10 Steps to a Decluttered Capsule Closet
By Lara Watson, Houzz
An excessive number of jackets, shoes and clothes in general is a prime culprit for messy bedrooms, hallways and closets. A collapsing, heaving wall-mounted coat rack was my own personal sign that I needed to aim for a more minimal wardrobe, but your reasons may be different. Perhaps you’re moving and want to streamline your belongings? Maybe you’re curious about Marie Kondo’s KonMari organizing method after having chats with converted friends? Or perhaps you’re just sick of taking forever to choose your clothes and get dressed in the morning. Paring down your wardrobe is a cleansing and liberating experience. Plus it creates more space. Give the following steps a try this weekend to kick-start a simpler outlook on life.
Amelia Hallsworth Photography, original photo on Houzz
Start with your shoes.
Gather all your footwear together and have a good think about what you wear often, the pairs you genuinely love and which have seen better days. Do you really need three pairs of black high heels? Maybe not. Think about your lifestyle and weigh your choices with that in mind. For example, if you’re a physical education teacher, you’re definitely going to need a variety of athletic shoes.
Pick out one or two pairs of flats, a couple of pairs of sneakers (unless you’re a PE teacher), a few heels, boots and some summer shoes. Ideally, you should have no more than nine pairs in total. Then donate or chuck the rest. This can be tough, but it’ll get you started from the ground up.
Empty your closets and drawers.
Get absolutely everything out of your closets and off your coat rack and place it all on the bed. This will let you see the true extent of what you have. (It’s often an eye-opener and will shame you into action.) It also means you can review everything in good light, try things on and make good judgments.
Choose three words to describe your style.
As you’re surveying your wardrobe, think about which three words best describe your style. Your interior tastes will inform this too. Maybe you’re “arty, monochrome and modern” or “retro, Scandinavian-influenced and bright.” Perhaps “smart, sophisticated and individual” sums you up better? As you sift through your clothes, pick up each piece and ask yourself whether it fits with those three words. Make those words your style mantra from now on, to keep you from buying unsuitable items for both your wardrobe and your home.
Keep only what you love.
Not sure about something? Hoped you’d find something to go with it or that it might fit you better one day? Get rid of it. Keep only what you love — that way, getting dressed each day will no longer be an exasperated cry of “I’ve got nothing to wear!” You’ll be surprised at how easily your “uniform” starts to come together once you’ve got a capsule of outfits that automatically define your look.
Clever Closet Company, original photo on Houzz
Have a system for seasonal wear.
Set aside everything seasonal. If it’s warm right now, gather up your favorite knits and sweaters and store them away. Do the same for coats, scarves and gloves. Conversely, if you’re heading into the colder months, think about how to make sure those items are close at hand, and store your shorts and flip-flops instead. You could employ a drawer system, as shown here, or use an ottoman or under-bed container to stow seasonal wear.
Vacuum-pack storage bags let you squeeze clothes into teeny spaces, keeping them clean and safe from moths. As you sort out your seasonal clothes, decide whether you’ll still be as enamored with each piece when its season comes round again. If you have any doubts, set it aside to donate or toss.
Heather Hilliard Design, original photo on Houzz
Pick out special-occasion wear.
There’ll be items of clothing that you wear once in a blue moon, or that hold sentimental value, such as evening gowns, tuxedos or wedding dresses. Store such occasional wear near the back of your closet or in a separate area, as seen here. If the item is very beautiful, it’s a shame not to have it on display. Vintage dresses look gorgeous hung on simple wooden hangers from picture rails.
Choose a handful of each.
Now that you’ve cleared out what no longer fits, doesn’t match your style or only gets worn at certain times of the year, you can get down to business. Aim to select three to five pieces of each item: trousers, tops, sweaters and dresses. Choose pieces that truly reflect your personal style.
If you know you live in jeans, up your allowance a little. The idea is to get more wear out of the things you feel great in and love wearing. This means that next season you can identify gaps in your wardrobe and buy little and sparingly, rather than constantly topping up with items you’re not that crazy about or buy on a whim.
Ban excessive loungewear.
Many of us keep old clothes as loungewear for the weekend, or for when we’re painting, gardening or dyeing our hair. While it’s useful to have a couple of pairs of old pants, sweaters and T-shirts, you don’t need a whole drawerful. Be ruthless and pare back.
MisuraEmme Interiors UK, original photo on Houzz
Consider your accessories.
Look at your belts, ties, scarves and jewelry. Do they still fit in with your remaining wardrobe? Select and keep only those that enhance your core style. Invest in a drawer organizer like the one shown. Having everything easily accessible like this will help you make quicker decisions when you’re dressing in the mornings.
Donate what you don’t want.
Now that you’ve selected your keepers, pack up all the items you’re parting with. If you’re unsure, hold on to them for a while in case you start missing something. But if you’re feeling confident, sell the quality items to make a bit of pocket money (and try not to buy anything new), do a clothes swap with pals or donate your old things to charity. Try to live with your capsule wardrobe for a while before investing in anything new.
You’ll soon notice you need nowhere near as many clothes for a happier, more confident outlook.
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