Embrace the Capsule Wardrobe

IMG_1340As I continue my journey deeper and deeper into the tiny life, I’m trying to balance my former “big” self with my new(er) and improved, aspiring minimalist self.  I’ve always had a thing for fashion and while I love t-shirts (the “Deep V” for those who know…), I enjoy some fun fashion in my life.  

In my short time as a tiny houser, I’ve picked up on these two tips:

First – Small Is King

It’s not a surprise that smaller things take less space, but sometimes we fail to apply this logic to obvious areas.  No, I’m not suggesting we all go on a diet…but let’s accessorize more!

Let’s face it, whether we’re talking about scarves, shoes, jewelry or hats, accessories make or break any outfit! The best part? They’re TINY!

So, donate your 3rd pair of black pants and use the space for something fun, flashy, trendy and small.

Second-  Donate, Swap, Share

Staying on-trend doesn’t necessarily mean spending extra money or owning everything.  At Try It Tiny, we firmly believe you don’t have to own it all anymore (i.e. rent your tiny, rent your land, live your life).  Donate or sell your gently used items to a local consignment store or ThredUp.  Use that money to add to your savings or purchase something fresher.  If selling isn’t your thing, swap items with friends to keep things interesting and on-trend without wearing out your go-to’s.

Need more tips?  I did/do too!  When in doubt, I asked the expert and always-on-trend, M.J. how she manages her tiny lifestyle with (what seems) an endless supply of adorable shoes and more.  

Here’s what she had to say:

While the name “capsule wardrobe” is a somewhat new moniker, the idea of having a simple, basic, wardrobe isn’t.  One of my all-time-go-to favorite books on this subject (which also survived the Great Downsize) is “Three Black Skirts:  All You Need to Survive”.  Published in 2000, the Survival Wardrobe idea struck me early and greatly influenced my wardrobe choices then, and even lately I find myself re-reading it to find inspiration and focus. In a nutshell, a really fun wardrobe can be basic without being boring by adding fun and funky shoes (check!), earrings (got ‘em!), scarves (voila’) and hats. (Ta Dah!)  In a tiny house, storing accessories takes up much less space and provides much more flexibility and fun wardrobe options than the more traditional pants/skirts/tops clothing choices.

Earring Storage For Dummies

Pinterest is full of adorable and funky ways to store your earrings that incorporate them into your room and wall design.  Hanging a half dozen (or so) earrings on cooling-rack-turned-display can certainly add a touch of bling to your tiny space.  Since I own well over a hundred pairs of earrings, however, this wasn’t really an option I could embrace.  Instead, mine are stored in tiny individual ziplock bags in a basket, which is tucked into my stairs. The itty bitty clear bags keep them from getting tangled, prevent oxygen from discoloring my costume jewelry, and allow me to dig easily (and quickly) to find the one pair I need for that perfect working ensemble.

Storage Is Your Seasonal Friend

At the risk of getting me kicked out of the tiny house club for admitting this, here I go: I have a 70 square foot heated storage unit not far from my tiny house.  I never really envisioned fitting everything I own into my tiny house so while I admit to not fully embracing the minimalism needed to do so, I also admit that my storage space provides a valued flexible space where I store my sports equipment, tools, materials for my next tiny house build, and seasonal clothing.  Twice per year (Spring and Fall) I bring the two flip-top-bins of off season clothing and shoes to the tiny, unpack them, pack the past-season’s items into the bins, drop off whatever I have not worn that season, fold and hang the next season’s wardrobe, and return the bins to storage.  If you don’t want to rent a storage space, however, maybe you can find a friend who won’t mind storing a few bins in the back of one of their many cavernous closets?

Custom Furnishing Options

We all have friends who “do stuff” or know somebody who knows somebody who can fix and make anything.  I consider these resources a valuable asset and utilize them whenever I can.  And, I have to admit I have a pretty sizeable (dare I say “impressive”?) list of resources.  When I was building my first tiny house I approached a friend of mine who ran a company that manufactures upholstered furniture.  We had lunch and I told him about my idea to have club chairs made with storage under the seat.  This has never been done before but he was up for the challenge!  What does this have to do with fashion options in a tiny house?  I now house my hat and scarf collection in the cubbies created by having my living room chairs designed for storage, from the onset.  You don’t have to assume that sitting on a large box, made into a couch, is the only way to incorporate storage into your tiny house.  Think outside that box/couch and if you have an idea but can’t make it happen, find someone who can!
Going tiny is never easy, and sometimes you have to get rid of items you don’t want to.  Don’t be a hoarder and be willing to ditch the things that you don’t really need.  A lot of the things we have, just sit in our homes and get used maybe once a year. Those are the items you don’t need.  Lastly, never be scared to ask for help.  As M.J. mentions, use your resources.  There are many times that you won’t be able to do it on your own.  If you can build a tiny house on your own, that’s amazing!  But for most of us, we need help and never be afraid to ask for it.

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