Monday, December 7, 2015

12 UHeart Organizing: A Capsule Wardrobe for Him

Here at iHeart, I try to share tips and ideas that are versatile enough for a variety of home and living scenarios.  Of course, not everything will apply to everyone, but the goal is to offer an array of topics that cover a wide reader base.  That said, I receive a lot of questions from moms and wives looking to help their children and husbands channel their inner organizer.  Just as some woman are not born with the organizing gene, there are men out there who are less than excited about it as well (cough, my husband, cough).

I don't play sides and would never say that one gender is more organized than another.  I know many men that could knock my organizing abilities out of the water.  I also have gal pals who would rather be gardening, baking, painting, etc... than spending their weekends cleaning out a drawer.

When Serena shared with me that she recently partnered with her husband to clean out his closet and create a capsule wardrobe for him, I was thrilled.  I have seen quite a few of these closet projects done with a focus on women's apparel, yet we haven't talked too much about organizing a man's closet (and I have been a bit fearful to take on Bryan's with him to this point).  So for you moms, wives and especially for the guys that check in here, this one is for you!  Serena is stopping by from Pretty Fluffy blog, to share how they tackled her husband's space and worked it down to the essentials to achieve a fantastic end result.

Helllloooo IHeart Organizers!

I’m so happy to be talking men’s clothes and closet organization today, because I think a lot of you out there can sympathize with the situation of being a Type-A organizer married to someone who may not share your love for labels and streamlined living as much as you do.

Case in point: my man's closet. Forget neatly stacked tees, or color coordinated hanging space; his closet and drawers were a place where he would just shove stuff in until nothing fit any longer. Here are a few before photos.


For me, I personally had the dilemma of wanting my husband’s closet to be reasonably neat, tidy and functional... but wanting HIM to be the one to maintain it. Since we’ve had a daughter, I really want to set the example that every member of the household pitches in and it’s not just mom’s job to clean up after everyone. That said, I also have to appreciate that not everyone cares as much as I do about organization – so this project was all about balance.

With that in mind, before we even touched the closet, we set out at creating a men’s capsule wardrobe for him. (Cue groans of husbands around the world who would much prefer to be playing a round of golf than creating a capsule wardrobe ☺ ) But really, this worked for us and was a lot quicker and easier than you’d think.

By creating our own Men’s Capsule Wardrobe Planner (which I’ve included as a free printable for you at the bottom of the post) we started by keeping a diary of the clothes he needed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You could do this for one week or over a longer period of time – just whatever period you think you need to get an accurate idea of what clothes you require for the lifestyle you lead.

By doing this we started to see what clothes were required and where there were gaps and excesses. For example, he had loads of ties that were strewn throughout the closet, yet he was only wearing a handful on regular rotation. On the flip side, he was desperately short on casual tees and shirts for weekend activities and events.

Using the planner, we were able to really get an idea of how many clothes were required for work, casual wear, events, dinners, sports and the gym – including his needs for underwear, socks, ties, shoes and other accessories.

From there, we were able to create an ideal capsule wardrobe for the season – one that would mean every morning there was an available clothing option for the day ahead – no matter what was on the agenda. Here’s what we came up with – a simple checklist for the items we needed and how many of each:

The plan? To minimize and have everything streamlined. Every single item of clothing had to earn its place in the closet.

From here, we were finally able to get our hands dirty and clean out the closet! Oh, the random stuff we found in there… Golf equipment, computer cords, Christmas cards… everything was sorted into KEEP, CHARITY, REPAIR or TRASH piles.

From our KEEP pile, we then organized all of the items into the individual capsule wardrobe we had been planning. Each category was then given an individual space within the cupboard.

We specifically chose to organize using the capsule wardrobe as a basis instead of grouping in colors, or broader categories like ‘shirts’ or ‘pants’. This way there’s no hunting for specific items of clothes when getting dressed in the morning. Want a casual weekend outfit? Go to this drawer. Getting dressed for a day in the office? Go to that section.

Every single item now had a home within its own capsule category.

The left side of the cupboard was dedicated to work – with dress shirts, suits, formal pants and dress shoes.

We chose uniform wooden hangers, and padded suit jacket hangers, along with a tie rack hanger to keep everything displayed out in the open. To keep things simple we had the exact amount of hangers per items. This avoided clutter and also made it obvious – if it wasn’t on the hanger, it was in the wash… No more lost shirts shoved in the back of the cupboard!

Anything in a dry-cleaners bag was removed and popped swiftly on a regular wooden hanger. Keeping clothes in dry cleaning bags is not good for the fabric, and keeping them on the wire hangers makes them lose their shape.

The pull out tray became dedicated to everyday accessories and items – including cuff-links, watches, belts, and loose change. Not only does it keep these items safe and organized here – it saves them from being dumped around the house. Hallelujah!

Pants all were sent to live on the pull out trouser rail (easy peasy), and dress shoes are collected at the base of the robe.

On the right side of the cupboard now lives a variety of casual clothes. To keep things easy to stay organized, these were each placed in their own section dedicated to the capsule wardrobe plan.

Hung up are casual collared shirts and jackets. Sport uniforms and training gear live in the bottom drawer. Jeans, and light sweaters live in the third drawer. Casual tees, shorts and pajamas live in the second drawer, while the top drawer is dedicated to underwear, socks and gym gear.

We used these drawer dividers to keep each of these in their own section with the gym bag placed in the perfect spot to grab and go every morning. Inside lives a towel, water bottle, headphones, gym shoes and fresh gear for the next day.

Seasonal items – such as heavy coats, and scarves (it’s currently summer here in Australia) – were stored in our linen cupboard, to be returned to the wardrobe when they’re required back in the rotation.

The aim of the game was to have every single category of the capsule wardrobe on display at first glance. No hidden storage bins where things could be hidden away, no miscellaneous drawers that would soon become overflowing with random stuff.

The one basket we did create was the ‘Too Hard Basket’. Sitting at the base of the wardrobe, this basket is the place for any item that currently doesn’t have a home within the wardrobe. I simply used a drawer divider box and printed out a subtle label cut to fit for the base.

So rather than things just being shoved inside the closet, with us only having to do another wardrobe overhaul in 6 months time, now these items can be placed in the ‘Too Hard Basket’. At the end of each week we then go through the basket and find a dedicated spot for these items in our home.

And guess what? It’s working! Golf tees now have a dedicated pouch in my husband’s golf bag. Receipts get filed away. Business cards are electronically stored and then put in the recycling. I honestly feel this little step is making a world of difference.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed about where to keep things, and having all sorts of stuff piling up in the cupboard, each item is getting its own place. In fact, in the last two weeks the ‘Too Hard Basket’ has been empty.

The last step (admittedly the super fun one), was shopping for the items needed in the new capsule wardrobe. Rather than trying to find it all in one shopping expedition, we just kept the list up our sleeves and bit by bit the perfect pieces are popping up to be added the collection.

The ultimate test really has been over the last two months where the wardrobe has been in action on a daily basis. (I resisted every urge I had to ‘pretty up’ the closet before taking the ‘after’ photos for this post because I wanted it to be as real as possible.)

The result? All the clothes inside are getting worn, and now that it is free of clutter it is much more functional. My husband genuinely feels like he has go-to clothes for any occasion, and with less items overall, the closet is easier to manage (and so is the laundry).

Truly, there is less time for putting things away, re-washing or ironing pieces that weren’t put away correctly, searching for things that were put in the cupboard because they didn’t have a home elsewhere… There are also less disagreements about keeping the cupboard tidy, as this way it seems virtually impossible to not keep it organized.

It’s safe to say we are capsule wardrobe converts. Now it’s time to tackle my own wardrobe… Wish me luck!

To use the planner we created DOWNLOAD HERE: Men’s Capsule Wardrobe Planner

Want to know more about the idea behind a capsule wardrobe?  Check out Unfancy's posts here and here to learn more about the concept and some amazing tips for pairing down your wardrobe to create a simplified daily routine.

"I am Serena Faber Nelson, a television producer, writer and fluffy dog owner. Obsessed with home décor, fashion, lifestyle and dogs – I set about creating Pretty Fluffy as a go-to guide for the modern pet owner. Featuring a range of stylish products, celebrity pooches, DIY projects and handy hints, Pretty Fluffy is a daily stop for smiles and inspiration, giving readers the tools they need to enjoy full and happy lives with their furry friends. My greatest loves include fresh peonies, Dirty Dancing (Nobody puts Baby in a corner), Banoffe Pie, spending waaay too much time on Pinterest, and hugging random dogs at the park. I currently live in Sydney, Australia with my husband, Andy, and my 11 year old Border Collie, Soda. As a long time fan, I am super excited to be joining the IHeart Organizing Team!"


  1. I don't get it, what on earth is a capsule wardrobe? Better read the post again, I must have missed something. ^^


      All the info you could want in capsule wardrobes. She doesn't blog on it anymore but it's there for anyone to read. :)

    2. A capsule wardrobe is basically a wardrobe made up of essential pieces that mix and match leaving you with go-to outfits for your lifestyle.

      And as Jen says at the end of the post and Jaidann writes above, Caroline from Un-Fancy has a wonderful break down what a capsule wardrobe is all about here:

  2. Loved this topic! Can't wait to get my paws on my hubby's closet, I know it'll make his life easier.
    Ps. This article could use a proof reader. "Were there were" "loose their shape" and less vs. fewer. ;)

  3. I love this post! Serena, is this a closet or stand alone wardrobe?

    1. From the looks of it, I believe it's a PAX wardrobe from Ikea.

    2. Thanks so much!

      It's a stand alone wardrobe. The comment above is correct - it's an old model PAX from IKEA :)

  4. This is hilarious! I have the same dilemma with my husband. I am an OC type of person so everything has to be clean, tidy and organized. But my husband does not share my love for labels and streamlined living. This capsule wardrobe planner will definitely help us with the clutter in our closet. Thanks for sharing, Serene.

  5. Beautiful! We "konmarie'd" a few months ago and have been astonished how much more it feels like we have, even though we actually have less :). Are the pull-out accessory drawer and the pull-out pants hanger also Ikea?

    1. Hi Elise - yes they are IKEA as well.
      It's amazing how fresh and new everything seems without the clutter. I'm looking forward to diving into Marie Kondo's book over the holidays too :)

  6. You have inspired me! I have organized nearly every nook and cranny of our home (I am a professional organizer)-except my husband's closet. I didn't want him to feel micromanaged. You've made me realize since he doesn't have the organizer gene-perhaps I need to walk him through it! I would be oh so happy to see his side of the closet organized as well. Thanks for a great post!


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