Minimal Child’s Wardrobe


As we’ve simplified and purged in an effort to live more minimally, we’ve found that the less stuff we have the happier we are. It goes against everything our culture says but amazingly, I’m more content with 2 pair of jeans and 2 pair of winter shoes than with a closet bursting with clothing and shoes.

Living in a small house with a growing family is one of the reasons we live minimally but the less we have, the less there is to maintain and the more peaceful our home seems.

One of the areas that can quickly get out of hand is children’s clothes.

Here’s a look at Paxton’s minimal spring and summer clothes:

I don’t make it a habit to buy ahead but we are given clothes as gifts and hand-me-downs. When we receive these items, I tuck them into the appropriately labeled storage box. I’ve found that often when he grows into that size, we’ve accumulated enough clothing that we don’t need anything else!

I went through the box and ‘shopped it’ for his wardrobe! There were too many shirts and a few didn’t fit right or didn’t coordinate with any of his shorts, so I put some aside to donate/give to friends. The 2T jeans were too big so they went back into the box for this fall/winter.

I also went through his drawers and pulled out all of his short sleeve tees (we’ve been layering his short sleeve tees with long sleeves all winter!)

All of his short sleeve t-shirts.

Most of Paxton’s spring/summer wardrobe!

A breakdown of his wardrobe:

6 t-shirts

2 button up shirts (not shown)

6 shorts

3 rompers

3 sets of ‘get dirty’ play clothes. 

This wardrobe is quite minimal but I’m positive it’s all we need to last all summer. With Paxton’s birthday coming up, he’ll probably receive some clothing as gifts and I might purchase an outfit or two for the boys that match! We will still keep his wardrobe fairly minimal though by setting limits (like 10 t-shirts, 7 shorts, etc.)

You may also notice we don’t really have any ‘church clothes.’ We go to a very casual church so all of the clothes he has are perfectly acceptable Sunday wear! If we do visit a more traditional church or attend any weddings this summer, he’ll either wear his plaid romper or one of his button ups with nice shorts. 

Benefits of a minimal child’s wardrobe:

  • Less clothing to organize and find storage for.
  • Costs less. Not having a large wardrobe means you spend less on clothing!
  • Easier to get dressed! It’s easier for the child to pick out their own clothes since they aren’t bombarded with a drawer/closet stuffed with clothes.

Do you set wardrobe limits (either for you or your children)? 


responses to “Minimal Child’s Wardrobe” 29

  1. My mom spoils Nyla and is constantly bringing her clothes and that's great but I don't need 24 shirts. Thankfully she's gotten better. Over the fall and winter Nyla had WAY too many clothes items and her drawers were busting. And she really only wore half of the stuff. When my mom started shopping for her spring/summer wardrobe I kept up with what I was putting up in boxes and when she had 4 pairs of shorts I told my mom she had enough shorts, when she had 10 shirts, I told her she had enough shirts. So many of her tops and shorts are mix and match so she'll never wear the same thing twice. It's great!
    I'm definitely trying to limit how much they have. I have pared down my wardrobe big time and am down to about 12 tops and a 3 pairs of jeans and that's more than enough. Like you, we go to a casual church wear jeans are fine. I also have 2 dresses for wedding and other special occasions and that's plenty for me!
    I love that our closet isn't stuffed with clothes we don't even wear. It's nice to walk in and not have to fret over what to wear. It's so much less stressful!

  2. I have been trying to minimalize my daughter's wardrobe for some time now. It is so hard when every other week Grandma has bought her more items she found on clearance somewhere. And no matter how many times I try politely to tell her to stop buying her things out of the blue, she won't stop (I have explained that she has plenty of clothing, but she continues to buy more for her). We already have an over abundance of summer shirts that I will need to minimalize. Thankfully there is a wonderful thrift store close by where I can donate the items that don't fit her well or items that we don't approve of.

    With our next child it will be so easy (if they are a girl) because we have saved most everything from the previous child and will simply select the few outfits we would like to keep and donate the rest. If they turn out to be a boy, we will be able to select a few nice thrift store outfits to purchase and supplement with gifts and gender neutral clothes from the first one! Less is definitely more in this category!!!!

  3. Love this post! I now want to go home and clean out all of the clothes closets. We just found out we are having another boy – your organization tips are great! Currently, I have 4 rubbermaids FULL of clothes for newborn to 18 months. I have some major work ahead of me to reduce the amount of clothes we have. Thank you always for the great advice! PS my favorite is the picture of the plastic bin with the size tag – I can defintely do this in the top of my boys' closets!

  4. This is such a hard one for us! We bought ahead (clearance mostly) for our daughter and she receives so many clothes – for gifts and for no reason sometimes! I have saved our favorites and sold the rest at a garage sale and then to a friend of my sister. Now we have the next batch to be rid of. Our Once Upon a Child isn't taking much at the moment but there is a Facebook group for our area called "Western WI Garage Sale and Want Ads." Some friends at work swear by it. They've made money and done it quickly! I just need to get the time to take pictures of it all and post it.

    With our son I have bought next to nothing! I learned the first time that we WILL receive nearly everything he needs. In fact, more than he needs! We have gotten a couple of things for him (clearance, of course) but otherwise it is hand-me-downs and gifts.

    This post just might be the motivation that I need to get my clothing items online and (hopefully) sold – this week! I am feeling motivated again vs. overwhelmed 🙂

  5. This is something that I definitely struggle with. I've done pretty good at keeping it from getting out of control, but with 2 little girls, both the sole grandkids as well as nieces on each side, it is tough. We try not to spend much on clothes, and I have rarely bought anything for them, but still we always have too much from all the hand-me downs and the gifts. I would love to par down, esp since it would hold me more accountable to keeping up with the laundry. I just hate to get rid of things sometimes in this area since we want more kids, I always think I should save it. For example, I have a tub of boy clothes and we don't even have a boy yet!

    Question for you though- how do you deal with stains? Seems my toddler is constantly getting things on her clothes no matter how hard I try to keep her clean. This results in at least 2 outfits a day depending on what we are doing. I worry about not having enough clean clothes so I feel like we should keep more.

    1. It is hard to keep toddlers clean!! I try to prevent stains first. If I know we're going outside to do something that will probably be messy (like gardening), I'll put him in a play shirt that I don't care if it gets stained. I also will take his shirt off if we're eating something messy here at home. If he does get something on his good clothes, I use Charlie's Soap Laundry Pre-Spray, it's expensive but really has gotten stains out! And if the spray doesn't work, I'll then soak in store brand oxyclean. We have very few stained garments, of course I'm learning that the older children get, the harder it is to control staining!

      And I've been able to really pare down on clothing because I do laundry so often. I wash a load every day or every other day. I simply have my clothes separated into whites and colors with an occasional delicate load. WIthin a day or two I have a full load!

    2. I have a 14 mth old who is constantly staining …ummm..everything. We have found BabyOxiclean to work wonders. We also go through two outfits a day, but I agree eating with a shirt off it totally a great answer but actually I usually take off her bottoms too and she is in her diaper and cover!

      Having designated clothes that are "stain" clothes (or play clothes as Rachel said) gives me some breathing room.

      Less clothing has led to more washing, but the loads are generally smaller and laundry day is less overwhelming. Minimal is so wonderful!

  6. Love it! With 10 children 12 and under, I am still "in control" of all of the clothes and we limit what they have!! My littles {7 & under} get to have 7 shirts, 5 bottoms, 2 pj's….that's it. They also have 3 church outfits, which they can often wear "for good" if we are going somewhere really nice….like a wedding or nice restraunt. I agree with you, it makes life MUCH easier!!

    1. I believe that mama's of large families have the best organizational advice! I love this limit, it seems so smart and more economical too! 🙂 I only have 2 little ones but I realize the more organized and simplified the household is, the easier it is to manage so I know it has to be crucial with a large family!

    2. Wow! I'm so impressed! Just curious Kim – what does your wardrobe look like? I have difficulty discerning what I need to cover not pregnant, pregnant and nursing. My weight between those three stages fluctuates so much I never know what to keep and what to give.

  7. We have the baby's "future" clothes in the closet hanging up in sections. Every few months, I go in and pull out what we are going to use then put it in his drawer. The same time, I will store his older clothes in an old diaper box to be stored in the basement o (for future use for friends or family),

  8. I really like the idea for 6 tops/ 4 bottoms, 1 dress outfit, 2 sweatshirts, 1-2 pajamas. I have 2 school age children. I try to stick with this, and when I do it works very well. I wash clothes twice a week. My problem is shopping and seeing something so cute I want to buy to add to the current clothes. Does anybody else have this problem, and what do you do to stop it?

    1. Have this problem and our solution is that we don't have money to spend on clothes! We have to intentionally take it out of short term/emergency savings, which is a REAL deterrent.

      Also, if I see something cute at, say Target, I let myself do a run to the local thrift store in the next week or so and discover just as cute stuff for extremely low prices! T-shirts are only 89 cents and come from Gap, Old Navy, Polo, etc. And instead of using savings for a thrift store run and if I'm not willing to use my weekly allowance (a mere $15) to purchase clothes for me or my children then it isn't a TRUE need.
      Basically I make myself be extremely intentional about buying clothing/accessories so that it isn't a spontaneous and often frivolous purchase.

    2. I've been fairly strict on not buying clothes since my first son arrived. I only will purchase clothing for him with store credit or with a gift card so that is limiting! And then I try to follow the one in, one out rule. If I do purchase something for one of the boys, then that means something else needs to go!

  9. Rachel this post is a breath of fresh air as we await the arrival of baby Jonah in July. I think I might go through the clothes for him another time before he comes. Rita's main wardrobe is hung which makes it nice for me to scan and see what no longer fits or we haven't worn in two weeks or so. Thanks for great organizational tips!

    Anyone living in Louisiana or similar climate and had a July or Summer baby? Our first was in January and I am afraid I have this "bundling" idea in my head that will be totally unnecessary. Any advice appreciated!

    1. Paxton was an April baby which isn't summer but it was warm and he was still tiny when it was hot! You won't need to bundle! Even Weston who was born in December never really needed to be bundled…he typically slept in a footed sleeper and was swaddled in a muslin blanket. With Paxton, he slept in footed sleepers and swaddles and then by the time he was 2-3 months old (June/July), he was sleeping in gowns without socks on since we kept our home fairly warm.

      People tend to think babies need to be bundled and wrapped in snuggly blankets but the truth is they get hot really easy (at least mine do!) Weston will be in a cotton bodysuit and pants with a blanket around him in the car seat or bouncer and he'll get fussy because he sweating!

      The past two summers Paxton has lived in bodysuits and one piece rompers and both boys will again this summer!

      1. Thanks! Loving your blog lately – you are hitting topics on the forefront in this home. 🙂
        P.S. After during loads of laundry the past three days I realized that I need to do a huge purge for me and Rita! We both have a large collection of random cotton T-shirts that are clogging our laundry.

  10. Rachel this post is a breath of fresh air as we await the arrival of baby Jonah in July. I think I might go through the clothes for him another time before he comes. Rita's main wardrobe is hung which makes it nice for me to scan and see what no longer fits or we haven't worn in two weeks or so. Thanks for great organizational tips!

  11. I think the best point you made is that it makes it so much easier for your child to pick their clothes when there is not a ton of stuff there to wade through! I just took a TON of clothes to a friend and even more to a consignment sale and made over $200 with mostly clothes! I'm grateful for all the clothing friends and family give us, but I have paired down my daughter's immensely and am keeping our little guy's wardrobe very simple as well. I'm not purchasing anything for him since we were given a shower by our church and I got more than enough newborn and 3 month clothes! This summer at yard sales I'll look for 6 month and up, but I am not nearly as worried and stressed about little guy's wardrobe as I was with my first! I made sure she had enough for 3 weeks without doing laundry in every size up to 12 months! That didn't include what was given to us as gifts or hand me downs! I had one of those giant tubs for every season from her first year! I now have it down to one tub for the first year and one for the second! I'm working on slowly building a tub in the next size through picking up used clothing at yard sales and through hand me downs. This new simplified mind set is so freeing!

  12. I don't have any kids yet but I really need to apply this to my own wardrobe and be ruthless! I love Paxton's minimalist wardrobe, so cute yet functional!

  13. This is precisely why I love your blog! I've been attempting to widdle down my 2 1/2 year old son and 8 month old daughter's wardrobes like this for months now and I still feel like there's too much sitting around that doesn't get worn. I do laundry weekly, so the excess just isn't necessary or worth the time trying to keep organized. Now I have some extra inspiration via your post 😉 Thank you!

  14. I love all the ideas and cannot wait to tame the laundry beast. Could you please tell me what size tote you use to store each size? They look small compared to my monster size rubbermaid totes I use. As soon as you tell me I am heading out to buy a new series of totes to start my process. And the best part is I will be able to store them in the top of his closet instead of a wall in the laundry room dedicated to clothing. Three children ages 6, 4 & 2 and I have clothes purchased ahead for each sex up to age 8. I am trying to change from "prepare for everything", to minimalist. My house is complete (but always a work in progress with kids), but I saved the biggest project for last. Kids clothing. I cannot wait to finish that project. Gone through it once but am dying to get through it again. I just did not know what an idea for numbers would be. Sounds crazy I know. Thanks for the ideas!

    1. I'm using sweater boxes for the boys right now. They are small totes but with small clothes, they work. When the boys get a little older, I'll probably upgrade to bigger totes since the clothes will be bigger! Have fun purging and organizing! 🙂

  15. For years I have struggled with laundry….and I think I see the light!!! It's not the Laundry…'s the clothes! We have too many clothes!!

  16. This is a good post!! I can totally relate… I often find myself weeding out clothes at least once a month when I see that my kids don’t wear them. Why keep them?! We too live in a small house where we literally have no storage space. So, whenever we get new clothes, out goes the old ones. If we don’t have a place for something, then do we really need it and so on. Oh and love your boy’s shirts… they are very similar to my boy’s shirts too 😀

  17. I so need to do this! I have 6 kids. Recently, my girls had not done their laundry for two weeks and were saying they had nothing to wear. Well, I went to their dresser and fond a LOT of clothes still in them! DING! Lightbulb! They are NOT wearing them, so they are now gone! And two weeks worth of clothes-nobody needs two weeks worth of clothes-certainly not three girls living in one room!

    I also have clothes from newborn to current age child- a boy in size 18 mos clothes and a girl in size 9 month clothes. Why am I saving their clothes? I don't know! "Just in case." So, I've decided through the help of friends, to go through the boxes and save a couple of outfits that I absolutely LOVE and get rid of the rest. I see more spacious closets in my future. 🙂 Now, I need to motivation and time to do it! 😛

    1. Best wishes simplifying all of your wardrobes! Clothing clutter certainly can sneak up on you. With the birth of our 3rd baby and first girl, I have went through the clothes I saved that the boys wore and only kept a few favorite outfits just in case we have another boy one of these days! The rest of it was cotton basics that can easily be replaced and in the meantime will bless another family and free up space in their room!

  18. This is great! I love seeing how other momma's pare down the littles' wardrobes.
    I'm slowly working through all of our clothing at home and it has been great getting rid of so much extra! Less laundry, less time, etc.

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