Closet Purge: Declutter and Create a Capsule Wardrobe

Declutter and Create a Wardrobe You Love.

I’ve spent a little over a year on a maiden voyage to downsize, declutter, and organize my home. While I’m happy to report I’ve forged ahead light years, there is still work to be done. One of the first areas I focused on was my closet. I had clothes I’d never wear, and items I didn’t need. (For example: enough black slacks, in various sizes, to dress the entire staff at Olive Garden). Also there were clothes that didn’t fit or needed repair.  

A full closet purge was in order. Next, I would declutter to create a practical wardrobe I love. 

I now have a capsule wardrobe. All of my clothing fits in this one IKEA stand-up wardrobe. I couldn’t be happier.

Declutter to a wardrobe of pieces you love.

It started with someone named Courtney Carver. Carver is the founder of the 333 project. Simply put, she challenged herself to whittle her wardrobe to just 33 items. While I am not as strict as she, the spirit of her project resonates with me. Carver provides lots of great tips about how to purge your closet.

For me, it came down to this: I removed everything from the closet and my bureau. Everything. 

  • Next, I set aside anything that didn’t fit me at that moment. If I happen to lose that last 20 pounds, I can reward myself by shopping for new jeans, not wearing a pair from 2003. 
  • From there, I set aside anything I couldn’t remember wearing (often), or that I didn’t love. A purple bridesmaid dress. A sweater that never really fit well. Those yoga clam diggers, I mean pants, I didn’t realize they were a size petite (I’m 5’8″). The undies that give me perpetual wedgies. You get the idea. My pile was enormous.

Then I got RUTHLESS.

  • I kept one black dress, and all the others went. I left myself with one pair of black slacks, one bathing suit, and a reasonable amount of separates. Business suits? Pah-lease. I make deals about nap time now. How many pairs of rain boots does one gal need? I limited myself to one pair.
  • Ultimately I was left with a lot less than I thought. So little, that I no longer needed my closet. Shazam! I felt lighter already. Laundry is more manageable. Limiting wardrobe choices also gives me a clearer head in the morning.
  • Then with their help, I moved onto my children’s clothes. I discovered I was saving too many things my children didn’t like. Items they didn’t wear. We got rid of all that. We also tossed items with stains, holes, and missing buttons. I was on a roll! 
  • Finally, we took inventory of what was left; then filled in as needed. My three-year-old needed pajamas, her sister was low on pants, and my oldest daughter’s growth spurt left her lacking proportionately fitting tops. Armed with that list–we filled in, creating a wardrobe they loved. 
Clothes folded upright promote better organization.

I carefully hung their dresses and coats, and folded everything to be face up. This has been coined a “Japanese technique,” and it’s so efficient I don’t doubt that. You can learn to fold pants and tops this way, in just a few minutes. I highly recommend it. 

In the end, you should enjoy your clothing. A wardrobe should be versatile, comprised of items you love, and fit you well. After you purge, consider investing in fewer textile pieces, but higher quality items. They will last longer, and you’ll look better. (Not to mention less textile waste is eco- friendly.)

Get motivated, and be ready for change. I’m happier with less, but feel better than ever about what I have in my closet.


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