There are a gabillion articles, videos and other resources about how how to start a capsule wardrobe. I created some of them. This time, I thought I’d share my actual process as I am thinking about my capsule wardrobe for the next three months (July, August, September).
Use these 10 easy, practical steps to start a capsule wardrobe
1. Ask practical questions.
Instead of seeing what tourists in Paris are wearing or what smart professionals in New York keep in their closets, ask questions about where you live and how you live.
Questions like …
What is the weather going to be like? If you are concerned because at the beginning of spring, it’s snowing and at the end of spring it’s really warm where you live, I can relate. Choose your 33 items knowing that some of your pieces will only be worn in the very beginning or at the very end of the challenge. I didn’t choose 3 months of similar weather on purpose. I want to experience the benefits of less.
Are there any special events coming up? Once I see what events I have coming up I ask myself, “can I wear the same thing to all of these events?”
Do I need to wear anything special for work? If you have to dress up for work, consider being 10% less fancy. No one will notice and it will make your capsule wardrobe more versatile. If you wear a uniform to work, start by counting all of your uniforms as 1 item.
2. Don’t make decisions about the things that aren’t in your capsule wardrobe.
This is not the time to decide what to donate, sell or keep. Instead, create your capsule wardrobe, hide the rest and make those decisions after you’ve had some emotional separation from the items. This includes NOT making decisions about new items. Starting a capsule wardrobe is not the time to be adding pieces. Wait until you’ve had some time with a smaller wardrobe to decide what you want and need moving forward.
3. Consider the categories.
When you start a capsule wardrobe, estimate how many items you’ll need for each category. Start with the smallest categories first. If you are doing a traditional Project 333 Capsule Wardrobe and working with 33 items it might look like this …
Clothing (including outerwear): 21
4. Make a list.
Start a capsule wardrobe on paper. Don’t do it in front of your closet. Making the list from memory will help you choose your favorites first.
5. Remind yourself why.
If you don’t know why you want to have a capsule wardrobe, it might not be the right time.
If you struggle with making decisions, that’s your reason to start.
If you are overwhelmed with your chaotic choices, or feeling overwhelmed by life in general and all of the choices and decisions you have to make, reducing those choices and decisions in your closet may help ease stress. That’s a great reason to start.
Maybe you are curious about simplifying your life and want to sample simplicity by creating a capsule wardrobe. Wow, what a great reason to start.
Even though my “why” was to ease stress, I still got to experience a bunch of other benefits. I saved money and time and I stopped caring about what other people thought about what I was wearing.
6. Pull your items.
Get the list you made and pull all of the items out of the closet. Box up the rest and hide for the next three months. If there are a few items that you aren’t sure about or think you may need “just in case,” box them up too but write “just in case” on the box. If you need something, you’ll know where to find it. Give your closet or wardrobe a good clean out and then place your items back.
Here is the start of my capsule wardrobe for July/August/September.
These are the first 7 items. I’ll be adding up to 26 more items including 4 pairs of shoes, 4 accessories, 3 pieces of jewelry and 12-15 items of clothing.
7. Get support.
- Read the Project 333 Book.
- Join The Simplicity Space for consistent support as you simplify your life.
- Follow me on Instagram here or here.
8. Don’t think about clothes for the next three months.
You have what you need. You may even have a back up “just in case box” so it’s completely unnecessary to think about shopping, sales, or anything else. Now you can put all of those thoughts and other resources into things you really care about.
9. Do not suffer.
This is not a project in suffering. If you spill your iced coffee down the front of your shirt and can’t remove the stain, replace the item. If something doesn’t fit, replace it with something that does.
10. Invite a friend for more fun.
Ask someone you enjoy doing fun things with to start a capsule wardrobe or try Project 333 with you. Send them this article with an invitation to have fun, trade tips and create accountability to stick with it for 3 months.
I’ve been inviting friends to capsule wardrobe with me for almost 12 years! Almost every day since I started, I get messages about how Project 333 is life-changing. Because of that, I never get tired of recommending it. Whether you’ve been thinking about starting for years or for the first time today, consider this my personal invitation to you.
If this approach doesn’t work for you, try this one or find capsule wardrobe inspiration here.
P.S. I’ll be sharing my entire 3-month summer capsule wardrobe soon!