For a long time now I’ve been studying and following capsule wardrobes. The idea have having a small and curated collection of clothes is so appealing to me. The past several seasons I’ve worked on implementing ways to make my own wardrobe slimmer and more “me.” Here are some ways I try to avoid impulse buys and strive towards a more curated closet.

1. A Separate Space

I use the closet in our office to store items that are “maybes.” When I’m cleaning my closet and think, “What if I need a hot pink high waisted skirt I haven’t worn in four years?” I move that item to that closet. If it hasn’t made the cut by the next round of declutters, it usually gets donated or tossed, depending on its condition. I don’t have any fierce rules, but recognizing how few trips I’m making helps me feel okay about decluttering items I once loved. Also, since we have the space, I can give myself grace for the items I’m emotionally attached to.

2. Keep a Donate Bag Close

Sometimes the closet method is completely unnecessary. If I put on a top, dislike the fit or style, and put it back on multiple occasions, then it’s time to donate. Sometimes I just know and don’t need to sit on it. I keep a bag for those items in my closet, and when it fills up I pass those items along.

3. Utilize Pinterest and Instagram’s Save Button

These are two places I collect outfit inspiration. Then, when the seasons are shifting, I look through what I’ve saved and see what pieces are common. A lot of the times I’m drawn to items I already own. Sometimes I’ll see a common thread between outfits. For example, this fall I knew I wanted a pair of high waisted, straight leg jeans because so many outfits I saved were styled with them. They filled a gap for me. Very rarely will I see an item that isn’t consistent with other looks that I want to purchase. Items I’ve saved a lot I feel more comfortable investing in. For example, I love so many outfits styled with white sneakers that I knew purchasing a leather pair that would hold up and be easy to clean was worth the price. Trends that I’m unsure of or have limited ideas on how to style make me slower to purchase and unlikely to splurge.

4. Make a List

I like to have a list of items I’m looking for. If I find gaps in my wardrobe based on looks I want to create, I’ll add those pieces to a list on the notes app on my phone. This list is always changing. I try to hold myself to a thirty day rule (sometimes longer if it’s really pricey for me). If something has been on my list that long, I can look more seriously into purchasing it. For items I know I love and will wear, like a pink sweater, I allow myself more leeway. For new trends or styles, I like having this guideline. This keeps me from jumping into a purchase without thinking through its usefulness or cohesiveness.

I am nowhere close to a capsule wardrobe, but these things have made me a more thoughtful consumer while still allowing me to enjoy fashion. Let me know if you have any helpful ways to optimize your wardrobe!