When you know exactly what pieces of clothing you need for your child, you won’t needlessly spend money on new clothes or over-fill a cramped closet with clothing your child won’t really need or wear.
Where to Begin
Asking “How much clothing does my child need?” is too big of a question to start with.
You will need to ask yourself a series of questions to break it down before you can come up with an answer.
How many season-specific wardrobes do you need?
What is the climate where you live?
Maybe you live in California and can get away with one basic warm weather wardrobe with a few sweaters and a coat. Or you could live somewhere with extreme temperature differences and you need to have wardrobes for 90 degree weather and -50 with wind chill weather.
Also, consider whether or not you want different wardrobes for spring, summer, fall, and winter, or if you will just create a cool weather wardrobe and a warm weather wardrobe.
What I like to do is create a base wardrobe of pieces that can work in any season (like jeans, t-shirts, and joggers) and keep separate wardrobe add-ons for winter (long-sleeves, sweaters, coats, snow accessories, etc) and one for summer (shorts, swim wear, tanks, etc).
How Frequently Do You Do Laundry?
Do you wash clothes every day for each person? Once a month? Or do you do what I did in college and just buy new underwear when everything is dirty?
Right now I wash clothes once a week so I need a week’s worth of outfits for my children. This tends to be about 9 outfits (1 for each day with a couple to spare if they need to change in the middle of the day).
So do your laundry math and come up with how many outfits you will need to keep your child in clean clothes.
Consider Your Space
Now that you know about how many outfits you will need for your child, think about whether or not you have the space to keep it.
Maybe you live in a tiny house or an RV or you have multiple children sharing a closer. You definitely need to consider your space.
Even if you have large closet, you don’t want to over-pack it because you want everything to stay within reach and easy to find.
For instance, I can fit my daughter’s entire wardrobe (9 complete outfits plus a few dresses) into a 3-drawer cart and 4 hangers.
Consider Your Child’s Activities
Do you attend church and wear dressy clothes? Does your child play sports? Do they play outside a ton and get dirty a lot?
Plan to have the clothing you will need to meet these activities.
When I was a kid I always had two wardrobes at any given time- school clothes and play clothes. School clothes were the new shirts and jeans my parents got me before each school year that I was supposed to change out of as soon as I got home. And my play clothes were any old ratty thing else I could find.
Use Wardrobe Checklists
The printable pack A Clean Room is a Fun Room contain seasonal wardrobe checklists for girls, boys, and babies. These printables will help you plan out how many of each item you actually need to keep for your child(ren) and they will help you plan for items you will need to buy for the next seasons and sizes.
It has a line for each type of clothing so you won’t easily forget certain types of clothes you may need.
To use these checklists, you just need to choose how many of each item you will need for each of your children and write in a # / # symbol for on each line item.
For example, you think your daughter needs 7 short sleeved shirts in the summer so you write / 7 on the line, leaving a blank for your actual count.
Once you go through her clothes and find that she only has 6 that fit her and that she likes, you would fill in the blank like this: 6 / 7. This will help you remember that you need to get another shirt in her correct size the next time you have an opportunity.
How to Choose Exactly What You Need
Taking into consideration your climate, your laundry system, your space, and the activities of your children, decide on the specific numbers for each type of clothing.
For example, in my daughter’s warm weather wardrobe she has 4 dresses, 9 pairs of socks, 9 pairs of underwear, 9 t-shirts, 5 pairs of shorts, 4 pairs of leggings, and 2 pairs of cartwheel shorts (to wear under her dresses). She also has a pair of sneakers and a pair of sandals that can be worn with shorts or dresses.
In the winter I swap out the shorts and leggings for jeans and joggers and add in a winter coat, 2 hoodies, 2 pairs of thick tights, snow boots, winter weather accessories, and dressy boots for church. When we live in especially cold climates my kids also get thermal underwear for layering and warmth in the winter. She hates long sleeve shirts for some reason so she doesn’t get any of those, she just layers up before going outside.
This will cover my child at home, at church, at play, and going out.
If you aren’t completely sure, start out small and add more items if necessary. Let your child use their wardrobe for a couple of weeks to see if there are any gaps or excess.
You Child Can Have a Clean Room Every Day
Ready to get started? Get all the fun, colorful printables that will help you organize your child’s toys and closets, and teach them how to keep their rooms tidy and fun, check out A Clean Room is a Fun Room: 4 Weeks to Get Your Child to Clean Their Own Room and Play More now.