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Whether you’re trying to pare down your wardrobe a little bit or you just want to get your favorites back out for the summer, building a capsule wardrobe might be the easiest way to whittle down your clothing options for a while.

Specifically, capsule wardrobes are great for building a small seasonal wardrobe to help declutter your room and help you pick through your options. Capsule wardrobes, or capsule collections, are small collections of your clothing, whittled down to 24 or 33 items (depending on who you ask), and designed to reflect the season you’re in—summer, fall, etc.

 

Capsule wardrobes are a great way for people with a lot of clothes to start working through their collections and focusing on what matters most. The idea behind it is to go through everything you might wear this summer—tops, shorts, shoes, everything—and pick up to 33 individual pieces that you can mix and match together to create a variety of summer outfits using as few pieces as possible. And that’s 33 pieces total, so for a true capsule wardrobe you need to focus on the items you like best or things you actually see yourself wearing, not just ‘maybes’.

 

So how do you start? Simple. Gather all of your in-season summer clothes up out of your bedroom dressers and closets and sort them into three piles: love, like, hate (or, for something a little less severe, ‘stuff you haven’t worn in forever’). From there you can separate the ‘dislike’ pile into things you can donate or things you can just throw out. This will help you feel pretty accomplished right away, so you can focus on what’s left and how you’re going to wear it. (Don’t feel like everything needs to get donated right away either—the point of capsule wardrobes is to help you get a better idea of what you’ll actually wear, so you may wind up changing your mind down the road.)

While you’re sorting this wardrobe, remember to keep in mind your various needs. Don’t just focus on your favorite sundresses and sandals—you’ll want to include basics like tees, jeans, and the like to make sure you’re dressed for every occasion.

 

Once you’ve finally whittled it down to what you need for a capsule wardrobe (don’t stress if this takes a second—making the initial decisions are probably the hardest part and you may need some water or snacks along the way), you’ll want to keep it separated from your primary wardrobe. Get a new dresser, or even some closet shelves to keep these specific pieces distinct and away from your previous wardrobes. Doing this will help you cycle through everything during the summer, and help you focus more on the goal of a capsule wardrobe without being too tempted by trying to wear something that wasn’t part of the plan.

Don’t be afraid to make exceptions, too. Things like underwear and pajamas don’t need to count as part of the capsule wardrobe strictly for convenience reasons. If you use yoga pants more often to run errands than you do to actual yoga class, they should count towards your total; otherwise ‘occasional’ pieces like that are fair game.

After everything is sorted, all you need to do is stick to the plan. See how many fun combinations of clothing you can make from the pieces you have left over, and from there see if there’s any clothes that didn’t make it into the capsule that you wouldn’t mind parting with. Who knows, you might enjoy yourself so much you’ll wind up doing it for every season.

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