Over the past several months, I've been pouring through the things that I own and ruthlessly sorting through them. You know that quote by William Morris, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." It's become my motto lately, and it's been a constant effort of editing, editing, editing. One of the primary places it's affected has been my wardrobe. Now, I can't claim to have a proper 'capsule closet', but the idea behind creating one struck me last year and I found it incredibly inspiring. (If you're new to a the idea, a capsule closet contains a highly edited, versatile number of pieces (usually 30-40) that you absolutely love, changed out each season. Read this post for more info!)
Last fall I set out to edit my wardrobe with this goal in mind and ruthlessly started picking through my closet. If there was any hesitation, I tossed it aside. Things that didn't fit anymore, were worn out, only held sentimental value, were difficult to wear, all got sorted. As it turns out, once I kept all of the pieces that I absolutely loved, I had around 40 pieces left in my closet.
At first, I didn't get rid of anything. I put it all in boxes just to make sure I wasn't getting rid of anything on a whim. Over the course of the next few months, I didn't think twice about the boxes (!!), and proceeded to sort them (I'll talk more about that below).
What happened next really surprised me. Getting dressed for any number of occasions was so easy! You know that feeling of having many things to choose from but "nothing to wear"? It completely vanished. Since I loved every piece in my closet, I could easily grab an outfit that I knew fit me well and run out the door without having to be overly finicky about it.
Shopping? Also a breeze! My rule has been that if I purchase something new, it has to be worthy of my highly edited closet. And the kicker? When I add it to my wardrobe, I must take something out and give it away.
I think that the best 'side effect' of it all is how much money it saves, too! I have found that by owning less and loving what I have, I shop less and with a greater intention, only picking up the occasional 'must have' to add to my wardrobe.
If this idea strikes you as interesting (like it did me!), here are a few things I've learned along the way:
Store first - if the idea is intriguing but scary, start by doing what I did. Don't get rid of anything (yet!). Just ruthlessly rip through your closet and store the items that didn't make the cut for a few months while you make sure the simplified closet is for you.
Edit, edit edit - then edit some more! As the weeks and months roll by you'll fall out of love with certain things (or they'll get damaged, etc). When this happens, it's time to move them out of your wardrobe and look for something new.
Sort - sorting into piles was really helpful for me. I completely emptied my closet, then made piles labeled: keep, throw away (for damaged goods), donate, store (for sentimental pieces) and seasonal.
Rotate seasonally - for those who live in areas with seasons (we get all 4 where I live!), consider rotating your closet every 3 months. It keeps the clutter down as well so that you're not sorting through winter coats in the middle of summer.
Organize it beautifully - an inspirational space for getting dressed each day makes it fun! Keep your clothes organized and nicely hung, neatly folded and categorized. I keep shirts hung, pants and transitional sweaters folded and everything else in the bins below (lingerie, workout clothes, sports bras, socks, etc).
The task of living more simply is a constant effort, but it reaps so much beauty. Keeping only the things that I hold most dearest has helped to clear my mind and really makes each and every space inspirational.