If you read this headline and thought: "There is no way I can have a capsule closet", give me until the end of this post to convince you. I also thought I couldn't do it. That it only worked for extreme minimalists and that I liked fashion too much to be stuck with a limited amount of items for a whole season. Now I can't imagine living without a capsule closet and wish I had started sooner.
I created my first capsule closet in the summer of 2019. I used Project 333 as a starting point and modified it to fit my lifestyle. I love the idea of only keeping 33 items for 3 months, but it just didn't work for me. Colorado has such crazy weather that I needed to keep backup items for the unexpected snow or heat waves. So my capsules currently range from 40 to 60 items, including shoes and accessories.
Want vs. need
Before we begin its important to understand the difference between your wants and your needs. You might think that you need an item of clothing, or that you need a specific shoe, but unless you actually need it for work, you just want to have them. We don't need to own as much we do, in a civilized society you only need to be covered in clothes, you don't need those clothes to be from a designer brand or a specific shape or color. Fashion is what makes you think that you need those items, when in reality you just want them. Don't get me wrong, I also love trendy items, but it's important to find a balance between the basics you need and the trendy items you want.
Where to begin
Start this process by decluttering your closet. You can check out this post for an in-depth step-by-step on how to approach your declutter. Once you decide what to keep, it's time to separate your clothes into different seasons. This part will vary from person to person, I personally knew that I liked to wear darker colors in the winter and brighter colors in the summer, so I divided my clothes by color, creating a palette for each season. Because my clothes are mostly neutral in color, it was easy to create a palette. My winter capsule ended up with too much black, so I mixed it with fall to balance it out. *Make sure that all the items you select work well together within the capsule, that way you will be able to instantly create different outfits.
This step is not necessary, but it is definitely helpful. Once I had all my clothes divided in four piles, I created an excel sheet and wrote down every single piece of clothing, accessories and shoes that I owned. I then moved them into the corresponding season and organized it under different categories. Depending on how many clothes you have, it will take you a long time to get create this spreadsheet, but it will come in handy at the end of the season, when you are ready to swap your clothes and don't remember which item goes with which season.
Out of sight, out of mind
Once you are done selecting and organizing everything, store the off season items inside a luggage or box. That will free up space in your closet, leaving it clutter free and organized. Something very exciting about creating a capsule closet is that when its time to change seasons, you can open your luggage and shop your own closet. You will have forgotten about some items you owned and it will be as if you had just purchased them.
Living with a capsule closet
So you've read this post so far and is still not convinced that you could live with a capsule closet. You ask: "Won't people notice I'm wearing the same clothes?" Unless you work for Miranda Priestly, no one will notice you are repeating your outfits. 1. They have more important things to think about 2. So what if they do? Are you dressing for yourself or for others? I work at a company that is 99% female and they were shocked when I told them I'd been wearing the same clothes for the whole summer. No one noticed!
Can I buy new clothes?
The idea behind creating a capsule closet is to challenge yourself to dress with fewer items and remove the stress of "I have nothing to wear". But if after a couple of weeks you feel like some pieces are just not working out, try shopping your other clothes first before buying new items. Still can't find a perfect combo? Go ahead and buy what you need, but make sure it compliments what you already have and give the item you are replacing a new home.
Less is more
Are you convinced yet? Here is my final attempt to persuade you... When you switch to a capsule closet you will realize you need much less than you thought to dress well, comfortably and with style. A capsule closet will also save you money, since you only keep items that you love, you won't have to go shopping for more clothes. It will save you time getting ready, because all the pieces go together. And it will create less stress, since you will learn to live with less and realize the benefits of minimizing.
Ready to create your own capsule closet?