Do you ever look at your closet and feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of clothing you own? Are there items in your closet you reach for but always decide to put back, or do you feel like you have nothing to wear despite the overflowing racks?

If so, you may want to simplify your wardrobe. A minimalist closet, also known as a capsule wardrobe, is an easy way to streamline your wardrobe and make getting dressed a stress-free experience. Here are five tips on how to create a capsule wardrobe, even if you’re on a budget.

1. Visualize your ideal wardrobe.

It’s easier to let go of clothing you don’t need and shop intentionally when you’ve clearly visualized your ideal wardrobe and planned what items you actually need. Take time to think about the type of clothing you would like to wear if money was no object, and list outfit ideas for every occasion. If you can incorporate items you already own, great, but don’t be afraid to dream big and change up your style instead of staying stuck in old patterns if they no longer feel like “you”. Use these worksheets to help with the planning and visualization process.

Mockup of worksheet pages
Get these worksheets here.

2. Choose a color palette to build around.

One of the keys to being able own less clothing is being able to mix and match items to create multiple outfits, and the easiest way to do this is to choose a color palette that suits you and make sure all of the clothes you buy are within this color palette.

Many capsule wardrobe mood boards seem to consist primarily of clothing in various shades of beige, but you don’t have to stick to a monochromatic palette. Using color palette generator can help you incorporate color into your wardrobe while still being able to mix and match your clothing into numerous outfit combinations.

You can generate hundreds of color palettes here, or you can upload an inspiration photo here to generate a palette. You may enjoy creating a mood board on Pinterest or by using Canva (free design software).

You’ll be able to stretch your wardrobe even farther by sticking to solid colors for your clothing and using prints to accessorize. For example, a colorful scarf can be worn as a headband or belt to add pizazz to a basic outfit.

Color palette based on wallpaper
This color palette uses floral wallpaper as inspiration.

3. Purchase bottoms that will match any top.

When it comes to creating a versatile wardrobe, neutral bottoms are your best friend. Pants and skirts in black, white, gray, and denim can be easily paired with a top in just about any color, making it easy to create new outfits with minimal effort.

Dark blue denim jeans, olive green pants, black leggings, and a black skirt are all versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down. By choosing pieces that can be worn with multiple tops, you’ll have more outfit options with fewer items of clothing.

4. Choose timeless pieces.

When building a capsule wardrobe, it’s essential to choose timeless pieces that won’t go out of style. Simple, classic pieces such as a cable-knit sweater, a white button-down shirt, and a little black dress are all versatile pieces that can be worn year after year.

Investing in high-quality clothing that is timeless in style can save you money and reduce clutter in the long run. By choosing quality over quantity, you’ll have a wardrobe that lasts and makes you feel great every time you wear it.

Sweater and jeans

5. Add layers to make an outfit more versatile.

Layers are key to creating a versatile wardrobe. A denim jacket and fleece-lined leggings can be added to a summer dress to make it warm enough for a chilly fall day and create a completely different look. A white button-up shirt can be worn open over a tank top to create an outfit appropriate for brunch. Add a long, chunky cardigan over your leggings and tank top and no one will guess you just came from a yoga class.

6. Buy pieces you love in multiple colors.

When you find a piece of clothing that you love and feel comfortable in, consider buying it in multiple colors. For example, if you have a black skirt you love, you might buy it in white too so you can create either a formal or summery look. If you find a pair of comfortable black sandals, buy them in brown too so you’ll have sandals to match any outfit. This will greatly simplify the process of putting together an outfit as you’ll have a top to match any bottom and vice versa.

Sweater in yellow, blue, and pink

7. Don’t keep (or buy) items that you can’t turn into an outfit.

When shopping for new clothes or evaluating your existing wardrobe, consider how each item can be incorporated into an outfit. If you can’t think of at least two ways to wear it, it’s probably going to end up in the back of your closet along with other clothing you never wear. By choosing to only buy clothing that can be mixed and matched with clothes you already own, you’ll create a wardrobe that is easy to work with and full of outfit possibilities.

8. Have one go-to outfit for special occasions.

If you don’t often attend formal events, you may have trouble coming up with something to wear on the rare occasions where you need to dress up. Instead of stressing out, have a go-to outfit that you feel confident in. This can be a simple dress or a combination of pieces that you know work well together.

Try to plan for hot or cold weather by thinking in advance about layers you could add and which shoes to wear. By having a reliable outfit, you can avoid last-minute panic and focus on enjoying the occasion. Just be sure to try on this outfit from time to time so you aren’t surprised to discover it no longer fits on the day of a big event!

Little black dress and shoes

9. Box up your “someday” clothes.

It’s easy to hold onto clothes that you don’t wear regularly, thinking that someday you’ll find the perfect occasion to wear them. However, this can lead to a cluttered closet and make it harder to find the clothes you actually wear. Instead, box up these “someday” clothes and put them in storage. In a few months, sort through them. If you haven’t missed them, it’s probably safe to donate them.

10. Don’t feel like you have replace all your clothing.

Simplifying your wardrobe doesn’t mean you have to throw away all your clothes and start again from scratch. Instead, plan your ideal wardrobe and then work over time to add to it and get rid of items that don’t belong.

Start by planning outfits that incorporate pieces you already own, and if you feel something is missing, add it to a shopping list that you can reference whenever you’re shopping clearance sales or browsing at thrift stores. Consider setting aside money each month to help you save up the money to buy quality clothing and build a timeless wardrobe that will last for years to come.

By taking small steps over time, you’ll eventually achieve your goal of simplifying and streamlining your wardrobe to create a minimalist closet, and getting dressed in the morning will be a stress-free experience.

Minimalist closet with monochromatic clothing