How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe

As the minimalist movement and the “less is more” mantra grows in popularity, I find myself increasingly fascinated with this simplified style.

As I mentioned in my post, 5 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life, I value simplifying for several reasons.

For starters, simplifying helps uncover what you truly value in life. It frees up your schedule to spend time with those you love, and (re)discover your passions. It helps you recognize your most important goals, and it highlights where you should invest your energy.

As I continue on this journey toward simplification, I decided to take a big leap and give the capsule wardrobe a try.

What is this capsule wardrobe I speak of? Read on to find out what it is, why I love it, and how you can start one, too!

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How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe

What is a capsule wardrobe?

First things first. What is a capsule wardrobe?

Let’s first start with the person who really helped explode the capsule trend in the blogosphere: her name is Caroline, and she blogs over at Unfancy. On her blog, she explains that the capsule wardrobe is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.”

Essentially, each season, Caroline chooses 37 pieces of clothing to wear; this includes tops, bottoms, shoes, and outerwear, but not workout clothes, undergarments, swimwear, or accessories.

For her, this broke down into 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms (jeans, dress pants, skirts, etc.), 15 tops (button-ups, sweaters, t-shirts, etc.), two dresses, and two jackets.

Then, for the three months of that season, she only wore those clothes. Yep – just those 37 pieces.

When I first learned about this idea, I was intrigued, to say the least. Last spring – lovingly known as Declutter 2017 – I went through a major simplification process. During this time I not only cleaned out my kitchen but also completely gutted my closet. I donated over 10 garbage bags filled with clothes, shoes, accessories, bags, etc.

It. Was. Incredible.

Over the past year, however, I noticed my closet slowly filling up with a few more items, which made deciding what to wear each day a bit of a chore.

Remembering last spring, when I looked in my closet and loved every piece of clothing in there, I decided it was time for another purge. But this time, I would have a method to the madness.

This time, I would try the capsule wardrobe approach.

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Why I Love The Capsule Wardrobe

Before I go into the specifics of creating the wardrobe, I first want to talk a bit about the benefits. Because from the outside, it can sound pretty restrictive.

“What?! You only have 15 tops to wear for three months? Are you crazy?!”

Nope, I’m not crazy.

Nor am I stressed, overwhelmed, or wasting time deciding what to wear each day.

As I’ve mentioned before, for many people, outer order contributes to inner calm. And this is certainly true for me.

So by eliminating the clothing you don’t absolutely love, you’re reducing the clutter as well as your choices. And this means – drumroll please – Decision making just got So. Much. Easier.

What’s more, when your wardrobe only includes your favorite clothing, then you FEEL GREAT every day.

You know when you wear your favorite outfit to work and you feel like you’re ready to take on the world? It’s incredible, right?

Well, you get to feel like that every day.

Yes, please!

And then the unspoken benefit – you’re saving a ton of money. No shopping for 3 months=more money in the bank. And that’s never a bad thing.

So if you’re ready to reduce decision making, stress, and clutter, and if you’re ready to feel like a total boss every day, then read on. Here are the steps to creating a capsule wardrobe.

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How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe

Step One:

Empty everything out of your closet. Yes. Everything. You know that one t-shirt hanging in the very back? Yep, that one, too.

(If you keep some of your clothes in dressers instead, the same rule applies)

Step Two:

Next, start sorting. Caroline recommends dividing the clothes into 4 piles.

  1. Absolutely love it
  2. Meh, I’m indifferent; I don’t wear it, but it has sentimental value
  3. I don’t like it; This doesn’t fit; I don’t feel comfortable in it
  4. Wrong season
Step Three:

Once you sorted through your clothes, put the LOVE IT items back in the closet.

Put your indifferent/don’t wear it pile into a box and store it under your bed or in the basement. As Caroline explains, “[y]ou can always go get stuff out of it, but you probably won’t. If it’s still in the box at the end of your season, it’s time to say goodbye to it.”

Box up the clothes that don’t fit or you don’t like and donate them.

(Vietnam Veterans of America will come directly to your house and pick up the items if you’re looking for an easy way to donate. You can schedule the pickup on line.)

Toss the clothes that are simply worn out or unfit to donate.

(You can also take a leaf from my dad’s book and tear up the t-shirts to use as cleaning rags.)

The Seasonal stuff can also get boxed up and stored under your bed.

Step Four:

Now it’s time to go through your LOVE IT clothing.

Remember, you want to have 37 pieces (or whatever your decided number is.) If you have more than 37 items, it’s time to downsize. Choose the items that go the best together, and add the leftovers to your “maybe” box.

Need a few more items? Plan out what will best complement what you already have and buy a few favorite pieces.

And that’s it! It’s really that simple. Go through your closet, find the stuff you love, and donate the things you don’t. You’ll reduce clutter, decision making, and stress. Plus, you’ll feel great in your clothing every day. What’s not to love?

Are you ready to give the capsule wardrobe a try? Great! Get my free checklist here to guide you through the process from start to finish!

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Have you tried a capsule wardrobe? What are some “must-have” items that you would include? What would be the most difficult for you to give up? Does clutter create stress in your life? Let me know below!

16 thoughts on “How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe”

  1. Great info here! I really want to do a capsule wardrobe so bad, just feel a bit intimidated and nervous to take the plunge!

    1. I can definitely understand that! You could try easing into it. Perhaps allow yourself 50 pieces of clothing to start. Alternatively don’t get rid of anything yet. Simply put everything in boxes. That way, if you decide you’re really missing that jacket you boxed up, you can simply go out to the garage and grab it 🙂

  2. This reminds me of the KonMari method! I did that a couple of years ago and it was truly freeing! I feel like I am drowning in my house and closest sometimes muddling around things I don’t like, trying to find something I do like!

    1. Yes! It’s super similar to the KonMari method. And I agree – it’s such a great feeling, isn’t it?

  3. It’s funny, each season I seem to fall into a capsule type wardrobe, and I didn’t even notice! I find myself wearing the same things again and again – maybe I’ll give this method an official try in order to clean out the rest of my “unused” closet.

    1. It’s funny how we find our favorites and stick to them, isn’t it? It feels so great to get rid of all the “extra.” Let me know if you end up doing it!

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