My Kids’ Capsule-Inspired Wardrobe

I am THE WORST at laundry. I hate it. I’m forever ironing wrinkles into things instead of out. My poor husband frequently says something to the effect of “Hey, um, I’m wearing my last pair of underwear, do I have any clean for tomorrow?”

And, yes, he can do his own laundry. He can do laundry better than I can. But, he literally does not have time. Maybe once he finishes this PhD he can help out a little more in that area, but for now the laundry is my job. I have found myself drowning in dirty clothes, unable to keep up, and I only have two kids! Now, it’s a fact that I, my husband, my two kids, and two dogs create a lot of things that need to be washed – especially when you think about sheets, dog blankets, kitchen towels, bath mats etc. I have to do at least one load a day to somewhat keep the baskets from overflowing.

Even though a lot of laundry is pretty expected for my family, I truly found myself in a place where it has become so burdensome that it is causing me stress.

Then I read this post about a capsule wardrobe for children. If you don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is, I highly recommend reading the linked post to start. In a nutshell, a capsule wardrobe is a minimalist approach to dressing. It’s made up of few, high quality pieces, that can mostly be all mixed and matched. It reduces the amount of stuff in the closet, and the amount of laundry. I’ve written about our journey to less, and how we are reducing the amount of stuff we have, so when I read that post I thought “THIS! This is what I need!”

Where I began:

We have been fortunate enough to  have been given TONS and TONS of hand-me-downs from some sweet friends. I cannot express how grateful I am for hand-me-downs! I first went through all of my children’s current clothes and bagged up anything they’d outgrown or just plain never wear. I went through all the hand-me-downs for the upcoming season. Anything I felt I couldn’t use was handed down to a bestie of mine. I’m lucky to have three sweet friends with little girls, our girls are like stair steps, and the clothes just get passed along.

I got rid of so much outgrown clothing! It felt awesome. Once that was finished, I evaluated what we had and what we needed to purchase.

Finding the missing pieces: 

Normally, I shop for kids clothes all year long, looking for bargain and clearance items. Well, my kids are at stages where this doesn’t quite work as well as it once did. I can’t truly know how big they will be next season or next year, so I’ve stopped a lot of my shopping ahead. Once I evaluated their spring and summer needs I went to the mall. I happened to pop into Gymboree. I NEVER shop there. Their clothes are beautiful, but way out of my budget. However, since we are going for less this time around, I thought if I bought a few higher quality pieces, that the kids would get more use out of them. Lo and behold it was extra 50% off clearance day, and they had some things PERFECT for my boy!

image (2)

Part of having a capsule wardrobe is creating a color palette that works together so you can mix and match easily. Bonus: for kids, you don’t have to send them back to their room to change because they chose a mismatched outfit. These shirts were perfect for my little sea & pirate loving guy, and they are all in the navy-red-gray color palette. They were $6 each, y’all! They are so soft and Turner loves the designs. I also bought him some coordinating shorts. I spent a little more on the shorts than I normally would (around $11) but they are nice fabric and I think he’ll get a lot of wear out of them. He happened to already have some plain red and gray shirts at home.

For Liza Jill, she had plenty of dresses, but almost no play clothes. I didn’t have much luck for her at Gymboree. I wanted to get some solid tops and shorts/capris for her, so I first checked out I thought the prices were pretty good, but their clothes are a little too plain for my tastes and I just wasn’t sure about the sizing. I briefly considered getting some shirts and having them monogrammed to jazz them up a little (I love a monogram, y’all!), but then I’d be spending way more than I wanted. In the end, I ordered her clothes from I found plenty of solid tops that still had some fun details – eyelet flutter sleeves, pom-pom trim etc.

Putting it all together: 

There were a few other things I had to purchase – Liza Jill needed a swimsuit, and dressy sandals for church. They both needed a pair of outdoor sandals for spring and summer hikes and outdoor play. All-in-all I spend about $180 for everything – all the clothes, swimsuit, and shoes. I felt like that was pretty good, still a good chunk of change for our budget, but I was able to use a lot of the hand-me-downs and things we already had.

The last step, once I filled in the gaps, was to bring it all together – this is where capsule-inspired comes in. I can’t claim that my kiddos have a true capsule wardrobe because of this:

lj closet

LJ’s dresses! I did get rid of a few, but she really will wear most of these! A few of those in the pic she hasn’t quite grown into, so they are for future wear. We attend church regularly, and I try to make sure she looks nice. She also wears the cotton dresses on a regular day very often. In addition, I kept a stack of big t-shirts in Turner’s drawer – he sleeps in them a lot, and I’ll throw them over regular clothes during art projects, or if I know they are going to play in the mud or something dirty.

The end result: 

Turner’s Wardrobe:

  • 7 shirts (in the red/gray/navy color palette)
  • 6 shorts
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 3 pairs of athletic/sweat pants (these as well as the jeans will probably go away once it gets really hot)
  • 3 dry-fit outfits (shirts & shorts) for outside play
  • 3 pairs of pj’s
  • Several button-downs and polos for church or nice events
  • socks & underwear
  • 3 swimsuits
  • 2 pairs of tennis shoes
  • 1 pair of sandals
  • 1 pair of play shoes to get dirty
  • 1 pair of fuzzy slippers
  • Stack of big t-shirts to sleep in or art projects
  • 1 sweatshirt & 1 light jacket

Liza Jill’s Wardrobe:

  • 8 shirts (pink and purple color palette)
  • 6 shorts/capris
  • 2 skirts (jean to match any shirt)
  • 4 leggings (either black or jeggings – to wear with shirts or under dresses)
  • 10 dresses (some nice, some play)
  • 6 bike shorts for under dresses
  • 3 pairs of pj’s
  • socks and underwear
  • 2 pairs of tennis shoes
  • 1 pair of outdoor sandals
  • 1 pair of dressy sandals
  • Slippers
  • 1 sweatshirt & 1 light jacket

lj shoes

And that’s it! Well, mostly. There a few miscellaneous items we kept, such as our homeschool group t-shirt.  I love that things are simplified. Laundry is easier, there’s less clutter, everything matches so my kids can dress themselves – it’s a win-win-win. They still have plenty to wear, and let’s be honest, they want to wear the same three items over and over anyway!

If you find yourself being suffocated by stuff, or drowning in laundry, I highly suggest the less is more approach. We are still on our journey to less, but I’m learning and growing all the time! Now, does anyone have a fabulous laundry system/schedule I should try out?



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