4 Steps to Capsuling your Kid's Wardrobes by Angela Mccolgin
There were kids clothes everywhere. Boxes of hand-me-downs had taken over my guest room. Dirty laundry spilled out the top of all the hampers and there were still clothes in the dresser drawers, even though none of them matched. I was living in the middle of a clothing tornado and I desperately wanted to find a way to calm the storm.
The logical solution to my clothing chaos seemed simple; just have less for each kid. I’m constantly hearing about capsule wardrobes for adults, so I thought I would apply that idea my littles. I sat down and created a step-by-step plan to put each child in a capsule wardrobe, a limited number of matching pieces that would work for an entire season. I didn’t expect the first roadblock I would encounter would be guilt.
Step 1: Get over the guilt!
I had clothes that I had been given as hand-me-downs from friends and family. I liked some of them, but my daughter absolutely REFUSES to wear jeans and how many frilly dresses do we really need? (Don’t ask my daughter, she would say ALL of them.) I gave myself permission to have personal taste in clothing for my kids and to accept that maybe it’s time for that strawberry shortcake nightgown to be retired. I was reminded that I can be thankful to God that I am so loved and blessed to receive such generosity but that doesn’t mean I need to keep all the clothes I’ve been given out of misplaced guilt.
Step 2: Make a list.
Check it twice. I did some research on kids capsule wardrobes (thank you Pinterest). I also thought about what pieces of clothing I regularly purchase for my kids, what they usually wear, and I made a detailed list. Then I let the list sit for a few days. When I picked it up again, I asked myself if my kids would use everything that I had listed. I swapped some skirts for a few dresses and added a third pair of shoes. I worried about whether it would be enough. I have an infant and a preschooler, both girls, and their final lists for spring capsules were fairly similar. Here are the pieces on my list.
• 6 long sleeve shirts
• 5 short sleeve shirts
• 2 sweaters
• 6 pants/leggings (no jeans)
• 2 lounge pants/joggers
• 3 skirts
• 6 dresses
• 3 jackets (fleece, jean/bomber, rain jacket)
• 2 pairs tights
• 3 pairs shoes
• Socks, Underwear, Pajamas
Step 3: Shop what you own.
Donate the rest. I took all the clothes out of the closets and the dressers and laid them out so I could see what we already owned. I referenced my list and checked off the appropriate items. I made notes about the color and style of each item because capsule wardrobes work best if everything is in a similar color palette. The remaining clothes that were not part of the list were set aside. Then I went to those bins of hand-me-downs and picked out the items I liked that were also on the list. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we owned half the items on my wardrobe list. I had already decided I didn’t need to store all the leftover items in the attic (see Step 1) and I found great charities that could use the pieces I would not use. Note: If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t get to stay.
Step 4: Wait for a sale and shop.
I do most of my shopping at two stores and I just needed to wait for a sale so I could purchase the remaining items. When I got an email about a 50% Off Presidents Day sale it was time to shop. List in hand, I went online and found everything I needed. By using a list I wasn’t tempted to stray to other cute but unnecessary items and because I bought all the clothes at the same time it was easier to make sure that everything coordinated.
That was it. I now had both of my kids in 40 pieces for the next four months. Once everything came and it was all folded and put away, the drawers seemed a little empty and I wondered if my plan was going to work. Was less going to be enough?
It’s been about a month since I took control of my kid’s closets and my both of my girls have had something clean to wear everyday. The clothes match and they fit. They’re even cute. I think I was worried that having fewer clothes meant there would be a day when there were no clean clothes for either child, but that hasn’t happened yet. My biggest bump so far, I bought one skirt thinking it was pink only to open it and discover it’s closer to neon orange. Of course, this has become my daughter’s favorite new item, because we all need a little more orange tulle in our lives.