A Minimalist Wardrobe (for a School-Aged Boy)

Decluttering a young boy’s closet is surprisingly easy and has many benefits. Some specific benefits for school-aged boys include:

  1. A curated closet contains tops and bottoms with the entire collection in mind. This gives a child a sense of autonomy and a good chance of success in picking out their own outfits each morning.
  2. Designing a wardrobe can reassure the parents that the child has enough clothing. The planning stage also lets parents know where the gaps are which can lead to a smarter shopping list.
  3. In consciously designing a wardrobe, parents can become knowledgeable about what they’re looking for in a garment. For example, I learned that elastic waist bands (without any finicky parts) are an excellent feature for pants when it comes to small children.
  4. Culling the closet keeps kids from arriving at school wearing clothes that are too small, too large, or too damaged.

How I Compose The Wardrobe

I have two boys who attend school now. The composition of their wardrobes are roughly the same. I base my minimum number of items (6) on my laundry cycle plus a few extras for occasional changes.

For most categories, I pick out the best 6 and hang them or fold them in their closets / dressers.

The remaining pieces I put in a tote. Since they are always growing and damaging clothes, I shop the tote when I need a replacement and only go clothes shopping when I cannot find a replacement in a given category.

Once they outgrow the contents of the tote, I pass them along to another sibling or cousin if the piece is still in good shape. Otherwise, I toss them.

I don’t normally need to cull the number of clothes my sons own. As they are still rapidly growing, I feel that they outgrow clothes too quickly for them to become too numerous.

I also don’t dispose of an item until I have found it’s replacement. For example, we will need to get my elder son a new pair of snow pants, but until we’ve gotten it, his old one remains in the closet (He could still be stuffed into it if necessary!).

Example Wardrobe


Hanging: Backpack, snow pants, rain jacket, winter coat, sweater, 5 long-sleeved shirts, 5 short-sleeved shirts, 5 pairs of pants, baseball cap and winter hat; Floor: “Emergency/Accident” Kits, play clothes, PJs, winter boots, athletic shoes, “nicer” shoes, “nicer” socks and under wear, and knit gloves

I’ve included my son’s wardrobe as a guideline only. Individual characteristics, such as climate, religion, family activities and laundry schedule will impact the make-up of another kid’s closet.


  • athletic shoes
  • winter boots
  • “nicer” shoes
  • sandals


  • backpack


  • sun hat / baseball cap
  • winter hat


  • Light weight rain jacket
  • Heavy weight winter coat

Snow Gear:

  • snow pants
  • snow gloves

Swim Gear:

  • PFD vest
  • Swim shirt
  • Swim trunks

School Clothes:

  • 2 sweaters/jumpers/hoodies
  • 2 “nice” shirts
  • 1 “nice” pair of pants
  • 1 vest
  • 1-2 plain long-sleeved shirt or turtleneck
  • 6 long-sleeved t-shirts
  • 6 short-sleeved shirts
  • 6 pairs of pants (with elastic, simple waist bands)
  • 6 pairs of shorts (with elastic, simple waist bands)
  • 6 pairs socks (at least)
  • 6 pairs underwear (at least)

Emergency Clothes:

  • 1 pair of sweat pants
  • 1 t-shirt
  • 1 pair of underwear
  • 1 pair of socks


  • 6 sets of PJs
  • 3-6 pairs of socks
  • 3-6 pairs underwear
  • 3-6 pairs “play” pants
  • 3-6 pairs “play” shirts

I believe strongly in the concept of “play” clothes for younger children. The reason is that having clothes that they can really get messy in allows for more fun and less parental anxiety. I usually down-grade school clothes that get damaged. During the summer months, I aim for a larger number, say 6. While during the school year, I only need about 3 sets.

If you have a school-aged boy, have you thought about setting him up with a minimalist wardrobe? What would be your essentials? How might you change it up for a girl? Let me know in the comments below and until next time,

Happy Parenting with Mother Earth in Mind!

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