End of last summer I was just over my closet. I don’t have a huge closet (yay old houses!) so in the space, I had the number of things hanging was getting tight. I pulled it all out and only put back in what I was really wearing and I removed what was out of season or things I wasn’t wearing at all. And it was awesome…
Until a few months later I looked through the box of what I put aside and moved some things back in (and got rid of a few more things). I’m not sure why I did this vs. creating a new capsule wardrobe for the changing season, but it is what it is.
I’ve been contemplating capsule wardrobes ever since doing this, knowing I really needed to get back to this again.
Prefer video learning? Check out my video on capsule wardrobes:
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is what I like to call a “closet with intention”. Capsule wardrobes are generally created seasonally, and in the process, you remove everything from your closet and only keep things in there that you can currently wear for the season, and that you love. Generally, you decide on a set amount of items to help keep the closet size in check. Courtney Carver, of Project 333, likes to keep 33 items which include: tops, bottoms, accessories, jewelry, & shoes. A capsule wardrobe doesn’t generally include socks, underwear, sleep/loungewear, or workout clothes (unless you wear these as everyday clothes, then count them).
However, the amount of items needs to be what works for you. When I recently went through my closet again, I ended up with about 25-30 just tops. I was mainly focusing on tops as that was my biggest clothing issue. This is more than some people do but for now, it works for me.
Things that aren’t kept in the closet for the season are packed up and stored elsewhere. As seasons change, you reassess your closet and swap out pieces to reflect the new season. Some items may stay year-round while others will only be in a few months out of the year.
Why do a capsule wardrobe?
You might be wondering why even bother doing this if you have enough room for all those clothes in your closet already? There are 2 main reasons:
1. Reduce morning stress
When you have fewer things to look through in your closet each morning, it makes your morning go that much smoother and faster. No one needs more things to worry about in the morning. With a capsule wardrobe, getting dressed is fast and easy, which means the mornings can go better as well.
2. Reduces decision fatigue
Decision fatigue is a real thing… throughout our day, we make a LOT of decisions. And every decision we make wears on our mind…until we finally reach the point when we are done trying to make decisions for the day. And what happens then? Normally this happens around the time we’re deciding what to make for dinner or deciding if we really need to eat a bowl of ice cream that night. When we are all decisioned out, can you guess what kind of eating decisions we normally make? (hint: not generally healthy ones!)
Having a streamlined closet will make getting dressed easy, and remove one more tough decision from your day.
How I did my capsule wardrobe
Creating a capsule wardrobe is similar to decluttering your closet but a little different. Here’s what I did:
Step 1: Remove everything from your closet
I sorted things into piles on my bed by type of clothing. Remove things from your drawers as well. If you are doing tops and bottoms pile them all out there!
Step 2: Do a quick sort
Now you’re going to go through each pile for a quick initial sort. This isn’t the time to debate on how many times you wore something this month. This is a quick gut reaction sort to the clothes. Put things you love at first sight in a Keep pile, put anything you know you want to go in a Declutter pile and put the rest in an I’m Not Sure pile.
Step 3: Do a final sort
Now that you have the initial work done, go through each I’m Not Sure pile and start to look at each item and how it will fit into your end wardrobe. Things to consider…
- Do I love to wear this?
- Do I like how I feel when I wear this?
- Does this fit me properly?
- Is it appropriate for the current season? or do I not wear this because right now I’m too hot or cold in it?
- Will this mix and match nicely with other items in my capsule wardrobe?
The mixing and matching is a key thing here. With a limited wardrobe, you must have items that play well with others. A top that only matches one thing or a pair of pants that only goes with one top will be very limiting in a capsule wardrobe. Choose items that mix and match well with the rest of your wardrobe.
Step 4: Put your keeps in and the rest out
Hang all your keep items in your closet. Take your declutter items to go with your things for the next trip to the donation center. Then pack up the rest of the clothes and store them away somewhere until it’s time to make your capsule wardrobe for the next season.
What if I need it? and other questions…
What if you need those items you packed up?
When you pack things away, especially if this is your first capsule wardrobe, you might be concerned about dressing with less. The great thing is, they are always accessible. I want to encourage you to stick to what’s in your closet for a couple of weeks, but then if you’re really missing a certain piece, go get it from your packed up items. After this capsule season is done, you might be surprised to find that you didn’t miss some of the items at all, and you may end up decluttering more when you open that box again.
So what about keeping out dressy items that you don’t use much? Events can come up where we suddenly need a dressy item. If you don’t have something like this already worked into your capsule wardrobe because you don’t dress up much <raises hand> then feel free to keep 1-2 dresses out to have available. Ideally, it’s nice to have a dress that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I also have a few nice pairs of pants and nice shirts I can pair them with for less dressy occasions that require something more than jeans or leggings.
I’m overwhelmed…I want to get rid of it all!
I feel ya, girl! Staring at all those clothes can be overwhelming. That’s why I like to do the quick sort. It really shows what you love. Taking those pieces you love is a great place to start. If you find your closet is full of things that are never going to mix and match, start with what you love, and see if you can find a few key pieces to buy that would help tie it all together. If you have no vision for this sort of thing, ask a friend who does to come over and help you find ways to mix and match your wardrobe.
I was so pleased with my results. Since making this capsule wardrobe, it has been so easy to get dressed! I spend a lot less time staring at the closet, trying to figure out what to wear and how I want to put together an outfit. I will probably tackle my pants soon as I know there are a lot of them I barely wear.
Have you done a capsule wardrobe? What have you loved about it?