While there are many ways to start living more simply and intentionally, starting with your wardrobe can cause a ripple effect inspiring the simplicity you want in your life. The closet might be the smallest space in your home, but simplifying it first will make simplifying the rest of your home, and life much easier.
Downsizing your wardrobe will inspire you to downsize other areas of your life because you’ll notice the benefits of dressing with less immediately.
Here’s are 5 benefits you can experience with a minimalist wardrobe:
1. You have more time.
When you spend less time at the mall or shopping for clothing online, you have more time to do things you really enjoy. This will inspire you to shop less for kitchen or other household items.
2. You spend less money.
Less money spent on clothes means more money to pay off debt, save, or give. This will inspire you to spend less on higher ticket items like new furniture, electronics, or luxury vacations.
3. You get more clarity.
You have to make decisions all day long, but when you have fewer choices to make in the morning when deciding what to wear, you move through the day with more clarity. This will inspire you to remove things from your desk, calendar, and inbox.
4. You start to feel light.
When you realize you don’t miss all of the clutter that used to hang in your closet, letting go gets easier. You’ll be inspired to live and travel lightly.
5. You experience more happiness.
When you wear your favorite things every day, you feel happier. This will inspire you to create a home that only includes things that really add value to your life.
How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe
Assess your wardrobe as one lump sum or body of work. When you open your closet what does your wardrobe collection say about you?
Mine used to say, “shops too much, no personal style, loves a good sale, and has trouble losing weight.” Then, simply by editing what I already had, by wardrobe said, “simple, clean, confident, and sometimes stylish.”
My big wardrobe made me feel heavy. My capsule wardrobe made me feel light. Listen to what your clothing collection has to say. If you don’t like it, change it.
To edit your wardrobe, start by removing everything you don’t wear, and don’t like. Take out items that make you sad, guilty, or frustrated. Remove anything that doesn’t fit your body or your life today. It may have fit last year, or maybe it will fit in three years, but remove it if it doesn’t fit right now.
Don’t panic about the items you are removing. You don’t have to give them away, just get them out of sight. Box them up and revisit in a few months.
By now your closet should be feeling a little lighter. Take a second pass at editing. This time try each item on, look in the mirror and ask the following questions …
- Do I plan on wearing this in the next 3 months?
- Would I buy this today if I didn’t already own it?
- Does this fit my body and my life?
- Remove and store anything that gets a no.
Wait a few months before adding anything new to your capsule wardrobe or before you revisit the items you set aside. Taking this time will help you define what enough means to you, and it will redefine your relationship with stuff. Then you can determine what you really need and want in your closet.
Simple is the New Black
I remember boxing everything else up and staring at my bare closet, thinking it was a crazy idea. I was worried that 33 wouldn’t be enough, that my co-workers would notice I was wearing the same few items over and over again, that my clothes would wear out, and that other people would think it was crazy too.
I did it anyway because I couldn’t face one more, “I have nothing to wear.” moment. I was sick of the excess, the shopping, the choices, and the discontent I felt whenever I looked in my overstuffed closet.
I thought it would be a 3 month experiment, but today 5 years later, I am still dressing with 33 items or less every three months because it helped me redefine my relationship with stuff and let go with ease.
Simplifying my wardrobe helped me simplify other areas of my life, because the 3 month challenge was a constant reminder that my fears were just fears.
- 33 is enough for me
- no one noticed what I was wearing
- my clothes didn’t wear out
Many people think it’s crazy until they try it themselves and notice surprising benefits like easier mornings, more compliments, and a better sense of style.
There isn’t a magic number for a perfect capsule wardrobe, but experimenting with a certain number of items for a specific length of time can be valuable.
I created minimalist fashion challenge Project 333, inviting people to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. If you are up for a challenge or just a little curious, check out The Project 333.