I’ve been really loving the benefits of living with a capsule wardrobe. This process has challenged me to rethink my personal style, decide how I want to present myself to the world, and invest in pieces that I know I will use and love now. Having less also results in less laundry, cleaning and organizing. Over the past few months, I’ve developed a simple uniform that makes it effortless to get dressed in the morning. I basically grab a top and a bottom, then select shoes and a jacket based on the weather and call it a day!
It wasn’t a huge leap to realize that the same benefits could apply to creating a “mini wardrobe” for children. I decided to give it a whirl with my girls using the same process I used with myself and we have been super pleased with the results. Here is what we did:
Step One: Define Personal Style and Wardrobe Needs. My girls both like to be super comfortable and spend most of their time at school, doing art, or having weekend adventures and birthday parties. They hate jeans and anything too formal or constricting. We agreed that their uniform would be composed primarily of cotton leggings with dresses and tunics. They also needed a few party dresses and some specific attire for ballet/gymnastics. Check in with your little ones and have them weigh in on what they like to wear and what they need for sports, events, etc.
Step Two: The Edit. I had each girl take everything out of their closet and dresser and make a massive pile on the floor. (Kids love this part!) Then I had them separate out piles by category – all dresses, all pants, all tops, etc. Then we discussed how many we thought we needed in each category if we did laundry once a week. It’s helpful to set up a boundary that makes sense to everyone before editing. Next, I had them pick their favorites in each category and told them we would donate the rest to kids who didn’t have as many clothes as them. (This is a good time to teach them how fortunate they are and give them the opportunity to help do a little good in the world.)
Step Three: Organization. Here is what we ended up with for each child: (5) Casual Tops, (5) Casual Dresses, (5)Sweaters and Sweatshirts, (10) Cotton Leggings, (2) Skirts, (2) Party Dresses, (3) Pajama Sets, (2) Pairs Everyday Shoes, (1) Pair Rain Boots, (1) Party Shoes, (1) Light Jacket, (1) Heavy Jacket. The best news is everything fits easily in their dresser and we hang their few party dresses in the closet. Their closet is so empty now that we painted it and transformed it into a cozy play room!
Once you have edited storage and organization should be a cinch. My girls share a 6-drawer dresser. We put tops in the top drawers, bottoms in the middle, and pjs, swimsuits, socks and underwear in the bottom drawers. If you kids participate in activities that require uniforms or gear, try stocking a tote bag with the essentials for each activity. We have a swim bag and a ballet bag on hooks in the girls’ closet. They can easily put their own laundry away (folding is a work in progress) and find everything they need.
Step Four: Maintenance. It’s inevitable that more clothing will creep in over time. People will bring gifts, hand-me-downs will be offered, etc. Just do your best to follow the one-in, one-out rule and be discerning about what you allow to enter your home. Before you accept a heaping bag of hand-me-downs or splurge on a bunch of sale items, ask yourself, “do I really want to manage all of this stuff?”
photo credit: vivian johnson photography