Mom Hack: How to Create a Toddler Capsule Wardrobe


Three years ago, I gave birth to a precious baby girl, which has provided me with the opportunity to finally shop in the ninety percent of the store that is dedicated to the color pink.

For years, I dreamed of this moment, and while you would think I would be over the moon with happiness, over the past three years my excitement of being able to shop for all the frilly things has quickly turned into annoyance.

Why might you ask? When shopping for a young girl often times clothing items come in the cutest sets. The patterns are adorable, but frequently they only work together. If the matching top and bottom weren’t both clean at the same time (and who has time for that) my daughter had a closet full of clothes that didn’t match. While this was okay for her at home daycare, this fall my daughter entered preschool.

With this transition, I decided that it was time to move past matchy sets and start to buy her clothing that was more mix and match. With this goal in mind, I decided to take on the daunting task of creating a toddler capsule wardrobe.  

I have to say that I’m pretty proud of my results. Getting my daughter dressed in the morning is now a breeze, and I am no longer wasting time looking for a specific item! Does this sound life-changing to you? Well, here are the four simple steps I took to create my daughter’s toddler capsule wardrobe.

Step # 1 – Purge the Closet

First, take all the clothing out of your child’s closet and place it into a pile on the floor. Next, pick up each item of clothing and inspect it. Ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Does the clothing item still fit?
  2. Is it in good condition?
  3. Is it appropriate for the season?

If the answer is no to any of the above questions, place the clothing item in the “get rid of” pile. These clothes can either be donated, sold, or stored if you plan on having another child or if they will fit for another season.

If the answer is yes to all three of the above questions, place it into the “keep” pile.

baby girl clothes


Step # 2 – Deciding how much clothing your child needs

Deciding the number of pieces you want in the toddler capsule wardrobe is the hardest part. I typically do my laundry on Sundays and I didn’t want to have to add another laundry day, therefore, I decided on enough clothing to last at least a week. Which is roughly about:

  • Three short sleeve shirts
  • Five long sleeve shirts
  • Five warm layers
  • Three pairs of jeans
  • Five pairs of leggings
  • Three dresses
  • Six pairs of pajamas

I decided to cap my daughter’s capsule wardrobe at thirty pieces. While this has worked for us, there isn’t a hard rule on the number of items you need to have in your toddler’s capsule wardrobe. I would say don’t worry about the number of items, but emphasize instead that every item in the capsule wardrobe must have a purpose.

Step #3 – Get organized

Create a simple chart to get yourself organized. Here is my chart. It has each category of clothing listed on the side and then what I already had and where the holes were that I needed to fill in.

Item Has      Needs  
Shirt Short Sleeve 0 3
Long Sleeve T-Shirts       2 3
Sweater 4 1
Jeans 3 0
Leggings 5 0
Dresses 3 0
PJ’s 2 4

Step #4 – Shop

Filling in the holes, also known as shopping is the best part. While filling in the holes within the capsule wardrobe, buy your pieces intentionally. These are the following guidelines that I used:

  • Pick a color scheme to ensure that everything mixes and matches well together. To create a color scheme, pick three different colors that match well. I went with navy blue, maroon, and mustard.
  • Shop at one or two stores to make it easier to keep the colors coordinated. I also did my shopping online after the kids went to bed. Two bonuses of doing my shopping online are that it can be accomplished in kid-free time, therefore, I was able to stay focused and take my time. Second, I could open up multiple screens and make sure that the items in my cart would match multiple pieces.
  • Only buy a piece that will match at least two other items in the closet.

Here you have my four simple steps to creating a toddler capsule wardrobe. I hope this post inspires you to create a mix and match wardrobe for your little one. While it does require an initial investment of time to create a toddler capsule wardrobe, having clothes that are easy to mix and match has provided many stress-free mornings dressing my daughter.


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