How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe + FREE Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

Decluttering your closet and creating a capsule wardrobe can be one of the easiest ways to save time and money. In today’s post I’m sharing how to do so plus an easy-to-follow capsule wardrobe checklist to make it even easier.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe that consists of essential clothing staples that are easily interchangeable and never go out of style.

It is a minimalist approach to staying stylish yet practical while focusing on saving money by not spending on things you don’t need. 

Building a capsule wardrobe is really very simple. The harder part is figuring out and getting rid of the things you don’t use and/or need.

Before you can begin building your capsule wardrobe you need to first get rid of everything you don’t need/wear.


How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe + FREE Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

Build A Capsule Wardrobe – Part 1

Step 1 – Completely empty your closet – I know, sounds horrible. But most of us have items stuffed away that we don’t even know exist. Taking everything out of your closet and starting fresh is not only the easiest way to do it but also the most practical. Once you’ve got everything out of your closet it’s much easier to visualize what should go where when you’re ready to put stuff back. It’s also easier to let go of things that are no longer hanging up. 


Step 2 – Sort everything into piles – It’s as simple as it sounds. Put all your tops in one pile, pants in another and so forth. Visually seeing ALL the pants you have (just an example) might be enough of a hint that you have entirely more than you need.


Step 3 – Create Donate/Sell/Throw Away Piles – Stay with me here! Now that you’ve got all your pieces separated into piles you need to figure out what you’re going to do with the items in each one. When you’re creating a capsule wardrobe you don’t need to get rid of EVERYTHING. You just want to simplify. Do you have 5 pairs of the same style jeans? If so, lay them all out next to each other. Chances are you probably wear the same 1 or 2 over and over and the others just sit there. Does one have stains you couldn’t remove and that’s why you never wear them? Does one have a large hole? If you answered yes then you probably want to remove them from your wardrobe. From here you need to make the decision if you want to sell them, donate them or throw them away. 


I personally love selling new/gently used items on Poshmark. I just signed up in January and I’ve already sold $580 worth of stuff! 

Sign up with code FITMOMMYINHEELS and get $5 off your first order.


Step 4 – Try on the clothes you plan to keep – Now that you’ve figured out what items you want to keep you need to try them on to see if it evens makes sense to keep them. You might not want to get rid of those super cute leggings you bought on sale but if they don’t fit, will you really wear them? Probably not. Anything that doesn’t fit also needs to go in in the donation, sell or throw away pile. It’s inevitable that there will be some things you just can’t let go of but that’s ok, we’ll get to those!


Step 5 – Organize the items you’re keeping – Now that your donate, sell and throw away piles are gone you need to start organizing what you ARE keeping. I found these in-drawer organizers a few years ago and have been using them ever since. They’re perfect for socks, underwear, stockings, scrunchies, belts, etc. Keeping items organized is the best and easiest way to ensure you don’t spend money on something you already have. When each of your belongings has a home it’s much easier to keep track of what you do and don’t need. Keep sneakers together, t-shirts together, sweaters together, etc. 

Step 6 – I wish I could remember who told me this tip years ago because it is such a smart idea! When you’re ready to start hanging your clothes in your closet, put your hangers on the rod BACKWARDS. After you wear the item, turn the hanger around. After 6 months, any hangers that are still backwards are holding items that you DON’T WEAR. Go back and reevaluate those items. If you haven’t worn something in 6 months chances are it’s an item you can donate or sell! GENIUS!

Build a Capsule Wardrobe – Part 2

So now that you’ve gotten down to the closet items you love and need you can start working on making it a true capsule wardrobe. Obviously, if you follow me on Instagram you’re probably saying to yourself “I know there is no way she follows a capsule wardrobe”. And guess what? YOU’RE RIGHT! I’m a fashionista through and through so a capsule wardrobe isn’t something I feel the need to have. But, that’s ME! Not everyone has the same needs and desires so a capsule wardrobe can vary from one person to the next. But, I DO think we can all learn something from the concept of a capsule wardrobe – and that is to make it easier for you to figure out what to wear on a daily basis and NOT constantly feel like you have nothing to wear (and need to go shopping). 

With that being said, I personally believe a capsule wardrobe varies from one person to the next. If you research capsule wardrobes you’ll probably find some that tell you to keep your closet to a minimum of 25 items. While this might work for some I know for certain it won’t work for all. For example, if you work out every day but also work a 9-5 and wear office attire every day, chances are you’ll need more than 25 staple items. 

I don’t think there’s any right or wrong number when building a capsule wardrobe. It needs to work for YOU.


What items should you include in your capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is meant to consist of interchangeable and timeless staple items. Here are a few great examples of items a capsule wardrobe would consist of:

black pencil skirt

skinny jeans

nude pumps

athletic sneakers

tote bag

You want to choose pieces that you can mix and match that don’t tend to go out of style. Whether you work in an office or you’re a stay at home mom, a capsule wardrobe can help make your everyday outfit decisions much easier. While I’m a stay at home mom and wouldn’t wear a pencil skirt regularly, it’s still a great item to have in case I have to go to a bridal shower, family event, etc. It’s a piece that’s functional yet appropriate for a variety of occasions but can also be styled a ton of different ways to fit the setting.

Here’s an example of a capsule wardrobe filled with neutral staple pieces that can easily be interchanged to create several different outfits.

capsule wardrobe checklist


To make it even easier I’ve created this Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe Checklist!


capsule wardrobe checklist

Having a capsule wardrobe checklist handy can help make the process of simplifying your closet much easier. Once you’ve gotten through the first 5 steps of building a capsule wardrobe you’ll want to use this capsule wardrobe checklist before completing step 6. It is much easier to say goodbye to unwanted and/or not needed items BEFORE they get put back into your closet. 

Simply print this Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe Checklist and mark off each line as you begin to put your items away. Once you’ve restored your closet with this checklist, go through the leftover items. You might be surprised at how many items you realize you don’t want or need. 

Do you follow a capsule wardrobe or do you prefer to shop at your leisure? 

Share this Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe Checklist to Pinterest via the image above!

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Lauren is a wife and mom of 3 with a passion for fitness and fashion. Follow along while she shares affordable fashion finds, fitness tips and helps you learn how to make money with YOUR blog!

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