Somewhat recently I heard about this thing called a capsule wardrobe. From the back of my mind a small voice said "Hey I like that idea!" (this is the same voice that's always muttering about how I have too much stuff).
I have always been very cheap. In all ways, but especially when it comes to clothes. I rarely spend more that $10 on an item ($20 for shoes). This means I basically shop the Target clearance rack (I mean the 50% off and 70% off racks) and Goodwill. I don't mind shopping at these places, I have found some really good things at Goodwill. And I love the styles Target sells.
I don't shop very intentionally however. If you read my last post, you know my husband and I are just baby budgeters. Up to this point we have sort of just binge shopped. We'd know we need some new clothes, so we'd go to goodwill or target and see what we could find cheap, that sort of matched what we were looking for. If I wanted something specific, I would wait and try to get it on sale, or just get it as cheaply as I could.
As I am getting older and wanting to look more put together I'm not entirely satisfied with my wardrobe, or the way I shop. I want to be more intentional with my clothing selections, and I want to have less clothes I never wear. I also think I am beginning to be ready for higher quality items. I am cautious of spending a lot on something I might not like in a year, but I have made a couple of investments and love them. So I'm going to proceed with caution.
Last week I listened to episode 89 of the Lively Show (yet another new podcast I've stumbled upon). In it Jess interviews Bea Johnson, who has radically shifted her whole lifestyle as well as simplifying her possessions. I love the ideas shared in this episode, and highly recommend listening to it.
That little voice in that back of my head got a lot louder, it put simplifying and capsule wardrobes together and with all the excited post-podcast energy I made it to my closet. (There are a few other things I want to implement in my life after listening to Bea's story, but maybe those will go in a future post).
So I googled capsule wardrobes and found Caroline's lovely site Un-Fancy she is not currently writing there, but it is still a tremendous resource. I read her definitions and how-to's, and then -gulp- took everything out of my closet, and pulled out my dresser drawers.
Caroline suggest taking everything out (just do it) and sorting into LOVE, maybe and goodbye piles, as well as setting aside things that are out of season. So I started putting back into the closet what is in season for fall/winter that I knew I was keeping. I sorted out all of my summer and spring items, and began to fill the goodwill bin with the things that little voice told me I rarely use.
I started with 108 items in what will be my trackable capsule categories.
What is NOT included:
sleepware, active wear, snow jacket & boots, underware, socks, accessories, work uniform shirts, accessories (scarves, bags), fancy clothes (slacks)
What IS included:
tops, bottoms, coats, shoes, dresses (everyday clothing)
So I had 108 tops, bottoms, coats, shoes, and dresses that were more or less for everyday outfits.
Of those I put 19 in the Goodwill bin, 29 into a bag for spring/summer, and 8 in the basement with spring/summer because I'm not ready to let go but I know they are uncomfortable/not my style.
That leaves me with 52 items upstairs in my closet and drawers. this is a little high for my ideal capsule, but I still feel like this is a good start.
TIP: I put all my hanging clothes in with the hangers backwards, when I wear something I will put it back the normal easier way. Then at the end of the season, anything with a backwards hanger HAS to go. This way I have a system for weeding out those clothes I am being stubborn about.
Caroline used a 37 item limit for her capsules, and by that standard my total original number of items is a little short of 3 seasons worth. And my current total of 52 includes fall and winter items (and is 22 items short of 2 Caroline seasons).
Before deciding to experiment with the capsule idea, I was trying to buy clothes with multi season functionality in mind. So a few of my fall staples, I use in the spring and summer as well. but I wanted to keep them out not put them away.
All of that to say I'm not sure what kind of capsule system I will develop. Maybe I will just have two capsules, maybe I'll find the difference between fall and winter, and expand into 3 or 4 small capsules. I have room for new items either way, and some ideas for what I want to save up for.
This current capsule is not organized or intentioned, I am not shopping for it now, I am just going to track where I am and what I wear and build from this point later.
Here is where I am starting:
My First Fall/Winter Capsule
Forest Park is the biggest park in Portland, and if my quick google is correct, the 19th largest park within city limits in the U.S.
I had never explored it, so for my birthday gathering, we went on a hike.
I warned everyone that I had never been there before, never taken the hike we went on, and that I might get us lost. But the trails were marked well enough, and I picked a great guide. With help from my less directionally challenged friend and confidence, we made it without any wrong turns or backtracking.
It was a spectacular day. No rain, plenty of sun, and even spots where the sun reached us through the trees. Our hike was 6 miles, the longest I have done in a while, but it wasn't very challenging. We walked and talked, and by the end I was very ready to sit down and take my boots off. The only sketchy part of this hike was walking back to our cars on a shoulder-less road, but that wasn't too bad.
Even through all the trees I wanted to chop down, the St. John's bridge was beautiful. I picked this hike mainly because it claimed views of Portland's prettiest bridge..
As it was a clear day, we also got a great view of Mt. St. Helen's on our way back to the cars.
I really enjoyed our Forest Park adventure, it was a great way to spend time with friends, and forget about time for a few hours. The work week is so limiting, or at least often feels so limiting. There is so much pressure to get things done, and remember everything. Perhaps it is just me (it's really not is it?). I want to take more space for adventures, even if its just a walk through the neighborhood.
What do you want more space for?
Two Fridays ago a few friends and I finally made it out to a local clothing swap we've been meaning to get to for months. I had accumulated two reusable totes bursting with things I no longer wear, in the six months we've been "meaning to get there".
When I was in college my floor had a box in the corner of the hall where we put clothes and things we didn't want anymore. It was wonderful to have this ever changing constant free box. I tried new styles when ever I wanted to. After I graduated, I no longer had the free box, or a community of women to share clothes with. I miss the ability to easily and freely give and receive new clothes.
So a while ago I searched online to see if there were any swaps in my city. I found a blog listing several, and I began to save clothes excitedly instead of shipping them off to goodwill.
On that Friday when we we finally able to go, we were late. It was in a conference/community room in the back of a New Season's Market. We asked a checker where the room was, and cautiously found our way to the door. I opened it, and we plunged in. It wasn't as organized as I'd anticipated, just a pile of clothes in the middle of the room. We dumped ours in, and began to pick through what was left. I found a few things (pictured above), all in good condition. My friends weren't as successful, perhaps the good items in their sizes were gone before we got there. We stayed for about 15 minutes, and then went out and got some food in the cafe.
I'll still be looking for "my swap", however it was a great night out with friends. We had an adventure and sat and talked after for a nice long time. I enjoyed feeling community with the swap ladies, and with my friends afterward. Overall I'm really glad we went, and I'm enjoying my new items.
I encourage you to look for clothing swaps in your area, or ask ladies you know if they know of any. If you're in college or you know enough ladies, organize your own! If you live in the Portland area, this is the website I used to find this swap: https://swappositive.wordpress.com/
I'm Sara. I live in Portland, Oregon. I have chickens. I love coffee AND tea, I make stained glass pendants in my basement, and I love adventures and new ways to live. I have an Etsy store as well.
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