When downsizing to live in an RV, many people have trouble minimizing their wardrobe. This is completely understandable. After all, we wear clothes every day, and you never really know what you might be in the mood to wear or when you might have to attend an event that requires a certain type of clothing.
That said, minimizing is a necessary part of living in a tiny space, and your wardrobe must be included in the purge.
For this reason, capsule wardrobes are hugely popular in the RV world. Generally speaking, a capsule wardrobe is a set of a minimal number of clothing items that will mix and match to fit any clothing needs a person may have. For obvious reasons, this works great for RV living, and because the definition of a capsule wardrobe is fairly loose, you can absolutely change it up to suit your needs.
Here are a few tips and tricks for building a capsule wardrobe of your own. Of course, these are only suggestions, but they should help you get started on your great closet purge.
1. Choose a base color
Before you start, you’ll need to choose a base color for your wardrobe. This will be the color of all of your shoes, slacks, athletic bottoms, and skirts, and will likely even be the color of your winter coat. Choosing a base color makes mixing and matching incredibly easy.
Your base color should be fairly neutral and easy to build off of. The best choices are black or brown, but some people will go with navy or gray. For many, the most logical solution is taking a look at the items they already own and choosing the color most common amongst the majority of their key wardrobe items.
2. Donate clothes that don’t match your base color
With a base color in mind, open your closet door. Pull everything out, then begin purging items that don’t coordinate with your base color.
Remember: Shoes, slacks, athletic bottoms, and skirts should all be whichever base color you choose. Everything else should coordinate well with your base color, with the exception of jeans (which you should hold onto regardless).
3. Toss clothes with holes, or ones that you don’t wear
If you are left with more than a week’s worth of clothing after your initial purge, you will likely want to keep working on it. Of course, what you need to keep will depend on your lifestyle, but “one week’s worth of clothes” tends to be a good rule of thumb.
It’s best to begin this second purging phase by picking up each item and asking yourself these questions:
- Does it fit well?
- Is it free of holes, stains, and worn spots?
- Have I worn it in the past year?
- Is it seasonally appropriate for where I live?
- Is it comfortable?
- Can it be worn with multiple outfits?
- Do I love it?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then the item needs to go.
4. Fill in the gaps
After two rounds of purging, you may find you’re left with some gaps in your wardrobe. For instance, if you are left without a pair of jeans, that gap will need to be filled. Additionally, an inadequate number of tops that coordinate with your base color can leave you with a serious shirt deficiency.
If this happens to you, go ahead and hit up a local clothing store. However, be sure you only purchase items that coordinate well with your base color.
Remember that all shoes and bottoms (with the exception of jeans) should be in your base color. Additionally, try to purchase functional items that can be worn in a variety of situations. For instance, wedge sandals are probably not as functional or versatile as some cute flat-bottomed sandals.
5. Only pack the winter clothes that you’re going to need
Let’s talk about winter clothes. These items are bulky and hard to pack. Therefore, you will want to minimize them as much as you can.
If you plan to head south for the winter, you won’t need nearly as many items, so you may want to consider purging almost all winter clothing—leaving only your coat, long pants, and a couple of light jackets. After all, snowsuits are never necessary in Florida or Southern California, and if it does get cold, you can always layer things. This mindset will help you cut back on all that bulk and free up storage space for other things.
Of course, not everyone can be in the warmer areas when winter hits. If you simply must pack winter clothing, be sure to pack it in vacuum bags in order to save space whenever cold-weather clothing is out of season.
Minimizing your possessions is difficult, and minimizing clothes can be one of the hardest tasks of all. That said, the effort is well worthwhile once you are able to hit the road and experience the freedom of full-time RV living.