By Jacqueline Kelly–

In case you haven’t heard, the capsule wardrobe was initially a wardrobe made up of thirty or fewer coordinating items with limited updates- think two to three purchases throughout the year.

While capsule wardrobes are still alive, it’s not the only way to go about building a tailored, versatile wardrobe. Maybe you want to trim back, but the idea of having a set number of clothing items feels too constraining. Being conscious of your style and shopping habits in general yields the same benefits as a capsule wardrobe. And with spring break a few days away, now is the time to do some spring cleaning. 

Here are some reasons why you should consider spring cleaning with a capsule wardrobe:

It saves you money.

The process of paring down and shopping smarter includes eliminating random shopping binges and making careful decisions about what you buy. You’ll naturally save money.

There’s less clutter.

Obviously, a capsule wardrobe eliminates closet clutter as it sets boundaries on how many pieces you can own. Even if you forgo setting a limit and opt for a modified version of the capsule wardrobe, chances are you’ll still end up owning fewer items than before because you’ll be more selective about purchases. That means closet space is occupied by pieces you’re actually going to wear.

You’ll never say, “I have nothing to wear.”

If you often stand in front of a closet full of clothes wondering why you have nothing to wear, it may be time to reassess your wardrobe. Trimming your wardrobe forces you to be aware of your likes, dislikes and lifestyle so that you form a style concept specific to your taste and needs.

You won’t be as consumeristic. 

In a consumer driven society, it’s easy to think more is better. Decluttering your wardrobe and making smart shopping choices is a nice place to start for anyone who wants to detach themselves from “things.”

Convinced on the capsule wardrobe yet? Here are five steps to help you begin the process of cleaning out your closet:

1 Assess and clean out your closet. 

Clearing your closet of unnecessary items highlights what areas of your wardrobe are well stocked. It also let’s you see what your rarely worn pieces have in common so that in the future, you’ll have an idea of what to steer clear of.

This step provides a clear overview of how your current wardrobe compares to the one you will eventually curate.

Some questions to ask yourself about each piece: How often do you wear it, when was the last time you wore it, do you feel comfortable in it and does it even fit. Donate items in the “go” pile or sell them.

2 Gather inspiration.

This can be done however you see fit as long as you’re collecting images you gravitate towards. Pinterest is a popular way to collect pictures, but magazine clippings and physical mood boards are great methods, too.

You should begin to notice some themes such as color combinations, fabrics, silhouettes and general styling techniques. Take note of these themes because they say something about your style and will point you in the right direction whenever you go shopping.

3 Analyze your lifestyle.

This is the most boring of all the steps, but it’s not to be ignored. A wardrobe made up mostly of party attire when you’ve only been to a handful of parties during your college career is impractical.

Think about what you spend your time doing and assess your newly decluttered wardrobe. This is also nice for those who choose to go for a capsule wardrobe, as it’s a good time gauge how many pieces you want to have.

4 Go on a shopping hiatus.

As tempting as it may be to run out and restock your wardrobe right away, it could derail you from your ultimate goal of creating a capsule wardrobe or just paring down and shopping smarter. Take a few weeks to learn how to work with what’s in your closet while letting steps two and three sink in.

If you find your wardrobe works well, you don’t need to buy any new clothes. But if there are a few gaps you want to fill, and for future shopping reference in general, the next step will be helpful.

5 Go shopping.

Cool, calm and collected is the motto here. Whether shopping at thrift stores, local shops or the mall, it’s important to keep in mind what you’ve picked up on in the last few weeks. You don’t need to succumb to every impulse to buy something. A few things to consider:

-Pieces should be versatile. The more you can mix and match with clothing you already own, the better. It means you’re filling gaps in your wardrobe without buying tons of different pieces and spending unnecessary amounts of money. Versatility also suggests that you’ll wear the piece as opposed to letting it sit in the back of your wardrobe.

-Remember the clothes you gave away? Think about what they had in common so you don’t buy the same types of pieces.

-Only buy items you love 100 percent. On the fence purchases or settling because you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for defeats the purpose of a capsule wardrobe or paring down.

-Try clothes on. Even if you think something will be the right size, it still may not fit your taste once you’re wearing it, or you may not feel comfortable in it.