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Kids clothes: This is how many outfits children really need

Don't buy your kids more than they'll ever wear — this is what to know about the clothes kids wear daily

Your child’s clothing essentials vary depending on their age and how busy your family is. With unpredictable but frequent baby accidents, newborns need the largest number of outfits. Toddlers, on the other hand, need more variety than quantity in their wardrobe. School-age kids spend the most time outdoors and need all types of kids’ clothes — from jackets to sneakers, and even hats!
With a growing child at home, the minimalist concept is not the best idea, especially if you’re a busy parent who doesn’t want to spend their days washing clothes! Therefore, your children need an average of nine sets of clothes for today’s modern lifestyle.

Too many clothes can be time-consuming and draining

As great as it sounds, having too many clothes is as bad as having too little. Nobody wants to deal with a jumbo basket full of dirty clothes that smell like a CrossFit Box inside your apartment. And with today’s busy schedules, who wants to do laundry more than once a week? Maybe twice, if you have a baby at home.
So, why have more than one set for each day of the week? Even when children change their clothes daily, they rarely ever use more than a single daily outfit. One set per day plus two backups for a play date or an ice cream accident in the car is all you need.
Little girl peering through clothes hanging in closet

Avoid forgotten clothes in the closets by paring down the wardrobe

If spring cleaning comes around and you find nice dresses or cool pants with tags still on, it’s a clear sign that your kids have more clothes than they can wear. Remember that children grow every week and, between one season and the other, they need a whole new set of clothes.
What to do with your child’s gently worn clothes? Donate them to charity or hand them down to family members or friends with younger children! There are lots of kiddos out there who could use outfits in good shape, and more likely than not their parents would love to save some bucks.
Mom and daughter shopping for clothes

Spend your money wisely; get only what your kids need

Don’t let the sales cycle dictate your spending habits. Instead, distribute your shopping throughout the year according to your children’s needs and the changing seasons. In the long run, you’ll save more by avoiding idle pieces in your kid’s closet.

What are the essentials?

Here are some wardrobe suggestions to make sure your child has everything they need in their closet:
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • T-shirts
  • Polo shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Vests
  • Jackets
  • Walking shoes
  • Sneakers
  • Rain boots
  • Overalls
  • Sweaters
  • Swimsuits
  • Sandals
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear

girl with shirt at home

Mix and match to multiply the number of outfits

Let go of the “rules” about matching and allow the kids to help choose their own clothes. The best ideas often come from their brilliant imagination. Plus, this helps develop their sense of style. Combine your child’s sets frequently and you’ll discover dozens of hidden outfits from that basic assortment of nine.

Clothes hanging on a rack
fancy/shuttterstock

Is it a good idea to have every color in the rainbow?

Many kids have two or three favorite colors. Some have even more than that. To avoid seeing those brown pants shoved in the drawer for months, let your child choose their favorite colors. You’ll be surprised by how practical their decisions are.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for children to choose many T-shirts in the very same colors! You can’t blame them, when the Mark Zuckerbergs and Bill Gates of the world wear the same uniform day in and day out. It helps avoid unnecessary decisions!
Clothing On Rack

Location, location, location: opt for climate-friendly clothing

Sometimes you’ll see a bunch of unused clothes in your kid’s closet because the weather rarely calls for them. It’s complicated to wear a coat in Southern California or a sleeveless T-shirt in Wisconsin. Buying clothes according to your geographic conditions saves space in the closet and ensures you get the most bang for your buck.
Cluttered pile of clothes

Get rid of the extra clothes and avoid the clutter

As soon as the extra clothes are gone, you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders — and your laundry basket! While it’s easy to fall in love with adorable kids’ clothes since they look adorable in them, the opportunity to help those in need also feels great. Plus, involving your kids in the process of letting go is a great lesson that also teaches your family to create space.
While nine is not a magic number or a rule set in stone, it’s definitely a good place to start. This varies depending on your child’s age, their activities, and your local weather. And, of course, there will always be times for special occasion outfits — a birthday or holiday dress or suit, as well as all of their comfy pajama sets. But, as each season begins, you’ll figure out if you need more pieces or fewer for everyday daytime wear. The most important thing is to make your shopping fun and exciting for the whole family. Use it as an opportunity for your child to express their personality and explore their own sense of style.

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