11 Ways To Build A Simple Wardrobe & Lead A More Minimal Lifestyle

Hi, my name's Phoebe and I have so many clothes in my closet that I'm afraid my bursting wardrobe will fall and crush me. If your situation sounds similar, you might be interested in learning how to build a simple wardrobe in the aid of leading a more minimalist lifestyle.

Paring down your closet might sound like your worst nightmare, especially if you're super into fashion; but sometimes less really is more. Take a second to think about the clothes you wear on a daily basis: Do you find yourself rocking your favorites all the time? I'd be pretty impressed if you could tell me, hand on heart, that throughout the past couple months, you've worn every single item of clothing you own.

But why are you actually hanging onto pieces that no longer fit or are totally outdated? For sentimental reasons? What about those broken items that need some TLC, or that you haven't looked at for six months or more? Many of us are guilty of hoarding things, even if we no longer wear or use them.

After becoming enamored with the KonMari Method for less cluttered living, while following the escapades of minimalist vegan vlogger Jenny Mustard, I've decided that I want to lead a lighter life. If this appeals to you, here's how you can build a simpler wardrobe for a more minimalistic existence:

1. Create A Mood Board

You might have amassed a huge selection of clothes that document your changing style over the years; some of which may seem totally irrelevant to you now. Look through some of your favorite magazines, blogs, vlogs, or even TV shows and films for inspiration from your favorite characters. Then piece together exactly what it is you like about the theme of a photoshoot, a lookbook, or your fave on-screen character's aesthetic.

Once you've found your inspiration, create a mood board or turn to Pinterest to capture clothing and accessories that catch your eye. After a while, you're sure to see a visual story come together that creates a snapshot of your own unique style. Many minimalists seem to opt for monochrome wardrobes, but if that's not your thing, you can do minimalism your own way. The key is having fewer items that you adore, rather than lots of items you think are OK. Ultimately, minimalism can look different for everybody.

2. Purge

You certainly don't need to throw out everything you have and start over, unless you really want to and you have the disposable income to do so. Decluttering and organizational guru Marie Kondo has written books to help guide you through the process of tidying up your life. If you want to go the whole hog, book a few days off work and blast your entire home, keeping only things that, as Kondo suggests, "spark joy."

3. Upgrade Your Storage

This doesn't necessarily mean spending a ton of money on new furniture, but rather, creating a new space that works for your new wardrobe. If you want minimalism to be a big part of your life, instead of just a sartorial decision, you'll likely want your living space to be uncluttered and peaceful. Consequently, if you can use as little space as possible, or utilize small storage solutions wisely, you'll be one step closer to a more minimal existence.

4. Think About Your Future

Where do you plan to be in five years? Do you want to travel, or buy a house and have a family, or move to a new city? Your future plans will help dictate how many things you'll want to take with you for the ride. There's obviously going to be a huge difference to the amount of clothes you might want if you're living out of a suitcase, versus owning your own home with a walk-in wardrobe. However, just because you might have more space doesn't mean you need to fill it with unnecessary things that you might buy on impulse or wear only once.

5. Map It Out

Your wardrobe isn't going to come together by accident. Make a list of all of the basic items you'll need that fit your lifestyle, some of which may include: a pair of comfortable jeans, sandals, a swimsuit, a skirt or two, and different styles of T-shirts, among others. Keep thinking back to how you want your life to look and choose clothing to fit that imagery.

6. Handpick Pieces That You Love

When an item makes you do a double-take while shopping online, leaves you staring in a store window, or plays on your mind days after you've left the store, that's when you know it's something you love. Don't confuse this with feeling like you have nothing to wear for a night out or a special occasion and wanting to buy something new. The thrill of the purchase will likely wear off pretty quickly, and you'll be left with a garment that's served its purpose and is taking up valuable closet space.

7. If An Item Doesn't Fit You Or Your Style, Don't Buy It

A word of warning when buying things you're besotted with: Make sure they fit your bod and the theme of your wardrobe. Firstly, you're probably never going to wear an item that's too big or small, no matter how much you like it. Secondly, as much as you may like a garment on the hanger, it's likely that it'll remain on said hanger until you end up throwing it out or gifting it to someone should it not go with the rest of the pieces in your closet. Don't bother wasting your money on ill-fitting clothes or things you know deep down you'll never wear.

8. Plan For The Seasons

Depending on where you live in the world and the variety of your seasons, you may need a fairly varied wardrobe. In addition to summer dresses, tank tops, and shorts, you might need thick sweaters, a winter coat, or rain boots. Don't just buy for the season you're in: Think about what you'll need for the rest of the year. Putting seasonal things into storage means there's more room for your current clothes to breathe in your closet. Just don't be lured into buying an entirely different wardrobe for each season, as you'll end up with more clothes than you started with.

9. Be Wary Of Being Pulled Into The Hype

This is easily done, TBH. When you're pulled into the hype of a new product, trend, or brand, it can be all too easy to jump on the bandwagon. This is especially difficult when a designer collaborates with a chain store you love and creates a line of super affordable pieces. You might feel like you're missing out when you see all your friends, social media stars, or colleagues rocking the newest fad, but in reality, you'll likely lose out in the long run.

These pieces, trendy though they may be, could likely be out of style next season. You'll then be left with something that you might not want to wear because you know it's not in vogue anymore or your love for it was only fleeting. The best thing to do is stay true to your personal aesthetic, remember your mood board, and not get sucked into buying things you'll only wear in the short term.

10. Stop Yourself From Buying Multiple Versions Of The Same Thing

When it comes to owning 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, much your consumer-brainwashed-mind may plead with you to buy just one more pair of jeans, or another pair of killer heels. Ignore it! You really don't need more of the same.

11. Think About Quality Over Quantity

A couple of years ago, a friend told me that she'd stopped buying cheap, poorly made clothes and started saving for higher-end pieces. She explained that it took her longer to save for these pieces and she ended up with a smaller wardrobe, but her clothes lasted much longer than the lesser-quality garments. She also told me how she ended up making well thought-out choices, instead of just buying something on a whim that ended up falling apart after a few wears.

Sure, I've spotted her rocking the same thing more than once, but it doesn't matter. She always looks totally on point in her higher-quality threads.

There you have it: a step-by-step guide to building a simpler wardrobe including only items that you adore. Happy condensing, 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