Most people who read about KonMari want to know how it would work with kids. How can kids know what ‘sparks joy’ for them? How can you wrangle all the hand-me downs and extra sets of clothes? How can you get kids to keep it organized? These are all great questions that I will address in this post about how I did KonMari with my kids and how I set up a kid capsule wardrobe for each of my children.
I’ll get into more specifics below, but here are my basic rules for creating a kid capsule wardrobe:
- Include the kids!
- Start with a few key pieces that you both love.
- Build on those star pieces with basics.
- Imagine you are packing a suitcase to be gone for a two weeks.
- Don’t think in outfits (baby clothes, especially, are sold this way) keeping to a color scheme will help you to have mix-and-match outfits so the kids don’t look the same all the time.
I started with my own clothes, of course, and exposed them to the idea while I was working on my things. When it was time to start their clothes we put them all in a giant pile on the floor. It would be better to do one child at a time, but a lot of their clothes already happened to be mixed so we just embraced it and had a good ole time with the mess.
After a few minutes of chaos, I put up papers with their initial on it and we raced against the clock to sort them by person. I should note that the baby’s clothes were included in all of this. I will write a separate baby KonMari post with those details later.
After sorting by person, we sorted by tops and bottoms. I put out all the clothes out by type (daughter’s tops, daughter’s bottoms, son’s tops, son’s bottoms) and we started picking. There’s a huge difference between my kids in how they view clothes. I asked questions like: Which one is your favorite? Which one is fun to wear? Which one is comfortable? We focused on the positive, not which ones they didn’t want to keep.
My son is 5 and couldn’t care less about clothes. As long as they aren’t too itchy or tight, he will wear whatever. He had a hard time picking his favorites, but he does get excited about a few graphic tees with dinosaurs, rockets, etc. As you’ll see below, he also has a t-shirt he wears to soccer class each week so that definitely made the cut. I kept the clothes he said were his most favorite and made some cuts based on what I know he usually doesn’t pick when he gets dressed. I also considered my own favorites and keeping him in a similar color scheme. The key to making a really easy capsule wardrobe is to maintain a similar color palette. Now this isn’t absolutely required (mine is pretty varied), color similarity helps when you want to just reach in you closet and pick anything. And this is what he does.
So this is his wardrobe:
- 1 soccer tee
- 3 graphic tees
- 3 turtlenecks
- 4 thermal tees
- 4 sweaters
- 1 hoodie*
- 1 windbreaker*
- 1 coat*
- 1 athletic pant
- 1 sweatpant
- 1 lined pant
- 3 pants (khaki, blue, grey)
- 1 corduroy pant
Here are his pajamas and around-the-house clothes. They include two short-sleeved tees and sweatpants, too.
Is this enough clothes for him? Absolutely. He rarely needs more than one outfit per day and I wash once a week. We don’t go somewhere every day either, so that is a factor in how many items he needs.
And then there’s my daughter. At 2.5 she is an expert at what sparks joy for her. She has zero tolerance for wearing things that don’t spark joy and has no problem telling me her opinions. It was much easier to sort through her clothes. She quickly pulled out her faves and I supplemented with some basics that I know she will need for layering. She is in a huge dress phase right now. She wears bottoms underneath them and usually a tee also.
Here’s her wardrobe:
- 6 dresses
- 3 sweaters
- 3 turtlenecks**
- 4 longsleeve tees**
- 2 sleeveless bodysuits**
- 1 coat (4-in-one coat has a zip out lining that can be worn on its own.)*
- 2 sweater pants
- 4 leggings
- 2 sweatpants
- 2 tights
**=not pictured here, but can be seen folded in photo with bins
Here is how they all fit into bins. I hang just her dresses and sweaters and fold the rest. She picks her own clothes so she can easily see what’s available. I’m not picky about her wearing the pants as pjs or loungewear. She wears dresses around the house a lot too. This is not a battle I have chosen to fight. All of her clothes are okay for play. She does have one special occasion dress, but I keep it separate.
*I forgot to include her leg warmers. She has 4 pair that she shares with her baby sister. Those spark a lot of joy for her!
If you follow me on Instagram, I sometimes post her crazy outfits. I love that she has her own style and mixes and matches everything. Sometimes she picks things I am not sure about, but usually she manages to pull it off.
I mentioned above that their clothes are KonMari-style folded into bins. We don’t have a dresser with drawers, but we do have some neat built-in racks in the closet. The bins have lids and stack on the shelves. More special clothes hang up. All the kids’ clothes hang on one bar that’s low enough for them to reach and each has their own hanger color.
They do a good job of keeping it organized. I think involving them in the process helps them to see how important it is. They have autonomy over what they wear so that motivates them to not make a mess of things. I do the folding, but I’ll probably teach them when they are older.
So what about extra clothes and hand-me downs? In a nutshell, keep only what you love and KonMari-style fold it into storage bins. I have one bin for them all. It contains summer clothes for Z and R and bigger clothes for the baby. Everything is sorted by person and size. I save R’s clothes for baby M only if I think the seasons will match up, it’s not worn or faded, and I really, really love it.
I made quick videos of what I’m storing so I can refer back if I’m not sure what’s in there. We save a lot of money by shopping end-of-season clearance, but I don’t want to go overboard and buy too much because I can’t remember what I have.
Each kid has an extra outfit that I keep in the car for emergencies. These are items that didn’t really make the cut, but they are still just fine to wear.
Some people worry about wear and tear if clothes are being worn so often. It really hasn’t been much of a problem so far. I wash clothes on cold and hang many to dry. Considering the seasonal changes and rapid growth of kids, capsule wardrobes are perfect. Have a small set of clothes, wear them out, then get new ones. And repeat…
I hope you are inspired to create kid capsule wardrobes too! It makes life so much easier when you don’t have to wade through a sea of clothes to pick out something to wear. And the laundry is easier too. Who wouldn’t want that?!