Let’s be real, you have too many clothes. We all do. There is always room to follow the “less is more” guidelines when it comes to clothes. I’m sure you’ve heard the statement “we wear 20% of the clothes we own 80% of the time.” What does that mean? It means that 80% of your wardrobe is just taking up space! Today I’m sharing How To Reduce (and Organize) Your Wardrobe but before we dive into your closet head first and start throwing hangers everywhere, we need to strategically plan and prepare to mentally accept letting items go.
My method to organize my clothes is by creating a wardrobe capsule. I’ve been using a wardrobe capsule over the past several years and not only do I feel more confident since I’m wearing pieces that I love but I’ve drastically reduced my wardrobe.
I followed the advice of Un-Fancy and Project 333 and experimenting with both strategies helped our family eliminate items that were taking up space in our closets. A few years ago, I set a goal to eliminate enough of our clothes that we could get rid of the second dresser in our master bedroom and planned to share a dresser with the hubby.
In only a few short weeks after setting that goal, we were able to sell the second dresser and we have been sharing 1 dresser (3 drawers each) with no complaints in the past few years! The dresser that we sold was practically brand new so we lost some money in that aspect but now there is more space in our master bedroom, less laundry piling up, and less clutter!
I highly recommend creating a wardrobe capsule. You can find my favorite wardrobe basics below (for females). Of course, depending on the climate where you live (hot/cold/4-seasons) you may have more or less items in your capsule.
Un-Fancy suggests 37 pieces, Project 333 is 33 pieces during a 3-month period. I’ve found mine to be around 50 pieces each season as a working mom (suits required) and then less (around 40 pieces) as a stay-at-home mom.
Start with some wardrobe basics and stop shopping the sales racks. I only go shopping (in a 2-week period) every 3 months for the next season’s capsule. This means I might pay full price for an item but in doing so, I get an item that I know I will love. I start planning weeks ahead by shopping online.
Start thinking about what items you want/need for the next season. I start a “wish list” with items that I want/need when I think of them and then revisit that list when I’m allowed to shop. Then I look for the best option… something that is going to last (high quality fabrics/brands) and that I will love wearing.
Weight fluctuation and the problem with minimizing your closet
I’ve had weight fluctuation so I know how frustrating it can be to constantly be adding larger or smaller items to your wardrobe but not reducing for fear of the weight loss/gain recurring. My weight fluctuation experience has only been during pregnancy though, which meant that I held onto maternity clothes and transitioned into larger non-maternity clothes while hoping I will fit back into those college jeans one day.
But that day never came. So, I got rid of all the pre-pregnancy clothes and focused on maintaining a weight that I was comfortable with while keeping the clothes that complimented my (current) figure.
Everyone’s weight and figure fluctuates to some degree. If you’ve had extreme weight loss or gain, consider getting rid of “the past” and focus on keeping basic neutral pieces that you love and make you feel good about yourself.
Still have an issue letting go of a few items?
I feel your pain. I held onto my senior prom dress until I was in my 30’s. Why? Hell if I know. Maybe I thought I would fit into again one day or my daughter would wear it. I paid $300 for it (which was a lot for a kid in high school working a part-time job) so it had some meaning to me. But this quote helped, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to things” – Albert Einstein. That prom dress was not making me any happier by keeping it around.
If you are still struggling to let things go, I recommend checking out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It is an amazing read and will have you de-cluttering in no time!
Putting you together
When you downsize your wardrobe, you may feel like your outfit possibilities will downsize as well. That doesn’t have to be the case if you buy neutrals (white, beige, gray, black, olives, blue) and classics. Before I purchase a new item for my wardrobe, I make sure it will go with a few things already in my closet then once I have my capsule together, I start creating outfits.
One way I like to put outfits together is by laying them on the bed together (a flat lay) and take pictures like I did in this post. Post the pictures in your closet as a reminder. You can also download style apps like Polyvore, Stylicious, Stylebook, My Dressing, and Closet+. Another method I’ve tried is a spreadsheet where I list categories of my clothes, tabs for each season, and a list of possible outfit combinations. Think of your favorite clothing items. Your favorites are probably the ones that are your “go-to” items. These favorites will be the foundation for your wardrobe capsule!
My Favorite Basics:
- Striped Dress – Here or Here (striped or polka dot dresses in neutral colors go with everything)
- Black Maxi Dress – Here or Here
- Striped Shirt – Here or Here
- White Shell – Here
- Relaxed gray Tee – Here or Here (dress this up with a statement necklace or pretty scarf)
- Graphic Tee – Here
- Chambray Button Down – Here (goes with everything-I wear to work with blazers for a Business Professional look)
- White Button Down – Here (goes with anything and can dress up or down)
- Crewneck Sweater or Sweatshirt – Here
- High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Dark Wash – Here (it must be a mom thing, but I love my high rise jeans!)
- Boyfriend Jeans – Here
- Black Joggers – Here (dress these up with heels or keep casual with sneakers)
- Black Skirt – Here
- Reversible Faux Leather Tote and Wristlet – Here (I use this daily even though it’s the only non-named brand handbag that I own!)
- Patterned Over-Sized Scarf in neutral colors – Here or Here (wear as a cover-up, infinity scarf, shrug, etc)
- Statement Necklace – Here or Here
Supplies Needed to Organize Your Wardrobe:
- Bookcases or Wardrobe (if you don’t have a dedicated closet)
- Wooden Hangers, Thin Velvet Hangers
- Jewelry Hanger
- Scarf Hanger
- Drawer Dividers/Organizers
- Bins, Clear Shoe Bins, Baskets
- Printable Labels
Find more suggestions to organize your entire home here.
Reducing your wardrobe has a huge impact on simplifying your life. If you own less clothes, there is less laundry and less time spent in the morning deciding what to wear. If you feel like you have nothing to wear, minimize your closet down to 10 essential/favorite items and challenge yourself to wear a month’s worth of outfits using only those 10 items. I guarantee if you end up wearing the same thing every day, no one will even notice!
Want to organize your closet like a pro? Try my printable wardrobe labels available HERE!
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