step 1: the pre-capsule cleanse

Alright, let’s get started on our capsule wardrobe journey! Like I mentioned before, I have taken a lot of inspiration from Caroline, and I’ll be following her guidelines loosely while making this process my own.  Set aside an afternoon and join me!

Step 1: Start your pre-capsule cleanse. “Purge” or pare down your closet. EVERYTHING! Don’t think about your wardrobe “number” yet. (more on the ‘number’ later)

Be honest with yourself… how many items of clothing do you actually wear on a regular basis? Before I started this journey (and the drastic downsizing of my entire house) I knew I had to get rid of things quickly, but what helped me the most was trying to visualize what I reached for, day in and day out.

Pay attention to every single thing, from knits to shoes to handbags. This is going to take a while, but if the article of clothing or accessory doesn’t meet the following guidelines, it’s time to put in the “pitch” pile. Caroline recommends creating a maybe pile, but in the interest of trying to come to quick decisions, I eliminated this step and made myself either all-in, or not.

  • Does it fit? The most important question! Make sure to try pieces on that you haven’t worn recently. On second thought, if you haven’t worn the item in a while… it’s probably best to toss, but you will come across some old favorites every so often! Also, make sure you’re focusing on what fits now. We’ve all held on to our favorite pair of jeans from 3 years ago, waiting for when we can fit back into them, but for sanity’s sake, just put them in your purge pile!
  • Is it still on trend or in style? This one is a bit more subjective, but try to think of what you’re seeing around lately. Things you wore in college may not be the best items to keep, which brings me to my next point…
  • Is the piece high quality? It doesn’t have to be expensive or designer, but your capsule pieces need to be able to hold up to multiple wearings without falling apart! More points if you’re not wearing dry-clean only items.
  • Sort things seasonally. If an item meets all of the above criteria, place it in the “keep” pile, making stacks for different seasons. Focus primarily on your most current season if the process becomes overwhelming and store the winter coats for now.
  • Separate your “purge” pile into two buckets: one for resale, one for donation. I’ve been able to make a few extra bucks by selling items in good shape rather than just donating everything. I’ll go into detail in my next post, but

I know the process is tough and time consuming, but repeat this mantra: it’s tempting to keep items based on sentimental value or even price paid originally (why would I ever throw out this designer blazer?) but if you’re not putting it into your collection or keeping it for another season or occasion, get rid of it!

One more important note: most capsule wardrobe bloggers (myself included) focus on one collection that can be used for work + weekend looks, since we seem to exist in workplaces that welcome casual outfits vs. a “corporate collection.” If you fall into the latter category, I invite you to create side-by-side capsule collections, perhaps making your target number of pieces smaller per each category, or sharing shoes. When you’re paring down, make sure you’re not forgetting about your workwear! It counts too, because who really needs three grey pencil skirts?

Have you started to undergo your #capsuleclosetchallenge or #capsulecleanse? Let me know!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thank you for writing this. I am currently obsessed with downsizing and I will be following your advice on how to finish purging my closet. I am also going to be building my wardrobe so I look forward to tips on what to add in once everything you don’t need is gone!

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