Capsule wardrobe and the hanger rule

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a wardrobe guideline that I found very useful when curating my clothes – one in, one out. When you’re doing a capsule, it’s so helpful to have recommendations that can be added into your own framework.

2018-05-20 HangersThere was another recommendation that initially I was very excited about. When you first set up your capsule or whole wardrobe, turn all the hangers the ‘wrong’ way around. Every time you wear a piece, replace it and turn the hanger the ‘right’ way around. You can then see how many hangers are facing which direction and that tells you which clothes you wear and – all importantly – which you don’t. Genius! I loved the simplicity of it.

At the beginning of one of my capsules, I turned all my hangers around and eagerly awaited the wisdom that would follow.

But it didn’t work for me, not the way I thought it would. You see, when you limit the number of pieces you own, it’s rare that you don’t try every piece at least once. And when I had done that and turned the hanger around, it appeared as though the rule was working.

But, in my wardrobe, it’s not enough that I wear a piece once. I want to wear it multiple times, in different combinations. And, this way, I couldn’t tell the difference between the pieces I wore once and those I wore frequently.

I toyed with the idea of putting a tag on each hanger and marking each time I wore a piece. Then I pictured Mr. Minimal-Lol’s face, concluding I had finally lost it! I thought about keeping a record of the number of wears per item. I thought of using one of those clever phone apps.

But in the end, I did none of those things. I went back to the original KonMari rule – pick up a piece and see if it sparks joy. When I first started to do this, I thought the picking up part was a piece of whimsy. But I think it works. Because I know immediately which pieces I connect with and which leave me lukewarm. And the reason I connect with a piece is because I have worn it multiple times and loved it.

I wanted to use logic over emotion. But in the end, emotion won out. My wardrobe is not just a collection of clothes to me. It symbolises a very real step I took to simplifying my life. And now I welcome that time at the end of a season when I hold my clothes and see if the bond has strengthened or weakened over a season. That moment is coming soon for my spring capsule review and, for me, it will bring more value than counting hangers.

Have a great week 😊

  8 comments for “Capsule wardrobe and the hanger rule

  1. May 25, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Really enjoyed the post. I could relate to it with my running kit. Some items make me feel sluggish and done make me feel like a ‘proper’ runner. Needless to say I run freer when I feel happy in my kit xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 25, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Yes, I’ve clothes like that as well. I know I’d be happier without them – just need to take that leap of faith!! Lxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May 20, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Even in interior design we are asked to help clients get closets under control. The hanger technique works when we have too many pieces and are too stubborn to admit we don’t wear an item as we thought we would. We encourage clients to have the number of hangers they want to own clothing for and stick to that. One in one out has to happen with this technique. Personally, I have different types of hangers for each type of clothing and this really keeps my wardrobe balanced. As for Ms. KonMari…I’m still not at the everything must spark joy point yet. For clothing I’m more at the “this works for me point’!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 21, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Hi Laurel, the hanger technique can definitely work in those situations and I can imagine would be really useful. I think I probably came a little too late to it, as I had done the majority of my decluttering by that stage. I like the philosophy of ‘this works for me’! I sometimes substitute the phrase ‘does this add value?’ for ‘does this spark joy?’. We’re probably all on the same page, but calling it different things! I like the idea of different hangers for different clothes, Lxxx


  3. May 20, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I really like the KonMari method as well. I love her explanation that the rational, logical brain get in the way of our intuition. So many of us have been “trained” in rational and logical ways to do things. But paying attention to the wisdom of our intuition is such a richer way to live. Thanks for your writing and reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 21, 2018 at 9:40 am

      Hi Cristy, I’m getting more and more persuaded regarding the role of intuition in everyday life. I thin we tend to prize logic and rational thinking too much and, while reviewing clothes is a relatively small thing to do, for me it proves the role of emotion and intuition and how they can help. Thanks a million, Lxx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. May 20, 2018 at 11:09 am

    The hanger rule is a great piece of advice Lorraine, but it’s interesting to read that in your case, it wasn’t all that useful. It makes sense that once you have already carefully curated a capsule, the hanger rule is pretty redundant. As you say, it doesn’t tell you anything beyond the fact that you have worn the item once. The hanger rule sounds like it would be much more useful to those who have an absolutely overflowing wardrobe and need a quick method to cull a whole lot of things they simply never wear.

    I can really relate to your relying on the trusty spark joy method. It never fails! Tomorrow I’m taking in a dress I no longer wear to a colleague at work who is the same size. She was delighted when I offered it to her and I’m so glad it will be going to a good home. It’s an absolutely gorgeous dress but when I wore it to work last week, I felt strange all day. It just didn’t feel like who I am anymore and I knew it had to go.

    Thanks for sharing another great post. Hope you have a lovely week ahead. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 21, 2018 at 9:37 am

      Hi Lisa, it must have given you a lot of pleasure letting go of your dress to a good home, to someone who will wear and appreciate it. Yes, the hanger rule is actually a really good one, if you are beginning a downsizing journey. I think I was just a little too far down the road for it to be as useful to me as it could be. As with so many things, timing is everything! Thanks a million, Lxxx

      Liked by 1 person

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