How to build a simple wardrobe and live a simpler life

Hi, my name is Phoebe and I have so many clothes in my wardrobe that I'm worried my wardrobe will burst and fall down and crush me. If your situation sounds similar, you might be interested in learning how to create a simple wardrobe to help lead a more minimalist lifestyle.

Cutting back on your wardrobe might sound like your worst nightmare, especially if you're into fashion; but sometimes less really is more. Take a moment to think about the clothes you wear every day: Do you find yourself wearing your favorite clothes all the time? I would be very impressed if you could tell me in person that you have worn every piece of clothing you own in the past few months.

But why would you really want to hold on to clothes that no longer fit or are completely outdated? For emotional reasons? What about those broken items that need TLC, or items you haven’t looked at in six months or more? Many of us are guilty of hoarding items even if we no longer wear or use them.

After becoming obsessed with the KonMari method of reducing clutter in my life, while following the adventures of minimalist vegetarian vlogger Jenny Mustard, I decided I wanted to live a lighter life. If this appeals to you, here's how you can create a simpler wardrobe for a more minimalist life:

1. Create a mood board

You've probably accumulated a large selection of clothing documenting your style changes over the years; some of which may seem completely irrelevant to you now. Browse some of your favorite magazines, blogs, vlogs, and even TV shows and movies to find inspiration from your favorite characters. Then piece together exactly the aesthetic of your favorite photography theme, lookbook, or your favorite screen character.

Once you've found inspiration, create a mood board or turn to Pinterest to capture clothing and accessories that catch your eye. After a while, you're bound to see a visual story come together to create a snapshot of your own unique style. Many minimalists seem to opt for monochromatic wardrobes, but if that's not your style, you can go minimalist your way. The key is less of what you like, not a lot of what you think is okay. Ultimately, minimalism may look different to everyone.

2. Clear

You certainly don't need to throw away everything you own and start over, unless you really want to and you have enough disposable income to do so. Decluttering and organizing guru Marie Kondo has written books to help guide you through the process of decluttering your life. If you want to go all out, take a few days off and blow up your entire home, saving only those things that "spark joy," as Kondo suggests.

3. Upgrade your storage

This doesn't necessarily mean spending a lot of money on new furniture, but rather creating a new space that will fit your new wardrobe. If you want minimalism to be an important part of your life and not just a wardrobe decision, you'll probably want your living space to be clutter-free and peaceful. So if you can use as little space as possible, or make smart use of small storage solutions, you'll be one step closer to a more minimalist existence.

4. Think about your future

Where do you plan to be in five years? Do you want to travel, buy a home and start a family, or move to a new city? Your future plans will help determine how much stuff you want to take with you on your trip. If you were living out of a suitcase, the number of clothes you might want would obviously be significantly different than a house with your own walk-in closet. However, just because you may have more space doesn’t mean you need to fill it with unnecessary items that you may have bought on impulse or will only wear once.

5. Draw a map

Your wardrobe doesn't come together by accident. Make a list of all the basic items that fit your lifestyle, which might include: a pair of comfortable jeans, sandals, a swimsuit, a skirt or two, different styles of T-shirts, etc. Keep thinking about what you want your life to be like, and then choose clothes that fit your life.

6. Carefully select your favorite works

When an item makes you think twice while shopping online, leaves you staring at a store window, or comes back to you in your mind days after you leave the store, that's when you know it's something you like. Don’t confuse this with feeling like you have nothing to wear for a night out or special occasion and wanting to buy something new. The excitement of the purchase can quickly wear off and you're left with a piece of clothing that has served its purpose and is taking up valuable closet space.

7. If an item doesn’t suit you or your style, don’t buy it

A word of warning when buying things you like: make sure they fit your body and the theme of your wardrobe. First of all, no matter how much you love it, you may never wear something that is too big or too small. Secondly, as much as you may love an item of clothing on the hanger, it will most likely stay on the hanger until you eventually throw it away or give it to someone if it doesn't match the rest of your wardrobe ). Don’t bother wasting money on clothes that don’t fit or things you know deep down you will never wear.

8. Plan for the seasons

Depending on where in the world you live and how the seasons change, you may need a fairly diverse wardrobe. In addition to summer dresses, tank tops and shorts, you may also need a thick sweater, winter coat or wellies. Don’t just buy for the current season: think about what you’ll need for the rest of the year. Putting seasonal items into storage means you have more room in your closet to let your current clothes breathe. Just don't be tempted to buy a completely different wardrobe for each season, as you'll end up with more clothes than you started with.

9. Be careful of getting sucked into the hype

It's easy to do, TBH. When you get caught up in the hype of a new product, trend, or brand, it's easy to jump on the bandwagon. This is especially difficult when a designer teams up with your favorite chain and creates a collection of super affordable pieces. When you see all your friends, social media stars, or colleagues jumping on the latest fad, you might feel like you’re missing out, but in reality, you might be failing in the long run.

While these items may be fashionable, they may be out of style next season. Then you're left with something that you may not want to wear because you know it's no longer in style or your love for it was only fleeting. The best thing to do is stay true to your personal aesthetic, keep your mood board in mind, and don't obsess over buying things you'll only wear in the short term.

10. Stop yourself from buying multiple versions of the same product

When it comes to having multiple versions of the same item, this should be limited to basic T-shirts in different colors and enough underwear to last a week or so. However, many consumers’ brainwashed minds may beg you to buy another pair of jeans, or another pair of killer heels. ignore it! You really don't need more of the same.

11. Think quality not quantity

A few years ago, a friend told me that she stopped buying cheap, low-quality clothes and started saving up to buy fancier clothes. She explained that it took her longer to save up for the clothes, and her wardrobe ended up being smaller, but her clothes lasted longer than their lower-quality counterparts. She also told me how she ended up making thoughtful choices instead of buying something on a whim that would fall apart after a few wears.

Sure, I caught her rocking the same thing more than once, but it didn't matter. Her high quality threads always look exactly right.

So there you have it: a step-by-step guide to building a simpler wardrobe filled with only the items you love. Happy compression, fellow minimalists.

Images: Giulia Bertelli (1), Annie Spratt (1), Igor Ovsyannykov (1), Francis Duval (1)/Unsplash; oripdx (1), lrainero (1), Pexels (1), Unsplash (2), photomagaflor ( 1), josealbafotos (1), kaboompics (1)/Pixabay