Archive for April 2013

Preview of my closet

Today, I'm giving you a snapshot of my closet. Since my post on the 10-item wardrobe, I have had many inquiries regarding my personal wardrobe and how it is organized.

In the summer of 2012, we started the process of building a home that culminated in a move that took place three days before Christmas (crazy, I know!). One of the many perks of new construction is our master walk-in closet. It's by the far the largest closet I have ever had. Each night, I take advantage of it's size to lay my clothing out on the floor to make dressing each morning quick and easy.

I'm one of those people who likes lots of open, white space. I don't like things crammed, smooshed, cluttered or wedged in between each other. I purposely took the small hanging shelf in our closet and gave my husband the bigger double shelves. Having a small space forces me to maintain a capsule wardrobe and to think carefully before adding a new piece to it. Plus, I love boundaries and knowing that I'm restricted just to that space, even if it is self-imposed. :)

Here's the breakdown of my capsule wardrobe:
1 pant
2 jeans
3 blazers
5 blouses
2 sweaters
2 shorts
1 bathing suit
4 dresses

I mix and match everything in my closet. My accessories are stored in the clear box above my hanging clothes. A couple of sun hats are in the hat box and my beach bag to the right holds gifts when not used for it's intended purpose.

So have you adopted the capsule wardrobe yet? I would love to know!

Culling your closet

Here are my 10 steps to a minimal and clean closet. I'm a systems person and I believe even the process needs to be organized when organizing something (wait, did that make sense?). What I'm trying to convey is that when starting a big project such as cleaning out your closet, it makes sense to have order in how you go about it. That way, if you get interrupted or the doorbell rings then you aren't left with a catastrophic mess on your hands. This list will keep you focused and on task. This really works, so don't be put off by the number of steps. Just dig in and see how far you can go. 



Step 1:  Remove. 
Remove all empty hangers. Place extra hangers in bag or box stored in your closet for when you need extras. 
Ideally, replace with new hangers that are uniform in color and size with non-slip coating; these can be ordered online or can be found in your local fabric store. 


Step 2:  Two bags: consign and donate. 
You are a grown woman. You do not need clothing with stains and holes. Put them in in the donate bag. If you haven't patched the hole by now, you never will. Move on. 


Step 3:  Sort.
Take all the clothing out of your closet and lay it in stacks of tops, bottoms, jackets and so on. 


Step 4:  Discard. 
Pull from clothing stacks the items that don't fit, aren't flattering, or aren't in your color palette (see "Know your colors" post) and place in your consign or donate bags. 


Step 5: Construct outfits. 
Put together outfits from your categories of clothing that fits, is hole-free, and in your color palette. Record the outfits in a place that is accessible for you. I like paper so mine are recorded in my notebook. You may prefer to have it listed in your phone or posted in your closet. 


Step 6: Start your wardrobe plan
Make a list of the missing pieces for your capsule wardrobe. Consider listing items that you will need not only for this season, but for the rest of the year. Pinterest and magazines serve as great resources for outfit ideas. 

Consider your "seasonal things" and whether they can do double or triple duty in your closet by layering or adding a jacket to create multiple looks throughout the seasons. The goal is minimal clothing stored and to shop according to your colors not the weather. If you have to have clothing stored, it should be maternity, bathing suits, and heavy sweaters.


Step 7:  Return. 
Hang the clothing back in your closet first according to category: bottoms, shorts, tops, jackets, coats, and dresses. Next put them in order of color within their category. 


Step 8:   Post a copy of wardrobe plan in your closet and put a copy in your purse. 


Step 9:  Load.
Place consign and donate bags in your car for delivery the next day. 


Step 10:  Go shopping.
Take your wardrobe plan and list of needed items with you along with your color palette choices. 


Notes: 

- Use clear boxes for accessories and shoes. I prefer for my shoes to be hanging in a shoe organizer. 

- Keep the floor space empty because it is the first place to get cluttered. Shoes are stored neatly on shelves or in an organizer and clothing is hung back up when it is removed.


Next week, you will see how I have organized my closet and learn about my own capsule wardrobe. Happy organizing!

10-item Wardrobe

No one has taught me more about the 10 item wardrobe than Jennifer Scott at The Daily Connoisseur. The lessons I have learned from her have forever changed the way I view clothing and dressing. Please check out her new fabulous book, "Lessons from Madame Chic".  It's chock full of wonderful tips for embracing life's simple pleasures and taking a cue from the French in dressing and many other manners of life.

In my quest for a minimalist life, I have learned that it looks different for each person as does the 10-item wardrobe. It is not a specific number of items but rather a loose concept to guide and inspire you.

The capsule wardrobe concept is based around having a few key pieces with versatility to mix and match in your closet to create multiple looks. Since we wear 20% of our clothing, 80% of the time, it makes sense to choose only the items that you love and wear often. When we maintain this type of minimal wardrobe it frees up space in our closets and our minds because we don't have to agonize over what to wear daily.

I like to purchase the highest quality of clothing that my budget allows. Many times, great pieces can be found in consignment and thrift stores or trading websites. It requires knowing exactly what you are looking for and taking your wardrobe plan with you when you shop - that way you aren't wasting time aimlessly browsing from store to store.

When I traveled to Israel over 5 years ago to volunteer at the Christian Embassy, I remember my fellow workers being in awe over the amount of clothing I owned. Just about every day I had on a different outfit whereas they rotated the same clothing each week. I wish I knew then what I know now, how freeing it is to live with a capsule wardrobe. To know each and every piece of clothing I own and to not be defined by it or how much it costs. Living amongst the truly simple taught me that not only do Americans have an abundance of stuff and choices, but that it is squashing our identities and creativity. Be free and let go of those overstuffed closets. You will be glad you did!


Next week, I will give my 10 step process for culling your closet, so stay tuned. Should you decide you want me to personally walk you through the process, I'm available for that as well. Email me: lgthomas@mac.com to schedule an appointment for the Birmingham, Alabama area.

10 reasons why I use the 10-item wardrobe


  1. It saves me time in the mornings. It literally takes me 20 seconds to dress. I timed it.  :)
  2. It takes the focus off material things and causes me to evaluate every potential purchase. 
  3. I don't shop all the time, but do it strategically using my wardrobe plan.
  4. It's better for the environment because I'm consuming less material goods and taking better care of the ones I do have. 
  5. It saves money because I'm strategic with my spending. 
  6. It offers more flexibility because I make pieces do double or triple-duty by wearing them 2 or 3 seasons out of the year. 
  7. It's a fun challenge to see how many outfits I can create from my wardrobe. 
  8. It teaches me gratitude and to appreciate the clothing I have.
  9. It's been a good influence on my family and even my husband has implemented it. 
  10. It has freed me from many perfectionist tendencies and focusing too much on my appearance.

Next week, I will discuss the 10-item wardrobe concept more in depth and how you can incorporate it into your closet.

Don't forget that I am available for consultation in the Birmingham, Alabama area. Click here for information on my services and click here to contact me. 

Follow by Email