So just to recap: I decided to create a capsule wardrobe after thinking about it for about a year. I did the research. I took the time off work; Demolition Day loomed.
I mentioned in my last post (Part I), that I created rules before I took a single thing out of my closet. I also came up with mantras, so I could have them at the ready when I was ready to curl up and suffocate myself in a pile of sweaters or crawl into a box and cry while holding a glass of wine and the vintage dress I can’t fit into but have a sentimental attachment to. And then I posted these up on the wall of my bedroom.
It sounds a little Type-A (and I am sure it is), but I cannot express how necessary this was for me and generally useful I think it would be for you. Because when you get stuck (in a pile of maxi skirts) and are ready to throw in the towel (or rather everything you own into a box that you set on the street with a free sign), you need something to hold on to (besides the very large glass of wine you’re drinking).
So the day before D-Day, I penned the following:
Destination Capsule Closet: Process Flow and Rules
- PULL all clothes out of closets and drawers (not including activewear and pajamas);* include special occasion outfits but know you will create a special capsule with these items.**
- DIVIDE everything into four piles: LOVE IT (I’d wear it right now), Maybe (I have doubts about this piece and need to try it on), DONATE (Because I hate it, it doesn’t fit, or I just don’t wear it), and TRASH (Clothes that too well-worn to donate).***
- TAKE the trash out.
- BAG UP the donations.
- ATTACK the maybe pile and DIVIDE into three piles: LOVE IT, MAYBE, DONATE.
- KEEP IN MIND:
-Fashion hasn’t been fun lately, and I’ve gotten lazy when it comes to my clothes–this has to change.
-Money I’ve already spent (i.e., sunk cost) should not be a reason to keep something.
-It should bring me joy.
- TAKE the trash out.
- BAG the donations.
- MAKE 4 capsule piles: SUMMER, FALL, WINTER, SPRING.
- PULL obviously loved (read: favorites) seasonal items into the correct capsules.
- BUILD a current season capsule wardrobe using these suggestions:
-Work Wardrobe: 8 bottoms (4 skirts, 4 pants), 9 tops, 3 dresses, and 2 outwear pieces for a total of 22 pieces
-Play Wardrobe: 10 bottoms (4 shorts, 4 skirts, 2 pants), 9 tops, 3 dresses, and 2 outwear pieces for a total of 24 pieces****
- Either REPEAT 2-8 with remaining clothes and/or revise suggestions in 11.
- REPEAT with shoes, hats, and scarves.
- MAKE future capsule shopping lists.
- FOLD future capsules.
- SEAL future capsules.
- HANG and FOLD current capsule.
*I actually ended up including active wear and pajamas, which no doubt made the job bigger. However, I was on a roll, and I doubted my stamina to repeat this process at another time.
**I loosely did this based on the following items: go-to wedding guest dress, go-to funeral dress (morbid I know), little black dresses (I have three–one for summer, one for winter, one for in between those seasons), and a couple fun pieces that I wear for theme-parties (e.g., a flapper dress) or when I really want to dazzle a day (e.g., Anthropologie Grace Kelly-length full tull skirt).
***I actually ended up breaking the donate pile down into two sub-piles: Goodwill donations and Buffalo Exchange buys. I took as much as I could (more to come on that late) to Buffalo Exchange to try to sell back. What they didn’t take ended up at the Salvation Army (tune into Part III or a heart-warming story about a stranger who made my day).
****I didn’t end up keeping these numbers. In fact, I don’t know what my numbers are, but I guarantee I have less than 46 pieces per capsule. I think keeping the numbers in mind is helpful, but depending how much purging you need to do (I had a lot), your goal may become just to downsize versus create a capsule with a specific number of capsules.
Speaking of downsizing, my unwritten goal was to get rid of half of what I owned.
And with the rules up and that in mind, I started D-Day at seven o’clock on a Friday morning; I texted my sister (side note: having a support buddy is something I would highly recommend) to say that I was starting and I intended to be done by 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
Turns out I did finish at one o’clock…IN. THE. MORNING.
A few things to note here:
- When I finished that morning, I had created four capsules; taken things to Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army; and cleaned my apartment.
- I chose to include accessories (scarves and jewelry), as well as active wear and pajamas in this purge.
- I had a huge MAYBE pile and made a point of trying on everything.
- I had one minor breakdown when a pair of pants just didn’t fit the way I wanted them to anymore and had to have my sister talk me through a body image issue or two.
Regarding that last point, what she said was so perfect, it deserves to be shared and memorized by all of us who have ever struggled with loving ourselves or had a friend who did (i.e., EVERYONE):
Remember that your clothes are meant to fit your body and not the way other way around. If it doesn’t fit, absolutely get rid of it. Even if you love, love, love it.
You know I’ve been there, and it’s easier said than done but…If you feel bad when you put it on, it isn’t bring you joy anymore. So you thank it for everything it’s given you and let go.
Try to be kind to yourself. I love you, you’re beautiful, and your worth is not diminished because certain clothes don’t lay right on your body.
Now, before I post pictures, here’s what I am most proud of (be sure to be on the lookout for Part III, which shares some of the lessons I learned during the process):
- I did in fact cut my wardrobe in half (at least).
- I trashed one full garbage bag of clothes and shoes.
- I took one full garbage bag of clothes and shoes to the Goodwill donation bin.
- I (with the help of a very lovely Uber driver) took 10 (TEN!) bags of clothes, shoes, and accessories to Buffalo Exchange, where I was given the choice between a $182 check or $300 in store credit (um, please take pity on the girl with 10 bags of clothes and don’t even offer that as an option).
- What Buffalo Exchange didn’t buy was hauled to Salvation Army by another very lovely stranger (who admittedly got a few necklaces and pieces out of the deal).
- I have four rough capsule wardrobes to match the season.*****
*****I broke my seasons down as follows: June – August (Summer), September – November (Fall), December – February (Winter), and March – May (Spring).
And without further ado, the pictures:
These are a couple of the articles I used to help me create my own rules, and they may be a good starting point for you:
- How to Finally Clean out Your Closet for Good | Project 333
- Dress with Less: 15 Tips for Beginners | Project 333
Check back tomorrow for Part III of my Hippy How-To: Create a Capsule Wardrobe series; I’m sharing some additional things I did and what I took away from the process.