How to create a capsule wardrobe for toddlers

Earlier this summer I walked into my laundry room, looked at all my twin toddler's clothing piled on top of the washer, dryer, spilling out onto the floor, (knowing very well this was only a tiny slice of their actual wardrobe) and I found myself fantasizing about Marie Kondo coming to rescue me from my laundry hell.

But instead of her coming to help me tidy my house, her and I would retreat to a weeklong spa getaway in some tranquil Japanese forest where we would just sip jasmine tea in silence and smile at each other….sigh.

Once I came back down to reality and realized Marie was certainly not going to dig me out of this clothes heap I wiped the sweat from my brow, and realized I needed to tackle this problem before it truly got out of control.

I didn't know where to even start, what to keep or what to discard. It was just heaps and heaps of clothes. It took me some time, a month and a half to be exact, to find the perfect solution for my problem - which is when I adopted the Capsule wardrobe approach!

Some of you may have no idea what I'm talking about, while others may have heard about this idea but found the process a little too complicated, abstract, or “Goopy”. Well, today I'm going to show you a few simple steps on how you can make this idea work for you as it did for me, but first, let’s start with the basics. .

What is a capsule wardrobe?

The term was coined by Susie Faux, the owner of "Wardrobe" a London boutique. Simply put, a capsule wardrobe means having a collection of essential clothing items that don't go out of fashion and can be used for some period of time. While it was initially adopted by uber-stylish, minimalist women and men, this trend slowly started seeping into parenthood as well - and for good reason!

A capsule wardrobe is the perfect solution for busy moms and dads who want to cut out all the kids clothing clutter, reduce unnecessary spending, and become more minimal and low-waste. Also, it just makes your life EASIER.

Creating a capsule wardrobe for my twin toddlers came with a lot of advantages and frankly it was just a lot of fun. I interacted with my littles and got to learn more on their fashion sense and what type of outfits they really loved.  

How do I create a capsule wardrobe for my child?  

todders capsule wardrobe for fall

The first step was calling my kids for a small family meeting over oatmeal cookies and juice. After reaching a consensus, all the parties agreed (by giving me a thumbs up) that we could all do with a little less clothing. 

After making sure every piece of clothing was out in plain sight, I had my little devils choose 1 article of clothing each they just could not live without, so they felt they had some choice in the matter. My son chose his favorite puppy dog t-shirt and my daughter chose her yellow rain slicker which she proceeded to wear indoors for the rest of the afternoon. ☺ 

After pairing down and cutting out all the clothes they never wore or had ‘over worn’, I was left with the basics.

From here, because fall was approaching which meant “back to school” or Kindergarten for them, I decided to focus solely on creating their fall capsule wardrobes.

This consisted of the following per child:

3 t-shirts
3 long sleeve t-shirts
3 sweaters
3 button up shirts
4 pairs of pants & 2 shorts  
2 coats
2 dresses (for girl)
Basic undergarments, 7 pairs of socks, and 1 swimsuit 

I looked at what I had scaled down to and couldn't believe this would be all they would have to work with for an entire season...but guess what? It was more than enough!  

For maximum 'capsule wardrobe' flexibility it's all about color palettes

My children have their color preferences; and because I wanted them to start sharing some clothes down the road I tried to stick to more gender-neutral palettes, some greens and grays and a lot of neutral natural colors, blacks, and a few whites. There is no reason my little girl can't wear sweater that my boy wore the week prior.

This simple fact helped me out a lot when buying new clothes, I laying out my kid's outfits. And going forward this made choosing clothing together a lot easier as well - because the colors all work together nicely it allows for more combinations of outfits, creating a broader collection of ‘looks’ but with less clothes overall. This is an absolute tenant to the capsule wardrobe strategy!  

Re-use, re-cycle, but keep some for sentimental purposes   

We as a society are going green – perhaps not as quickly as we should, but we’re going in the right direction at least – we’re becoming more conscious, and making better choices. But,there is still a massive abundance of waste. One of the simplest things we can do at the moment is just try not to add more to it. How can we do this? Re-use and re-cycle.

You likely have a lot of outfits that your kids can not use anymore but are relatively new, or perhaps even unworn altogether. If you don’t want to hang on to these for future children these can be donated to your location clothing drive, or sold in a consignment – has become my new favorite site.

Any clothing items that can’t be given off or sold (perhaps due to very hard wear and tear) can be used as kitchen cloths, painting wipes and other handy household rags. I remember my mom used an old Sponge Bob Square Pants t-shirt of mine for decades. It always made me smile when I saw her dusting with it.

One thing to remember, you don't need to get rid of everything. Clothing can hold a lot of sentiment and memories and I, for instance kept some of my kids' keepsake clothing. I even framed a cute hand-knit baby sweater as a ‘mom’ento.    

Final thoughts on creating a capsule wardrobe for toddlers

So, after getting rid of the excess clothing we finally had space for what my kids really needed. We could make sense of their wardrobe. Every item had a purpose and worked together. And involving my children meant that they had some 'creative control' over what they would wear for the season. The less clothes, the easier it is for them to decide what to wear each day, and the less laundry I have to do as well. And that my friends is what we call a 'Mom-win'!

Live well,


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