Full Closet, but Nothing to Wear? How to Jumpstart your Minimalist Wardrobe
Personally, I'm not a hoarder. I'm not even a little bit of a packrat, but no matter how hard I try to be tidy I end up with what feels like wall-to-wall clutter, especially in my bedroom. My drawers are stuffed, closets are at capacity, and I have a constant pile of items on my dresser that need to find a home. With the holidays around the corner, there's the prospect of accumulating more stuff, which - don't get me wrong - I realize is a blessing, but I need to get a handle on the clutter situation. I need to minimize. The concept of minimalism isn't new. It's a trend that's been around for years, but when I had the chance to talk to Personal Stylist Jayci Schmitt about the idea of minimizing one's wardrobe, I was all ears. She told me about a trend, I'd never heard of before - a trend to taper down your whole closet to just 33 items!
This is how it started. More than 15 years ago, a stylist by the name of Courtney Carver launched a campaign called Project 333. She challenged people to pare their outfits down to only 33 pieces (including accessories), box up the rest and rotate the selection every 3 months to coordinate with the season. When I first heard about this, I was completely floored. I might not be able to make it down to 33 items, but I liked the idea of picking my favorite pieces and storing the rest out of sight. At least if I could simplify my wardrobe and hide away the rest in the attic, I'd clear up more space in my closet. With fewer items, it would be easier to rearrange the space, it wouldn't look so cluttered. Maybe, then, I wouldn't have that old full-closet-but-nothing-to-wear problem.
Where to begin? Schmitt recommends sorting into 5 piles: "I love it," "Seasonal," "Maybe," "Donate," and "Garbage." The garbage pile will probably be your smallest. These are items that are damaged or stained beyond repair. The donation pile is for any item that's good enough for someone else, but you just don't think you're going to wear it anymore. This includes clothes that don't fit. I've heard somewhere that if you haven't worn it in 2 years, you'll probably never wear it again. Give it away. If you can't make up your mind, put it in the "maybe" pile. That group of clothing can be boxed up and put in another closet, attic or garage. If you don't miss it after a couple of years, you can give it away. Seasonal clothing, such as winter sweaters or summer shorts can be put in a storage bin that tucks under your bed while not in season.
The last pile you'll be left with is the stuff you love. These should be things that make you happy and put you in a good mood when you wear them. Don't let yourself get hung up on the number. "I had one client get to 56 items," Schmitt says. "It doesn't have to be 33; it's just important to pare down." Now, with your favorite things, see if you can create a capsule wardrobe. If you haven't heard of clothing capsules (I hadn't), take a look on Pinterest. Wow! There are tons of ideas there. Basically, it's a mini wardrobe of your favorite pieces that are versatile and easy to intermix. You'll want to pull together clothing, shoes and accessories from coordinating color families that can be mixed and matched daily. As a result, getting ready in the morning should be way easier!
Generally, a capsule will include the following:
- 2 pairs of pants
- 6 tops
- Topper (sweater/coat)
- Accessories (jewelry/scarf/belt)
You can have a couple of capsules in your closet. Some people keep a work capsule and an off-duty capsule. The work capsule might include slacks, a cardigan and pumps. The casual one can be made up of jeans, a jean jacket and sneakers. The main thing is to keep it minimal and interchangeable. A capsule wardrobe is meant to make your life easier - less time trying to decide what to wear in the morning, less time shopping, less time doing laundry. Plus, everything in your closet will be something you love, so you'll feel good in what you're wearing every day.
With the start of the new year coming up, I'm feeling inspired to take on a fresh start. How about you? I'd love to hear from you. Are you a minimalist at heart? Have you tried wardrobe capsules before? Leave a comment below.