When Reader Angelina asked me to first write about this, I thought: What am I getting myself into? I don’t have kids aged 3 – 6!!
But I do have nieces and nephews.
I guess the same principles would apply to children as they would to adults, except I’d swap out “business casual” with “play clothes”.
So I asked my mom for some help, because I recall seeing photos of us not really having much when we were younger.
My mom told us that we used to wander around the room half naked with only a diaper and a onesie, and they would only dress us up for special occasions such as holidays. Otherwise, we left in that onesie!
That lasted until we were old enough to go to school and/or weren’t considered “a baby” any longer, and had to wear proper clothes.
As we got older, my mom said she bought clothes slightly bigger for us but not too big that we were swimming in it.
If you have a boy AND a girl, she made sure they were as unisex as possible, and that’s how she doubled our wardrobe (hmm.. these old family photos are all starting to make sense now).
It was even better if you had 2 boys or 2 girls, because you could just make them wear hand-me-downs if they were clean and appropriate.
Only our holiday clothes were special to each of us.
For older children, it’s a bit more difficult because you have to be practical about kids getting dirty, or having accidents.
IN GENERAL, I’D SUGGEST:
- 9 sets of play clothes (casual clothes)
- 7 sets of school clothes — assuming you can swap out with play clothes as well
- 2 sweaters to wear over their clothes
- 2 holiday outfits
- 2 sets of shoes — they don’t need many, and they do grow quickly
- winter stuff (one jacket, one pair of gloves, one pair of boots etc)
- Special clothes – Swimsuit, Raincoat, Rainboots
This is really conditional on where you live as well, and you may not need rain clothes.
I’m assuming laundry is done weekly, and they DO get dirty or have accidents, but this can all be pared down if your children don’t get as dirty as quickly as I’m imagining.
I am also assuming that their play clothes and school clothes can be swapped out and interchangeable, so don’t buy too many things that can’t be subbed.
You could also set aside 2 sets of clothes that are SPECIFICALLY for getting dirty or rough, and they can tear the shirt or pants by accident without repercussions.
I’d also set aside ONE outfit that is pristine, so just in case something a little less casual (maybe a special dinner) comes up and you forgot to do laundry, you can go to the backup outfit in a pinch.
The two sweaters are for transition into Autumn or Spring to keep them warm, although they have a winter jacket in case they need it.
HOW TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU NEED
I’d suggest going through a week and noting how many pieces of clothing are being worn by each child, the frequency of change, and then tacking on 3 sets of outfits after that, for “just in case” situations.
I’d see whether they can re-wear pieces, especially bottoms such as jeans (I do it all the time) rather than just wearing it once. I don’t find that bottoms get as dirty or as sweaty as tops, but then again, I am not running around like crazy all the time.
I’d also keep in mind the weather — if it doesn’t get that cold, don’t buy winter items.
Getting into Autumn or Winter makes it trickier, because kids need to stay warm, but even a magic sweater won’t stop them from getting dirty.
I do recall being a kid a long time ago, and I had one winter jacket, and 2 sweaters. They seemed to serve me well, because the classroom was so warm, I’d take off my sweater, and wear it only if I went outside, like a jacket.
Once I hit 7 years old, my dad got me involved in doing my own laundry, and from then on, I made my own decisions about what was clean or dirty, and my parents never seemed to mind.
That’s the best I can do, as I don’t have a family yet. I hope it helped!