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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!
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
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
- 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! 🙂
What do your kids like to wear? How do you keep kids’ clothing organized? Share your tips below!
Discussion (24 Comments)
I tried the organic polo shirts from H&M this year. They are very soft, so comfortable, but possibly not as good for rough play as pique fabric. So far, the collars haven’t gotten the annoying crease in them, which is a win for me. The price wasn’t bad either.
I really want to see the capsules for your kids winter wardrobes! We live in Alaska so our winter closets are used for about 9 months of the year. I have done this with my closet for a few years now, so excited to have motivation to make it happen in my kids!
I am so glad that i have found your blog!! I have 3 boys, 2 of which share a room with only 1 wardrobe. I have been really lucky that many of our friends and family have donated us their kids old clothes, that combined with what we already had from my older son.. means that we now have a mountain of clothes. I need to declutter ASAP and your advice has really helped. Thank you!!
I have been contemplating this very thing. We live in the Arctic and need very warm gear but we also travel to warm places numerous times during the year and use warm weather gear for inside the very warm buildings. I am thinking we will just need a larger capsule for all the seasons weather. I am still struggling to decide what it will look like.
Thank you! This is a great system! Thank you for all the time you spend sharing your expertise.
Does anyone have a good source for organic socks? Am I missing something at Hanna? We like the basics also – athletic socks, and then a couple pair of black and khaki dress socks. But I can’t find them in organic and I think the feet are very absorbent to toxins.
What’s in your fall/winter capsole?
Katie - Wellness Mama
I’ll add to that toward the end of summer, but about the same number of items, just more pants and long sleeved shirts.
Just found this post & are wondering when you’ll be updating the fall/winter for your boys? Also, how do you incorporate the sports gear? I have a competitive golfer / soccer player / swimmer. Golf alone has it’s own capsule. Ugh.
Thanks in advance 🙂
We’ve been doing similarly! I implemented capsules for me and the kids’ naturally followed suit, since I’m doing all the buying! So awesome! Now I just need them to do their own laundry like you do! Also I love that you included the MJ dress! We have a few for our girls and they’re the favorites by far! Even my 16 month old chooses them first!
Genius. Love it.
This looks like our packing list..
Only you forgot: ski and hunting clothes…lol.
Katie - Wellness Mama
Those are packed away in the attic until those seasons roll around 😉
This is such a great idea unfortunately we live in Ireland and it was snowing yesterday and sun is shining today?
We’ve been doing something similar. This gives me other things to think about and add or take away! Thanks for the great detailed posts! Can’t wait to see a post on capsule toys! We really try to limit the types of toys we have but I feel like we’re missing something still!