This past spring Stephen and I decided to try out a capsule wardrobe for the summer. Before we went out and purchased anything though, we knew we had to go through a massive purge of our closet (more on that later!) to determine what we already owned that we wanted to keep in our capsules. It was emotionally exhausting, as stupid as that sounds, but I am so, SO incredibly glad we did it. Once we got rid of all of the things that no longer bring us joy, we created our capsules. Today I’m going to share about all that goes into a capsule wardrobe, why we’ve made the switch, and why we’re in this for the long haul.
This might sound crazy but making the switch to a capsule wardrobe has drastically improved my life. Like most women, I’ve always struggled with having a full closet but nothing to wear. I would go on Instagram and look through my favorite fashion bloggers for inspiration, all of a sudden NEED to buy something like it would fix all of my problems if I had THIS ONE DRESS, buy the dress, put the dress in my closet, wear it maybe once, and then have nothing to wear the next time I went to get dressed. How DUMB is that? The sad part is though, I know I’m not alone, right?
There were a few things that really made me realize I needed a solution to this (first world) problem:
Moving cross country. We lived out of suitcases for about 4 months when we moved from Arizona to South Carolina. During that time I did regret not packing one pair of my boots, sure. But overall, I was just fine and perfectly happy with what I had in my suitcase. Once I realized how content I was, I started to ask myself, “Why do I have all of this extra stuff anyway?”
Our budget. This was the big one for me. As soon as we started to track Every Dollar we spent, we would set some money aside for clothes every month to prepare for if we I needed wanted to buy something. Then when I would want to go buy something for our house or start a new project but didn’t have money left in the house budget, I would see the unspent clothing money in the budget and think, “Hmm… I don’t need clothes this month. I’ll use that money for the house!” After a couple of months of doing that I realized that my priorities are elsewhere and that I don’t NEED anymore clothes. On top of that, we’d so much rather spend our money on projects we can do together or on trips we can go on together. This will be especially prevalent when our family grows someday.
Remove the clutter. I’ve mentioned that I want to do a joyful surroundings series on the blog and I still plan on doing that. It’s so much information that I want to share so I’m still trying to determine the best way to articulate that. In the meantime, I’ll say that I firmly believe that all of your surroundings should only be things that bring you joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to be removed. My cluttered closet was full of things that I didn’t love/didn’t bring me joy anymore so why should I keep them? As soon as I got rid of all of that, I immediately felt more joyful and I had a ton more empty space which was a huge relief to me.
Waste. I mentioned the dress scenario above where I’d buy something and wear it once and then it would just sit in my closet “collecting dust”. I’m pretty sure that happened frequently. Once again, I don’t think I’m alone on that one… When I was content living out of my suitcase I started to think about how stupid it was that we’re trained in our consumerism society that we can’t wear things multiple times. Maybe that’s just our generation but I felt like for every special event there had to be a new dress/outfit. How STUPID and what a WASTE! I hope to never fall into that pathetic trap again.
Did I mention I wear pretty much the same thing every weekend when I’m out of my work clothes, whether it’s “trendy” or not? It’s what I feel most comfortable, cute, attractive, best, whatever you want to call it, in. When I realized I do that (I’m guessing a lot of you guys do this too), I thought, “Hmm.. I basically already use a capsule wardrobe, right? What’s the point of keeping all of this extra crap?”
A capsule wardrobe is a method to reduce your wardrobe down to only pieces that you love (that fit your lifestyle and body rightnow), that are easily re-wearable, and allows you to shop less often and more purposefully.
Instead of me explaining this process word for word I went ahead and made you an easy flow chart to follow. I want to stress though to remove EVERYTHING from your closet. It’s so important that you do this so you can really see how much you have. I know this part hit me like a ton of bricks. I looked at my bed absolutely covered and was so disappointed with myself and decided right then and there I wasn’t going back to this again. If you share a closet with your spouse, ask if they’ll get on board with you.
If you share a closet with your spouse, try to get them to also remove all of their things from the closet and go through them too. For me, it was best to do this alone so that I could focus and have my moments without any distraction. It took me a solid 3 hours to really go through my stuff and like I mentioned above, it was honestly emotional for me. I had things from high school I didn’t want to part with but after all, I hadn’t worn any of that stuff in 8 years! It brought me joy BACK THEN but I couldn’t necessarily say it did that for now — it already served its purpose so I needed to part with it. I would have my moment with it, think back on those memories, and put it in the donate or throw away pile and move on.
BONUS: If you can get your spouse on board and have them do this too, the closet will be completely empty which means you can give it a good cleaning before putting everything back.
Before I get into this I want to add that you can find all sorts of information out there about how to build a capsule, what it is, etc. But I will say I do mine a bit differently. Some people do it to stop a bad spending habit and therefore, need to be really strict about it. You’ll see for instance, some people will say “you can only have 37 items” or something like that. Or maybe some just enjoy having a set number and rules to follow like it’s a fun puzzle for them. While my wardrobe did end up being around 37 items, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to set all sorts of rules to follow. I didn’t need to be as strict about it. Once I got rid of the extra clothes, I had only things that I loved. I got a couple more staples that I need to refresh/update and my wardrobe was complete. All of a sudden it made getting dressed so much easier for me and I didn’t feel like I needed to buy things to make my wardrobe work. It just felt right to me.
If you need to set rules for yourself to break a shopping habit or just want to do that as a test/puzzle/whatever, DO IT! You. Do. You. Girlfriend.
When I started researching capsules, this is the post I used to get an idea of how to build my own. Caroline is a pro at capsule wardrobes and has AMAZING resources on here! Obviously I didn’t follow the how-to post exactly, I just did what felt right for me so that’s why I’m sharing with you all here today.
This is the wardrobe planner I was referring to in the flow chart! She also has a summarized one page version here.
Tomorrow I’m going to be sharing my summer capsule. Even though it’s practically over, I think it will help you get a better idea of how I built mine for the summer so you can build your own. I can’t wait to share my fall one with you all soon too!