Organising your Closet by Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

This is a guest post by Melissa, from Suger Coat It

The truth of the matter is that most of us have TOO MANY clothes. We don’t wear them. We buy them hoping they will work with other items we have but it isn’t the case. They sit on our wardrobe and year after year they group together and overtake the space we have. Right!?

This happened to my mother. Growing up she had an extensive wardrobe with a walk in closet plus jackets and suits in closets all over the house. A large portion of these clothes went unworn for years.

The collection of clothes was a habit I picked up and carried into my adult life. My clothes spilled from my walk in wardrobe to the spare room after spare room until I had no idea where to even find something when I did consider wearing it.

I had bundles of clothes but would wear the same items over and over again. That’s where simplifying your wardrobe to an easy, low fuss capsule wardrobe is such a great idea. A capsule wardrobe is one of those jargon type phrases used to describe a number of pieces that all work together in a mix and match fashion.

How do you then turn your overstuffed {or perhaps under-stuffed} wardrobe into sleek and modern capsule wardrobe?

Start by working out a celebrity role model or a style that you love. This will give you an idea of what sort of look you are aiming to create. Make sure it’s realistic for the life you lead now, not the jet setting life of your future.

Choose key items that make up this look. Consider how easily of the items work together as you go. Lots of images, inspiration, clippings or one heck of a Pinterest board will help. For example for someone like Elle McPherson you would need to include items like:

  • jeans
  • simple white button up shirt
  • classic blazer
  • white, black or grey t-shirt {or two}
  • slim fit dress pants
  • chunky knit jumper
  • cardigan
  • blouse
  • shirt dress in linen or chambray
  • pencil skirt
  • little black evening/cocktail dress
  • leather jacket
  • trench coat
  • belts, scarves, accessories
  • loafers
  • sneakers
  • pair of heels

See how that works? You can wear the t-shirt with the skirt, under the dress, with either of the pants, under the leather jacket or with the shirt. Add some accessories and you are set for almost any occasion that comes your way.

Do this for your favourite fashionista and your own list is born. Over all the bases. If you are likely to wear jeans more often than not, add more blouses, shirts or jackets.

Now you package up everything in your wardrobe other than these items into storage or moving boxes. You could go nuts and throw everything away but the hot tip is that you will have forgotten something on your list that you’ll already own. Mark the boxes well and if they are still there after 3, 6 or 12 months then donate them.

Over time your needs may change, your likes and dislikes. You can update the items you want to keep and replace items that don’t fit in anymore. Keeping an edited, streamline capsule wardrobe like this simplifies your wardrobe, keeps clutter at bay and REALLY shines a light on what you need and don’t need.

All total wins in my book.

image credit

image credit

sugarMelissa Walker Horn is the chief blogger at Suger Coat It, a blog about living the sweet life. Known as Suger, Melissa loves her family, too much butter on fresh bread and anything with stripes on it.

She created the Confident You series and shares her love of fashion, the gym and cooking most days of the week on her blog. The Budget Fashionista Workbook is Melissa’s first eBook and will followed by Confident You in 2014.

A social media addict and consultant, you will find Melissa anywhere you search for Suger with an e.

Find Melissa here:  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram


The Budget Fashionista Workbook


Katrina has graciously allowed me to take a moment to let you all know about the recent release of my eBook The Budget Fashionista Workbook. The workbook will empower you to get into your wardrobe, sort it out and using considered choices start building a stylish wardrobe on a budget. For $11.99. No steak knives.

The simple fact is that most of us have purchased an item we’ve never worn, spent more than we should or wandered the shops with no idea. It’s expensive and time consuming to be so haphazard about it all. Using the checklists in the workbook you’ll be able to work out what you have and what’s missing to go after a personal style you love.


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[email protected] Apricot Tart November 1, 2013 - 7:12 AM

I am so doing this, Melissa! Thanks for the inspiration to steamline a bulging wardrobe filled with a few favourites and then masses of clothes that I hardly wear but keep – just in case!

Melissa Walker Horn November 2, 2013 - 11:32 PM

You’re welcome. Get in and sort that bulging wardrobe out! Let me know how you go. I’m always curious.

lisa March 8, 2016 - 6:32 AM

Me too. The 6 of us have just moved in with my parents and space is very limited…that and i will now be working 6/7daysat the hospitals so have uniforms to wear majority of time

Claire Miles November 1, 2013 - 8:22 AM

OMG!!!!!! I love your ideas but WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE SHOES!!!!! They are awesome!!!

Melissa Walker Horn November 2, 2013 - 11:31 PM

Haha. Thanks Claire! These are from a store called Big Shoe-Zam. They stock shoes in sizes 11+ AND they come in a pink/orange/purple combo. So only good news if you have big feet I’m afraid. 😉

Claire Miles November 4, 2013 - 2:14 PM

Nooooooooooooooooooooo! Im a 6 🙁 Is there a little shoe Zam??? LOL!

Melissa Walker Horn November 4, 2013 - 10:38 PM

Haha. Not that I’ve heard of but I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you. 😉

Emily November 1, 2013 - 8:23 AM

Am I the only one that buys clothes when they are needed and/or fit with something I already have? I think ahead rather than just buying – even when impulse shopping! I still have a quick think and make sure it will go with other clothes I already have. Otherwise what was the point in spending the money?

Melissa Walker Horn November 2, 2013 - 11:30 PM

I do now. But I know for a long time that just wasn’t the case for me. Now my wardrobe is much more considered and all works together. Like you said, what was the point in spending the money otherwise?

lazyhead November 1, 2013 - 9:34 AM

Gee, you people are good. There is no way I’m on top of my washing enough to limit the number of tops and pants I have. I’m constantly running out of tops with a “quick! put a load of washing on”. And if that one pair of shorts up there got something spilled on it (or baby spit up!) and it’s the middle of summer…eek! Nope. If I did this I’d be stinky, stained or naked

Melissa Walker Horn November 2, 2013 - 11:29 PM

Haha. Well there IS that problem. Maybe triple your choices and go from there. There IS always stinky, stained and naked. Always underrated as far as clothing choices go in my book. 😉

KezUnprepared November 1, 2013 - 3:37 PM

SUCH a good idea. I’ve been working on my own version and it was SO liberating donating or chucking out things that had cluttered my wardrobe for WAY too long! It is so much easier to figure out what to wear each day and much less expensive as I think more about what I really NEED vs impulse shopping or splurging.

Melissa Walker Horn November 2, 2013 - 11:28 PM

I couldn’t agree more! Nice one.

Katrina November 4, 2013 - 8:00 AM

Your completely right, will defiantly take away from impulse shopping!!!

Ally November 3, 2013 - 4:21 PM

I stick with similar brands that I know will work well together and fit me well. For example country road or esprit each have a particular style so personally I would rather go with the style of the brand then finding another person’s style… hope that makes sense!!

Melissa Walker Horn November 3, 2013 - 9:18 PM

It DOES and a it’s a great strategy too. Often brands have similar ‘feel’ to their items year after year that continue to work together long into the future. Nice addition! Love it.

Vicki November 3, 2013 - 6:16 PM

Do you look at a celebrity that has a similar body type (pear, hourglass etc), or just one that you like their clothes style?

Melissa Walker Horn November 3, 2013 - 9:17 PM

Great question Vicki! I choose based on a style I like. It may take a little trial and error at first to work with your shape compared to theirs but there is usually a way. I try a lot of stuff on. Wallet in the car. Haha.

Wendy Inglis November 5, 2013 - 9:53 AM

What to do when retired on the pension and live in a regional town, and in the tropics

I can only wear jeans from about May to August as it is hot and sweaty don’t wear dresses due to my awful legs now I struggle with this, so end up wearing elastic waisted 3/4 pants and t shirt I am 5ft 1 so everything I try on in Target and Big W are way too much fabric or miles too long and I am not good at alterations usually end up making a mess of it I worked as a receptionist in Melbourne for 40 years so dressed in skirts jackets etc full make up hair the works but now we don’t go anywhere to dress up as everything is so casual here even a night out they don’t dress up in my opinion,
I love wearing jeans and jacket shirt etc but cannot anymore
it is hot and sweaty from about October to end of April

sorry rant over

Katrina November 5, 2013 - 3:14 PM

I hear your pain Wendy when it comes to the length of dresses and pants. I’m 149cm short and when I pick up a pair of 3/4 pants they are usually full length on me. I found a gorgeous dress recently was $69.95 and was all over the floor, it just wasn’t worth to get it altered. Wished they made clothes for shorties 🙂

Melissa Walker Horn November 6, 2013 - 2:48 PM

Wow! I had no idea. No wonder I always feel like a giant person. I’m 180cm. That’s a ruler length of difference. Plus heels! 😉

Melissa Walker Horn November 6, 2013 - 2:47 PM

I live in a regional area in Queensland, so I hear you on some counts. I have the opposite problems thought being an almost 6ft, long in the torso lady.

All I can say is find a brand and a style you like and shop them. Online I shop a lot at and for a wide range of brands and usually free delivery. Some online retailers are offering more and more choice with leg length and designs for petites and plus.

If you were curious about capsule wardrobe I would start with searching for capsule tropical or beach vacation/holiday capsule wardrobes. There may be a few too many party options for you but at least they’ll be packing for the tropics.

And just quietly, it sounds like you already HAVE a capsule wardrobe! Just not by choice. Good luck!

Emma March 8, 2016 - 3:29 PM

Hi Melissa,
Do you have any brands/stores you recommend for tall women like us? I find that most long pants I buy (even in long lengths) end up being ankle freezers …

Chloe January 1, 2016 - 7:02 AM

Hi there, I read your question and I wondered if you had a mid length kaftan? They usually drop to ground on models but a shorter length might stop at shin height?

Ram Prasad November 23, 2013 - 4:47 PM

Thanks for the blog love to arrange closet using your idea

leeann April 30, 2015 - 2:27 PM

I just started working on my capsule wardrobe. I have always loved to shop, loved new clothes, but never really took the time to understand my personal style. I always had this image in mind of how I wanted to dress, but never seemed to buy those type of clothes. Go figure! Anyhow, I took a LOAD of crap out of my closet. Anything that didn’t fit well or that I didnt feel confident in. Gave me a bit of an anxiety attack, but the next morning getting dressed was so easy! I knew that anything I pulled out of there would be fabulous! Now, I am fine tuning my capsule wardrobe list so that I can be on the lookout for the items I am missing, and I have resolved to NOT buy any cheap clothes! Only good quality items from here forward!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 1, 2015 - 11:22 AM

WOW you go girl! Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job and having fun shoppping in the process x

Chloe January 1, 2016 - 6:45 AM

I have a capsule wardrobe after taking the plunge on serious decluttering last year. I have a black tee, a navy type tee and a pair of denim shorts which I spent triple on than I usually would have. It was tough to begin with and justify. Almost everyday I have mixed and matched either a couple of scarves or necklaces with said shorts or jeans. I have boots and sandals and swap in and out for each season. Now, I kid you not it takes me 5 mins to get ready and I never wonder what to wear. Friends always say how put together I look and they have commented that I have my own ‘style’ not that I am wearing basically the same thing everyday (which you dont have to of course it just works with my sahm of two one littlie). Those tees have been washed and worn washed and worn and look the same as the day I bought them and the denim shorts are perfect still. I’m not constantly shopping to replace tees and have so much less stress. My advice is to try on basics at various good quality stores like country road, sussan, witchery, seed etc maybe purchase one black tee in the style that fits you best, then sign up for newsletters and wait for sales when you can get a couple of other colours, its amazing the varying cuts and fabrics etc. I had a pretty paired back robe to begin with having just had a baby and I purged everything that didnt quite fit or I didnt like. That is great in theory but you do need some stuff (my clothing is in full under 20 things) so my advice also is to take it slow and replace when your budget allows. But make sure the things you will wear everyday are top quality! Apologies for long post I feel so passionately about it and recommend it to anyone, this book would have been so helpful to me when I began!

Darra April 19, 2016 - 11:24 AM

I seemed to spend a lot of time everyday standing in front of my packed wardrobe complaining that I had nothing to wear.
I knew that there were lots of items that no longer fitted or were worn, but it just seemed too big a job.
Then this capsule wardrobe idea inspired me. I researched it for a bit and watched a few YouTube videos on how to create a capsule wardrobe and looked at google images of people’s capsule wardrobes and read articles. (I need to feel organised in my head before starting anything)
So then I decided to go ahead and create me own capsule wardrobe.
I started by emptying my entire wardrobe onto my bedroom floor. It was a huge mountain. I then started trying to dig through the pile and pull out possible capsule items. This was not working. My pile of possibles was growing and I was feeling overwhelmed. So I restarted.
I sorted all clothes into colours (so a pile for black, a pile for pink, a pile for blue etc.).
Then I took one colour at a time and moved it onto my bed and quickly separated it into tops and bottoms and then tried everything on. This may sound massive, and it was, but so worth it. I was ruthless. Anything that didn’t fit me perfectly or that I didn’t absolutely love went straight into an empty washing basket (and later into 8 garbage bags for the op shops). Anything I was keeping I folded and placed in its neat colour pile on the floor.
I did this for each colour.
At the end my floor had different colour piles of neatly folded clothes that I knew fit me and I loved.
I then picked my base colours and selected bottoms from the right colour piles – I decided on black, and khaki, and denim.
I decided against having separate season capsule wardrobes (a summer capsule, a spring capsule, a winter capsule…). In our area the weather can be hot one day and cold the next, so I decided instead to have a slightly larger capsule wardrobe that catered for all seasons.
So I ended up with 1 pair black shorts, 1 pair black cotton pants, 1 pair thicker black nice pants, and 1 long black skirt. The same in khaki/stone (1 shorts, 1 cotton, 1 nice thicker, 1 knee length skirt), and in denim I had 1 pair shorts, 1 pair 3/4 length, and 2 pairs jeans (a tight and a loose). I put these straight into my wardrobe sorted into 3 piles shorts, 3/4 and skirts, and long pants or hanging (depending on material).
I then picked tops that could be worn with either colour. I knew that I needed some tank tops, some skivvies, some loose tshirts, some blouses, and some fitted tops. Knowing this and being able to see the colours I was able to easily pick out tops that would work with all bottoms. I then put these straight into my wardrobe sorted into 4 piles (tanks, skivvies, fitted tops, loose tops) and some hanging blouses.
I then picked out a few matching coats cardigans, and a few dresses (2 summery, 2 more formal, and 2 that can be worn with tights for winter).
This gave me a slightly larger capsule wardrobe, but one that would work for all weather.
With the remainder of my keep clothes, I wasn’t ready to fully part with them yet, as I haven’t tried living with a smaller wardrobe yet, so I put them in a separate section of my wardrobe still folded into their colour groups. This means that they look nice, and it will be easier to find something if I really need too.
I took 8 large garbage bags of clothes to the op shops.
I don’t miss these clothes at all.
It is so much easier and calmer to get ready now.
I open my working wardrobe each day and grab one bottom (the weather determines which pile I grab the bottom from), then I grab 1 top (depending on the bottom I picked I know to go straight for a tight top, or a blouse, etc.).
I don’t have to search my wardrobe as I know everything matches.
It took a full week to do, but I love my new wardrobe. It makes life so much easier, and makes me feel so much more at peace.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 19, 2016 - 4:33 PM

wowsers Darra this is amazing….. you have done so well… do you mind if I share your story with the rest of the community?

theorganisedhouse… – General August 9, 2020 - 8:03 AM

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