5 Steps to a Capsule Wardrobe that Works for You

Yesterday I shared some benefits of a minimal wardrobe.  Here are 5 steps that I routinely take to ensure I’m maintaining a simple and merciful capsule wardrobe.  And I highly recommend using this 5-step process to create your own!

 

1.  Identify your style and what type clothing is comfortable and appropriate for you.

Is your style preference sophisticated?  Casual?  Are you wearing clothing that suits your shape and size?  Are you wearing clothing that is appropriate for your shape and size?  My style preference and size have changed many times over the past few years as I’ve learned what I like to wear best as a stay-at-home mother and how to dress when pregnant and postpartum. 

 

 2. Consider all activities where you’ll need different types of clothing, and how often you do each.

In my life, I need clothing for church, home care tasks, homeschooling, garden and homestead tasks, and workouts.  Occasionally I’ll wear an extra fancy dress to an event, or go somewhere to swim – these are extras. 

 

3. Plan out 7 days worth of your favorite clothing for this season, plus 2 extra days as backup (just in case).  Do the same for other seasons.  You’ll create a 7-day + 2 capsule for winter, spring/fall, and summer, and overlapping some items is great!  

You don’t need more.  If I get spit up on every day of the week, I’ll need to wash each item once weekly.  Plus, I’ve got about two backup outfits if needed.  I like to have about 2-3 skirts, 2-3 pairs of pants, 3 dresses, and 5-7 shirts on hand.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you don’t need 2 weeks worth of clothes if you do wash at least once a week.  Your 7 days will include everything you do each day, so make sure you keep 3-7 days of workout clothing if needed, etc. 

 

3.  Add your extras.

This may mean one scarf, one winter coat, one rain/light coat or jacket, one dress coat (optional – I prefer not having one… you know, the 2 coats thing…), one swimsuit, a few sweaters for cold days, a hat for gardening, etc.

 

4.  Add only the shoes you need.

For my life, this means 1 pair of running shoes, 1 pair of navy heels for church, 1 pair of everyday black flats, 1 pair of everyday closed toed shoes for winter, 1 pair of work boots for homestead tasks, and 1 pair of brown outdoorsy sandals for homestead tasks in extreme heat (all second hand except running shoes & work boots).  I could pare it down a little more.  I rarely end up wearing my heels – but this works well.

 

5.  Last step – I ask myself this question:  Am I approachable to someone who is homeless, in poverty, and to all those most in need when I am wearing these clothes?

And I believe this is really the most important thing.

 

What questions do you ask yourself when editing your wardrobe?  If you’ve been trying to get to a minimal wardrobe, what’s making that difficult for you?  

Benefits of a Minimal Wardrobe

I love the concept of owning just your essential items of clothing, which is also known as a capsule wardrobe.  Capsule wardrobes are amazing because they are: a. simple, and b. merciful.

How are capsule wardrobes simple?  They allow you to own less and to manage your items efficiently.  They allow you to spend much less time picking out what you’re going to wear and much less time caring for your few items of clothing.

They really streamline laundry – especially when you use this concept for your whole family!  I now look forward to laundry… seriously.

How are capsule wardrobes merciful or kind?  They free up resources for others in this world.  They are kind to the environment and kind to others.

“If you have two coats, one of them belongs to the poor,” said Dorothy Day.  “Live simply that others may simply live,” said Mother Teresa.  Every time we free up material resources in the world (ie: let them go), others can benefit from those resources.

When we free up our time, we have more time to use to extend mercy to others – which I’m pretty sure is the reason we exist.

Also, I consider my clothing merciful because (aside from things like camisoles, socks, and an occasional gift) – it’s all second-hand.  Second-hand is always my preference!  A benefit of a capsule wardrobe comprised of used items is that it is easy on the environment.

Every time we purchase a new item of clothing (or of anything for that matter), it’s like we’re saying to the world, “Yes, world, you need one more shirt!”

Granted, clothing eventually can wear out.  But at least in America, we’re pretty quick to toss garments into a “donate pile” rather than stick with them until the end.  There are tons of clothes out there in the world not being worn.  So, can’t we wear those used items and free up resources for something else?

I’ve owned too much clothing, and I’ve owned too little.

I define too much as having so many options I have to think for a minute about what I’m going to wear, and I define too little as waiting for a clothing item to dry because I need it to leave the house.

As a mother of 4 children ages 5 and under, I prefer to have a simple, easy to manage, merciful wardrobe.

So, tomorrow, I’ll be sharing 5 steps to routinely take to ensure you’re maintaining a simple and merciful capsule wardrobe.  I highly recommend using this 5-step process to create your own!

Have you ever tried reducing your closet to just a week or so of essentials per season?  If not, what’s held you back?

Here’s a great little video from Jennifer L. Scott about her time living in France that may give you some extra motivation – click here to view!

 

Merciful & Simple Meals

Our family has certainly been on a journey over the past few years!  The Gospel call of living mercifully and simply has permeated every facet of our lives in new and exciting ways.  Food has certainly been an integral part of this transformation in our lives.  You know what was the turning point?  When we wanted to plant an orchard.

We wanted to plant an orchard, but we also wanted to have chickens “someday.”  Oh, how many of us want to have chickens “someday,” right?  Well, we eventually decided that “someday” should be now, while our children were still little.  We wanted them to grow up with a healthy understanding of where their food comes from.  We wanted them to have a healthy understanding of the reality that something has to die in order for something else to live.

The Lion King nails it with the Circle of Life song, right?  But we wanted something more tangible, something more visceral for our children.  They deserved something more, and we hungered for something more.

We were living in a neighborhood with a ridiculous HOA that prohibited just about everything fun.  No chickens, no new garden beds without permission, no visible clotheslines (we fought that one successfully by the way).  And we made plans to escape.

“Are you going to have time for that?” my friend lovingly asked, when I shared our homesteading plans.  “We’re going to make time for that,” was my reply.

And so, we make time for farming.  We’re not farming and homesteading on some grand scale.  We are blessed to care for a very small flock of laying hens, a seasonal garden, fig trees, blueberry trees, a couple of grape vines, and some blackberry bushes.

So, we do it.  We make time for this, and we’re learning, and we believe deep down that this is what God is calling us to do.  (He might be calling all of us to do this, too, by the way.  More on that later…)

This morning, I’ve got a lovely little printable for you called “Merciful & Simple Meals.”  It’s a peek into how my family keeps food simple and down-to-earth.  We are currently eating gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-optional, nut-optional, and low glycemic-optional.  HA!  That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?!

The combination is pretty close to paleo, if you’ve heard of that.  But we feel great, and no one is getting sick or turning bright red after meals anymore – so that’s GREAT!

Take a peek if you’re looking for fresh ideas!

Download my free pdf Merciful & Simple Meals.  It’s also available on my Tips & Printables page. (*Note: This pdf has been updated to remove the typo – we do eat pig fat and love bacon.)

*Leave a reply if you have any questions & if this was helpful to you, please share this with a friend who may benefit from it as well!  (Because – cue the Disney music – “We’re all in this together!…”)