I’m a big believer in having a capsule wardrobe for my 6 kids! Less is more in so many ways. How many outfits do your kids need for the Fall and Winter season? How do you keep track of what everyone has and what they still need? Keep reading to find out and don’t forget to grab your free checklist at the end of this post!
Why is it that shopping for kids clothes is just so fun and addicting and somehow I can never find time to get myself a cute wardrobe?? Are you like that too? I know it has something to do with the fact that I’m never in the same size of clothing for more than a few months (7 babies will do that to you) But seriously, kids clothes are just so cute and fun to look at, and fun to bring home. Its hard to know where to stop!
Its so easy to think your kids need more than they really do. Putting a number limit on what you can buy is really helpful in a lot of ways.
- Having less clothing that you are allowing in your home leads to less laundry. (I mean, that’s enough of a reason right there!)
- You’ll realize you don’t need a storage room just for hand me downs and seasonal wardrobes. (see my simple clothes storage plan here)
- And my husband’s favorite thing about having a capsule wardrobe for our kids is its easy on the budget when I have a limit on what I can purchase! Yeah, I’ve really have a problem with over buying in the past…
Are you ready to jump right into having a capsule wardrobe for your kids this Winter? Lets get started!
How Do You Make a Fall and Winter Capsule Wardrobe For Your 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. 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:
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 Fall and Winter capsule wardrobe plus a Christmas dress for each of my girls. 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 will 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 kids capsule wardrobe checklist for Fall and Winter in the this free printable. 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, make 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!
Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe Tips
- The best time to start is right before you switching seasons. When you’re about to store the clothes that your kids are wearing now and its time to start buying for the next season.
- Notice what brands wear the best and last the whole season and stick to them! What styles do your kids find the comfiest? I’ve noticed my kids always reach for the outfits that feel the best over the ones that look a certain way. I mean, I do the same for myself most days!
- Keep patterns and prints to either the accessories or the outfits themselves. 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 is those two things are in your kid’s closet that’s probably the combination they’ll come downstairs wearing when you’re about to head out the door to Church!
Coats, Hats and Gloves, Oh My!
For a capsule type wardrobe, you want to make sure you choose outerwear that matches basically everything. Here’s a list of outerwear necessities:
- 1 quality Winter coat
- 1 dressy coat (optional)
- 1 versatile jacket
- 1 neutral cardigan (optional)
- 1 warm Winter hat
- 1 pair of warm gloves
- 1 par of snow gloves
- 1 pair of snow bibs or pants
How Many Pairs of Shoes Do Kids Need In the Fall and Winter?
Every family is different and of course we all have varying weather, so this is just a basic guideline. Living in Kansas we see some snow, but not for months on end by any means. Here’s the shoe checklist I’ve been using for my kids for the last few years and its been pretty easy to stick with!
- Boots – one pair of rain boots and one pair of snow boots. I actually just buy rain boots with removeable liners that can double as rain and snow boots. Less shoes to buy and keep track of!
- Church/Dress Shoes – nice shoes your kids don’t play in the mud and snow in, that can be worn out shopping and to Church. Nice boots are great for Winter dress shoes since they keep your kids toes nice and warm.
- Tennis Shoes – shoes your kids can play in that are comfortable and durable for rough play.
How To Save Money on a Fall and Winter Capsule Wardrobe
Capsule wardrobes do not have to be expensive. You can find good quality clothing for a reasonable price if you’re smart and strategic.
Watch for Sales
There are so many opportunities to find what your kids need for their winter capsule wardrobe at a discount. Labor Day sales are the perfect opportunity to shop for Fall before it hits. Sign up for email notifications from your favorite clothing companies so that you can be alerted of up coming sale events you might need to take advantage of. Remember to stick to your plan though! Don’t buy items just because they’re a god deal. Make sure its actually something you are looking for and don’t already have.
Shop End of the Season Clearance
You can find amazing deals at the end of the Winter season to stock up for next Fall! I find that Valentine’s Day is when stores are starting to clear our their racks and marking things down. Keeping track of what sizes of coats you’re storing will help you to know what you actually need for the next year, that way you don’t end up with more than you need.
read more about storing kids’ clothing here
Buy Gently Used
Buying used is one of the best ways to save a bundle on your kids capsule wardrobe! Take advantage of someone else overbuying, by shopping what their kids hardly wore! (OK, that sounded kind of savage) Here are some ways to find quality gently used clothing:
Garage Sales and Thrift Stores
You can find some nice things at garage sales, but you have to be selective and focused. It can be easy to end up with a lot of excess clothing when you are shopping such low prices so its important to stick to your capsule wardrobe plan.
eBay and Poshmark
When you know what brands work best for your family, eBay and Poshmark can be the perfect places to look for specific clothing items since the condition is listed and you can usually put in lower offers to score fantastic deals!
Facebook BST Pages
Buy/Sell/Trade pages on Facebook are where moms can go to buy, sell or trade clothing their kids have outgrown from a specific brand. Its trust worthy since there are guidelines the sellers have to follow and payment is done though Paypal. I mostly follow these pages for small shop dresses for my girls since its a much more affordable way to find big girl size dresses from more expensive companies. Here are some of the ones I follow:
There is basically a BST page for every brand out there! Just type the brand name into your Facebook search and request to join your favorites!
Most cities in the US have seasonal consignment events that are a great way to find good deals on kids clothes and shoes! Just google consignment events near me to get on their email lists.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HAVING A KIDS CAPSULE WARDROBE:
DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE A COLOR SCHEME?
You definitely could! But buying for more than one child, thats 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. For example: If you found some really cute green striped pants for your little boy you are going to want to avoid tops that will clash with that. So you would buy solid colored tops and then buy more playful and colorful pants to finish out the wardrobe.
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.
HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY OF EACH CLOTHING TYPE EACH KID NEEDS?
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.
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.
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, being 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 bringing it up 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.
For example: My daughter has been gifted fancy dresses that aren’t really “my style”. Rather than get rid of them, I put them in her closet, and she wears them for a while. If she stays enamored with the sequin studded dresses, of course she can keep them! If they end up just hanging in her closet for a few weeks on end, I’ll donate them. Think of it how 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!
Now, what if the person is very sensitive and asks about the gift later on? Its probably just in your best interest to be very open about how having a more minimalist home helps you in so many ways and how you are keeping the clutter at bay.
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 for me since I know exactly what I’m looking for when I go shopping for each season (no more wasted time browsing without a focus) and its definitely saved me time when switching seasons of 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!
DON’T FORGET TO GRAB YOUR FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST TO GET STARTED!
MORE ORGANIZING AND DECLUTTERING POSTS
- Spring and Summer Kids Capsule Wardrobe Checklist
- Minimalist Newborn Capsule Wardrobe
- How to Declutter and Organize a Small Bathroom
- How to Store and Organize Your Kids Clothes
I hope you found this post helpful in starting a capsule wardrobe for your kids! Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions in the comments below.