Steps Towards Building a Minimalist Wardrobe

by Merissa on October 21, 2013

in Simple Living

Building a Minimalist Wardrobe - Little House Living

Building a Minimalist Wardrobe

When you have very limited closet space in your home you have to be careful about everything you bring into it. I love to go clothes shopping and my wardrobe is always changing. I like new (to me) things and since I spend very little on my clothes because I get them at rummage sales or thrift stores and then I either sell them or give them to my sisters when I'm ready to move on or if they no longer fit.

But if you checked out my tour of our 400 sq foot home, you know that we don't have much closet space and personally I'd rather not fill what we do have with clothing, even though I do like clothes! And in our new house...there are no closets because it's so old! Here's how I keep a fun minimalist wardrobe. These ideas are easy and things that anyone can do to help save space in your closets and keep your wardrobe simple.

Keep Less Space for Your Clothes

This concept is pretty simple. If you have less space for clothing, you will keep less clothing! If you have the space, use your closet to organize something else instead of filling it with clothing.

When Something New Gets Brought In, Something Old Goes Out

I use the rule that if I bring a new article of clothing in, something else that I'm not wearing as much needs to go out. Another good rule to follow when you are first starting to simplify your wardrobe is that when something new comes in, 2 or 3 things go out. It's a very painless way to keep your clothing closet thinned out and cleaned out and you can still change it up when you want to.

Remove Seasonal Clothing

Up here in the North, we need a good amount of winter clothing as our winter runs for the majority of the year, and winter clothes take up so much room! Instead of keeping all your clothing out all the time (I don't think you are going to wear that sweater when it's 100 degrees out!), put away the seasonal clothes into a plastic tote during the off season. This idea will help your clothing closet stay the most functional and you won't be storing a bunch of clothes in there that you aren't wearing at the moment. Plus when you pull them out during the correct season it will be like getting all new clothes again because you haven't seen them in a while.

Minimalist Wardrobe - Little House Living

My clothes are hung and in this plastic storage drawer tote.

Keep Only What You REALLY Wear

Do you have an outfit that you like or you wore once and swear you will wear it again but as of yet, you haven't? Time for the outfit to go. If it's nothing something you really need and you don't really know if you are going to wear it again, sell it or donate it.

Keep Only What You REALLY Wear Part 2

Have you recently stopped working outside the home? Then do you really need those suits or business clothing anymore? Only keep the clothing that is actually practical for you to be wearing at this time in your life. The same goes for those that are trying to lose weight. There's no need to keep all your clothing (random sizes) in your closet at the same time. If you want to keep the smaller clothing, then just put it away until you get to that size. It will be like opening a present when you get to get out that plastic tote of smaller clothing!

Keep Clothing That Goes Together

Have a zebra print skirt but no shirt to wear with it? Time for that to go. If you have a limited clothes closet...try and fill it with cute basics that go with many different things rather than single outfits that must go together. Regular jeans, shorts, and neutral colored skirts are great staples and then you can add fun shirts to go along with all those staples.

Now while we are talking about are some tips to do some thrifty clothes shopping at rummage sales and at consignment stores.

Are you bored with the clothes you do have but don't have the budget to buy new clothes? Here are some fun repurposing projects to try!

Repurposing Jeans and Shoes
Repurposing a Dress to a Skirt
Repurposing T Shirts

What steps do you take towards building a more minimalist wardrobe?


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathleen H October 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Now that I am retired, I no longer need the same type of clothes I wore teaching.
I haven’t gotten rid of anything yet, but I sure don’t need the amount that I have. I find myself wearing the same things-jeans and t-shirts when I don’t have to go anywhere. Thank you for spurring me on to simplify.


2 Merissa October 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Have fun cleaning out Kathleen!


3 Andrea October 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Great tips! I especially like the one about keeping less space. After years of me asking, my husband finally cleaned out clothes from his high school years, because he ran out of room in our closet, lol. I like to go through my closet about every 6 months, and donate what I haven’t worn to goodwill.


4 K October 21, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Space Bags are a great way to store out of season items!


5 Marlies October 22, 2013 at 7:00 am

I am working on living a simpler life and currently do not work outside of the home. I still have a few dressier items in my closet for the times I need/ or want to look nice. My hair is long and usually it goes back into a ponytail; any ideas for replacing the elastic hair bands that I buy into something more frugal? I am trying not to have to purchase them anymore if I can make them. Thank you.


6 Merissa October 22, 2013 at 7:01 am

I still buy pony tail holders but I look for them at discount stores and stock up when I find them for under $2 for a large pack.


7 tammie October 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

My hair is also long. I use the big hair barrettes to keep my ponytail together. If you hair is thin, look for the smaller ones.


8 Georgie April 19, 2015 at 3:24 pm

I know this is a bit late, but I have a tip regarding the hair bands – you can make them by repurposing old stockings – just cut the leg part horizontally to create a short elastic “tunnel”. Thicker fabric or wider cut make stronger hair band.


9 Mari June 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm

I do this too – cut all the elastic tops off old worn-out pop sox etc to make pony tail hair bands. I save the rest of the sock too as they make great plant ties for the garden.


10 Melis October 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I remind myself that I can wash clothes once a week so don’t NEED that many.

Also I stick to a basic color scheme, everything is matchable I have 1 set of brown shoes, boots, sandals that go with beige, white, brown-warm colors
I have 1 set of black shoes, boots, sandals that go with black, gray-cool colors
this helps me dress easier too for work-everything matches!!


11 Cynthia L October 22, 2013 at 2:43 pm

These are all very great tips, especially when you have limited space. I try to only keep things that I will love and I always separate my clothing by season.


12 Thaleia (@Something2Offer) October 24, 2013 at 6:38 am

Great tips. I hold onto way to many clothes thinking I may just need that fancy shirt or that jacket that doesn’t quite fit right. I have less clothes than my husband but we both could get rid of a bag each easily:)


13 CindyN. October 25, 2013 at 7:02 am

Thanks for incentive to clean out old clothes. With twin teen girls who love clothes, space is a constant problem (and of course money to buy these clothes!) Since the weather is still mild in the south, I decided to have a yard sale now in addition to annual spring sale. People are more likely to buy seasonal clothes, having two a year is less work than one big sale, and extra cash is a good incentive for girls to clean out closets! Plus, the bonus of a tax deduction from Goodwill donation of everything not sold. A win-win for everyone! And room in our closets!!


14 Cathy Helgeson April 29, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Thanks for the great tips. I have 2 closets and they were packed. I also had clothes in a storage tote, old suitcase case and a duffle bag. I took a really long hard look at things and purged like crazy. I just donated 15 bags of clothes. I had so many jeans in a smaller size that I finally understood when I get them to fit they will be so out of style. I am so much happier having less that I will be working on my kitchen next. I already have boxes lined up!


15 Glue Girl May 2, 2014 at 11:20 am

I love the idea of something in something out. we have done that for a long time and wearing something until it is worn out and not just out of fashion too. great reminder ideas.


16 Debra October 31, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Hi Merissa, Simplifying has been on my mind for a while now. I am 62 and my husband is 65. We live in a good size 2-story, four bedroom house. Of course we are empty-nesters. We are presently living only on the first floor. We are getting ready to put our home on the market again and really hope it sells this time. In the meantime I still want to simplify. I am trying to resist buying stuff(clothes etc.). I have so many clothes in my closet and it truly reflects the chaos in my mind. I have enjoyed reading your tips but it’s really hard to know how to begin. I have been through my closet once already and had a huge yard sale. I know you said to do it in stages. I go in there stand and look around for few minutes and walk out utterly frustrated. I guess I really need to know more about building a small stable wardrobe. If we sell the house I would like to be downsized already. I am not up to much health wise so I want to clear the decks so I can do more in my spiritual Ministry. I don’t want a lot to distract me. I need to be organized and need to cut down the everyday stress of life…money, bills that stress me because it stresses my husband. We’ve worked hard during our life to have what people call an American dream knowing full well things do not make you happy, dumb right. We are not rich , we do okay but we don’t want to live the rest of our life trying to hold on to things that aren’t that important. If you could offer me any other tips or encouragement, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


17 Merissa November 1, 2014 at 6:09 pm

It really sounds like you are on the right path Debra! I know the process seems like it takes forever but I promise that it’s worth it. Cleaning out to where we are now took me years (and I hadn’t even had that many years to accumulate!) and I’m still finding things we don’t need. Good luck with everything, I know you have an amazing journey to come! 🙂


18 Eve January 6, 2015 at 11:25 pm

I joined a website which is all about getting rid of clutter. She has something called the 27 fling boogie. You take a garbage bag, run through the house and get rid of 27 things. Donate, throw away or give to friends but get it out of the house. I applied this to my closet and was surprised how many bags of clothesm shoes and bags I no longer needed or wanted. After a few flings, I really like my closet. Now I can wear everything in there and what’s better, I like them and they fit. Sorry. Long first post but this post just struck a chord with me. : )


19 debby April 8, 2015 at 4:31 am

Really enjoyed your blog. I’m definitely going to declutter. Thanks for the inspiration.
Regards Debby


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