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Build a Minimalist Closet in 7 Days: Downsizing Simplified

Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe Year Round

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In your mind’s eye, picture your dream minimalist closet. It’s not overflowing with pieces you seldom wear. It’s not so barren that you’re creatively stifled when getting dressed. No, it’s the Goldilocks of closets- just right. 

Below, I’m covering how to painlessly downsize your closet so this fairytale closet becomes your reality.

 

What Exactly is a Minimalist Wardrobe?

affordable winter capsule wardrobe

A minimalist wardrobe is an intentionally chosen collection of clothing pieces that are versatile, high-quality, and well-loved. At its core, a minimalist closet is simple, functional, and aligned with your personal style.

Take an honest look at your clothing and you may find you’re one of the many people wearing just 20% of their wardrobe regularly. A minimalist wardrobe solves this by focusing on the clothing that is most loved, while eliminating the rest.

Scroll on to simplify your clothing. 

How to Build a Functional Minimalist Wardrobe

Knowing how to pare down your wardrobe is empowering. Here’s your week-long plan. 

Day 1: Assess Your Current Wardrobe

First things first- review each item in your closet. Consider fit, condition, and frequency of wear.

clothes hanging neatly in closet

 

As you evaluate your wardrobe, ask yourself critical questions like

  • Do I love and wear this item regularly?
  •  Does it align with my personal style and lifestyle needs? 
  • Is it in good condition, or does it require repairs? 

By honestly assessing each piece, you can identify which items deserve a place in your minimalist wardrobe and which ones no longer serve you. 

When I assessed my clothing, glaring gaps came into view. I quickly realized that my closet was overflowing with statement pieces that didn’t quite harmonize with each other. Without versatile neutrals, putting together outfits was a chore.

Action item: Decide whether each piece aligns with your style and lifestyle. Sort items into categories: keep, donate/sell, repair/alter.

Day 2: Define Your Wardrobe Goals

woman in brown trousers and cardigan chic outfit

You’ve taken a good hard look at your existing clothes. Now it’s time to align them with your lifestyle. 

The central question here is What do I need out of my wardrobe? As someone who travels often, I need a versatile closet with pieces that can easily be dressed up or down. 

You may need:

Think about how you spend most of your time and what clothing best supports that. This is how to simplify a wardrobe 101. 

Need help? I have a section on aligning your wardrobe with your lifestyle in my free wardrobe planner.

Action Item: Reflect on your lifestyle, values, and preferences to define your wardrobe goals. Write down your objectives including any priorities you want to focus on. The wardrobe planner linked above is the perfect place to do so. 

Day 3: Declutter Your Wardrobe

While many guides suggest starting with decluttering, I prefer a different approach. By first understanding your wardrobe goals and assessing what you already have, decluttering becomes more focused and intentional.

Why declutter? It’s a crucial step in creating a functional minimalist closet, as it allows you to remove excess items that no longer align with your lifestyle. So no, you can’t skip it. You’ll thank me later. 

My advice: Be ruthless in your decision-making process, and don’t be afraid to let go of items that no longer serve you. Consider donating, selling, or recycling clothing that is in good condition but no longer fits your needs. 

Wondering how many clothes you need? Use this handy formula. 

Action Item: Empty your entire closet and lay out all your clothing where you can see it. Separate into keep, donate, or sell piles. Keep only those pieces that you truly love, wear regularly, and align with your minimalist wardrobe vision.

Day 4: Identify Essential Pieces & Gaps

capsule wardrobe formula for 35 piece wardrobe

Pat yourself on the back. You’re getting closer to your ideal closet. 

Now, take inventory of what’s inside post-declutter sesh. Identify pieces that are versatile, timeless, and essential for your lifestyle. 

Think a classic white button-down, figure-flattering jeans, a tailored blazer, and anything that makes you feel oh-so-confident when you slip it on. All these essential pieces will become the foundation of your new, slimmed-down wardrobe. So choose them with care. 

Action Item: Select essential pieces that align with your lifestyle needs and pinpoint any gaps in your wardrobe. These might be items that you’re missing or pieces that need to be replaced or updated. 

Day 5: Shop Mindfully 

couple shopping in mid-luxury brand clothing store

If you have glaring gaps in your wardrobe (like yours truly), now is the time to fill them. Make a list to use as your guiding light. 

This capsule wardrobe checklist will help you build your ideal wardrobe.

Remember, you’re not shopping for the sake of shopping. Instead, approach each purchase intentionally.

I prioritize quality over quantity when shopping which keeps my closet small and allows me to invest in clothing that will last.

Action Item: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on new wardrobe additions and then shop to fill in the gaps. You can build your closet gradually so don’t feel pressured to get everything in one trip.

Day 6: Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Now for the magic. If you really want to simplify your wardrobe and make getting dressed a breeze, create a capsule wardrobe.

This has transformed how I get dressed, helping me define my style by constraining my options. Freedom in restraint, I suppose. 

I have a full guide to building a stunning capsule wardrobe but here is the busy girl’s version: 

  1. Select Core Pieces: Choose versatile, timeless items that form the foundation of your wardrobe. Aim for around 20-30 pieces that reflect your personal style and suit your lifestyle.
  2. Pick a Color Palette: Stick to a cohesive color scheme of neutral tones and complementary hues so you can easily mix and match.
  3. Create Outfits: Get creative with layering and styling to maximize the versatility of your capsule wardrobe. Aim for multiple outfit options from each piece.
  4. Integrate Seasonal Pieces: Add seasonal items to accommodate weather changes. Reach for lightweight fabrics for summer and cozy knits for winter.
  5. Stay Organized: Keep your capsule wardrobe clutter-free and organized for easy access. I keep my summer capsule completely tucked away in the winter and vice versa.

Day 7: Organize Your Minimalist Closet

closet with hats and purses

Congrats, you’ve learned how to pare down your closet. Next, maintenance is key. Here’s how to keep things simple and neat:

  • Sort Through: Take time to arrange your curated pieces.
  • Optimize Space: Use storage solutions like bins and dividers.
  • Streamline Routine: Organize in a way that makes pieces easily accessible,
  • Embrace Simplicity: Create an environment conducive to effortless dressing.

It’s no secret that a well-organized closet makes your daily routine smoother. I like to refresh my wardrobe a few times a year but find a cadence that works for you. 

How to Downsize Your Closet: 5 Tips

woman sorting through minimalist closet

Know Your Body Type

Life is too short to wear clothing made for someone else. That’s why you should keep only pieces that flatter your body type. As a petite individual (standing at 5’3″ on my good days) I had to part ways with some pieces I inherited from my much taller sister. It’s for the best.

Pick Versatile Pieces

Want easy outfit creation? Mix and match darling.  Pick pieces that work double (or triple) duty. Versatile pieces allowed me to create 70 outfits with just 30 pieces. Choose versatile pieces to maximize the potential of each item in your closet.

Use The Hanger Trick

Hang clothing items backward on the hanger, and only flip them around once you’ve worn them. This visual cue will reveal which pieces you reach for regularly, making it easier to see what you truly use in your wardrobe.

Rent Rather Than Buying

Consider renting clothing to simplify your wardrobe while keeping it fresh. I use Nuuly to rent clothing monthly and enjoy the freedom to test trends sans commitment. You can read my full review here

Choose Quality Over Quantity

You want a minimalist wardrobe that endures through the seasons. So opt for quality pieces that are built to last. Investing in timeless items means less clutter and more longevity in your wardrobe.

These brands prove that quality pieces don’t have to break the budget.

Minimalist Closet FAQs

Capsule wardrobe sizes range from super minimalist 10-piece wardrobes to full 50-piece collections. Most minimalist capsule wardrobes fall between the 20-40 piece mark. If “it’s up to you” isn’t satisfactory, this guide on how many clothes you need will be. 

Owning less starts with a mindful approach to your wardrobe. When paring down your closet, think TLC.

  1. Think Mindfully: Curate your wardrobe with intention, making sure each piece aligns with your style and needs.
  2. Lease, Don’t Buy: Embrace clothing rental services to enjoy variety without cluttering your closet.
  3. Love Your Fit: Prioritize pieces that flatter your body type. Remember, it’s about finding what fits and makes you feel confident.

Resources for a Simplified Closet

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