Kids Capsule Wardrobe Essentials (Free Checklists!)

Want to make a kids capsule wardrobe but not sure what and how many clothes you’ll need? Here’s a list of essential clothing for all seasons and a printable checklist so you can be sure you have everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

When creating a kid’s capsule wardrobe for the first time, it can be difficult to know exactly what and how many clothes each child will need. The key is finding the right quality and quantity of clothes to last until the next season or size, whichever comes first.

If you’re ready to jump right in, let’s start planning your kids’ capsules! 

Kids Capsule Wardrobe Essentials 

Below are all of the essential clothing items for four seasons: fall/winter and spring/summer

On the checklist, I’ve divided the essentials into five categories: tops, bottoms, underthings, footwear, and outerwear. I’ve also listed the number of items we typically have in each category to give you an idea of how much you might need. 

Because your needs will vary depending on laundry frequency, the weather where you live, and your kiddo’s personal preferences, I created two different versions of the kid’s capsule wardrobe checklist — one with numbers that you can use as a guide or a blank one for you to fill in however you like. 

Keep in mind we do a load of laundry nearly every day, about 5-7 loads per week for our active family of four. Depending on the season, for each kid, we need about:

  • 3-5 short/long-sleeve tees
  • 1-2 sweatshirts
  • 1-2 sweaters
  • 1 dress/skirt (girl)
  • 1 dress shirt and pair of khakis (boy)
  • 3-4 leggings or joggers
  • 1-2 jeans
  • 3-4 undershirts or tank tops for layering
  • 3-5 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of tights (girl)
  • 3-4 pairs of underwear
  • 2 pairs of pajamas
  • 1 pair of nice sneakers
  • 1 pair of junky play sneakers (usually an older pair that still fits)
  • 1 pair of nicer shoes
  • 1 pair of nicer shoes and everyday boots (fall/winter)
  • 1 pair of casual sandals and flip-flops (spring/summer)
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 midweight/fleece jacket
  • 1 heavy coat (winter)
  • 1 snowsuit (winter)
  • 1-2 hats (winter)
  • 2 gloves/mittens (winter)
  • 2 swimsuits (summer)
  • 1-2 rashguards (summer)

Your needs will vary depending on whether you do laundry more or less frequently. If you do laundry about once per week, you’ll probably want at least 7-9 everyday tops, bottoms, undershirts/layering tees, socks, and underwear since these items typically need a wash after every wear. 

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How to Use This Kids Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

If you haven’t already, grab your printable checklist above and follow these three simple steps to plan your kids’ next capsule! 

  1. Estimate what you’ll need. Your first time around, this might be a bit challenging. The good news is, after one or two seasons, it’s actually super easy! I created two versions of the checklist, one with numbers that you can use as a guide, and also a blank checklist for those of you who want to customize it — you pick which one works best for you! 
  2. Take inventory of what you have. Chances are you’ll have some things that can be used from a previous season, or you’ve got some hand-me-downs that might work. Take stock of what you have and donate or recycle clothes you no longer have use for. I like to keep a small stash (less than a drawer full) of well-worn clothes and hand-me-downs for rough-and-tumble play clothes in addition to the kids’ capsule clothes. 
  3. Shop to fill in the gaps.  Once you know what you need and what you have, all you have to do is purchase what’s missing. The checklist I created will help you stay focused and curb impulse purchases of items or outfits you don’t truly need. For shopping tips and our favorite brands, check out How to Create a Kids Capsule Wardrobe next.

Oh, and remember to keep your final checklist. It’ll come in handy the next time the seasons change!

What if what I buy doesn’t seem like enough? 

You might make a list and do your shopping only to look at everything together and feel like there’s no way you have enough. I know because that’s how I felt the first couple of seasons. 

Trust me, though, your kids need way fewer clothes than you think they do because, like you, they prefer to wear the same things on repeat! 

Give yourself a couple of weeks to adjust to this smaller, more manageable wardrobe. You can always buy more and update your checklist later if you decide you need a slightly larger capsule than you anticipated.

Remember, before you start shopping, make sure you read this post on How to Create a Kids Capsule Wardrobe for all of my tips, tricks, and favorite brands! 

Other capsule wardrobe posts you might like:

If you find this checklist helpful or have suggestions for items to add, I’d love to hear from you! Just drop a comment below or reply to the email you receive. As always, I love to see you putting my resources to use. Snap a photo of your checklist in action and tag me @modminimalism on Instagram so I can share!

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Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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