Go green and downsize with a capsule wardrobe
This is a guest post that was originally posted on Porch.com.
Living a sustainable lifestyle is crucial to minimize the impact we have on the environment. The overproduction of clothing is just one way humans have harmed the environment and our world. Through minimalism and sustainability, having only what you need and consuming less can positively change the planet and your life. It’s essential to find your own personal style, and by building a capsule wardrobe, you can find stylish outfits while reducing the number of clothing articles you need. Integrating the principles of Feng Shui, Vastra Sutra, and other holistic beliefs with your capsule wardrobe will help you bring positive flow and more abundance into your life.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe or eco wardrobe consists of classic clothing items that you can wear interchangeably to create versatile looks with just a few key pieces. Here is some more information about the origins and principles of a capsule wardrobe.
Origins: The concept of a capsule wardrobe came about in the 1970s when a boutique owner used the term to describe a few basic items that can be mixed and matched. The term became even more popular in the 1980s when designer Donna Karan made the term popular through her capsule collection of stylish workwear for women.
Holistic beliefs: Having a capsule wardrobe involves incorporating holistic beliefs such as Feng Shui and Vasta Sutra. The idea of having less ensures that you focus on the bigger picture in life and that you achieve a balance in all things. Having fewer clothing items can expand your horizons and free up your mind to focus on more important aspects of life.
Sustainability: Having a closet jam-packed with clothing contributes to the fast fashion industry, which can have devastating effects on the environment. By choosing a capsule wardrobe, you’re decreasing your consumption and reducing the demand for these businesses to continue practices that cause serious harm to the ecosystem.
You may think that living a minimalist lifestyle and having a capsule wardrobe are one and the same. However, that is not always the case. You can go minimalist without having a capsule wardrobe and vice versa. Not all minimalists have a capsule wardrobe, and many have closets full of shoes, clothing, and accessories. You can practice both of these principles, but the two are not mutually exclusive or interchangeable.
The Benefits of Creating a Capsule Wardrobe
There are many reasons why you should consider creating a capsule wardrobe. Here are some of the benefits you’ll gain by revamping your closet.
Economic benefits. Instead of spending money on new clothing or changing your outfits every season, a capsule wardrobe integrates versatile pieces you can wear all year. This will help you save money and give you the freedom to keep your cash or spend it on other important things.
Sustainability. When you buy less, it means that less is going into the landfill. It also means that you’re not contributing to manufacturing processes used to make clothing, which can cause harm to the soil, air, and waterways.
Flow of energies. Creating a capsule wardrobe may help you achieve more balance in your life. Not only will your closet look neater, but your mind will also be freer, and you’ll stress less about what to wear every day.
Pros and cons. There are many pros to choosing a capsule wardrobe, including the environmental, spiritual, and financial benefits. The cons can include fewer items to choose from, a feeling that you’re “out of style,” or the idea that you’re left out of new trends, and the inability to buy new pieces as seasons and styles change.
What To Do Before Creating One. Before you create a capsule wardrobe, you’ll need to clean out and declutter your closet. It’s important to determine which items you want to keep and which ones can go before building the capsule from the ground up. Determine your unique fashion style, which will serve as the template for your new capsule wardrobe and make it easier to choose the most essential pieces.
Finding Your Personal Fashion Style
Before you start changing your closet space, it’s important to determine your personal fashion style. First, think about the clothing you wear the most and why it makes you feel good whenever you wear it. Then, look online for inspiration and put together a mood board that will help you get a clearer idea of which styles are suitable for you. Always start with key pieces like bottoms, then work your way toward choosing other clothing items that complement your personality and your body type. While style is certainly important, so is how the clothes fit you and how they make you feel. If you feel comfortable and confident, then you’re well on your way to deciding which style is right for you.
Purging and Decluttering Your Old Clothes
The minimalist style follows the mantra of only keeping the things that spark joy for you. While this is part of the decluttering process, it’s important to know what to do with all of the clothing once you’re ready to get rid of it. So here’s what you can do with all that clutter.
Give it away. If you have clothing in great condition, feel free to give it to family members or friends who will enjoy it. You can also donate it to nonprofit organizations like your local homeless shelter or thrift stores like Goodwill.
Repurpose. Have some fun and upcycle your clothes by using them as a fun home décor piece or furniture upholstery. You can also cut up old t-shirts and other clothing items and recycle them to use as a cleaning cloth for dusting and wiping down your counters.
Sell. If some of your clothing has value, feel free to sell it for extra money. Whether you post your clothing online or host a garage sale, it’s an easy way to give your clothes new life while making a little bit of extra cash in the process.
Renovating your Wardrobe and Turning it into a Capsule Wardrobe
Here are some tips to help you renovate your wardrobe so you can transform it into a clean, tidy capsule wardrobe.
How many clothing items do I really need? Start by thinking about how many items of clothing you actually need and actually wear. Then, if you need help, consider the Project 333 Challenge to start. This involves choosing just 33 items, including accessories that you’re allowed to wear for three months. As you go, you’ll likely determine that you don’t need as many items as you thought you did, which will help you start your capsule wardrobe from scratch.
Decide on a budget. Sit down and write out a clothing budget and commit yourself to only spending money on the clothing items you need. This means avoiding buying new “trends” or seasonal clothing that will probably only be worn once and then pushed to the back of your closet.
Capsule wardrobe essentials checklist. While every capsule wardrobe is different, it’s essential to have the basics. Some of the essentials you’ll need include a white and black t-shirt, a good pair of jeans, a great dress in a solid color, a cardigan or jacket, a quality coat, and a versatile skirt. For shoes, make sure you have at least one good pair of sneakers, boots, and dress shoes that can be worn with various outfits. Choose clothing in solid colors that can easily be mixed and matched or layered as seasons change.
Organizing your new wardrobe
Once your closet is decluttered, and you’ve chosen essential pieces, it’s time to organize your new wardrobe.
Remodeling cabinets and closet space. Consider adding shelves or a new rail system, so it’s easy to access all of your clothing items quickly. You can use this newfound space to store seasonal décor or other household items, too.
Use storage for special items. Look for bags and hangers that are specially made for specific items. This will keep each piece protected while leaving them in their own individual compact spaces.
Cleaning and deodorizing. Before you put your clothes away, clean the floor and walls of your closet to remove dust and debris. You can deodorize your closet and make it smell fresh with essential oils or baking soda so that it smells clean without the use of harmful chemicals.
Organize by categories. Separate your clothing by category by arranging them by item type, including t-shirts, dresses, and coats. You can also arrange everything by color or size. Whatever way works best for you will be fine, but everything must be in some kind of order to make it neat and tidy.
Folding tips and tricks. Fold clothing neatly, so it saves space. One easy way is to use the g-fold method, which involves folding your clothing as flat as possible into neat squares. Practice folding your clothing until you find the easiest method to make them wrinkle-free and easy to find.
Buying or DIYing organizers. Use an organizer to keep small items like socks, bras, and underwear in order. You can find store-bought organizers or make your own by simply creating dividers from sturdy cardboard.
Keeping Your Wardrobe Organized and Minimalistic
Here are some more ways you can keep your capsule wardrobe organized and minimalistic.
The Reverse Hanger Method. This method will help you “weed out” clothing you no longer wear. First, take all of your items and put them in backward so the open end of the hanger faces you. Then, every time you wear an item, reverse the hanger so that the open end faces away. Finally, after six months, remove the items that are still facing open-end toward you.
Use Lisa's tips. Follow Lisa on instagram for ongoing tips on keeping your closet organized.
Use storage boxes or bags. You might not need all of your capsule wardrobe clothing year-round. Separate items and store them in a nice box or bag based on the season. For example, keep your winter coats in one box and swimsuits in another, so you only need to pull them out when the weather changes.
You can apply this methodology to your kid’s closet as well. As a parent, it’s important to teach your children the art of tidying up and of only wearing the things they need. Explain how unworn clothes can be bad for the environment and how they’re wasteful and can cost a lot of money. Come up with an easy checklist for each season and only buy new items when your child goes up one size. Choose one or two brands that fit your child’s style and that work within your budget. Encourage your kids to keep their closets clean and organize everything by color, making the process fun.
As you can see, creating a capsule wardrobe has many benefits for your well-being, your finances, and even for the planet. Have fun as you organize and rearrange your closet, and use these tips to help you create a beautiful space with versatile pieces you’ll enjoy wearing. Always give unwanted clothing a second life either by giving it away or repurposing it as décor, or donating to a worthy charity. Once you have a capsule wardrobe, you’ll have more harmony and balance in your life.