Starting out a Capsule Wardrobe
I’m not big on fashion and am a very picky shopper, hence why I hate shopping for clothes. Yes, I’m that type of person that looks through five different stores, goes back to the first one and then end up not getting anything at all or getting too many items that just never get worn. Hence, every time my mum visits me I borrow her clothes permanently (she has a good fashion sense and is my size so I got that going for me) or buy that one item I love in several different colours.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of a capsule wardrobe, because it limits your choice, keeps your closet clean and saves you time in the morning and most importantly... I can avoid shopping for clothes unneccsarily. I’m pretty sure most of you know what a capsule wardrobe is, but in case you don’t know here’s the link to Caroline’s blog Unfancy that explains it perfectly.
Considering the state that my closet was in, I knew I had to sort my shit out. I couldn’t find anything anymore, I have been putting this off for weeks because I knew I wanted to experiment with the capsule wardrobe, but mainly I’ve been procrastinating. So one day I finally sat down and organised this mess. After a month of having this fully functioning capsule wardrobe, here’s what it thought me.
1. Have your inspiration ready
It’s so much easier to let go or keep clothing items when you know the style you’re trying to achieve. So, I do recommend taking your time with this and be realistic. If you’re working in an office and all your inspiration is beach clothing or vice versa, your capsule wardrobe is not going to work, obviously.
2. Have a plan and don’t go over by more than 3 to 5 items
I had my bullet journal ready, and jotted down what the clothing categories and how much of each item I expected to need. As it is slightly becoming colder here, I knew I had to incorporate a few layering items as well. When I was sorting out my clothes, there were definitely a few items I had struggles with so I made piles of “keep”, “maybe” and “no” and went over the “maybe” pile a few times to see what category I could be flexible in. A few clothing categories I went over my intended amount but kept it below 2 to 3 pieces. In total, I kept it to 37 items, including jewellery, shoes, bags but excluding lounge and gym wear.
3. Change your closet drawers and shelves if you can and need to
The closet I use is one of those Ikea closets where you can customise and adjust the shelves according to your needs. I didn’t really like the initial shelving layout of the closet and ever since I moved in have been meaning to change them so this was the perfect time. I visualised, measured and sketched out how I wanted the layout to be. I’m very short so I needed everything I use to be my height and the rest of the clothing that was going to be in stored kept on higher shelves.
4. Be tough on yourself
One of the hardest parts of this experiment was to sort through my clothes. Since my closet was such a mess before I didn’t really know what I owned, so I made piles of the types of clothing, i.e. a pile for jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, fancy tops, dresses etc. Once that was all done, it was time for the second type of piles – keep, maybe, no; to either donate and throw away. As I had planned the number of items I wanted per clothing type, it was a lot easier to go through the pieces. I’m not going to lie though, you have to be pretty tough on yourself. Also, autumn is a hard month to plan because of the season change. In HK it doesn’t get really get cold until November / December and before that every time you step out, it’s so hot you practically melt.
As this was still an experiment and I wasn’t sure whether I’d regret throwing away or donating certain pieces, I did keep everything for now. I’ll likely dispose of them in a few months when I’ll go through my clothes again for the winter months.
5. Hang everything
The nice thing about having such a limited amount of clothing is that it’s easy to hang everything. This is a life saviour to keep your closet nice and clean and saves you a lot of time when hanging your clean laundry. To add to that, picking an outfit or finding your clothes can literally be done in seconds. You’ll also have a visual idea of how many items are missing in your closet. To save space, I also used similar hangers for each clothing category.
Things I wish I had done before
6. Properly label stored clothing items
I only really threw away clothes that were broken and kept everything else. I separated the clothes that I planned to donate and throw away in the future but all other items I just placed together in vacuum sealed bags.
In the future, I’ll make sure to properly separate and label the bags so that just in case I need anything not in my capsule wardrobe, I’ll have easier access to it. I know you’re technically not supposed to go into this storage section, but I recently booked a holiday that’s in a few weeks and I would need different types of clothing for that. Being a last-minute type of holiday planner, it makes packing for that a lot easier.
7. Keep clothes for special events separate
I didn’t really account for special event clothing likes fancy dresses but it’s almost the holiday season and special events are starting to pop up here and there. So, in correlation with the previous point, I wish I had stored them in a separate section for these occasions.
8. Take photos of what I’ve stored
It’s only been a few weeks and I’ve pretty much already forgotten what clothes I have in storage. Taking photos of my clothing items would have been much easier for me in the future when I have to sort out my capsule wardrobe again.
And that’s pretty much it. I’m honestly so content with the way my wardrobe is right now and I do make more of an effort to keep it tidy, especially since it doesn’t even take 5 minutes and it does give me a piece of mind to have a more organised wardrobe… it's like making your bed in the morning. I made everything very practical for me and changed it up so that it would take me the least amount of effort, like just putting all my gym clothes in a basket without folding it, hanging everything else, choosing items that don't really need special care like ironing or dry cleaning and properly sectioning all items.
Have you tried a capsule wardrobe before and are you still using this system? Hate it or love it?