There are two types of people in this quarantine: the ones who have Marie Kondo-ed their closet to the max or the ones who are so overwhelmed by all the clutter they don’t know where to start, and only add to it. There’s no doubt we all want a well organized closet space where we can get dressed and feel inspired. I’m going to give you a new way to do a closet cleanse and break it down for you.
The goal of organization is to reduce overwhelm, not make you overwhelmed about organizing. Getting organized will give you a sense of control and help you re-identify your style, which will make you feel more confident. Closet clutter prevents you from seeing what truly matters, both physically and mentally. When you are organized you gain clarity.
Are you ready!? Let’s do this.
First, I use various methods of closet cleansing, and the method I’m sharing with you today is best for:
- Season transitioning and “I need weather appropriate outfits quickly!”.
- You’re feeling overwhelmed by the clutter and want to make it more fun and creative.
- When your closet is in good shape but you’re not feeling excited about what you put on everyday.
I call it the “Capsule-athon Closet Cleanse Challenge”.
Instead of pulling EVERYTHING out of your closet – only pull out clothes you love.
In other words, you’ll “shop your closet” and sort into “capsules”, or mini groups of clothes you wear for different occasions.
Not only will it make getting dressed easier – but the organizing part becomes more of an art then a cleanse.
Within minutes you’re putting together outfits, getting creative, and trying things on. It’s actually pretty fun!
Before you know it – you’re done and have more energy than when you started.
These are the steps you’ll want to follow for your “Capsule-athon Closet Cleanse Challenge”:
Step 1: List out the capsules you’ll be creating.
The idea is that you organize your closet into capsules with ONLY clothes you’ll be wearing for the next 3-5 months. Generally, it’s great to do this at the beginning of a season as the weather won’t change drastically over this time period.
What are the activities you foresee doing that you’ll need to dress for?
Here are the Capsules to consider:
- Everyday at-home casual
- Business casual for work or zoom calls
- Workout wear
- Date night
- Poolside collection
- Conference (similar to Biz casual with a twist)
- Nice clothes for church capsule
- Formal wear
Step 2: Confront your closet & Do an assessment.
Can you even see what’s in there? Start the clean out by reaching in to grab every piece of clothing you LOVE for your capsule (work on ONE capsule at a time). If its too overwhelming, sort the items in your closet into TWO groups:
- Warm weather
- Cool weather
Note: If you hesitate over an item for even a second, you don’t love it.
I choose 20 pieces for each capsule – usually 9 tops, 6 bottoms, 5 sweaters or sweatshirts.
Place the clothes you love on your bed.
Arrange the articles by type: jeans, pants, shirts, etc.
If you were a part of the Dress Your Shape program you’ll also be make sure every piece fits well for your body shape. If not, I have a free style class here.
Examine the items on the bed to see if a theme emerges. Is everything blue? Perhaps you chose clothes made only from comfortable fabrics. Did you choose only your best-fitting pair of jeans? Did you leave all the skirts in the closet?
By examining the clothes you love all together on the bed– without the rest of your wardrobe surrounding them and distracting you–you will see a pattern.
Step 3: Create outfits.
How many different ways can you mix key pieces to create different looks? Lay out as many ensembles as possible. (capsuling tip: Try on a few outfits and snap photos so you can see yourself wearing it, and assess if you love it.)
Step 4: Edit, edit, edit.
Do you have favorite pieces that didn’t make the cut when you were putting together outfits? Take them off the bed and set them aside.
Are there any essential pieces missing? If you go back to your closet to get a particular jacket or shirt or pair of pants that you now regret leaving behind, will that article of clothing enable you to create several more outfits? If so, grab it.
Step 5: Accessorize.
Now it’s time to complete your outfits with accessories and shoes. Go back to your closet and find whatever jewelry, scarves, belts or shoes will complete your outfits. You can be liberal here because accessories are one of the tools that will help you restyle. Choose about 10-15 pieces per capsule in accessories and shoes in total. Have fun with this. Play dress up!
(Styling tip: If you’re lacking accessories, in my humble opinion, I think a good belt collection is what every girl needs. Adorns pants, slims down dresses, and makes any oversized top look good 🙂 adacollection.com for all your belt needs.)
Step 6: Go through the Rest.
Here’s the fun part. Might seem scary… but I believe in you. You can do it!
Take everything else out of your closet and start going through it. Can you donate any of the items? It’s usually a great idea to have a charity in mind so as you’re putting clothes away into the donation box – you could picture others benefiting from your clothes. It makes the separation easier. If you have some items you want to consign or sell, start a box for that, and anything you need to tailor or mend – start this pile too. I usually have three boxes and bags on hand when I start.
Handle each item and consider if you could ever see yourself wearing it, or if you like it enough, to keep. If not, donate.
For all the rest of the items you’re keeping – start packing them away by season.
Maybe you are lucky enough to have a backup closet in a guest room where you can store it for now. If not, get some vacuum squish bags; you can get these online or at Walmart, you can suck the air out of the bag to store more clothes in a small space. (Three months from now, pull out the clothing and pick your favorites for the next season.)
Organizing Tip: If your weight fluctuates often, you can consider storing clothes by size range. But ONLY if you think you might wear that size again within a year. Otherwise, donate.
Step 7: Only Capsules & Favorites Go Back.
Put your capsule(s) back into your closet neatly folded on shelves, or in drawers, or on hangers.
Expert Tip: I have A LOT of accessories so the ones I chose for my capsules I store together in one drawer for easy access.
I use flat accessory trays for jewelry, hat boxes for scarves and belts, and transparent shoe boxes for my shoes.
Fold the rest of your favorites (that didn’t make it to capsule) nearby (limit to 20 pieces in total).
I keep winter capsule possibilities nearby (which includes heavier sweaters that I don’t need for fall).
Step 8: Mend & Prepare a bag for the tailor.
For the clothes that stayed in your capsules, you may want to: repair, replace buttons, and iron every piece of clothing that needs attention. If an item doesn’t fit properly, but you still chose it for your capsule or in favorites, take it to the tailor; shorten the sleeves, nip in the waist, or lift a hemline to the most flattering length. If you don’t want to make that investment, get rid of the piece.
Step 9: Do a trial run.
Wear your capsule(s) pieces, in as many combinations as possible, for a week. See how you like your outfits. If things are going well, try it for a second week. If you are missing a key piece, pull it out of the back of the closet; it’s not the end of the world if you wear 21 pieces of clothing.
Step 10: Pare down shoes and accessories.
Shoes, handbags, and accessories. This is always the hardest part for me because I love accessories. But try to stick to only the pieces you’ll wear in your capsule. The rest, either store away or get them out of sight, or better said, get the pieces that ARE in your capsule(s) in sight. I have a shallow pull out drawer in my closet where I store all my capsule accessories, everything else goes into deeper drawers out of my way.
I LOVE to walk into my closet and find it neatly arranged and organized for a boutique-like feel. I don’t have to stop to think what to wear because I have less options and all the options I know work for my body type, the occasions and activities I’ll attend, and they all reflect my inner style.
I get excited to get dressed in the morning and see a new outfit combination come alive.
And I promise you, follow these steps and you will get excited too! 🙂
Note: If one of the pieces from your capsules gets damaged, a shirt gets a stain, pants loose their shape, or something else, swap it out from your favorites pile. But don’t push yourself to wear something that won’t bring you joy just because its in your capsule. Swap and move on.
At the same time, if you see something you want to buy because you absolutely love it and the item will fit into your current capsule – swap it out with another piece.
Then again, if you have 21 pieces vs. 20 pieces in your capsule – its not the end of the world.
Last tip: Keep your eyes open and stay inspired… for future capsules, to honor the art of fashion, and style around you. You’d be surprised what could spark an idea for your next capsule. Could be a flower, a printed scarf, architecture, etc.
There’s art and style all around you. You just have to look for it! 🙂