Please join me in welcoming another one of my newest regular contributors, Emily R. from the fantastic blog My Love For Words.
As a mom of four, I usually feel like I’m drowning in laundry. For the longest time I thought the solution to less clothing chaos was more hangers, baskets, and closet organizers, but nothing I tried seemed to work.
My kids had enough clothes to wear something new everyday for months, and there was a constant pile of laundry that needed attention. Eventually, when I was knee deep in laundry for the millionth time and completely sick of having to wash, fold, and put away so many little pieces, I realized that what we really needed was fewer clothes.
A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of pieces that can easily mix and match to create many different outfits. It seemed like the perfect solution to our problem so I emptied all of their closets and drawers and got to work.
This was the intimidating pile I started with. It easily measured about six feet wide and two and a half feet high at its peak. (Yes, our clothing pile had a peak!)
I sorted through the pile in a couple phases. First, I went through the pile as quickly as possible based on what we did and didn’t like. Half the clothes ended up in the giveaway pile simply because we either no longer liked the clothes or they were worn out beyond repair.
When I found a piece I did want to keep, I checked the size to see if it was something our kids can currently wear or if it has to go to storage for a while. I couldn’t believe how many clothes the kids had already outgrown. Those will be stored until the younger kids can wear them, and sorting those will be a whole new adventure, I’m sure.
Next, I went through the keep pile of clothes that are in the currently worn sizes and carefully considered what we had. If we had a lot of similar items, I chose my favorite few and the rest went to the donate pile. I chose pieces that my kids love and can easily be mixed and matched. This is what I was left with.
Not bad, especially considering the mountain I started with! The closet (which is shared by three of my children) went from an unused mess like this…
The former retail employee in me is beyond thrilled to have a closet that looks like a store, but what really surprised me in this whole process was how excited my kids were when I was finished! Both my three and six year old have told me over and over again how much they like their closet now and that I did a lot of work. I knew they’d see a difference, but I didn’t expect them to really appreciate their new tidy space.
Tips for creating a capsule wardrobe for kids:
1. Choose Neutrals.
Having a good mix of neutrals will make it easy to mix and match your wardrobe. For my kids, I tended to stick to neutral bottoms (khakis, grays, blacks, and blues) and keep more colorful, fun shirts. I did keep a couple of colorful bottoms, but too many of those would really limit how much we could mix and match the various pieces in their wardrobes.
2. Stick to a color scheme
As much as I would love to wear beiges and elegant taupes, those just don’t look good on me. We all have certain colors that suit us more than others, and sticking with colors in that range will make it a lot easier to form new outfits because everything will coordinate.
3. Get rid of high maintenance clothes
Some clothes look great in the store, but immediately go down hill after the first wear or wash. The green shirt below is an example of a piece that I loved but had to get rid of. My daughter only wore it once because after the first wash every single ruffle because a wrinkly mess, and I don’t have the time or energy to constantly iron this sucker. Lesson learned: no more ruffly clothing and think carefully about how something will handle being throw in the wash.
I usually don’t bother with clothes that need to be dry cleaned either. Basically, any piece that can’t be throw into the washing machine with a bunch of other stuff probably won’t be staying in our house because ain’t no body got time fo dat! (Sorry, some things never get old to me.) :)
4. Keep favorites
Kids tend to have a few favorite pieces that they love to wear over and over again. Despite having the Mt. Everest of clothing, my kids probably only wore 25% of what was cluttering up their (now empty!) drawers and closets. I’d buy things I thought were really cute only to have my little fashionistas refuse to wear them. I’d rather my kids have a small but loved wardrobe than a large collection of unworn clutter so non-favorites had to go.
I am absolutely thrilled with how this turned out, and I know it’s just the beginning of simplifying our entire home.
I’d love to know if you’ve ever made a capsule wardrobe? Are there any other tips you can think of that would help the decision making process?
Emily is a wife and stay-at-home mom to her four children. She’s currently sharing the good, bad, and ugly in her journey to creating an organized and decluttered home on her blog My Love for Words. She also shares recipes, crafts, home decor ideas, and thoughts on life and motherhood. When she isn’t blogging, she can be found reading, cooking, or homeschooling her kids.