How to build a minimalist wardrobe you love


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In this blog post, you will learn exactly how to build a minimalist wardrobe you love. 

Let’s be honest, most people in the Western world have way too many clothes in their wardrobes.

It is estimated that the average American woman owns approximately 103 pieces in her closet, but most of us only wear 20% of them. 

In today’s society, we’ve normalized going shopping and buying clothes every week, when in reality we already have everything we need at home. 

Whether your closet is overflowing, you’re struggling to find what to wear in the morning, or you’re trying to find your authentic style, you’re in the right place. 

You don’t need more clothes.

You need a minimalist wardrobe! 

This article is a step–by–step guide on how to build a minimalist wardrobe.

You’ll learn what it exactly is and will be able to create a wardrobe you love without having an overwhelming excess of clothes. 

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What is a minimalist wardrobe?

What exactly is a minimalist wardrobe? 

A minimalist wardrobe is a limited number of clothes, shoes, and accessories, all of which are only pieces we wear, love, and need. 

For practical reasons, most pieces feature neutral colors so they can be mixed and matched easily and they go well together.

As a result, we can create multiple outfits with just a few clothes

If we want, we can also include a few accent colors that reflect our personality and style. 

What’s more, a minimalist wardrobe contains clothes that are usually of high quality and have timeless styles that can be worn for many years as opposed to trendy pieces.

It also features multi-purpose clothes, for instance, some that can be dressed up or down effortlessly. 

Read on to learn how to build a minimalist wardrobe you love!

How many items are there in a minimalist wardrobe? 

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

We all have different needs and wants, so it all depends on what works best for you and your lifestyle. 

A minimalist wardrobe can comprise ten items if you lean towards extreme minimalism and don’t need a lot of pieces.

But if you’re not that extreme and prefer to keep a more realistic number of clothes, you can still have a minimalist wardrobe with 30 to 50 items. 

Some minimalists even have more than that because they choose to create different capsule wardrobes, which they swap and rotate at the beginning of each season.

The pros and cons of having a minimalist wardrobe

The benefits of having a minimalist wardrobe

Having fewer clothes means that you have a clutter-free home and closet and thus, you experience much less decision fatigue in the morning.

You don’t stress about what to wear because everything is so easy to find and can be mixed and matched.

Therefore, you have more peace of mind and feel calm when opening your closet. 

Since you only keep clothes you wear and love, you feel good and beautiful in all your pieces, which can improve your confidence. 

Having a minimalist wardrobe and not shopping for clothes all the time also means that you save huge amounts of time.

Plus, not shopping a lot and investing in quality clothes is very sustainable and helps the environment

You even save a lot of money, not to mention you can make some by initially selling your excess clothes! 

The disadvantages of having a minimalist wardrobe

On the other hand, having a minimalist wardrobe can be challenging on some (rare) occasions.

For instance, you might not have a specific piece of clothing for a specific event.

As a result, you might need to borrow, rent, or buy an item just for that.

What’s more, since you have fewer clothes, you wear each piece more regularly.

Thus, your clothes wear out faster, which can be annoying. 

Some of us can also get bored with wearing the same pieces all the time.

While it’s not impossible to have variety in a minimalist wardrobe, it’s more difficult to achieve. 

Building a minimalist wardrobe has some disadvantages, but it has so many benefits!

How to build a minimalist wardrobe you love? Easy step-by-step guide

1. Acknowledge that you own too many clothes 

The first step to building a minimalist wardrobe is to realize and admit to ourselves that we have too many clothes.

We need to acknowledge that something needs to change, that we need to let the excess go. 

Doing so will train your brain to be in an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset.

You’ll understand that you can safely get rid of some of your clothes because you already have way more than necessary. 

To do that, gather all your clothes in one place, whether that’s on your bed or a blanket on the floor.

Put everything in one big pile.

If you have time, consider even counting your items.

When I did that the first time before becoming a minimalist, seeing how big the final pile was and counting the items was a shock to me.

I couldn’t believe I owned so many clothes!

This motivated me to start letting go. 

Read more:

2. Organize everything by category

Sort the big pile and organize everything into clear categories: shirts, jeans, activewear, pajamas, sweaters, and so on.

Once you’re done, you’ll be able to see how much you have in each category of clothes.

You will see which categories require the most decluttering effort. 

3. Set a goal and rules for yourself

Before you even start, set a specific decluttering goal for yourself.

How many clothes do you want to own?

How much do you want to have in each category? 

Instead of a number, your goal can also be a specific space you want everything to fit in.

For instance, you can allow yourself to only keep the number of t-shirts that fit into one drawer. 

Another great thing to do at this stage is to set decluttering rules for yourself.

Are there any clothes you know you don’t want to wear anymore?

For example, if you know you hate wearing bold colors, set a rule to declutter all your bright-colored clothes.

If you know you never wear dresses or skirts, you can decide that you will no longer hold onto them and that they can all go. 

Setting a goal and some rules for yourself will help you be realistic and ruthless.

It will help you declutter faster and more efficiently. 

Before you start building a minimalist wardrobe, make sure to set a goal for yourself.

4. Pull out your favorites from each category 

One of my favorite quotes about minimalism and decluttering is: 

“Decluttering is infinitely easier when you think of it as deciding what to keep, rather than deciding what to throw away.” – Francine Jay, author of The Joy of Less

I couldn’t agree more! 

That’s why you should start building your minimalist wardrobe by first pulling out and choosing your favorite clothes.

Don’t think about what to get rid of yet. 

Your favorite clothes are the pieces you wear the most regularly and clothes you feel good and confident in.

They fit your current body, they’re your style, and you love them. 

Be realistic and honest with yourself.

Pulling out your favorite clothes will help you understand what your style is.

So take advantage of that and notice what you like.

What colors, fits, styles, fabrics?

5. Make versatile pieces the foundation of your wardrobe

Besides keeping your favorite clothes, make sure to include some versatile, staple pieces in your minimalist wardrobe.

You’ll be able to wear these with most other clothes and during most seasons. 

Some examples of versatile, multi-purpose clothes are basic, white or black T-shirts.

You can wear them on their own in the summer and as a layering piece in colder months.

These can be worn with anything from jeans to leggings to dressy pants to skirts. 

One of the most versatile pieces you might want to include as well is a classic little black dress that can be easily dressed up or down. 

Try to come up with outfit ideas to check that everything can be mixed and matched and that nothing will be unused. 

Also, count the total number of clothes: have you reached your goal of having X number of pieces?

If you want to build a minimalist wardrobe, I recommend that you try not to go above 50 pieces for all seasons. 

Build your minimalist wardrobe around some versatile, staple pieces.

6. Create a “maybe” pile

The maybe pile is for the clothes you haven’t pulled out yet and that you like and might want to keep.

But since they’re not your favorites or you don’t use them often, you’re not sure.

For those, you want to set them aside and hide them out of the closet for a month.

During that time frame, you’ll see whether you end up missing or needing them. 

Here are some clothes that I don’t recommend you put in your maybe pile and that you should declutter right now

  • High-maintenance clothes, such as clothes that require dry cleaning 
  • Clothes that can only be worn with one specific piece
  • Pieces that require you to buy something else to wear them
  • Things that are uncomfortable or that hurt
  • Clothes you feel terrible in
  • Clothes that are too small/big and that you know won’t fit you in the next six months

Read more:

7. Sort the remaining clothes

At this point, the remaining clothes should only be clothes you don’t love or use.

It means that you can let them go guilt-free! 

Sort the remaining clothes from each category into different piles: donate, sell (if you want to try selling them), and recycle

While sorting them, try to understand what you don’t like in them and why you don’t wear them.

Is it the color/style/fit/fabric?

Remember those reasons so you don’t end up repurchasing similar clothes in the future. 

8. Get rid of decluttered clothes ASAP

Make sure to put the clothes from the donation pile in the trunk of your car immediately and bring them to the thrift store this week.

Similarly, find a location near where you live that takes back old clothes for recycling.

There are more and more of these throughout the country! 

If you decide to sell some of your pieces, commit to listing them for sale this week.

We can often end up procrastinating on this tedious task, which is counterproductive if we want to build a minimalist wardrobe. 

Also, set a deadline for when you want all the items gone.

Try not to hold on to them for more than a month and put them somewhere out of sight in the meantime, like in your garage.  

After building a minimalist wardrobe, remember to donate, sell, and recycle your decluttered clothes ASAP.

9. Give your new minimalist wardrobe a try

Live with your minimized closet for a month without buying anything if possible.

During that time, notice if something is missing, and how it feels to only wear your favorite clothes.

What clothes make you feel the most confident?

What colors/fits/fabrics do you gravitate towards? 

If you realize you want something from your maybe pile, take it out and put it to the test.

Is it really what you need and are looking for?

If so, it can stay.

If not, declutter it. 

10. Readjust after a month

After a month, reassess your minimalist wardrobe and think about whether you’ve worn everything you’ve kept.

If not, think about the reasons why and declutter the pieces that didn’t make the cut. 

Any pieces you’ve not brought back in your wardrobe from your maybe pile should also go.

You’ve lived without them for weeks and you clearly didn’t end up needing or missing them.

For pieces in the maybe pile that are not in season yet, keep them until the right season comes, and put them to the test for a month then. 

Finally, write down on a wishlist what pieces were missing in your wardrobe.

Plan exactly what style, color, fit, and fabric you want. 

11. Be intentional when shopping

From now on, whether it’s to fill the initial gap in your minimalist wardrobe or at any point in the future, be intentional when shopping. 

Shop with a list and stick to it.

Only buy clothes that go well with the pieces you already own, that are your style, and that fit your body.

Keep in mind what colors and fabrics you like. 

Also, make sure to buy high-quality pieces.

Since you wear all your clothes more regularly, they will tend to wear out faster so investing in quality is essential. 

Read more: 

From now on, be intentional when shopping and stop impulse buying.

12. Follow the “one in, one out” rule

After you’ve filled the initial gap in your wardrobe and if you’re happy with the number of clothes you have, start following the “one in, one out” rule.

In short, you commit to decluttering something from a given category every time you buy an item from the same category. 

Thanks to this rule, you will maintain your minimalist wardrobe at a constant number and you won’t accumulate too many pieces anymore. 

13. Quit impulse buying for good

One of the best things to quit to simplify your life and build a minimalist wardrobe is impulse buying. 

If you’ve struggled with purchasing things without thinking too much in the past, decide to be more mindful in the future.

Set a rule for yourself to wait for at least a week before buying a new piece of clothing. 

Some other things that will help are avoiding the sales rack at the store, staying away from the mall, and unsubscribing from brands’ newsletters.

Be aware of your triggers and keep them away from you so you don’t feel tempted. 

If you need a new piece of clothing for a one-time event, do not head to the store to buy it immediately.

First, see if you can borrow it from a friend or a loved one, or even rent it.

Also, consider doing without.

You may already have something in your closet that you could wear for that event. 

Read more: How to stop impulse buying: 13 tips to shop intentionally

14. Take care of your clothes  

When you only have clothes you love and wear all the time, you are more likely to take better care of them.

However, since you wear them often, they might wear out faster. 

So learn how to prolong their life to reduce waste.

For instance, wash them in colder water and hang-dry them instead of using the dryer.

That way, you also won’t have to buy dryer sheets anymore!

Remove pills from your sweaters with a fabric shaver, and wash your delicates in a mesh laundry bag.

You can also repair your clothes with a simple sewing kit

If you want to learn more, make sure to read about my 27 tips to make clothes last longer

Read more: How to make your wardrobe more sustainable?

Take proper care of your clothes so that they last for many years!

15. Don’t be afraid to wear the same pieces over and over

When building a minimalist wardrobe, you have to become okay with wearing the same pieces over and over again.

You won’t have as much variety as before, so you need to become a proud outfit repeater. 

To avoid getting bored, have fun experimenting with different accessories and learn new ways of styling your clothes. 

And believe me, people won’t notice that you’re often wearing the same clothes.

And if they do, who cares?! 

16. Store off-season clothes away

If you don’t use all the clothes in your minimalist wardrobe all year round, that’s okay.

But I recommend that you store off-season clothes away so they don’t clutter up your closet when not in use. 

Remove your chunky sweaters and winter coats in the summer, and your swimsuits in the winter.

Store them somewhere else, outside of your closet. 

You’ll see that every time you take them out of storage, they’ll feel like new clothes, which will help keep them interesting to you.

Plus, your closet will feel even more spacious!  

17. Declutter after each season

Now that you’ve built a minimalist wardrobe, you need to constantly reassess what you own so that you don’t accumulate clutter anymore. 

Over time, our needs and bodies change, so some clothes might stop serving us.

We sometimes stop wearing certain pieces, meaning we should get rid of them

Go through your clothes at least once at the end of each season and declutter any clothes you didn’t wear in the last three months. 

Final thoughts on how to build a minimalist wardrobe you love

I hope this step-by-step guide on how to build a minimalist wardrobe was helpful and that you ended up with only the clothes you love and feel excited to wear

Having a limited number of clothes is truly life-changing and will positively impact your life in so many ways!  

If you liked this article, you might enjoy this one as well: How to shop your closet in 10 easy steps.

How many clothes have you decided to keep in the end?

How do you feel about that?

I’d love to know! 

Don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends to inspire and show them how to build a minimalist wardrobe they love.  

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