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The Capsule Closet Project {Series, Part II}

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This article is part II of my capsule closet journey. If you missed part I, you can read it here.

I have now gone through the next step of the process, which is the actual creation of my capsule closet, and I have to be honest with you – this has changed my life. As moms, we have so many things to worry about each day; what we are going to wear shouldn’t be one of them. That being said, I also want to look good and feel confident in what I’m wearing, whether it’s to the grocery store, to work, or out with my husband. My closet went from a black hole filled with clothes I sort of liked or used to wear or forgot I had to a streamlined, organized place of peace filled only with pieces that make me feel confident and like myself.

I’ll never go back.

Here’s the steps I followed for creating my capsule closet

  1. Find Time. With a toddler in my home, I’ll be honest, this didn’t happen all in one day and time for me. I worked on it during nap time and for an hour or so after she went to bed for a few days. If you can find a few hours or even a day to yourself, that’s really ideal, but know that it can be a flexible project. 
  2. Prep. The road to a simpler closet involves analyzing everything you currently own. Don’t start with a messy space. Clean the room where your closet is, then create designated spaces or bins for “Ready to donate,” “Still wear it, but wrong season,” and the ever loving “I don’t wear it, but I can’t get rid of it just yet.”
  3. Take everything out of your closet (or any other space clothing hides). Summer. Winter. Scarves.. T-shirts, Jeans. Sweaters. Suits. As you bring it out, try to organize it in a way that makes sense to you. For me, that was according to season and/or function.
  4. Go through each pile individually. Try stuff on if you haven’t worn it in a while. Does it still fit? Does it meet the qualifications and needs you established in step one? Play around with clothes. Try it on with leggings. Try it on with pants. Get out accessories. It’s all about figuring out if it works for you or it doesn’t.
  5. Create outfits. Part of this process for me was discovering what works together and what doesn’t. I hate trying something on that looks awesome in my head just to discover it doesn’t work. This also helps to eliminate outliers in your closet. You know, the top you got on sale that you love, but have no pants to wear it with, so it sits. Don’t put it in your closet unless you intend to purchase pants that work.
  6. Decide what stays. If you love it and can’t live without it (and it’s the right season), put it in the closet. If you’re not sure, put it in a place in your house where you won’t see it every morning, but can find it again. If it’s really not working, then act like Elsa and let it go. 
  7. Get rid of repeats. We all have tendencies and clothes we gravitate toward, but that also leads to repeats. You know what I discovered in this process? I own 7 navy and white striped shirts. SEVEN. 
  8. Put the rest “away.”It’s ideal if the only things left hanging in your closet are what you plan to wear on a regular basis during this season. Don’t stuff the rest back into your drawer or pile it back on your shelf. Everything you wear should be visible. If it’s not going in your capsule closet, put it away. I’m fortunate to have a spare closet in my house where all my off season stuff can live. If you don’t have a space like that, invest in some plastic tubs that will keep clothes safe and then put them away until next season. 
  9. Make a list of holes. When everything is put away, take a look at your closet. Are there “holes?” Could you get a lot of use out of your cardigans if you had a nice new white shirt? Do you have a favorite pair of green capris, but need them in pants for winter? If your closet has specific “needs,” shop just for those things. Don’t browse or impulse buy. Make a list and be intentional.
  10. Don’t shop. This is the hardest adjustment for me, although my husband loves it. Once your capsule is complete, try not to shop for the rest of that season. If you do, try to be intentional and ask yourself what it will add to your closet and if it’s really needed.

And the last step is to enjoy your new, simplified closet. I feel such a sense of relief when I open my closet each morning. I can see everything in front of me. I know what goes with what. My first fears were that I would get bored or feel like people would notice that I’m wearing the same things all the time. Here’s what I know to be true: 

I love everything in my closet, so no matter what I choose to wear that day, I feel like me. People notice my confidence, not that I’m wearing the same pair of pants two days in a row. My mornings are now peaceful, not stressful. 

Who knew you could change your life by changing your closet? 

If you’re curious, here are some before and after pictures of my capsule closet. I went from 96 items hanging in my closet (or stacked on my shelf) to 35. I was never actually trying to reach a certain number, but instead focused on making my closet accessible, organized, and a reflection of who I am and what I love to wear. 

before after

The process described above is adapted from what I learned during a session by professional closet organizer Nessa Bixler. For more information, email her at [email protected] 

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