How I've created a minimalist capsule wardrobe for winter.

In my minimalist wanderings, I’ve managed to pare back to the beautiful essentials around the home. Note I didn’t say “bare” because I want my home to be beautiful and not bare. My kitchen, living room, office and hallway have all faced the wanna-be minimalist’s judgment and now only hold the items that I want or need to be there. I am long past cleaning under, over or around furniture that doesn’t belong.


My closet, however, was a different story.


Oh sure, I had tried to cull my clothing a number of times and have been seen carting giant boxes to the op shop. But there was still a problem. I still wasn’t happy with my clothing situation.

It’s such a first world problem to have a closet full of clothes and yet feel dissatisfaction about it. But there you have it. That’s just how it was. And I guess because a closet is generally “out of sight, out of mind”, it didn’t keep bumping into me or tripping me up like all the other clutter I’ve removed from my home over the years.

But one day last month – I can’t even remember what the impetus was – I had just had enough. I decided to get really intentional about my clothing. Instead of just going through every 6 months and getting rid of a few things that no longer fit, I decided I would implement an actual system for change.

To make the new system work effectively, I needed to get really clear about a couple of things – what I wanted from my wardrobe and why I wanted it.


What I want from my wardrobe:

  • I want it to be a place where I keep all of my clothes. Not just one season’s worth of clothes because all four season’s don’t fit, but ALL of my clothing. I want it to hold my winter coat and my evening dress and everything in between.
  • I want to only own clothing that I actually wear – not stuff that I put on and then take off because it doesn’t sit right or feel good. I acknowledged that I wear 10% of my wardrobe 90% of the time and I wanted this to change. If my home contains only items that I use, why was my wardrobe filled with things that just sit?


Why I want this:

  • I want to create an intentional wardrobe so that I can make quick and simple decisions in the morning.
  • I want to stop impulse buying nice clothes. If I know that my wardrobe is exactly as it should be, I can more easily resist impulse purchases. I will know that I already have everything I need.
  • I want to be comfortable and happy with my style. A wardrobe that is put together on purpose will be a reminder to me that this is what I wear because it is practical, comfortable and makes me feel great.


The System

The system that I have used to create this change is a combination of Project 333 and Unfancy’s capsule wardrobe concept.

I started by taking everything out of my wardrobe.

Every piece of clothing was then measured against a statement from Unfancy: Love this and would wear it right now. Anything that didn’t get a YES to this statement did not go back in the cupboard. I was amazed by how powerful this simple statement was and just how easy it made it to pare back what I didn’t wear or didn’t really like.

The Shift

There are a few little things that have come up during my long journey towards wardrobe minimalism – some of them practical considerations (season-of-life stuff, like pregnancy that has required specific clothing items); others more about mindset;could I really stick to it? Would I fall back into living with clutter? How will this impact my family?

  • I want my life and home to be minimalist on our terms, not someone else’s. While Project 333 and Unfancy suggest a specific number of items, these are just suggestions and I found myself working it out in my own way so that I ended up with between 30 and 40 items anyway. It just seemed to work well and so this is probably why Project 333 suggests 33 items and Unfancy came up with 37.
  • It’s really important to me that my husband doesn’t feel compelled to pare back his clothes. I want him to do it only if he chooses to. This process has been such a long time coming for me and I don’t think I could have done it properly without the mindset shift that has come with feeling comfortable in my own style.
  • It also took a long time to feel ok about passing on beautiful clothes that had cost a lot of money or that I had acquired for special occasions – especially occasions which had great memories attached. However, the joy on a friend’s face when I gave her a dress that no longer fit well was more than enough compensation.


What’s in my wardrobe

My winter wardrobe contains:

  • 14 tops
  • 8 trousers
  • 2 skirts
  • 1 dress
  • 8 shoes

Not included in the final wardrobe count is my winter coat, underwear, an old outfit (for painting, gardening etc) and scarves.

Remember, this is specifically the winter wardrobe. I will likely have a separate wardrobe for summer but I am planning to create spring and autumn wardrobes by combining summer and winter items. I really don’t want 120 – 160 items of clothing to cover the four seasons!


How this change has helped to simplify and peace-ify my life

  • This new system has helped me accept my style, which after 30 years, I happily embrace. I don’t need to feel like I have to “fit in”. When I go to my closet, I know that everything in there makes me feel great; why would I want to wear anything else?
  • It has helped me to get past my attachment to pre-baby clothing and to part with much of it. While I am my pre-baby weight, my body shape has changed and part of this process has been coming to terms with the fact that my body won’t go back to the shape it was in my early 20s. And that’s more than ok.
  • One of my caveats for clothing is that it must be easy to care for, so as I have implemented this system, I’ve made sure that I own very few items that require special care. My winter coat is dry-cleaned every season and I have two tops that can use an iron. Aside from that, it is a very simple wardrobe to maintain.
  • I can walk into my wardrobe in the morning and come out 4 seconds later with a complete outfit that I am more than happy to wear.


Which reminds me of a quote…

“Once you love everything hanging in your closet, deciding what to wear will be one less problem to deal with in your morning.” – Joshua Becker

And that, my friends, is how I’ve created my first ever minimalist (or capsule!) wardrobe. I’ve been living with it for almost a month now and am very happy with it.

I’d love to hear from you on this! Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Is this an area that you struggle with?

Eva Van Strijp | simple living. peaceful parenting. intentional business.

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