How My Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe Simplified My Life (& Laundry)

I must admit … when the capsule wardrobe trend took over Pinterest, I was mostly uninterested. As a mom, my wardrobe was based much more on functionality and had to be more variable. Times like pregnancy and nursing required certain types of clothes and the options were limited. Then, I discovered the kids capsule wardrobe and it changed my life.

The Great Laundry Monster

I used to joke that based on the amount of laundry I was doing, there must be people living in my house that I hadn’t even met.

Then I figured out the real problem:

Kids’ clothing apparently has the ability to reproduce. That was the only answer that made sense. I’d buy a couple pairs of jeans and a few dresses for the girls and suddenly the clothing monster was peeking out of every closet and drawer.

Of course, their clothes weren’t actually reproducing, but the kids were constantly getting t-shirts from community activities and hand-me-downs from friends and I’d keep everything “in case they could use it one day.”

Does This Bring Me Joy?

I’ll also admit that I rolled my eyes more than once while reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The idea of talking to clothing seemed a little unusual. I also realized that the great majority of things that are necessary to my daily life don’t bring me joy (laundry, kids’ toys, etc). I figured the KonMari system must not work for moms.

It wasn’t until I was helping my kids deep clean their rooms at the change of seasons that I realized the value of her system. Their clothes may not bring me joy, but they loved certain items and were only wearing those items the majority of the time anyway.

I was sorting through piles of clothing from all seasons. It all fit in the drawers so I left it there in case they needed it (because where we live, you really can have all the seasons in one week!). But they were choosing the same 5 outfits most of the time and they were stressed out with all the clothes.

And I was stressed out with all the laundry. Something needed to change.

Switching to a Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe

I realized that all of the things that made a capsule wardrobe difficult for a pregnant/nursing mom made it perfect for kids!

They changed sizes and needed new clothes at least once a year anyway.
They chose the same outfits over and over.
Having too many clothes was completely overwhelming them.
How We Switched

I decided to do a combination of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge and Project 333 to pare down all of the kids’ clothes. Rather than going through stuff and seeing which items to get rid of (always tougher), I took everything out of all their rooms (very KonMari of me) and only allowed the things in that we were keeping.

Step 1: Make a List and Check it Twice

Instead of just looking through clothes and deciding if they liked an item or not as a criteria for keeping it, I made a list of what each wardrobe would contain. If something didn’t fit into that list, it didn’t stay. In other words, they kept two pairs of jeans for the spring and summer wardrobe. I let them pick their two favorite pairs of jeans and the rest were donated.

This list will certainly vary based on your own lifestyle, kids’ ages, school (uniform or not), etc., but this is what worked best for our family …

The Capsule Wardrobe Master List for each child included:

10-12 shirts
2 pairs of jeans
4-6 pairs of shorts
2-3 swimsuits
2 pajamas
2-3 dresses for the girls
6 pairs of socks (more on my sock system soon)
sneakers
dress shoes
sandals
slip on shoes
10 pairs underwear
1 light jacket or sweatshirt
Full disclosure: I also kept a handful of other items that they can still fit into for a fall/winter wardrobe. I also kept a few items that aren’t worn regularly: a suit for the boys, wetsuits, snow suits, camo gear, jujutsu gi, and two pairs of much older clothes for camping.

Step 2: Choose a Color Palette

My kids typically chose to wear their 2-3 favorite colors 90% of the time. I focused their wardrobes on these colors. The boys both chose blue and red so I built around these and added neutrals like gray and white.

The girls all chose pink and aqua so I built around this with neutrals like gray and white. They also had a few dresses that matched the color palette. These could be worn alone or with leggings and a cardigan for cold weather.

Step 3: Get Rid of the Extra

If clothes didn’t fit into the master list, they were gone. This was the toughest part. Especially because it meant donating a lot of clothes before I’d filled in the gaps. But as soon as the extra clothes were gone, it was like the weight of the world (or at least the laundry) had been lifted off my shoulders and theirs.

I did this at the changing of the seasons last year (this is round two of seasonal wardrobes for us) and it was magical. I sorted the clothes into piles:

Keep pile – Smallest pile
Donate pile – This was by far the biggest pile. I only donated the clothing that was nice enough that I’d still want my kids to wear it.
Reuse pile – Second smallest pile. I still have trouble throwing things away and wasting. We reused the clothing that wasn’t nice enough to donate or wear. We cut it into cleaning cloths, paint rags, and other household items.
Sentimental pile – This was actually a small bin in our attic where I kept the few items that were sentimental to me. These included the baby outfits all the kids wore (that weren’t good enough to donate anyway), clothes I wore as a kid that they wore too (3 items total), and a few other small clothing items. This bin will stay in our attic and I’ll probably eventually turn these items into a quilt when my kids get older.
Step 4: Fill in the Gaps

This part was the most fun! Looking at the master list for each child, I made a list of all the items I still needed for each of them. I checked a local consignment store first and then turned to online shopping for the remaining items. The list kept me from buying extra clothes we didn’t need and made it easy to find the clothes we did.

Step 5: Kid-Friendly Folding

There is heated debate about if kids clothing should be hung up or folded. Obviously, this is based on personal preference. My kids prefer folding to hanging clothes up, so that is what we did.

These kids’ capsule wardrobes fit into a single drawer easily. I taught the kids the “KonMari” method of folding … or at least my interpretation of it based on her description. It basically means folding clothes and stacking them horizontally in a drawer instead of in piles. This lets the kids see every item so clothes don’t get lost at the bottom of the drawer. It also seems to be easier for them to put clothes away with this system.

Shopping Tips

I found secondhand and consignment clothes locally for many items. I also used three main online sources that for filling in gaps in the capsule wardrobes. They are:

Primary: Hands down my favorite online resource for kids. They carry only high quality staples in solid colors and most are gender neutral. They have pretty good prices and were perfect for solid color shirts, shorts, leggings, etc. TIP: Use the code “AFF25PCT” to get 25% off and free shipping on a first order.
Hanna Andersson: More expensive than Primary but I love that they have organic clothes for many items. Their leggings last forever and my girls love their jeggings over regular jeans. I get underwear, undershirts, and PJs for all of the kids here since this reduces their exposure to non-organic clothing by at least half. Their clothes also last a long time. I’ve had friends have their items last over a decade and for multiple children. TIP: Use the code “SPLASH15” on a first order to get 15% off through May 7.
Thred Up: An online secondhand store that is searchable. I’ve found great deals on some name brands on this website. This link will give you a $10 discount on your first order.
Benefits of a Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe

My only regret is that I didn’t start doing this sooner. Kids’ capsule wardrobes have greatly simplified our life and laundry routine. This type of minimalist wardrobe is perfect for kids because:

It Tames the Laundry and Bedroom Messes

I’m not sure how the kid clothes managed to multiply and take over their rooms and the laundry, but they did. Since switching, this hasn’t been a problem at all. I’m washing much less laundry and the kids aren’t overwhelmed when putting clothes away.

More on my laundry routine soon, but I also found that keeping one laundry basket in each of the kids rooms simplified laundry. Now, the girls bring their clothes down, I wash it in one load and they take it back up and put away. Same with the boys. Their wardrobes don’t contain any white clothing (this was intentional) except underwear and undershirts. Because of this, I can wash all girls’ clothes together and all boys’ clothes together. There is no need for color sorting and it saves a lot of time!

I fact, it took me more time to photograph and write this capsule wardrobe post than it does to do my laundry now!

It Makes the Seasonal Clothing Changes Much Easier

I used to dread switching clothes with the seasons. I had to pull everything out of the attic, sort it, fold it, and it took hours. Now, I just evaluate which clothes will still work in the next season and add the items we need. Usually jeans, undershirts, underwear, and short-sleeved shirts can move into the next season if they still fit. With kids, we have to change out clothing every season anyway (or as they out grow it) but I actually look forward to it now.

It Simplifies Picking Outfits

My kids used to somehow always pick clothes that didn’t really go together. They’d end up with a red shirt and orange shorts or patters that didn’t mix. Now, everything coordinates and picking outfits is so much easier. The only rule they have to know is to pick one solid color and one pattern for each outfit or two solid colors. Jeans go with everything. (Secret bonus: I like all of the items in their wardrobes too so I don’t cringe like I did when they always seemed to pick the one shirt that I didn’t like and wear it constantly.)

We Have So Much More Space!

The kids’ favorite part about the new system? They can put their clothes away in under ten minutes and they have so much more space. Our girls’ room has a big closet that was always full of clothes. They always wanted to turn it into a playhouse and play in there but it always ended up a mess with clothes falling off hangers. Now, the closet is a playhouse and their capsule toys (more on that soon) are in there. They happily play in their new-found play space for hours.

Kids’ Capsule Wardrobe: The Bottom Line

I absolutely love this system and found the method that works perfectly for us. The specifics of our system won’t work for everyone, but the basic idea will:

Choose clothes intentionally and of high quality.
Absolutely use hand-me-downs and secondhand items when possible but pass on the ones you don’t need.
Fill in any gaps with high quality items that you and your child both love and that can last and be passed down to other children.
Check out the details of our kids’ wardrobes here:

Cute and Functional Girls Capsule Wardrobe
Durable Capsule Wardrobe for Boys
Capsule Wardrobe for Babies and Toddlers
Final Tips for Kids’ Capsule Wardrobes

I learned these tips the hard way and they won’t work for everyone, but I’d personally recommend:

Not including white in kids’ wardrobes except for dress clothes. Totally personal preference but it simplified my laundry with my tribe of tree-climbers and fort-makers.
Spending a little more on high quality items that last. I used to keep all hand-me-downs and buy everything secondhand to save money. Except my stress level was through the roof and nothing matched. Now, I find we spend the same or less on staple clothing items that last longer and that the kids love.
Use online discounts and sales to save money. I wait for sales from our favorite shops and combine with discount codes to get most clothing at 20% or more off retail (sometimes as much as 50%!). Our favorite shops are Primary (use this affiliate link to get 20% off as a new customer), Hanna Andersson (use this affiliate link to get 15% off) and Thred Up (use this link to get $10 off a first order).
Also, I’m the first to admit that I’m not a fashion designer or anywhere close. I don’t claim to have made perfectly fashionable wardrobes for my kids. These are just their capsule wardrobes that they like and feel comfortable in. I’m not giving fashion advice, just sharing what worked for me!

Simple Boys’ Capsule Wardrobe (Durable & Versatile)

I love the adventurous nature of children … what adventure does to their clothing though, not so much.

All of my kids love to climb trees, fences, and anything else that’s around, but somehow it is always the boys’ clothing that ends up with the holes and stains. When we made the switch to basic capsule wardrobes, I had the toughest time finding heavy duty clothes for the boys.

Why a Simple Boys’ Capsule Wardrobe?

Short answer? Less stress for them and for me!

Here’s why:

Easier to Pick Clothes

My sons can now pick out their clothes without much thought. In fact, there’s a reason many top-level executives like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same thing every day. It reduces decision fatigue and lets them focus on the high-level stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids definitely don’t wear the same thing every day or even look like they do, but we have pared down quite a bit! Each child has under 30 pieces of clothing total (excluding socks and undies) and I find that they actually take better care of them!

Easier to Wash Laundry

This system also drastically simplifies laundry. Now, I wash boys’ clothes once a week (or often they wash their own). They keep a laundry basket in their room for dirty clothes. On laundry day, they bring down the basket, wash the clothes, and bring them right back up to put away. The capsule wardrobe has plenty of clothes for a week and it works out perfect to do laundry just once a week.

Easier to Put Clothes Away

With fewer articles of clothing, it is much easier to put everything away! They now fold clothes and keep them on their side in the drawers (the Marie Kondo method) so they can see all of their clothes. With under 30 items, they can fold everything in under 10 minutes and it all fits in one drawer. Gotta love simplicity!

Assembling the Boys’ Capsule Wardrobe

Once I found heavy-duty clothes that were as tough as my boys are, actually assembling the boys’ capsule wardrobe was easy. They’ve always liked simple shirts, jeans, and shorts in blues, reds, and neutrals. I’ve found that boys’ clothes are naturally easier to assemble into a minimalist wardrobe since many items coordinate with basics like jeans and khaki shorts.

The tougher part was finding well-made shirts that met my criteria:

Heavy duty
Wouldn’t show stains easily
Versatile
Creating the Master List

Just like I did with the the capsule wardrobes for the girls, I started by removing all the clothes from their rooms. I made a list of all the items they’d need (and actually use) for the season. I made a pile of anything that fit the list to keep and sorted the rest into piles to donate or reuse. Anything that fit as part of another season’s capsule wardrobe went into boxes in the attic.

From there, I only needed a few pieces to finish their wardrobes. I also expect many of the shirts to become part of their Fall/Winter wardrobe since they are holding up so well.

The boys’ capsule wardrobe list includes:

7 solid color basic t-shirts
3 polo shirts
1-2 dress shirts
2 pairs of jeans
2 pairs of khaki shorts
1 pair plaid shorts
1 swimsuit
2 pairs board shorts swimsuits (that can be worn as shorts too)
2 pairs athletic shorts
2-3 pairs of pajamas
sneakers
flip flops
slip on shoes
dress shoes
underwear & undershirts
7 pairs of socks
My Favorite Places to Shop Online for Boys’ Clothes

I check out a local consignment shop first and often find jeans, dress shirts, and shoes there. I usually shop online for the rest of the items because I know exactly how our favorite brands fit them and that they’ll last. In many cases, it is definitely possible to create a capsule with only hand-me-downs and thrift store clothing.

My go-to websites for a boys’ capsule wardrobe are:

Primary: Our go-to place for solid color t-shirts for the boys. This year, the boys picked blues and reds as their main colors and I was able to find shirts in several shades. Their prices are good and since I ordered more than 3 of each item, I got an additional discount. TIP: Use this affiliate link and the code “AFF25PCT” to get 25% off and free shipping on a first order.
Hanna Andersson: More expensive than Primary but I love that they have a lot of organic items. Shopping for a whole wardrobe here would be really pricey, so I stick to buying underwear, undershirts, and PJs here since this reduces their exposure to non-organic clothing by at least half. I also purchase swimsuits here because theirs last a lot longer than most brands. I’ve also been able to pass down every single item so over time they are a great value. TIP: Use the code “SPLASH15” on a first order to get 15% off.
Thred Up: An online second hand store that is searchable. I’ve found great deals on some name brands on this website. I especially like to use this site for name brand jeans since Polo brand jeans fit my boys best and are about 1/3 of the price of new. This link will give you a $10 discount on your first order.
Our Boys’ Capsule Wardrobe Specifics

I always hate when I see something in a picture on a blog but can’t figure out where to find it. Each child’s wardrobe will, of course, be different and reflect their favorite colors and personality, but here’s a list of the items in my boys’ wardrobes in case you want to find any of them:

Top row: Hanna Andersson Navy Stripe, Primary Classic t-shirt in sky, Primary Classic t-shirt in cobalt, Blue and Gray stripe shirt from Hanna Andersson, Primary Classic t-shirt in heather gray.

Bottom row: Primary Polos in slate blue and white, button down from consignment store, Primary polo in red, Primary Classic T-shirt in navy.

Left to right: 2 pairs Polo jeans, 2 pairs khaki shorts, and plaid shorts found on Thred Up. Boys gray Land & Water chinos from Hanna Andersson and Navy Land & Water Board Shorts from Hanna Andersson. These last two both can be worn as shorts or swim trunks. They also dry quickly so they are ideal for travel.

Left to right: Primary hoodie in slate, Hanna Andersson (HA) organic underwear, athletic socks(more on my sock system soon), 2 pairs of black athletic shorts from Thred Up, leather flip flops (I think from HA), organic star wars PJs from HA (their favorite clothing item by far), and short PJs from Primary in cobalt.

Other Items (Not Pictured)

I also have a few other items that are not pictured including: wetsuits, jujutsu gi, baseball uniform and gear, swim team items, and suits for special occasions. The regular capsule wardrobe also does not include their jerseys and logo shirts for favorite sports teams.

Creating Your Own Capsule System

This is the system that has worked best for us. Of course, this system will vary based on each child’s and family’s preferences. Hopefully this will at least give you a starting point if you’re interested in trying a capsule wardrobe system too.

I’d suggesting letting the children be involved as much as they want to be in creating the wardrobe. This is especially important for older kids! Let them pick their colors and favorites and help guide them in choosing high-quality pieces. My goal (*fingers crossed*) is that eventually my kids will be able to create wardrobes that they like on their own. I’ll let you know how that goes when I have teenagers!

How to Create a Girls’ Capsule Wardrobe (Cute & Functional)

We recently switched to capsule wardrobes for our kids and will never look back! This minimalist wardrobe method has greatly simplified our lives. We love it and our kids love it too! (Specifics on all of the items we chose at the bottom of the post.)

Here’s why I’m so excited!

What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe, if you haven’t seen them all over social media, is an intentional wardrobe method. It contains clothing that can all coordinate. Typically, capsule wardrobes are also minimalist wardrobes because they contain only what is necessary and little if anything else.

This is especially great for kids because:

Fewer choices means everything coordinates so picking outfits is easier.
There is much less to clean, fold, and put away so room cleaning is easier.
Less clothing means less laundry.
How to Plan A Girls’ Capsule Wardrobe

Planning is everything when it comes to a girls’ capsule wardrobe. Spending more time planning saves time, money, and stress with the finished wardrobe. Interestingly, after tracking it, I was able to save money with our new capsule wardrobes, even buying many items new, over buying mismatched items secondhand.

Here are some things to take into account when planning a girls’ capsule wardrobe (see how to plan a capsule wardrobe for boys here):

Color Palette

Kids often tend to pick clothes in their favorite colors so I built their wardrobes around it. I let them pick two main colors that don’t clash and then add in a third accent color. Everything else is in neutral colors like gray and black or denim.

Our girls often pick color palettes that include pinks, greens, aquas, or purples. Really any colors can work though as long as the two main ones don’t clash. All of my kids, but especially the girls, have really liked the process of switching to a capsule wardrobe. I find that they take better care of their clothing and they don’t seem to miss all the extras at all!

Mom win!

Favorite Clothes and Styles

I would wear jeans every day, but a couple of my girls hate them and only wear them if it is cold out or if camping. I built in wardrobe options that included leggings and comfy shorts and they almost always choose these.

My kids also typically all prefer simple styles like basic t-shirts and tanks without prints on them. I love the simplicity and often order several colors of the same shirt once they find one they love. My go-to for this is Primary, which offers simple clothing items in a wide variety of colors. TIP: Use this affiliate link to save 20% if you are a new customer.

Girls’ Capsule Wardrobe List for Spring + Summer

Once you have a color palette and rough idea of styles, it really helps to make a master list for your girls’ capsule wardrobe. I combine Spring/Summer into one wardrobe and Fall/Winter into a second one. The wardrobe list for Spring and Summer includes:

10-12 shirts
2 pairs of jeans
2-3 pairs leggings
4+ pairs of shorts
1 pair of tumbling shorts to wear under dresses
2-4 dresses
1-2 skirts
2-3 swimsuits
2 pairs of pajamas
6 pairs of socks
underwear and undershirts
sandals (1 pair)
sneakers (1 pair)
slip on shoes (1 pair)
dress shoes (if none of the above shoes can work for dressier outfits)
Online Places to Buy Girls’ Capsule Wardrobe Clothes (+ Discounts)

I often try to find as many items as I can from consignment stores. Any items I can’t find there, I buy from three online places where I can always find discounts:

Primary: My current favorite online store for minimalist kids’ wardrobes. They carry high quality staples in solid colors that are easy to coordinate. They have pretty good prices and were perfect for solid color shirts, shorts, leggings, etc. TIP: Use this affiliate link and the code “AFF25PCT” to get 25% off and free shipping on a first order.
Hanna Andersson: More expensive than Primary but I love that they have organic clothes for many items. Their leggings last forever and my girls love their jeggings over regular jeans. I get underwear, undershirts, and PJs for all of the kids here since this reduces their exposure to non-organic clothing by at least half. I also get girls’ swimsuits and jeggings here. Their clothes last a long time and can be passed down. TIP: Use the code “SPLASH15” on a first order to get 15% off through May 7.
Thred Up: An online secondhand store that is searchable. I’ve found great deals on some name brands on this website. This link will give you a $10 discount on your first order.
Specifics of Our Girls’ Capsule Wardrobes

As I said, I stuck to the basics this year and chose colors and styles that the kids actually like to wear:

All of the basic shirts for this year’s wardrobe came from Primary. These are all skinny t-shirts from Primary and the colors are (left to right): slate gray, raspberry, heather gray, pool and petal.

Top row from left to right: plaid shorts from consignment, green shorts from Thred Up, black gym shorts from Primary, jeggings from Hanna Andersson, black and gray livable leggings from Hanna Andersson.

Bottom row: Primary heather gray tumble shorts, Hanna Andersson organic undershirts, Hanna Andersson organic underwear, Primary heather gray tank, Primary mint tank, gold-toe ankle socks.

Left to right: Primary reversible dress in raspberry/red, primary black skirt, Matilda Jane dress (from a friend’s party), Primary short PJs in raspberry (they also have a set of organic longer ones from Hanna Andersson), Primary cardigan in heather gray.

Other Items:

Dresses: The girls each had a couple more dresses in coordinating colors that aren’t pictured. I got these at a local secondhand store. I tried to pick versatile and well-made dresses that could work for church or everyday wear.
Swimsuits: The girls each have 3 swimsuits since we swim a lot in the summer. They are all from Hanna Andersson as these seem to be the most heavy duty by far and I like their cuts and styles. TIP: Wait for a sale to get swimwear … they run one at least once a month.
Underwear: They obviously each have more than three pairs of underwear. To simplify things, I ordered different patterns of Hanna Andersson organic underwear for each of them. One has solid colors, one has stripes, and one has dots. These all three came in several colors so they have a variety but know which are theirs.
Sweaters: They also each have a thick sweater that we bought from a local place when visiting friends in Canada. These have enough grow room to be part of their wardrobes for several seasons and they wear these on cool nights in the spring.
Outerwear: I didn’t count wetsuits, camping camo, or special occasion dresses in their basic wardrobe.
System for Matching and Hand-Me-Downs

With a few girls in a row who like to match, I’ve found I can easily hand down any high quality clothing and have them match for several years. This is another reason I’m willing to buy new items from quality companies. To simplify the process of sorting their clothes, I use a dot system. Here’s how it works:

Each child is assigned a number of dots. The oldest gets one dot, the second oldest gets two dots, etc.
First, I put this dot with a permanent marker on the collar or tag of the shirt where it won’t show from the outside.
When they are sorting, they each know to look for their number of dots.
Then, when the oldest outgrows an item, I add another dot and it becomes the second child’s clothes.
There is a separate dot system for boys and girls since their clothes don’t really overlap. So the oldest boy and girl each get one dot, etc.
A Girls’ Capsule Wardrobe: Bottom Line

The beauty of a girls’ capsule wardrobe (or one for boys) is that it *should* reduce stress and laundry. This is the system that works for our family and I love it. I’d had enough friends ask about it that I decided to share. This exact system will certainly not work for every child or family.

If the mere idea of trying to do a capsule wardrobe stresses you out … don’t do it! Or just pull a couple useful tips that work with your routine.

One of the reasons this system works so well for our family is that I already have to do laundry more than once a week because of the number of people in our house and the amount of laundry they all create. Find a system that works for your family, and hopefully some parts of my system will be helpful to you in figuring out yours. Also, if you use any of the places I mentioned, make sure to use the discount codes!

Baby Capsule Wardrobe (Works for Toddlers Too!)

With six kids, I’ve done my fair share of seasonal clothing changes and wardrobe organization. Without fail, the youngest kids are the toughest when it comes to clothes. I switched all of our kids to a capsule wardrobe system, but switching to a baby capsule wardrobe was by far the toughest.

Baby Capsule Wardrobe … Is It Possible?

If you aren’t familiar with the term, a capsule wardrobe is just a highly functional wardrobe that contains only items that coordinate. Seems like a great idea, right?

And it is a great idea, but there are a couple of extra factors to consider when dealing with baby and toddler clothing:

  1. Babies and toddlers do need more clothes because they are naturals at getting food (or spit up or diaper blow outs) on clothing.
  2. Little ones grow faster and don’t always fit sizes at the exact age they are designed for. This makes it tough to buy ahead for other seasons.
  3. Baby clothes are impossibly cute and extremely difficult to get rid of or not buy.
  4. There is also more leeway with baby clothes since coordinating is a more relative term.

It Is Possible … with Modifications

I found that it is certainly possible to pare down to a capsule-ish wardrobe for babies and toddlers. It does take a little creativity and won’t be for everyone. If you got dozens of adorable outfits for a baby shower, use them! But if you got more than you could ever use, consider returning or donating some to make room for the ones you really like!

Since babies grow so fast, I changed her wardrobe last and just used the clothes I had on hand until they didn’t fit. After being handed down through four girls, most of our clothes were not wearable anyway, so when I did have to find new items, I just made sure they were intentional and functional.

Baby Capsule Wardrobe List

This list works best for about age 6 months on. I always stick to kimono style bodysuits and sleepers that don’t have to be pulled over the head for babies 0-6 months. I kept all of these items in one drawer and she wore onesies or sleepers (depending on weather). Check out my list of baby items I actually used and baby clothing here.

My goal with capsule wardrobes was to have just enough clothing to do laundry once a week only. The baby’s wardrobe took some tweaking but it finally fits our system.

Baby Capsule Wardrobe Spring & Summer List:

  • 6-10 onesies/bodysuits
  • 5 other tops/dresses (for my daughter, I chose dresses that were short enough to crawl in and that could be shirts as she got bigger).
  • 4 pairs of leggings or jeggings
  • 2-4 pairs of shorts
  • 7 organic sleepers (not pictured)
  • 2-3 swimsuits or rashguards
  • 1 neutral sweater or cardigan
  • comfy socks
  • 7-10 homemade bibs (these are absolutely necessary to keep clothes clean and reduce laundry)

My little one actually prefers to be in just a onesie on warm days, so I could probably have pared down the pants and shorts even more.

The Items I Chose (& Why)

I kept or used secondhand & consignment items for as many baby items as I could. They outgrow them so fast! I did get a set of organic onesies and sleepers for her for the first few months. I also bought some basic staple items for her once she hit a year old.

Like my older kids’ wardrobes, I bought the supplemental items from three main places:

  1. Hanna Andersson (HA) – I order a few staples for all of our kids from HA because they carry quite a few organic items. Cotton is one of the most highly sprayed crops, so I choose organic as much as possible, especially for really little ones. Even for the older kids, I get organic underwear, PJs, and undershirts to reduce their exposure to conventional cotton by half. I also get all swimwear from HA because it lasts so much longer. Use the code “SPLASH15” on a first order to get 15% off through May 7.
  2. Primary – Great for onesies, tops, and dresses. Make sure to use this affiliate link and the code “AFF25PCT” to get a 25% discount as a new customer if you check them out.
  3. ThredUP– An online consignment/secondhand store that is searchable. I use this for jeans and other name brand items. They typically have a lot of great baby items since these don’t typically wear out. This link will give you a $10 discount on your first order.

A Look at Her Wardrobe

Here’s a more in depth look baby girl’s wardrobe:

She has a mixture of bodysuits and onesies from HA and Primary. HA has organic but Primary is less than half the price.

Pictured here are:

Top row L to R: Primary bodysuits in petal, grape, raspberry, heather gray, and pool.

Bottom row L to R: Primary baby dress in raspberry, gray dress from ThredUP, teal stripe dress from HA, flower dress from HA, green dress from HA. (And yes, I know the green dress breaks the color palette, but it is a complete outfit and is perfect with her strawberry blonde hair.)

Little one does have a couple other dresses not pictured here for special occasions, but these are her everyday staples.

 

Top row L to R: Primary baby sweatpants in charcoal, HA jeggings, HA leggings in flower and gray, Primary baby shorts in aqua and charcoal.

Bottom row L to R: A bunch of warm socks for at night, HA swimsuit, HA rash guard, Primary short PJs in raspberry, Primary cardigan in heather gray.

Not pictured: Other sets of organic PJs and sleepers from Hanna Andersson.

Baby Capsule Wardrobe: Bottom Line

The baby capsule wardrobe was the toughest of all of my kids’ wardrobes to pare down. I only switched because the baby clothes I had were mostly unwearable after three other kids. This is the system that worked for us and your system will be different.

Start with what you have and pare down and only buy the items that you really need. The biggest advantage to this system (besides reducing laundry!) is that it makes it so much easier to stay organized!

How to Bulk Cook Healthy Meals for Vacation

A mother’s job never ends and nowhere is this more true than on vacation! I’ve always thought it was ironic how much work it requires to go “relax” … planning where to go and what to do, packing bags and gear, and making all the healthy meals for vacation. I once read a satire article called “Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties In Closer Proximity To Ocean” and while it was meant to be satire, it also rings somewhat true! In fact, usually when we get home, I feel like I need a vacation from vacation!

Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love the time our family spends together. From something as simple as camping in the woods to a week-long stay at the beach, getting away from regular work and routine as well as getting quality family time together can’t be beat … with one sticking point, until now …

How I Actually Got a Vacation from Cooking

So what finally brought me some peace of mind (and body!) on vacation?

For those of us who choose not to eat at a restaurant for every meal on vacation (both for budget and health reasons), making a meal on vacation can seem like a lot more work than it does at home.

In fact, I came to dread it!

The hectic trip to the grocery store when we arrived (usually hungry and with all the kids) … staring at the grocery receipt in disbelief … hauling it all to our destination and setting up an unfamiliar kitchen while unpacking everything else …

Something had to change.

Recently, I finally did what I should have done years ago and applied my normal meal planning and bulk cooking to vacation time. For the first time in forever (cue Frozen song) I actually felt like I got some time off too!

The Strategy: Bulk Cooking Healthy Meals for Vacation

I really can’t believe it took me so long to start pre-planning healthy meals for vacation. At home, I meal plan all the time (using Real Plans … check it out if you haven’t… it saves me sooooo much time!).

Most weeks at home, I also batch cook to save time and simplify a few meals.

By applying these same techniques to vacation I got a week off from cooking (and we even had extra family members on the trip so I was cooking for more people).

We pre-made all of the dinners for the trip, planned easy lunches that didn’t really require prep, and we had leftovers or other no-prep foods for breakfast.

I also did something I almost never do:

I used foil pans so that I could pre-make and freeze the meals in my deep freezer. As an extra step I lined the pans with natural parchment paper to reduce aluminum exposure. Even though I’m not a fan of using foil at all and don’t use it at home, I realized that if we had to eat out, we’d likely be eating non-organic food cooked in a non-stick skillet, so this was still less exposure than eating out (and cheaper too).

The other option (that I might try in the future) would be to use half-size stainless steel table pansfor making and freezing since they stack compactly when empty and would be easy to bring home.

Now to fill them!

The Logistics: Prepping and Packing

Here’s what I did:

I pre-made all the food (scroll down to see my meal plan) and froze them in my deep freezer. I purposefully made enough of each meal that we could repurpose the leftovers for breakfast and lunch most days. (Yes, we sometimes eat dinner for breakfast!)

On the morning we left for vacation, I used a large laundry basket and some beach towels to create a makeshift cooler. Of course, a regular ice chest would also work, but I needed to fit a lot of meals in a small space and was bringing towels and laundry basket anyway.

I stacked the frozen meals (individually wrapped in towels with ice packs) in the basket and put the whole thing into the back of our vehicle (surrounded by suitcases for extra insulation and protection). The meals we were planning to use the first two days were on the top and bottom since I figured these would defrost first.

When we arrived (it was a 9-hour drive) the top and bottom meals had started to defrost a little but were still mostly frozen and very cold. These went into the refrigerator at our rental so we could use them, and the rest of the meals went into the freezer.

Every night I simply took out the meals we would need for the next day, set them in the refrigerator to defrost, and put them in the oven when we needed them.

The Plan: 6 Days of Healthy Meals for Vacation

These are the meals I made for our trip. Really any meals would work, but these were ones that were easy to make and freeze.

Day 1 (Arrival Day):

Slow-cooker Chicken Fajitas (double batch) with salad and store-bought guacamole

Day 2:

Breakfast – Leftover fajita chicken with eggs
Lunch – Nitrate-free lunchmeat wrapped in seaweed sheets with cucumber, carrots, and guacamole
Dinner – Beef Stroganoff over steamed cauliflower

Day 3:

Breakfast – Leftover stroganoff
Lunch – Tuna sandwiches on gluten-free bread with fruit and raw veggies
Dinner – Zucchini Lasagna (double batch)

Day 4:

Breakfast – leftover lasagna
Lunch – Reuben salads made with nitrate-free pastrami, sauerkraut, lettuce, and homemade thousand island dressing
Dinner – Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry (pre-made double batch)

Day 5:

Breakfast – Quiche made with leftover beef and cabbage stir fry
Lunch – P.F. Chang imitation lettuce wraps made with ground beef, water chestnuts, and homemade hoisin sauce
Dinner – Pre-made taco meat on lettuce tacos with all the toppings

Day 6:

Breakfast – Leftover taco meat scrambled with eggs
Lunch – Salads with leftovers from the week
Dinner – All the leftovers (We planned to go out to eat this night if needed but we ended up having enough leftovers!)

The Reward: An Actual Vacation!

In the end, pre-cooking 6 healthy meals resulted in a true vacation from cooking with minimal dishes and cleanup. It wasn’t as clean as we would have eaten at home, but it was definitely much better than eating out for every meal.

The best part?

I didn’t cook on vacation, we didn’t have to take all the kids to crowded restaurants that cost a small fortune, and we ate delicious food all week!

Not Sure Where to Start?

This vacation meal plan would be easy to customize with your favorite recipes. I’d really recommend using Real Plans for this! It already has all of my recipes pre-loaded and it creates a really easy-to-use shopping list. You can also customize any meal plan, eliminate foods you can’t or don’t eat, and adjust for family size. It is seriously one of my best time-saving tips! Check it out here.