girls and a pair of brown leather shoes

How Many Pairs of Shoes Do Kids Need for a kids capsule wardrobe?

Think about how many types of activities your children have each season:

  • mud boots – for playing in the mud and rain
  • snow boots – or the mud boots can double as snow boots if you use warm liners with them!
  • dress shoes – going to church or special events
  • play shoesjellies, tennis shoes or crocs
  • casual shoes – nicer than play shoes, for outings and playdates

This is just a guide. The number of shoes is going to depend on your family’s needs and lifestyle.

The goal for a minimal kid’s capsule wardrobe is to choose quality over quantity, and to choose styles and colors that are multifunctional.

Be intentional. Don’t just buy the rainbow sneakers because they were on clearance. Think about how many outfits they will actually match in your kids capsule wardrobe and what purpose they will serve your child.

How Do You Keep Clothes From Getting Ruined When You Have a Small Amount?

I’ve been asked this question a lot and the answer is, the same way you do when you have a larger wardrobe!

We take care of the clothes we have and if one item gets ruined, we can replace it if we need to. Usually by the end of the season some of my kids’ clothes are worn through, so they go to the trash can, and we don’t have to figure out where to store them or where to donate them.

Check out this post for more my homemade stain remover spray that works super well on dirty kid’s clothes.

kids capsule wardrobe checklists free printables

Does it Cost a Lot to Get Started with a Kids Capsule Wardrobe?

It doesn’t have to! Start by decluttering what you have, sticking to the number of outfits you’ve decided each child needs for the stage they’re at.

Then when it comes time for them to go up to the next size of clothing or time to buy for the next season, just keep your kids capsule wardrobe goal in mind. Focus on more intentional about the number and types of items you are purchasing.

You will most likely end up saving money because you will have put limits on the amount you are “allowed” to buy.

How To Deal With Clothes that are Given to You?

This is another commonly asked question that is tricky to answer. The best way I have found to deal with this personally is to be open to family about our goal to declutter. You don’t have to bring this up at the time someone gives you something, but just mention it casually at other times.

If we are still given things we don’t necessarily love or need, I let the kids keep them for as long as they are interested. If I find they aren’t loving it after a while, we donate it.

Deal with it in the same way you would want someone else to deal with a gift you gave them that they didn’t necessarily love, and is not in line with a plan they are trying to follow to better their life. Of course you would understand if after a bit, they gave it away to someone who really loved it!

Is it a Lot of Work to Keep Track of a Kids Capsule Wardrobe?

It can take a little time to get started and get the hang of it. But its really a time saver in the long run since you know exactly what you’re looking for when you go shopping for each season (no more wasted time browsing without a focus).

And its definitely saves time when switching seasons or dealing with hand me downs!

Since we don’t have a lot in each size, its as easy as pulling out the next size up tote of clothing, filling the drawers and taking note of what I need to shop for to fill in the gaps of each kids capsule wardrobe!

Using a capsule wardrobe checklist is really helpful when you’re getting started!

Printable Checklist for kids capsule wardrobe:

More Minimalist Posts You Might Enjoy:

If you think having a kids capsule wardrobe is a good idea, I think you might enjoy these other posts for minimalist moms!

I hope you found this post helpful in knowing how to create a capsule wardrobe for your kids. Would you add anything to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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  1. Such a great post!! We love having capsule wardrobes too! I love reading content on this topic! Especially since we want a lot of kids, this will come in handy one day!

  2. Elizabeth! You started me on the idea of capsule wardrobe for my kids last year! Its definitely made more sense for our lifestyle of moving around and huge bonus of saving money and buying better quality- which also have higher resale when we’re done! Lots of wins here!!

  3. Two questions, 1. When you need to buy new clothes do you always buy brand new or do you buy secondhand like from ThredUP or eBay (or similar)?
    2. With your boys, how much of their clothes do you keep since the next youngest is a girl and you don’t know when or if you’ll have more boys?

    1. Good questions! I should have addressed that in the post.
      I buy a lot of things used but I’m really picky now as to brands I know will hold up and colors that will go with what we have. All of the boots pictured were bought on ebay for example.
      For the boys I’m keeping only the amount of clothing I have on the checklist (one boy’s worth ) and no more. If we have another boy he’ll be set. And if we don’t, we aren’t storing too much.
      I hope that helps!

  4. Great tips for being intentional with a capsule wardrobe! I like the flexibility you incorporate with different items for different occasions while staying true to simplifying.

  5. These are great tips!!!! I agree; I prefer quality over quantity. This inspired me to declutter. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

  6. Boy, do my kids wardrobes need this! What a helpful thing to add a checklist. Totally going to download that! ❤️❤️

    1. Hi Steph! I’ve found really pretty dresses from Mila and Rose, Goldybelle and Alice and Ames brands. To save money, I’ve found most of them used on Poshmark or Facebook BST groups!

  7. Hi! Can I get the checklist emailed to me? I think this will be so helpful when changing the kids closets over for summer!

  8. This is so great! I’m absolutely doing this for my 2 girls, but I’d like to do it for myself as well. Do you have a list for the Momma’s?

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