So you’ve made it to step two of creating your capsule wardrobe! Yay! Go you! Or maybe you were looking for step one? If so, you can find it and an introduction to capsule wardrobes here (see you back here soon). Even if you are not sure you want to create a capsule wardrobe I would recommend step one and step two to anybody who wants to understand their style better and have a happy, healthy relationship with their wardrobe.
I’m going to be honest, step two is probably the most difficult step. But it is also the most rewarding one. For some of us letting go of items that no longer serve us or bring us joy can be hard. Because we start to think about the story behind them or what they used to mean to us. So, it is important that you start this step with a clear mind and that you have the space and time to dedicate to it. Think of it as a wardrobe detox. It might feel tiring, emotional and give you a headache at the beginning, but by the end you will be feeling focused, energised and clearer than ever. Like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
Breathe in, breathe out – Let’s get started…
Refine + Organise
Refine your Wardrobe
Time: Approx. 2-4 hours
You will need:
- Your look book (created in step one)
- Access to your wardrobe
- Garbage bags
- 1-2 storage tubs
- Post-it notes
Before you can establish your capsule wardrobe using your new look book from step one, it is important to set everything up properly. This means starting with what you already have. This is the perfect Sunday afternoon or rainy day activity because you will need to set aside 2-4 hours, depending on the state and size of your wardrobe. Remember that the goal of this exercise is not to get rid of as much as possible, but rather to make sure that each item you decide to keep is one that makes you feel happy. You may want to recruit a trusted family member or friend to offer their unbiased opinion for items you get really stuck on.
- Clear some space around your wardrobe. Take five post-it notes and label them as:
- Keep: Create space for the pile of clothes that you decide to keep and place this post-it note at the front of this pile
- Sell: Set up a garbage bag for items you wish to sell to be neatly folded and placed in to
- Donate: Set up a garbage bag for items you wish to donate to be neatly folded and placed in to
- Discard: Set up a garbage bag for items you wish you discard to be neatly folded and placed in to, if an item is in bad condition and cannot be sold or donated it should go in this pile
- Reassess: Set up a storage tub for items you simply cannot decide about right now, try to use this tub as sparingly as possible
- Decide on a sequence for going through all your wardrobes/drawers.
- Go through each space that contains clothing, accessories and shoes and place each item in to one of your five piles. You can either keep, sell, donate, discard, or reassess an item. Keep your new look book on hand as a guide. Make sure everything you decide to keep fits within the style of your look book. You will notice that some things will be no brainers, you will either love it and want to keep it or know that it is time to let it go. But there are going to be items you um and ah about. My general rule would be that if you are questioning it in the first place then you probably don’t love it and it should go. I also understand that it can feel more complicated than that so here are my tips for those ‘um and ah’ items:
- Ask yourself ‘does this item bring me joy, do I love it?’ If the answer is no it should go.
- Recall when you wore the item last. If it was over six months ago then it may be time to let it go. If the item is seasonal then did you wear it last season?
- Notice what your excuses are for keeping it. Do you have nothing else to wear with it? Do you think it might be back in fashion one day? Was it a gift from someone? Any of these excuses indicate that it is not the right kind of item for a capsule wardrobe and I would suggest letting it go.
- If you still feel torn place it in the ‘reassess’ pile for now and move on.
- At the end of your sorting process go back to your ‘reassess’ pile. You may have gained some clarity around some items. Trying these items on will also help you make a decision. Anything else you are still unsure about should be packed neatly into your storage tub and put away out of sight. Set a reminder in your calendar for six or twelve months time (whichever you prefer). Anything you have not retrieved from the tub in that time should be sold, donated or discarded.
There are always going to be sentimental or special occasion items that you want to keep but may not wear again. That is ok. Think about how you could display these items so that you get to see them often, getting joy out of seeing them rather than wearing them.
Organise your Wardrobe
Time: Approx. 1-2 hours
You will need:
- Access to your wardrobe
- A set of matching coat hangers
- Shelves or rack for shoes
- Storage box or hanger for jewellery
Key to having a capsule wardrobe that works well is having an organised wardrobe. You need to be able to see all your items clearly to get the full benefit. Your wardrobe should feel like your own little boutique. Somewhere you feel good and are excited to go and pick an outfit. Each item you own should be loved and respected, having it’s own space, being visible all the time.
You should be able to appreciate the colours and textures of your wardrobe every day. No more drawers with messy layers of squashed clothes that get forgotten for months or even years because you can’t see them. Something that always makes my wardrobe feel a little bit more special is using wooden coat hangers. Adding little touches like this can make such a big difference in how you treat your wardrobe.
My favourite way to organise my wardrobe is using the KonMari method, a Japanese art of decluttering which was developed by tidying expert Marie Kondo. She details this method in her bestselling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which I highly recommend you read. It was one of those life changers for me.
Based on the KonMari method here are my tips for organising your clothing/accessories/shoe storage spaces:
- Empty out all of your clothing/accessory/shoe storage space and place everything in one area.
- Think strategically about how you would like to organise each of your storage spaces. What you would like to hang up, what you would like to go in drawers and what you would like to put on shelves or in containers (or pretty baskets).
- For items you would like to hang, place them all onto their own coat hanger and hang up. Once you have everything hanging you can start to arrange them. We all have our own preference when it comes to arranging, you may like to sort by colour, by category (eg. tees, shirts, jeans, skirts), or by length. Sorting by length can be helpful if you need extra storage space for containers or drawers, as these can fit under your shorter items.
- Items you would like to put in drawers or on shelves should be folded using the KonMari method ( example below) and stacked vertically. This way everything in your drawers is visible and easy to access. I sort my drawers by category and colour.
- Shoes should be stored in pairs on shelves or on a shoe rack. They should not be stacked on top of each other.
- Jewellery should be sorted into categories and neatly place in a compartmentalised box or hung on a hanger.
One of my favourite stores for clever storage solutions is MUJI.
KonMari Folding Method
Step 1. Fold one side of the garment towards the centre.
Step 2. Fold the sleeve to fit within the rectangles width.
Step 3. Fold the opposite side the same way, creating a rectangle.
Step 4. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise. Then fold this in half again or in thirds.
Good news – you’ve just completed the most emotional part of creating your capsule wardrobe. Going through your entire wardrobe and deciding what to do with each item can be hard. But it is also such a great exercise to do. Regardless of whether you want to create a capsule, it’s important to be aware of all the items you possess. It’s easy to forget about things and let them take up space in your life. It happens so slowly that you don’t notice all the stuff that accumulates and weighs you down.
Ready for the final step? You can find the next step here – Creating your Capsule Wardrobe: Step 3 – Build your Capsule. Have you just completed this step? I’d love to hear how you went and if you learnt anything you’d like to share below.
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