Creating a capsule wardrobe is not difficult but it does require getting clear about your objective and some careful planning. I compiled 5 easy steps you can follow to build a capsule wardrobe.
1. Get clear on your Why.
Why is it that you want to build a capsule wardrobe? Do you want to save time getting dressed in the morning? Eliminate decision fatigue? Want to refine your style? Do you have limited closet space? Are you an aspiring minimalist? Write down your why(s) somewhere you can see frequently. This will become your motivation to stick to it.
2. Schedule your start date and plan ahead.
Let this be a distraction and interruption free time. Ask your partner or friend for help watching the kids and/or pets. Create a playlist of music that will keep you going. Make sure you have some water bottles and snacks ready. Gather some bags, boxes and storage bins and have them ready for your start date.
3. Set rules for yourself or follow someone else’s (to begin with).
Is building a capsule wardrobe a challenge or an experiment? How long will you implement it for? 30 days, 60 days, 3 months, a year? Consider a no-purchase or no-shopping rule during the duration unless there are key pieces that need to be replaced. Are you aiming for a certain amount of pieces? How many? 10, 33, 37, 40, 50? Will you include shoes, handbags and accessories too? A typical capsule wardrobe does not include underwear, socks, sleepwear, workout clothes or lounge wear. It does not include items you would wear on special occasions either but it’s still a good opportunity to go through these as well and pare down if needed.
4. Take everything out and sort.
Make sure you gather everything in one spot. Start with a rough sort. Sort into:
- Donate/Sell – you don’t wear, they don’t fit properly, you don’t like the color, whatever the reason is you know you will never wear. If there are any items worth the time and effort to sell go ahead and keep them as a separate category.
- Recycle – all items that are stained, torn, worn out and no longer usable.
- Undecided – this is a temporary category for the items you are unsure of.
- Keep – the ones that fit well and you truly enjoy wearing,
Go through your “undecided” pile again. Try on the items in your undecided category. Be honest. Be real. Does it fit? Do you like the style? Will you really wear it? Does it fit your current lifestyle? If you went shopping today and found this item would you buy it again? If so, move it to the Keep pile. No? Then move to the donate pile. If you are still undecided, or the piece has emotional weight set it aside to get packed up (you can address these in the next capsule season).
Revisit your Keep items. Now choose the items that will make up your capsule wardrobe. Take into consideration your current lifestyle (workdays, weekends, special activities, etc.). Choose what you will live with for the next ‘x’ number of days by category: clothes, shoes & accessories. Now pack up everything else that is left including any “undecided” items.
5. Move the Donate and Recycle categories to your car or staging area.
- Donate – Consider getting creative with your donation items. Give to friends. Maybe there is a local charity or church that could benefit from your donation. Also, consider posting your donation to your local freecycle (exercise your discretion and take safety precautions if using this option).
- Recycle – Your unusable items can be recycled with a little extra effort too. Make sure to label them as such and drop off at your nearest Goodwill store. Search if a school near you has a textile recycling bin. Or consider one of these other options.
Enjoy the journey
Congratulations! You are on your way to simpler mornings. As with any journey there may be ups and downs on the way. Share what you are doing with a friend that will support you. Who knows maybe your friend will jump in with you too. Get creative. Mix, match and layer in ways you have never before to discover new outfit ideas with what you have.
During this time I encourage you to keep a journal. Take notes of any adjustments you make to your capsule for future reference. Take note of your ideal color palette and any accent colors you would like to incorporate. Also, take note of how you feel, how your mornings are different and any aha moments. After you complete your challenge or experiment period revisit the items packed away. Use them as part of a new capsule season or let them go. One last thought…if you are concerned about not repeating outfits during certain meetings or activities then track what you wear. I wish you much success in your journey to overcome wardrobe overwhelm.