How to Minimize Your Child’s Wardrobe


Let’s see a raise of hands: Anyone else have overflowing piles of kids’ laundry? Or dresser drawers crammed with tiny T-shirts and leggings? Closets with miniature dresses and shoes and button up shirts that rarely get worn? Same. I’m ready to minimize my children’s wardrobes.

Laundry tips to make your life easierAs I’ve started thinking about outfits for spring and summer clothes, I’ve noticed my children’s wardrobes can get out of control pretty quickly if I don’t keep my shopping in check. I have a four-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl, and for the first time, I’m going to have to buy them almost entirely new spring/summer wardrobes — at the same time. But I’m bound and determined to keep their wardrobes as lean as possible, so I’ll walk you through exactly how I plan to do that.

A note: For a lot of us, when it comes to minimalist clothing, it may be equated with “neutrals.” For the sake of this exercise, please keep in mind the colors you and your family like to wear. If your kids wear a lot of bright colors, this works just as well as kids dressed in earth tone hues.

Ready to minimize your child’s wardrobe? Let’s dive in.

Tips to Minimize Your Child’s Wardrobe

Define your lifestyle. When planning a wardrobe with any sort of intention, it helps to pause and define what you need (this works for children and adults). When it comes to kids, I’m not only thinking about what sizes and types of clothing they’ll need (shorts in summer, pants in winter) but what our lifestyle is like. As fun as it is to buy adorable sundresses for my daughter, I’ve noticed that she just doesn’t wear them often. Likewise with button up shirts for my son.

>> RELATED READ :: 5 Must-Haves Clothes for Your Wardrobe this Spring and Summer <<

I’ve had to be honest with myself: If I want a minimalist wardrobe for my kids and fewer wasted items, I need to pare down the dresses and button up shirts. Your achilles heel may be shoes or sweatshirts. Observe and take note of what’s not getting worn, and whether it’s simply because you have too much of it.

This doesn’t mean you can’t buy any of those things. But if I want my child to truly wear everything in the closet, he or she only needs one or two, not five or six.

I also recently listed out quantities of clothing I think they’ll need this upcoming season. I thought about how frequently I have to change their shirts and how many times a week I’m willing to do laundry.

Here’s a general outline that I think will work for my kids (yours may need more or less):

  • Tops (T-shirts and tanks) — 10
  • Shorts — 7 to 8
  • Shoes — 3
    • Sneakers: 1
    • Sandals: 1
    • Crocs/Natives: 1
  • Dresses — 3 casual, 3 dressy
  • Bathing suits — 2 to 3

pink booties on folded clothesAsses what they already have. Pull out all their clothes, preferably when they’re not around. It may help to even write down what they have so when you go shopping you don’t overbuy.

  • Tops (T-shirts and tanks) — 10; has 3
  • Shorts — 7 to 8; has 2
  • Shoes — 3; has 1
  • Dresses — 3 casual, 3 dressy; has 1 dressy
  • Bathing suits — 2 to 3; has 0

Now when I go shopping, whether it’s a quick grab from Target or a consignment haul, I can check the notes on my phone and purchase only what they need.

A Few Guidelines to Live By

Are you ready for the key to having a minimalist wardrobe, whether it’s for you or for your child? Commit this to memory: Everything MUST match everything.

Whether your child’s closet is a rainbow of neutrals or an actual rainbow of colors, in order to keep it lean and for it to work, the majority (ideally, all) of your child’s tops should match all of the bottoms. I’ve noticed when there’s an item of clothing that doesn’t really go with everything else, it doesn’t get worn.

>> RELATED READ :: Locally Owned Children’s Boutiques in Fort Worth <<

Pick prints for tops or bottoms, not both. By trial and error, I’ve found it’s easiest if you choose to have prints (stripes, polka dots, plaids, etc.) either on the bottom or the top — not both. Things will match more easily and you won’t have as many items sitting around unworn.

Buy only what you need, sell or give away what you don’t. I used to think a minimalist wardrobe needs to be high-quality, well-made (and therefore expensive) items. This may be true for adults but it is a ludicrous idea for children. I personally shop mostly at consignment and thrift stores for my children because it’s better for my wallet and the environment. Another tip to minimize your child’s wardrobe is to buy secondhand so that nothing is too precious. This season, I’m aiming to buy only what they need, make adjustments if they need more (or less), and to give away whatever feels excessive to us. 


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