Want to declutter your closet but aren’t sure where to begin? Use the “Rule of 10”! This formula for simplifying your wardrobe is easy…and it works!
I’ve simplified the clothes in my closet, and then simplified again. And again. Each time I go through my wardrobe, I find more that I can do without–more that I want to do without.
I wish I had been as ruthless in the beginning as I am now. I would’ve spent many more days wearing clothes I actually liked and felt comfortable in, rather than vanilla pieces I was hanging on to “just because…”
But I guess simplifying is a process–the preliminary purge sessions give you the necessary whiff of freedom that entices you to keep on simplifying. Both the process and the destination of decluttering are incredibly rewarding, and while I can think of dozens more, this little list of 10 reasons to simplify is what the other reasons usually boil down to.
After many simplifying sessions, my closet is about where I want it. (I’m still saving up money for a few wardrobe staples and nicer pieces I want to swap in.) Eric and I can fit all of our winter and summer hang-up clothes–including coats and jackets–on a small clothes bar. We each have a short dresser where we keep T-shirts, jeans, and other non-hanging items. As you can see in our cabin tour, we don’t have a ton of extra space for especially long or tall dressers, so we couldn’t have more clothes even if we wanted to!
The Rule of 10 to Help You Create a Beginner’s Capsule Wardrobe
If you want to simplify your wardrobe but aren’t sure where to begin, I have a little formula for you that can serve as a guideline. I call it “the Rule of 10.” When I simplified my clothes, I didn’t start with this formula in mind. But glancing over the clothing items that I kept after our recent pre-move purge, everything pretty much works out to The Rule of 10.
With the Rule of 10, you simply keep 10 items from each category of clothing that you own.
Ten is a generous number–not minimalist at all–and leaves you with more than a week’s worth of items. (And many more than a week’s worth, if your wardrobe lends itself to mixing and matching.)
The goal is to pare down your closet to:
- 10 winter tops
- 10 summer tops
- 10 summer skirts/shorts/capris
- 10 long pants/winter skirts
- 10 dresses
- 10 pairs of socks
- 10 pairs of underwear
- 10 T-shirts and tank tops
- 10 pieces of outerwear (including coats, jackets, and cardigans)
- 10 pairs of shoes (including flip-flops and winter boots)
Do you see the pattern?
I know, 10 items in each category might still seem like a lot. One hundred items, when you add it all up. But it’s a good place to start, and you can go from there, paring down as necessary until your wardrobe is where you want it!
Here’s how to put The Rule of 10 into action:
2. Next, get all of your clothes together in one place, pulling out boxes that are in storage, too.
3. Starting with summer tops, set aside just 10 items that you truly love and are a reflection of who you want to be. Preferably, these 10 will also be versatile, but if a few items are a little more specific, that’s okay. I have a couple of tops that I don’t wear every week, but keep for occasional use or date nights.
4. After you have your 10 set aside, evaluate what’s left. Ideally, you’ll sell or give away almost everything. Only add in additional items if you absolutely “must”! Try to go a week or two before adding in anything, to see if you really miss them or not.
Do the same thing with your winter tops: keep only 10 items, including sweaters, long-sleeve blouses, tunics, etc.
As you go through each category, you might find that you don’t have that many clothes that you really love. If that’s the case, make a list of what pieces you’d like to put in your wardrobe. Try to be as specific as possible (like, “I’m looking for a light blue chambray shirt”) and then save up money until you can buy them and check them off the list one by one.
You also might discover that you simply don’t need 10 items in every category. Perhaps you don’t wear dresses, or 10 pairs of pants is overkill for you. If so, great! Ten is just a number, a guideline to give you parameters in which to work.
Try out the Rule of 10 and let me know if it works for you! My guess? You’ll be proud of your wardrobe, you’ll enjoy the extra breathing room, and you’ll be inspired to go simplify other areas of your home, too!
Want to go deeper and simplify other areas of your home? My book has already helped hundreds of other homemakers bring breathing space to their lives! Your Simple Home Handbook is a short but sweet decluttering guide that will inspire you to simplify…and give you practical steps to actually get it done!