How to Maintain Your Capsule Wardrobe

How to Maintain Your Capsule Wardrobe Through the Years

You knew that you needed to simplify your wardrobe, so you read up on how to have a smaller wardrobe which goes a long way. You clarified your style and needs, decluttered your closet, and put together a carefully crafted capsule wardrobe. And now you’re like, “I’ve created a capsule wardrobe, now what?” So, let’s talk about how to maintain your capsule wardrobe through the coming years.

When it comes to how to maintain your capsule wardrobe, there are two main ways that you can maintain it: (1) you can work to maintain the size of your wardrobe, and (2) you can maintain how your capsule wardrobe looks and operates over time.

1. Maintain the Size of Your Capsule Wardrobe

First, let’s find out how to maintain your wardrobe by maintaining the size of wardrobe you want. When it comes to maintaining the amount of clothing you own, there are a few different things that you can do:

Shift Your Mindset

In order to maintain your capsule wardrobe’s size, you have to change your patterns of thinking. You need to work on shifting your mindset from “I need more” to “I have enough”. This is easier said than done, though, since our thinking patterns are often a long-time habit.

Figure out what triggers you to feel like you need more. Try to avoid or minimize these triggers as much as possible! Unsubscribe from that magazine, stop watching that TV program, learn to stop comparing what you have to others, and put an end to mindless shopping.

Change Your Shopping Habits

And speaking of shopping, it’s time to change your shopping habits. You can’t successfully maintain your capsule wardrobe if you haven’t dealt with your long-time tendency to over-buy. Changing your shopping habits looks different for everyone, but you need to find what helps you shop less, shop more intentionally, or both.

Shop Less Often

If you need to start shopping less often, think about why and when you shop. Do you shop when you are bored? Take up a new hobby to replace shopping. Is there a friend that you always shop with? You could try another activity that you both like. Invite her over for coffee, watch Netflix together, go to a movie…whatever will help you stay away from buying things you don’t actually need.

Shop More Intentionally

If you need to start shopping more intentionally, there are a number of things you can do. First, you should always go to the store with a list (even when you are shopping for clothing!). This will help stop you from overbuying.

I recommend keeping a list of clothing pieces you need for your capsule all of the time so that you’re prepared when you find something you like. I keep a list on my phone so that when I do go shopping, I know exactly what I need for myself or my kid’s capsule.

Second, let’s go a step further and say that you should be intentional about what goes on your shopping list. When you want to write an item on your list, make sure that you actually need it. Is there something you already have that could serve the same purpose? Do you really need that type of clothing in another color?

Or is it worth holding off as long as possible because there’s a higher-quality version that would be worth saving up for? Sometimes we buy more clothing than we need because we’re buying poor quality. When we hold out for higher-quality pieces, our capsule wardrobes last longer and look better.

Establish Some Ground Rules

So I’m generally not a big fan of rules, but when it comes to changing your habits, they can be a huge help. Here are some rules to help you maintain your capsule wardrobe in size:

The “One-In, One-Out” Rule

The One-In, One-Out rule simply means that if you buy something new, something you already had needed to go. This works great when you are trying to maintain the amount of clothing in your wardrobe. It works best for similar garments. For instance, if I buy a new pair of boots, an old pair of boots would go.

This rule helps maintain the number of clothes you have, as well as the overall functionality of your wardrobe. You don’t want to replace your high heels with a pair of tennis shoes, and suddenly you don’t have anything to wear with your dress.

Replace Clothing Only When Needed

Again, you need to maintain your capsule wardrobe by changing your habits. So another rule that you could establish for yourself is to only replace clothing when you need to. You would replace clothing once it is looking worn or gets a stain on it you can’t remove. Try to go for higher-quality pieces as you replace your clothing, especially if they wore out faster than you were hoping.

And, you would replace clothing when it becomes completely outdated. (I’m not talking about quick trends here, since your capsule wardrobe should be filled with mostly classic, timeless pieces. It should take multiple years for most pieces in your capsule to look outdated.)

2. Maintain the Effectiveness of Your Capsule Wardrobe

Second, let’s talk about how to maintain your wardrobe by maintaining its effectiveness. When it comes to maintaining the effectiveness of each piece of clothing in your capsule, there are a couple of steps to take:

Evaluate Periodically

I recommend evaluating your capsule wardrobe at least every season. Doing a mid-season checkup is also helpful, especially if you are new to having a capsule.

When you are evaluating your clothing, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is working with my capsule wardrobe?
  • What isn’t working?
  • Which pieces of clothing are getting the most use?
  • Which pieces are getting the least amount of use?
  • What can I do to make my wardrobe more versatile?
  • How can I make my wardrobe fit my lifestyle better?
  • Which pieces of clothing are starting to look worn and could use a replacement?
  • What no longer fits me well?

Evaluating your capsule wardrobe often will help you replace items slowly over time. That way, you won’t wake up one day and realize you need an entire new wardrobe! Who can afford that?

Replace Ineffective Clothing

To maintain your capsule wardrobe, you also have to replace ineffective clothing.

Once you’ve evaluated the effectiveness of your clothing, you are ready to make some decisions. Based on how you answered the questions above, what needs to be replaced? You might have pieces in your capsule that didn’t work out the way that you thought they would. It happens to the best of us.

For instance, I have a black blazer that isn’t as versatile as I would like because it has 3/4 sleeves. I don’t feel like I can wear it with most of my long-sleeved tops, so I decided that a long-sleeved black blazer needed to go on my shopping list.  I’m keeping the blazer with shorter sleeves for now, because it’s still in good condition. But, as soon as I have the money for a high-quality blazer, it will need to go.

Or maybe you have too much of one type of clothing and not enough of another. If it’s not as versatile as you were hoping, you may have to replace some items to make it mix-and-match and fit your lifestyle better.

To maintain your capsule wardrobe over time, it’s important that you find the right balance for your life.

Again, you want to replace any clothing that doesn’t look good anymore, anything that doesn’t fit you well, and anything that has gone out of style.

How to Maintain Your Wardrobe

Now that you know how to maintain your wardrobe, it’s time to make a change. In order to maintain your capsule wardrobe through the years, you have to establish some new habits.

By shifting your mindset, and establishing some ground rules, you can be successful in maintaining the size of your capsule. And, by evaluating your wardrobe periodically and replacing ineffective clothing as needed, you can easily maintain the look and functionality of your capsule wardrobe for years to come.SaveSave

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  1. I have been working on a capsule wardrobe all year! I am always so impulsed when there are sales. I have never heard of the one in, one out rule. I will start implementing that! There are so many items that I don’t intend to wear.

    1. It’s a process to narrow your wardrobe down to a capsule, isn’t it? I’m glad that you found the post helpful. I hope that the one in, one out rule helps you maintain your capsule!

  2. I’m still trying to slim down my wardrobe, I’ve made progress, but there is still a way to go! I do try to stick to the one in, one out rule though. Really helpful post!

    1. Hi, Lucy! It can take a little while to declutter your wardrobe, especially when you want to be intentional about it. I hope you are able to create a wardrobe that works well for your lifestyle and makes your life so much easier! Let me know if you need any help. 😊

  3. I really think I lack the discipline needed to do this but I love the advice here. Thanks!! Maybe one day I’ll have the courage to try a capsule wardrobe.

    1. Thanks, Monice! One thing you could do to give it a try is try something like the 10 x 10 challenge. For that challenge, you get creative creating outfits with only 10 pieces for 10 days!

  4. Thanks for sharing…… this is very informative! Been working on my capsule wardrobe over the past year. I do apply the rule of one in one out! That has helped a lot. I have weeded out many clothes over this past year…… The Goodwill Store drop off, knows me by name! Still working on my style but getting closer to it each day! 😊

    1. Thanks for checking it out, Cheryl! I use that rule as well…it makes maintenance that much more simple. I love that you are taking your time and being super intentional about creating a capsule that fits your style and lifestyle!

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