Even if you didn’t read Marie Kondo, you probably sort out your clothes or your kid’s clothes every once in a while.
Every single time I find myself thinking we have way too much, especially after a holiday where we’ve been doing fine with way less for a few weeks.
How much clothes do my kids need?
I don’t think there’s a magical number to answer this question. It depends on your lifestyle, the weather conditions, how often you do the laundry and how long it takes for the clothes to dry so they’re ready to be worn again. Some kids are more talented at spilling everything and will need more pieces of clothing compared to those who don’t get dirty often.
Where do I start?
I can’t even say how many times I thought about just ‘starting over’. Donating / selling what we have and buying a few matching pieces of high quality clothing brands that can be combined by my kids in to several different outfits. Sadly I lack the funds to do this and also don’t want to take away their favourite dresses or gifted clothing pieces just because they don’t match my preferences of buying fair / eco.
You don’t need to have the perfect capsule wardrobe for your kids all at once. It will take some weeks or months to get to the ‘click’ moment, where it’s just perfect.
I’m sharing some tips on how we do it:
1. Check what you have
Pile up all the clothes your child owns and look through it. Take your time to sort out everything that doesn’t fit and count to get an overview. I discovered the girls had a lot of underwear, like over 20 pair of underpants! We also sorted out lonesome socks and clothes the girls don’t like to wear because they aren’t comfortable. I realised handing down pants isn’t a good choice for us as Alice is much more skinny compared to Celine at her age and pants Celine has worn mostly sag if Alice wears them. Must be very frustrating if you try to run and your pants don’t stay up.
2. Forget the magical number!
21 pieces? 37? or maybe 33? Numbers that work for others might not work for your child or situation. With 3 kids and lots of outside play I felt like I’m always doing laundry. Either washing, hanging or folding, it never stops. Less clothes = less high piles as the girls won’t have anything to wear if I don’t wash it in time. I decided to make sure to have enough clothes for 10 days so I could do laundry once a week.
3. Let your kids pick their favourites!
My girls are 5 and 3 and have a strong opinion about what they wear. Letting them pick a limited number of favourites was my way to get them involved. 1 dress, 1 skirt, 1 shirt and 1 pair of pants. If they need any new clothing as they outgrow old stuff I let them pick between some options instead of giving them a complete freedom of choice.
4. Work with what you have
After letting your child pick some favourites, pick some pieces of what they already own to complete their capsule wardrobe. I kept all ‘sorted out’ pieces in a storage box for a while so I could add more pieces back to their wardrobe if needed… Or just in case one of the girls would end up asking for one of the shirts claiming it was her favourite and she misses it.
5. Make a list
A few weeks after sorting everything you’ll be able to see if there are any pieces your child will need or which will need to be replaced in the (near) future.
‘Need’ is when they don’t have any or enough pieces of some kind. (My girls each only had 1 short sleeved shirt, I preferred them to have 2) and with replacing I mean when they have something which isn’t sparking joy (anymore). For example: my girls had enough underpants but I wanted to replace them with wool or wool/silk pieces. Not a necessity so no rush, but when I saw a sale I bought new underpants and sorted out the old ones.
6. Shop consciously
I’m a bit of a shopaholic. I love shopping online and I love buying clothing for my girls and little boy. If I only buy things of the list at least I know I’m not overdoing.
I changed from buying a lot of low priced (and low quality) pieces to buy a lot less but higher quality (and mostly wool) clothing.
I would prefer to shop in real life stores, but sadly there’s no shop local to me which is selling my favourite brands.
7. Get your children on board
Okay, maybe this should have been number one…. as it’s pretty important. Depending on the age of your children you can tell about the (true) cost of fashion or just about how much of a waste a huge wardrobe can be. My girls were happy to donate clothing for other children to wear and they know it’s expensive to buy new pieces so they have to be carefull (not cutting their shirts up with scissors…. or painting with a favourite dress on!). I also feel like they spend less time making a choice of ‘what to wear’ in the morning and still be very happy and confident as they only own things they really love.
Even in summer (30°C) my girls wear wool or silk. At Crawler they offer thinner/more airy summer wool clothing and I also have a shirt and a top for myself which I love.
After a lot of washing (I throw everything in my machine on a wool program) it’s still looking nice (no pilling). They are handmade so you can pick the colours and size and they will be made especially for you!
It was a nice way to get the girls involved, asking them the colours they would like. It’s also easy to create some mix & match outfits with just a few pieces from this brand.
You can see as we packed for a longer holiday I used baskets to keep things organised. 1 basket per child, an easy way to limit choices as we didn’t have much room in the car. Taking less clothing with us did mean I would need to do laundry more often but it worked well.