Inside: Here you’ll get a detailed look into my daughter’s winter capsule wardrobe plus tips to create and maintain a capsule wardrobe for your family.
Moving from chaotic, overstuffed closets to simplified capsule wardrobes for my kids has made the single biggest difference in simplifying the way my home runs.
That’s right, simplifying clothing has been the most influential game changer in giving me back my home! Who would have thought?
One could argue (and my husband has tried), that having decluttered all the toys has actually had the biggest impact. Yes, while that has helped a ton, it didn’t change the way my home functioned quite as much as having less clothing clutter. (Though it is possible I forgot just how many toys we used to own).
Clothes vs. Toys
If you stop and think about it, toys really only get in the way when we’re home long enough to play with them. It is possible to make yourself so busy that you’re able to avoid your toy clutter all together. Trust me, that’s exactly what I did for years.
Clothing however, is unavoidable. You have to wear clothes. At least that’s the case in my community. Here public nudity is frowned upon and results in incarceration.
Wearing, washing and storing clothing is a must. The larger the family, the worse it can get.
Minimalist Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe
In a previous post, we covered 4 myths associated with creating capsule wardrobes for our kids. It took me a long time to stop overcomplicating capsule wardrobes and implement this simple, practical strategy into our real lives. Removing my preconceived ideas about the rigidity of the rules involved, helped make our families clothes work for me instead of the other way around.
For example, I used to believe creating capsule wardrobes for my kids meant I first needed to decide exactly how many items each child needed per clothing category. I know, exhausting right?
If you’ve ever struggled with perfectionism like I have, it makes sense. We perfectionists often believe that we can’t move forward in a new direction unless we know exactly how it will end and the best possible method for getting there.
The first practical step you can take toward simplifying your children’s clothing is to get off Pinterest, stop fixating on finding the perfect ratio of clothes to pants to shoes, and simply start by theming their wardrobes.
This offers you the permission to own what you need to own, giving you tangible boundaries to help keep you from accumulating what you don’t.
Once I got this down, I began experimenting with pairing back further and further. That’s where we’ve been at for the better part of a year now.
Sometimes we get it right, and every now and then I find myself spot washing last nights dinner off of my son’s running pants at 6:30am so he can wear them to school. Overall though, less has been significantly better. As we continue letting go of more than we bring in, I’ve found owning fewer clothes to be something that fits us well.
I used to say things like, “my daughter would wear that dress every single day if I let her;” Now, I let her.
Winter Wardrobe for my 7 Year Old Daughter
I know spring is almost here, but I’m going to share the current state of my daughter’s winter closet. It won’t be loaded up with links and recommendations. Instead I’m hoping to give you an inside look at what has been working for us so you can feel the freedom to find what works for you.
Remember, this isn’t meant to be a formula for you to replicate. There are minimalists with far fewer articles of clothing, much prettier closet systems and certainly more trendy attire then we own.
This post is not meant to help the super minimalist become super, super minimalist.
No, this one goes out to you Mama, over there. The newly minimalist, the not so minimalist and the minimalist-ish. The one, who like I did, overcomplicates kids’ capsule wardrobes and assumes they are only reserved for trendy families.
Winter Capsule Wardrobe for Kids
2 black leggings
1 tennis shoe
1 chestnut brown boot
1 black dress shoes (I only buy dresses that can match black dress shoes).
1 outdoor winter boots
1 rain boot
7 long sleeve shirts
7 short sleeve shirts (from last summer and most will work this summer as well). She wears them with a cardigan or hoodie in the winter).
4. Sweatshirt & Cardigans
1 hoodie sweatshirt
1 snow pant (she has a second pair that remain at school).
1 winter coat
1 light jacket
1 dress coat
7. Undergarments and Pajamas
Socks: No clue how many. Enough.
See? It’s not nothing.
Tips and Strategies for Maintaining a Capsule Wardrobe
1. Avoid Purchasing Outfits
I touched on this in my previous post but it deserves reiterating. When I say “outfits” I’m referring to clothing that typically comes clipped together as a set and only matches the article it’s sold with. Buying outfits is tempting because, they are so stinking cute and they just make it so easy.
However, if you do the math, “outfits” actually offer you fewer choices.
Let’s Do The Math
If you purchase 10 outfits, you will have 20 articles of clothing and still 10 outfits.
With a themed wardrobe it’s possible to create more ensembles with fewer articles of clothing. With my daughter’s 3 different kinds of pants and 7 long sleeve shirts, I’m able to make 21 outfits!
Sure, you may be able to mix and match those 10 pre-made outfits a little bit, but not always. More often than not, you simply end up buying extra pieces you didn’t need and spending more than you intended.
2. Storing Seasonal Clothing Items
While it can be helpful to remove or box up items that aren’t seasonally appropriate in order to simplify your closet, it doesn’t really work for me and here’s why.
I lose stuff! When I box stuff up, I forget what I own and end up accidentally buying duplicates. Since my kids wear t-shirts and tank tops for multiple summers before outgrowing them, I prefer to keep them in the closet year round.
Besides, I like to keep them accessible for mid-winter vacations, indoor activities and an early spring “size check.”
2. Saving clothes for future siblings
I swear, I could have clothed octuplet boys with the quantity of baby items I saved after my firstborn. Since becoming minimalist, we still save hand me downs, just not nearly as many I used to.
Here are three tips to keeping fewer clothes for future siblings:
1. Only keep clothes in excellent condition.
Free of stains, tears and significant wear and tear.
2. Only keep clothes your child actually wore.
If your first child never wore it, what makes you think you’re going to put the next one in it?
3. Only keep clothes that falls under the umbrella of your kids’ capsule wardrobe.
This becomes a no brainer once you’ve created capsule wardrobes for your older children. But if you’re a couple of kids in and just beginning to implement this new clothing strategy, it will take time.
Odds are good you have bins of random mismatched kids clothing. Start by deciding your capsule wardrobe theme and as you pull out the hand me downs, let go of what doesn’t fall under that umbrella.
I love thrifting and always have. Minimalism hasn’t changed that, but it’s definitely helped me reign it in. The older my kids get, the more difficult it becomes to find what we need in “good” used, condition.
No matter where you purchase your kids clothing, it’s important to stay within your theme and be honest with yourself about what you really need.
“A sale or a deal or a coupon code is only a good deal if it’s on your shopping list.” -Melissa Coleman, The Faux Martha
Finding name brand, new shirts for .50 cents a piece doesn’t change the number of items you actually need. Yes, even if those items still have tags on them!
Our children are going to need lots of things for their feet like gym shoes, soccer cleats, ballet shoes, basketball shoes, etc. We must be intentional with the clothes we purchase because it impacts the kind of shoes we then have to own.
And shoes take up a lot of real estate!
If I cave and purchase a dress for my daughter that won’t match her black dress shoes, I now have to buy shoes that do match.
Note: Owning more than one pair of dress shoes for your child is not a crime. I can’t even say I’ll never, ever purchase pink dress shoes for my daughter. Just be aware of the cost.
Excess shoes are just more items to keep track of and make space for.
5. Consider Areas Where You Can Consolidate
I owned winter boots and rain boots for all of my kiddos. Thanks to the recommendation of many of you on Instagram, I’ve recently discovered I can consolidate these down to one pair of boots each by switching to BOGS Footwear. As they’re outgrowing their boots boots, I’m consolidating down to one pair of BOGS per kid.
They can do the job of rain and winter boots! This creates significant space in my mudroom.
Just the same, one grey cardigan can do the job of five different colored ones. Get creative and consider what can be consolidated.
Just as minimalism is a guardrail, not a destination, so is a capsule wardrobe. This is not a list of rigid rules and requirements. It’s simply more tools for your minimalist tool belt.
This is about purchasing with intention and becoming a more conscious consumer. Sure, for the sake of the environment as well as your wallet, but also for your sanity.
Life is too short to spend it folding excess laundry. Create a capsule wardrobe for your children and simplify your home life.
**This article may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means Abundant Life With Less may make a small percentage of sales at no additional cost to you. I only share items I love and use. By all means, always look to buy used first!