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Friday, February 24, 2017

Capsule wardrobes are everywhere. People are curating their wardrobes. Well, what does this mean, you ask? It means stripping everything down to the basics. So, you ask, how do I do this? Where do I start? Don't worry, it's simple. But first, a little background.

Why build a capsule wardrobe?

Minimalism is a movement that advocates getting rid of the things you don't need to make room for the life you want. Sounds simple, right? Well, it kind of is, that's the beauty of it. If you find yourself opening your closet and squeezing your hand between tightly packed hangers wondering if you'll pick out something interesting, you may be in need of a wardrobe clear-out.

What I did (and how you can do it too)

Firstly, I'd like to point out that I'm probably a minimalist at heart. I don't really hold on to "stuff" and I tend to enjoy any opportunity to get rid of unnecessary clutter.

My first step was to yank everything off the hangers one by one. I picked out each item of clothing, took a good look and decided one of three things:
  • Option #1: I love it and I wear it all the time
  • Option #2: I haven't worn this for over 2 months. Hmm, maybe this isn't my style
  • Option #3: What in tarnation heck was I thinking when I bought this? (I'm looking at you, leopard skin leggings!)
So after picking out each item, if the answer was #1, it went into the laundry pile, ready to be washed and hung up in my (now spacious) wardrobe.

If the answer was #2, I put it into the clothing donation bag. It's easier if you put these items straight into a bag rather than letting them gather in a pile on the floor.

As of today, I have released two bags stuffed full of good quality clothing. One of the items was a white peplum top. Never worn, great condition. Somebody will find it at their local op-shop and it will be perfect for them. I am happy for them because it sure as heck didn't suit me!

And finally, if the answer was #3, these items also went straight to the donation bags. The only exceptions were things with holes in them. No op-shop wants a pile of moth-eaten clothing on their doorstep. It's more work for them to get rid of these items and it's probably better karma to throw them in the bin before you make the trip. For example, I had a beautiful black merino jumper from Katmandu. I have worn this jumper all through two (or was it three) winters and it suits me perfectly. Unfortunately, due to my enthusiastic use, it now has three holes on one elbow and four on the other. *Sigh* into the bin it goes.

The basic steps to a clutter-free capsule wardrobe

  • Open your wardrobe (Phew! That was the hard part)
  • Go through your hangers and pull out everything you haven't worn in the last couple of months
  • See what's left (Hint - it's probably the stuff you wear all the time)
  • Store the stuff you don't need or want OR donate it!
You may find after your clear out that you don't have as many clothes as you thought. Resist the urge to run out and buy new stuff to fill it up. Give yourself time to live with the new, smaller wardrobe. One of the advantages of having less clothing is knowing that you love absolutely everything in your wardrobe and it takes far less time to decide what to wear!

Things I have discovered since building my capsule wardrobe:

  • I no longer have to decide what to wear - no more throwing things back on the hangers and mixing and matching weird looks
  • The things in my wardrobe are the things I feel most comfortable wearing - I can comfortably grab anything and know that it will work
  • I have released all the clothing that I was never going to wear anyway - it's a lighter feeling every time I open the wardrobe
  • Even though I have less stuff, I have more things to wear - I have discovered hidden treasures squished in the far reaches of my hanging space
My wardrobe was stacked so full of hangers that I had to prise apart the layers to see what was in there. After my decluttering adventure, I can now see what I have to wear. I have discovered (or should I say rediscovered) a number of t-shirts that I absolutely love. I am now going through the process of hand washing all of them, one by one and returning them to their rightful place. 

Unexpected benefits of a capsule wardrobe:

  • No more illusions - I have less clothing than I thought but that's okay. Before the clear out, my wardrobe had the illusion of being "full", yet I still had nothing to wear. Now I know where I stand.
  • Less stress - deciding what to wear in the morning is not all that much fun. Now I know what I'm going to wear. If I happen to wear the same thing a few times, at least I know it's perfect and suits me well.
  • More space - now I have more space in my wardrobe and more space to think about the things that really matter in life. I may buy a couple of new basic items but overall, I'm comfortable with my leaner, minimalist wardrobe.