If you are a minimalist searching the blogs and websites for ideas, you have probably come across capsule wardrobes.  Capsule wardrobes have surged in popularity among minimalists and non-minimalists alike.  They are efficient, cost-cutting, and practical whether you are trying to reduce your spending, find a use for that sweater hanging in the back of your closet, or cut down the time it takes to get ready in the morning.

I discovered the capsule wardrobe concept when I went to study abroad in Europe during my junior year of college.  Knowing that I had to pack for an autumn semester and for a mountain backpacking trip, my clothing options were limited due to luggage space and weight to account for all the necessities, textbooks, and gear.

While I did not know that my outfit planning was indeed a capsule wardrobe, I used the same strategy for my packing list, making sure I had the minimum outfits to keep comfortable, stay versatile, and keep within my packing limits.  Not only did I realize I could create a variety of outfit combinations, I ended up with the lightest luggage out of my group!  I had space to store souvenirs and a time-saving wardrobe to keep me out exploring!

Now as a graduate and full-time employee, I transferred packing skills into a practical solution for everyday wear.  As I looked for ways to expand my minimalism strategies, I put a name to the concept I used in Europe: the capsule wardrobe.  If you are like me, the name capsule wardrobe has a particular ring to it that suggests limits, simplicity, and organization.  I picked up on the phrase quickly, discovering I appreciated implementing the wardrobe.  It was just as satisfying as saying it!  Even more so, I appreciate the capsule wardrobe because it is easy to adapt to your needs.

I like to use up what I have before buying a replacement, so my closet was already pretty specific to my likes in terms of style.  I narrowed down what I could (see: Hanger Strategy) and focused my attention in preserving my favorite pieces while making good use of everything in my closet.  I was surprised how easy it was!

I discovered that my capsule wardrobe has many benefits:

  • I find joy in taking a few minutes every couple weeks to go through my clothes to create outfit options, saving the time it normally took me to choose clothes in the morning.
  • I found my style.  Sure the pieces were there already, but I found ways to be comfortable without trying to copy an outfit that did not suit my personality.
  • I spend only the time it takes to grab clothes and put them on rather than spending at least 10 minutes staring at options.  My morning routine is simple and not rushed.
  • My wardrobe lasts about 2 weeks, which cuts down on washing machine use, thus saving water, detergent, and electricity.
  • It allows me to invest in quality clothing, rather than needing to replace cheap pieces more often.
  • I am prepared for any kind of weather because my outfits are layered.  By having a variety of layers in an outfit, I am more flexible if a sunny day turns rainy or if a cool day turns into a heatwave.
  • It makes traveling a breeze because I can pack half the clothes and still come up with variety to take care of the entire trip.
  • I spend less on clothes because I buy classy pieces that do not go out of style.

I enjoy my capsule wardrobe for its benefits listed above and for the ways in which it teaches me to pursue minimalism in all walks of life.  Perhaps one of the best ways to build a minimalist lifestyle is to work with the tangible items; working hands-on helps me to see what I like about being a minimalist and helps me creatively sort through the conceptual changes such as mindset and strategy.  I definitely encourage trying the capsule wardrobe, even if it means starting out slow.  Check it out on blogs, Pinterest, or just experiment making one yourself.  Let us go back to the time before we got caught up in filling our closets, before we let consumerism convince us to buy more than we need, and before deciding what to wear became such a hassle!  Pass it on!

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