The Definitive Back to school Clothing Checklist +FREE Printable

Need a bit of help deciding on back to school clothing essentials? Back to school shopping season always seems to bring out the clothing obsession in our children. With budgets in place and school dress codes to consider, it can often be overwhelming trying to decide what to buy for your kids each year. Plus we have created a fun and easy free printable for your convenience. Choose from Boy Essentials or Girl Essentials below and simply click to print and take with you when shopping time arrives.

Back To School Clothing Essentials with Free Printable Checklist for Boys & Girls


When shopping for back to school clothing, I like to recommend following the 80/20 rule. 80% of clothing purchased will be interchangeable, durable and functional for well into the school year (think solid tees, pants, leggings, etc.). 20% of the clothing purchased will be trendy, reflective of your child and their personality and perhaps not always matching everything in the closet. This rule allows Mom & Dad to be happy with what is spent and how long it will last while giving each child the freedom to design their wardrobe as well.

Some of our favorite stores to shop for back to school clothing essentials for younger kids are: The Children’s Place, Gymboree, Crazy 8, Target and JCPenney. All stores have quality clothing at reasonable prices.

Some of our favorite stores to shop for older kids (tween & teen) are: Justice For Girls, Brothers, Target, Forever 21, JCPenney and Aeropostle. All stores have quality clothing in the latest back to school trends at reasonable prices.

We also like to shop our friends closets for quality hand me down items, repurpose last years gently used items and of course check out thrift shops for fun vintage or trendy styles. Sites like Ebay and Craigslist can also offer up great deals on name brand pieces at discount prices.

*Note these lists are for students who will not be wearing uniforms to school


Back To School Clothing Eseentials for Girls

  • 7-10 Pair Underwear
  • 7-10 Pair Basic Socks
  • 3-4 Pair Fun/Trendy Socks or Tights
  • 3-4 Bras (if needed)
  • 1 Pair Khaki Pants
  • 3 Pair Basic Denim Jeans
  • 1 Pair Fun/Trendy Pant/Denim
  • 1 Black Skirt In Preferred Length/Style
  • 1 Fun/Trendy Skirt or Dress (mid length recommended with short sleeves that can be layered with camisole or sweater)
  • 3-4 Pair Leggings In Basic Colors (White, Navy, Brown, Black)
  • 3-4 Tanks or Camisoles in Basic Colors (White, Navy, Brown, Black – used for layering)
  • 2-3 Long Sleeved Graphic Tees
  • 2-3 Short Sleeve Graphic Tees
  • 2 Long Sleeve Blouses
  • 2 Short Sleeve Blouses
  • 2 Sweaters
  • 2 Jackets (recommend 1 hoodie style and one lighweight rain repellent style)
  • 1 Coat


Back To School Clothing Essentials For Boys

  • 7-10 Pair Underwear
  • 7-10 Pair Basic Socks
  • 3-4 Pair Fun/Trendy Socks
  • 1 Pair Khaki Pants
  • 1 Pair Black Pants
  • 3 Pair Basic Denim Jeans
  • 1-2 Pair Athletic Pant
  • 3-4 Solid Short Sleeve Tees In Classic Colors (White, Navy, Black, Green)
  • 2-3 Long Sleeved Graphic Tees
  • 2-3 Short Sleeve Graphic Tees
  • 2 Long Sleeve Button Up Shirt
  • 2 Short Sleeve Button Up Shirt
  • 2 Polo Style Collared Shirt
  • 2 Jackets (recommend 1 hoodie style and one lighweight rain repellent style)
  • 1 Coat

Click the images above to print your copy of the great FREE Back To School Essentials Checklists or click the link below directly.

Back To School Essentials For Girls Checklist

Back To School Essentials For Boys Checklist

These simple lists of back to school clothing essentials will give your kids the freedom to create a unique outfit each day while staying in budget. Grabbing basic pieces like camisoles/tanks or cotton tees to layer under button up shirts and blouses adds a pop of color or extra warmth when the temperatures drop. Sticking with mostly basic denim or classic colored bottoms allows you to mix and match the fun graphic tees with almost any bottom. Less laundry, more versatility and the ability for your child to let their personality shine this school year.

Don’t miss out on our other great Back To School Clothing Posts:

Back to School Clothes for Girls

Back to School Clothes for Boys
Back to School Shoes for Girls

Back to School Shoes for Boys

Which back to school clothing essentials are on your list this year?

Follow OurFamilyWorld Magazine’s board Back to School on Pinterest.

29 thoughts on “The Definitive Back to school Clothing Checklist +FREE Printable”

  1. This is a great checklist which is going to be so useful for most families who are all set for back to school. I love how you have given it separately for boys & girls. And the girls list are longer as usual, Lol!

  2. Rebecca Swenor

    This is an awesome post indeed. I love the fact that you can print out the list for the back to school clothes and essentials. It truly make the job easier. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Thank you for putting up this great shopping list. It would help parents keep within budget. I know how frustrating it is to think you’ve covered everything only to find out you have forgotten some other items.

  4. This post is definitely helpful for parents planning back to school essentials. This time of year, the stores are loaded with tons of items students need. Lots of our back to school shopping took place at K-Mart and Sears.

  5. I usually stock up on a few essential clothing items for the kids. I even check thrift stores too. I personally think you shouldn’t go broke during back to school season. You can spread the purchases out, give clothes for Christmas and birthdays, or check with friends who have kids who might be willing to pass on their clothes that they have outgrown.

  6. I hit some end of spring sales and random clearances this summer and am almost done with my 7 year old for BTS! This is a great checklist set

  7. Hmmmm…. My son, a high school senior this year, insists that Aeropostale and Hollister are out this year! He and his friends have found the sale racks at Target make the best budget-stretchers, and the quality is great. We literally just had this conversation yesterday!

    BTW, I give my kids a budget ($200 for high school, $100 for elementary school) to buy their back to school clothes. They have learned that last year’s jeans (if not too short) and shorts are perfectly good for 2 years. They buy shirts, and maybe one special item, but they don’t go overboard. We enjoy our shopping day and don’t break the bank. I do keep them in clothes throughout the year as they outgrow them ~ I’m not heartless. :)

  8. This is a great printable for Back To School clothing essentials! I am going to print it out and share it with my friends. I love keeping it simple and the check list system works really well for me in terms of organization!

  9. This seems like so much stuff! I know that my kids have that amount of clothes right now, but it’s overwhelming seeing it on a list like this, especially if you’re supposed to purchase it all at once. For someone like myself who only buys when things are on sale and I have a coupon or on clearance, I don’t think I could do it.

  10. This a great checklist for those needing school clothes. Thank heavens we only need to buy uniforms and play clothes. Lol. Shopping gives me hives. I leave those “fun things” to both grandmothers to do with my kids. Is that horrible? lol.

  11. These are great lists! I have just begun my school shopping for my daughter and we have already over did it on dresses but she just loves them. My next battle is getting her to pick out jeans, she hates them! I keep telling her when it’s 30 below outside she is going to wish she had some warm jeans to out on!

  12. Wow I love these prinatables! I remember back to school shopping as being exciting but also overwhelming… also I had different visions than my mom as to what was needed. This is perfect because parents can review the list with their kids prior to hitting the stores so that everyone is on the same page!

  13. I cannot believe it is time to think about back to school!! I love to pick up on office supply deals this time of year! This is a great checklist for kids clothing, I know my mom always seemed to struggle to think of what we needed.

  14. I went to Target this week and I was SO happy to see all the school supplies already out there for purchase! Is it weird that I’m not in school but obsessed with buying at least one notebook and some pencils? I just love the smell of school supplies. That sounds so weird, but I think you get it… if you’re a stationary addict like I am. ha!

  15. Back to school already? Boo. As a teacher I always hated hearing those words, especially when it was before my kids were even out for summer break. This is such a great and comprehensive list so you can stay within your budget.

  16. We are going to take our Grandson shopping this year for some school clothes. I appreciate this list you have since I have NO idea what kids need anylonger. I know he wants a pair of shoes with super heros on them. That is all I know…

  17. OMG! This is so organized! I could see how this could help a family with even more than one child definitely! It brought back reading this as my favorite stories were JC Penny, Forever 21 and I love Gymboree. Also love that you have something on your side bar about Divergent! I still need to see the one one! :)

  18. What great lists to keep me organized! I just started going through the drawers to see what doesn’t fit and what we need.

  19. The lists are great for doing an inventory also. I’ve been trying to pick up a few items throughout the summer, but there’s still a lot to get.

  20. Thank you so much for the great checklists. It will time for back-to-school shopping before we know it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *