So I decided to give this whole capsule wardrobe thing a try
My whole life, I’ve gone through periods of hoarding a bunch of stuff (I might need it one day!) and then getting rid of everything because I get tired of all the junk and clutter. I’ve been reading about capsule wardrobes online for a while now and, while I liked the idea, I was a bit overwhelmed by the process of going through all of my clothes and then having to shop for new clothes. I used to love shopping. I guess I still do, but now I don’t really have the time to shop for myself and it is not the first thing I want to spend money on. I’d much rather spend money on trips, food or cute clothes for my little guys. So I kept putting it off, but after I had Norrin I realized that I hadn’t worn some of the clothes in my closet for years. I also had a bunch of stuff in less-than-stellar shape and it was time to do something about it. I had a lot of “work” clothes, but my job now mostly consists of being a stay at home mom, which does not require a skirt and blazer (thank god!), so most of my clothes just really weren’t working for me.
Here’s how I cleaned out my closet and started my capsule wardrobe
1.) Closet Clean-out: I tried on just about everything in my closet and made a huuuugge pile of everything I planned to get rid of. Because I have a newborn, the whole process took a while, so my closet looked like the picture below for a couple of weeks. Kevin was very nice about it because he knew it was only temporary and he is definitely more of a purger than I am so I think he was happy to see my cleaning my side of the closet up just a bit. I got rid of everything I didn’t absolutely love. If it didn’t fit well, didn’t fit my lifestyle, or just didn’t bring me any joy (I’ve also been reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, if you couldn’t tell), it went in the pile. I also tried to clear out items that I had many similar items to or just didn’t match anything else in my closet.
2.) Make a list of what I want/need: This is where the worksheets I found from Un-Fancy came in really handy. I mostly stay at home, but I do have some part-time work out of the house and I just feel better when I am a little more put together and don’t stay in my pajamas all day. 😉 I didn’t really see the need to rotate four seasons of clothing in and out of my closet (what many people with a capsule wardrobe do), so instead of limiting myself to a certain number of clothes for each of the four seasons, I am using a looser approach. I probably have less clothing overall than a typical capsule wardrobe, but I just keep all of it in my closet all the time. I do a lot of layering and Southern Indiana weather can be totally crazy so it doesn’t make sense for me to only have heavy sweaters and long sleeve shirts out in the winter. So maybe this isn’t a true capsule wardrobe, but it works for me and that is what is most important. There is no right or wrong way to do this, outside of knowing you can probably get by with much less clothing than you currently have.
Two lessons I learned were to create a color palette and to only keep/purchase items that can be worn with many other pieces. I discovered Putting Me Together (the ONLY fashion blog I follow…I just love her) and she is amazing at finding ways to “remix” your clothes to make new and interesting outfits. She is far more stylish than I’ll ever be, but it’s good inspiration. Looking through her posts has helped to keep me on track and be mindful about purchases before I make them. She also has some great packing tutorials! I found a color palette I love here and saved it to my (secret) capsule wardrobe Pinterest board, along with a bunch of capsule wardrobe ideas to keep me focused. You don’t need nearly as many clothes when everything you have works together!
3.) Get the old clothes out of the house: Once you’ve completed your clean-out, don’t hang onto the clothes “just in case”. Just get them out of your house! I usually donate used clothes to the Goodwill, but I had come across a company called ThredUp during this whole capsule wardrobe rabbit hole and decided to give it a try. They buy and sell used clothing, which I really love! I am always looking for ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle and choosing second-hand clothing is a great way to do just that. I got on their website and ordered a Clean Out Kit. When it arrived, I filled up the bag and mailed it in. I waited a few weeks to see what my payout would be, and they did a good job of keeping me updated along the way. I will say that my payouts for three huge bags of clothing were minimal (barely enough to cover the $9.99 processing fee), but I was planning to donate the items anyway so I wasn’t bothered by that. Only a few of my items were accepted and most of the rest was donated. If your items are newer and more in-demand, you would probably receive a larger payout.
4.) Go shopping: This is the fun part, right? After my clean-out, my closet was pretty bare. As I mentioned, though, I don’t have a ton of time to shop. I reached out to ThredUp and they were generous enough to give me a small store credit to try out the shopping process so I could share my experience and a nice discount to offer your on your first order (get that below)! I liked that I could shop online from home (they even have an app) and that I was shopping second-hand. A lot of the items are brand new, some even with the tags still on. I chose a few shirts and I got a great deal because they offer a discount on your first order.
When the clothes arrived, everything was wrapped up so cute–I love fun mail! I was able to try everything on and I did end up returning a couple of tops that didn’t fit quite right. I’m only letting clothes into my closet that I truly love, so it is very important to me now that something fit perfectly. Luckily, ThredUp has an awesome exchange policy so I was able to send the shirts back free of charge and pick out new ones!
My absolute favorite is this striped long-sleeve top from Banana Republic. It was listed at $60 retail, so I really got it for a steal! I can wear it with leggings or jeans, and even layer a sweater or unbuttoned shirt over it. I love the leather details on the shoulders and it has a small zipper in the back. And, guess what?!? ThredUp is offering you 50% off your first time purchase (discount up to $50) of Banana Republic items with code BR50. Just click here to start browsing their huge selection of Banana Republic items.
I’ve also picked up some items from Target and Old Navy because a) I’m cheap and b) they have a great return policy so I can order a bunch of stuff to try on at home and return what doesn’t work. Does anybody else do that? I am planning on trying out some more ThredUp items when I have time to browse again — they have so many items that I really have to take the time to search through and look for what I need (a good problem to have, I suppose). 🙂
5. Be flexible with your plan: I made a “Fall/Winter” list, a “Spring/Summer” list, and a “Base Items” list. I’m not going to share my full lists because it will be different for everyone and because mine keeps changing. My lists were much longer when I started then they are now because I really don’t need nearly as much as I thought I did. A few sweaters, a couple of button ups, and a lot of cotton t-shirts are really all I need for tops this time of year. For bottoms, I like to have a couple pairs of jeans, some leggings, and, of course, my mom uniform of yoga pants. 🙂 I’ve got a few dresses, skirts, and nicer shirts for dressy occasions, too. I keep paring my list down more and more, which is so crazy to me because I used to think I needed two of everything in every color! I love the simplicity of a pared down closet, though, and I know I won’t be turning back.
The final verdict?
My closet now looks soooo much different from where I began. Even with the clothes I have now, I feel like I’ve barely worn some of the pieces, which makes me thing I’ll be removing items I thought I needed from my “Spring/Summer” shopping list when the time comes around. Overall, I really loved this whole experience. It was time consuming at first, but now I am not worried about having every item right away. I can build as I go, and figure out what I really need. It’s also inspired me to declutter in other areas of my life. It’s been a lot easier to donate or sell other items in our home that we just don’t need or love.
Have you tried a capsule wardrobe or a closet clean-out? I’d love to hear your tips/experience with the process!
Don’t forget to visit ThredUp and use code BR50 at checkout to receive 50% off your first time purchase of Banana Republic items (discount up to $50).