If you are looking for ways to simplify and get organized, this episode is for you. Jennifer McDaniel of the Organized and Fabulous Mom Podcast shares her knowledge on capsule wardrobes and how they can help reduce decision fatigue, simplify your life and keep your closet organized.
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Full Episode Transcription (not edited):
If you’re looking for ways to get organized. This episode is for you. Jennifer McDaniel of the organized and fabulous mom podcast shares her knowledge on capsule, wardrobes, and how they can help reduce decision fatigue, simplify your life, and keep your closet organized. Hey moms, welcome to the intentional edit podcast. Do you wanna stop feeling overwhelmed, then finally get your home organized. Do you find yourself up late at night, worrying about how you are going to get everything done and not drop the ball? You are wondering where to start and what to do. There is never enough time in the day. The piles of laundry are building up and it’s already time for after school activities, homework, snacks, and carpool. Again, I’m Lauren. I too want an organized, clean home where my family can make long lasting memories and be present in the moment feeling like there’s never enough time to complete all the daily tasks is exhausting simplicity all around a healthy mule on the table at dinnertime and a family that contributes to the chores really is attainable. Stop telling yourself that you have to do it all or it will never get done, or that picky eaters will never allow for a complain free dinner. In this podcast, you will learn exactly how to declutter implement systems and maximize routines that remove the overwhelming unorganized parts of life. Bringing simplicity to your life and home. Come on. It’s time to create a life you love
Speaker 1 (01:25):
Today. I’m joined by a special guest from Charlotte, North Carolina, Jennifer’s wife, mom to four fabulous kiddos and a professional home organizer. Her business is JM organizing spaces, and she’s a master at solving your space issues and getting everything organized. Jennifer also hosts the podcast, the organiz fabulous mom, where she helps large families and overwhelm moms find their style and simplify the laundry by creating capsule wardrobes.
Speaker 2 (01:50):
Hey Jen, thank you for joining me today and spending your time with us from one organizer to another. You know, we could talk about all things organizing for hours and hours. Tell our listeners a little about how you got into the business of professional organizing and where you found a passion for helping families.
Speaker 2 (02:10):
Hi. Okay. So I’m Jennifer McDaniel of JM organizing spaces. And I have a passion for helping overwhelm moms because my mom was a mom of seven and she stayed at home and I just saw things that when she started going back to work, especially things just got a lot more difficult for her to maintain and manage on her own. And of course, kids only wanna help when you make them. So I saw the overwhelm moms and I really felt compassion for them and all the things that come along with kids and just how quickly the house can become just a burden for someone. And my focus is to just really simplify the things that become a struggle for people. It doesn’t need to look like Pinterest. It just needs to be easy for you to work in easy for you to maintain and work well for your family.
Speaker 2 (03:02):
So I just started working with friends and family and then finally was able to open my, like I finally realized that it was something that I could make money with. And I was like, really? That’s so silly. It’s just, I just do things. What do you mean I could get paid for this? Oh, wow. Uh, you make that much money organizing. Okay, well I’m doing that now. <laugh> and then I just started working on it and focusing on what the overwhelm moms with the larger families, that’s more my focus than just a basic home. So I do focus on the families and the laundry and the organizing, the clothes and capsule wardrobes, and all the things
Speaker 1 (03:37):
You and I have a very similar story. And I think it is fun to talk with other organizers because so many people just have this gift and we can come up with systems and solutions for home organization, but we really never thought of it as a career or something that you could get paid to do, but it’s a talent and it makes it seem like when you’re at work that you’re not even working because it’s something we actually are good at and that we enjoy doing.
Speaker 2 (04:05):
Yes, it doesn’t feel like work to me. I come home and I’m just like, I had such a great day and I’m like completely exhausted physically because I literally haven’t stopped moving for like four to eight hours, depending on what my project was. Sometimes I don’t even stop for lunch, like grab bar out of my purse and keep going like nonstop. And it’s just, I’m having so much fun and I wanna see the project finish. I hate leaving things unfinished, like really drives me crazy to have to leave it till the next day. But some projects have just more than you can handle in a day. <laugh> yes. I love it.
Speaker 1 (04:36):
Yeah. I completely understand where you’re coming from. And I love that you to the, what you grew up with and kind of turned that into the focus of your business with the larger families, and then that you really wanna help these busy, overwhelmed moms. We know that when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you often need help with the clutter that has built up in the homes and moms are often guilty of not taking care of the and putting the needs of everyone else before themselves. It’s common for a mom’s closet to become messy or even a dumping ground for things that you wouldn’t normally find in a closet, unorganized spaces, full of clothes and other things. And a lot of times clothes that she hasn’t worn in years or that she rarely wears your specialties is teaching people how to create capsule wardrobes. Tell us what a capsule wardrobe really is and why this is a good option for moms, especially.
Speaker 2 (05:33):
Oh my goodness. Capsule wardrobes are one of my favorite ways to help an overwhelmed mom, because how many times do you go in someone’s house? Whether it’s a client or, oh, just a friend, you go in their house and there’s like baskets, several baskets of laundry, or like the sofas covered in laundry, or there’s Facebook me all over the place of the laundry. You decorate it like a Christmas tree for Christmas. So, you know, put some lights on it because laundry just is nonstop. You’re always having dirty laundry because you’re always wearing clothes. And when you have kids, especially more than three kids, it really can become a, a real burden. Like you feel it physically. And it, it does slow down the way you’re able to think about the rest of your space. I started doing capsule wardrobes when I had my third child and a capsule wardrobe is essentially a mix and match wardrobe.
Speaker 2 (06:26):
And for kids, I like it to be really simple and just like enough for two weeks, they don’t really need more than that. They’re gonna outgrow it or ruin something that doesn’t mean that you can’t and more for them, it just means that’s all that they need available to them because they really, if they have to put away all their laundry, they have more than two weeks worth of laundry. They can’t do it by themselves. Even your teenager feels overwhelmed if they have to put away more than two weeks worth of laundry at a time. I mean, we do. That’s why we have baskets of laundry laying around as you, you know, in all these houses. So I started doing the capsule wardrobes with about 30 some items for moms. Like if I’m just gonna create a capsule wardrobe, I’m gonna start with about 30 items, which is essentially like five pairs of pants, like 10 to 15 tops, like two to three pairs of shoes and accessories, jackets, whatever kind of things, and just fill in.
Speaker 2 (07:20):
But I’d like to keep it pretty simple with about 30 some items and make it so that everything does work together and mix and match. So all of your shoes can go with all of your pants can go with all of your tops. All of your jackets can be worn with any of your tops, any of your bottoms, all of those, that’s a capsule wardrobe. And it amazing well for kids because they know how to do it. Even my two year old, three year old, they can dress themselves and look put together, which is the best thing I have clients all the time that say that their kids always look homeless or something. And I’m just like, oh, how offensive? That just hurts my heart to hear that you think your kid looks like a homeless kid. Like that’s so sad to me. And it’s such an easy fix because most of the time when they are feeling that way about their child, it’s because they haven’t gone through what their child has. They’re letting their child wear clothes that don’t fit that are the wrong season, or that are ruined like big, giant rips in them, stains, paint on ’em whatever. And it just makes them look like they are not put together. So the capsule wardrobe really takes away all of that frustration and makes it so easy.
Speaker 1 (08:29):
I love what you have said. a few years ago. I remember when the capsule wardrobes, it became like a hot topic and was a little bit trendy. And I read some articles and I think I even listened to a podcast about why you should have a capsule wardrobe and that you had to keep it to very specific numbers. And there were very specific detailed rules about how many things that you could have of each item. It seemed a little strict. So I think that the idea, the overall idea is the same, but there’s more forgiveness now. And a little bit more leeway depending on what you really need in your wardrobe. If you are working outside of the house, you probably might need a few more things. And if you are always at home or an example was, I think you could only have one swimsuit in the capsule wardrobe. And a mom had written in and said, I teach water aerobics. Like I can’t only have one swimsuit. When I teach water aerobics five days a week, there’s more leniency now, but there still are guidelines to follow. What are some of the guidelines or the rules if you want to jump into the capsule wardrobe, but you really don’t know where to begin.
Speaker 2 (09:42):
Okay. So the number one thing that I like to do is get your basics done. Your, you need number one, your pants need to fit you nicely. You need pants that work with all of your tops. So choose where your pattern is gonna be. So for a mom, I would start with, where do you want your pattern? Do you want your pattern on your tops, your accessories, your bottoms, where do you prefer your patterns to be? Because there’s a lot of really cool pattern pants that are popular. Now they’re really comfortable. They’re like a address your form of your legging. You know, the Palazzo kind of style pants, but they have the fun pattern. And then you can just wear a basic t-shirt with it and look put together. The other thing is, if you’re gonna do patterns on multiple pieces, you have to be mindful that your patterns aren’t gonna fight each other for attention, simplifying your pattern so that you have one bold pattern.
Speaker 2 (10:36):
That’s gonna be your attention piece and the rest would be complimentary. So say you have a bold floral pant that you wanna wear. You can still wear a Stripe top, and that would look nice with it. You can even put it with a leopard print purse or shoe, and that would still all work together, but you want your pattern to be focused. If we’re looking at a, just a normal woman’s wardrobe, I’m gonna pull out items that are gonna be not working together. So if we have a whole bunch of tops and they all have patterns on them, and then we have mostly solid or neutral pattern pants like striped pants, or just tone on tone print pants. So monochromatic print pants, then we can see what pieces they would go with in the closet. And anything that they’re really not gonna work with. Maybe pull that piece out and see if the rest of it works together.
Speaker 2 (11:32):
So my goal is to not make you have to go shopping fully, but just see what pieces are. Aren’t really working together in your closet already. And if you do need to start over, like I said earlier, start with a small amount of items build from there. Just start with what you know, already works. So a couple of bottoms, like four or five bottoms, if you wanna do dresses, I like about three dresses. Usually enough, you have enough variety that you can work with it. If you do wear dresses a lot more frequently, of course you can have more in your wardrobe. You don’t have a number restriction. You just need to think about, can I wear this with pretty much any of my shoes? Can I wear this with, I mean, of course you’re not gonna wear a formal dress with sneakers. Like most of the time that works for some people. Like some people can really pull that off. Most people can’t. So don’t categorize it that way. Those are special occasion things. That’s a different category we’re talking about for your everyday wardrobe, most everything that you wear needs to be complimenting the other items. Does that help give you a big picture kind of how to work with what you already have?
Speaker 1 (12:42):
I think that that is great. It sounds like when you’re starting this process and you are really looking at the wardrobe that you currently have, this helps you to eliminate a lot of the things don’t wear anyway, or that don’t fit. It’s almost like a big purging session at first to really get those things out of your closet that you’ve been hanging on to that you’re not wearing or using anyway.
Speaker 2 (13:07):
Yes, definitely. Now I have a lot of other people that have things that they absolutely love, like this really awesome, bold jacket that they can never figure out how to put with something, put it with a plain pair of jeans and a plain shirt. And see if that works with a really fun pair of shoes, like, can that work together and give you that wow piece? Like you don’t have to get rid of your wow pieces that you just love. You just don’t know how to work with them, but be creative put to put your really wow piece with something really simple. See if it works that way. Instead of having to get rid of all these things. I know that is a big catch for a lot of people. They get stuck on this one piece. Oh, but I love it so much. Or I spent so much money on it even, and I don’t wanna get rid of it because it’s a classic piece. Just put it with something simple and see if it can work that way.
Speaker 1 (13:55):
A lot of times we struggle because we do have so many options in our closets. When we haven’t gotten the capsule wardrobe route, it’s overwhelming to make these decisions on what to wear. And then you struggle with the decision fatigue. So you just don’t wear that bold piece, but you’re keeping it from what you’re saying. It sounds like when you have this capsule war, then you can have those special pieces. You are not limited to that number of 25 pieces. Absolutely. No more. You could have one or two things that are these bold pieces that are special, but when you have the capsule wardrobe going for you, you’ll actually wear those now and you will get to use them. And instead of just seeing them hanging on the hanger in your closet.
Speaker 2 (14:40):
Yes, exactly. That’s what I want for you. I want you to have the freedom to express your personality and express the, your style preferences and your style goals and be comfortable in what you’re wearing and still feel like you have some, some spiciness to your wardrobe and not just basic stuff. I know when you look on Pinterest and you look at a capsule wardrobe just online, a lot of times, it’s all neutral colors. It’s all really plain, very minimalist looking. That is not what I like for people because that doesn’t express your personality. I want your wardrobe to really express every part of your personality, your comfortable mom, life, your, your date night life and your fun girls night out night life. Like I want it to express all those different levels at the same. And there is a way to do that. And a lot of times the stuff you already have in your wardrobe, we can do that with just getting the stuff that doesn’t work in those ways out of the way gives you the freedom to have all of those things at your fingertips and takes the stress out of trying to figure it out.
Speaker 1 (15:50):
Love these solutions in of the benefits that you’re sharing with us. This sounds like a great thing for moms or parents to do. But what about kids? You mentioned that a little bit at the beginning, when you wanna start a capsule wardrobe for your kids, but you already have a collection of things in their closet, where would you start to put this into place?
Speaker 2 (16:13):
So the same way you take out anything that really doesn’t work with the other items. So if she has so for a girl, if she has this brightly colored printed skirt or something that just doesn’t work with anything she ever puts it with, is it because it’s the wrong colors for the rest of her items? Is it color that’s wrong? Is it the style that just doesn’t compliment anything else in her wardrobe? See if you can figure out what specifically it is, if it’s a piece that you just absolutely hate, just throw it out already. Like, just remove it already. But for your kids, I really like to start pretty simple. Uh, my daughter is four and she has only black leggings because they’re gonna work with everything. And she is a disaster. I’ve gotten her pink leggings. I’ve gotten her colored leggings and they’re literally not lasting a week.
Speaker 2 (17:04):
Like she can wear them once, maybe twice before they’re just completely stained and ruined. And I just can’t with that. It just doesn’t work for my lifestyle. I have have four kids. I’m a busy mom. I, I have two businesses that I’m running. I need it to be easy. So she has only black leggings. She has five pairs of black leggings. She has three pairs of jeans and she has dresses that she wears with her leggings, all of her, you know, any of her tops she can wear with her leggings or her jeans. She has has a couple of skirts, but she also puts those over her leggings. Those are things like everything’s gonna work together. She doesn’t have a lot of Navy in her wardrobe because she’s gonna put the Navy with the black leggings and then it’s gonna look like it’s not quite an outfit yet.
Speaker 2 (17:49):
It looks like it’s not finished, or it’s not complimenting each other, but any of her patterns, any of her fun skirts, any of her fun shoes, they’re all gonna work with those black leggings or her jeans. And she even has colored jeans. So she has like some teal colored jeans as her colored jeans and then her, or more in the pinks and the purples and stuff. So they’re still gonna work with the colored pants that they’re gonna compliment each other and work together, not fight each other for my boys, the same kind of thing. We, if you’re gonna do colors and a boys, boys, a lot of times, that’s the athletic wear. That’s the tricky part. I like to make sure that we only advertise one and brand at, for outfits. So we’re not advertising three different brands on all of our pieces because that cheapens the look and it just is very distracting for the look.
Speaker 2 (18:40):
So I like to keep their items pretty simple with the branding. So it’s not like flashing the name of the companies all over their clothes, like a lot of the athletic wear for kids to us. So we have more of the plain colored stuff, the plain like a solid black or gray or blue bottoms. And then you can have your colors and your patterns on your top or vice versa, and just kind of see where you want your pattern, pick your brand. For instance, a lot of times there’s like one brand that you go for for your boys. So they’re gonna have Nike shoes and Nike hat and Nike shirt. And then under arm pants that say under arm all over ’em and then you’ve just kind of cheapened the look of your whole outfit. It just looks kind of awkward now, instead of just going for something plain or simple with no branding on it, no, no names and words on it.
Speaker 2 (19:33):
That’s where it for boys with the athletic wear. That’s where I I’m really specific about that with what I’m doing. And it makes it so that the boys can put together their outfit because they’re not gonna care. Boys just wanna be dressed and done and run out the door. They want it to be comfy and they wanna go. They don’t wanna have to think about it. So take away the pieces that they have to think about. A lot of moms try and do specific outfits for each of their kids. So they have this set of these two matching top and bottom. This is a set and this is a set and this is a set. But if you take a top from one set and put it with a bottom, from another set, they do not work together. You have to put a lot more thought into getting drew us when you’re working with sets than you do.
Speaker 2 (20:14):
When you’re working with more of the capsule wardrobe that I’m pushing my moms to try and get there because it takes the thought work out. I want my goal is for kids to be able to dress themselves and look put together without the effort, they can grab a top, grab a bottom and run and their good, their jacket can go with it too. <laugh> just, I don’t want all the names. I don’t want all the patterns and things that are gonna fight each other. Still keep it complimentary. And it doesn’t matter what brand or any of that stuff. So that’s where I think a lot of moms get stuck with that stuff.
Speaker 1 (20:43):
These solutions you’re giving. It just makes everything so simple. It makes it so much easier. And as you were talking, I was thinking so many, a times hand me downs can be a blessing, but they can also be a problem and a source of overwhelm because you get these big bags dropped off to you, or maybe you clean out an older child’s closet. And then you have all of these pieces that don’t necessarily work together, or they’re not the right size for, in the correct season. When you have the capsule wardrobe going on, you can use some of those hand downs, but it seems like it would be so much more obvious to see what is going to work for your child. And then what you can pass along to someone else, instead of feeling like you have all these things, and then your stuck with these things. When most of them you don’t even end up using,
Speaker 2 (21:31):
Yes, this is a problem that most of my, because I’m working with larger families, most of my moms are dealing with this hand downs, from their own children or friends and family members that send bags and bags. Like some of ’em have literally a trunk full that they have to go through for in season because a family member or a friend dropped off all these clothes for them to sort through yes, doing the capsule wardrobe for your kid does simplify all of that. You can instantly go ahead and discard anything in this color group, because you know, it’s not gonna work with the rest of their clothes. You can go ahead and discard anything in this shape because you know, it doesn’t fit your child properly. There’s a lot of things that you can eliminate instantly. So you don’t even have to go through it.
Speaker 2 (22:14):
You don’t have to wash everything and then put it in the closet to know that it’s not gonna work. You can just look at it and see, Hey, this doesn’t go in the direction that we’re going for my child’s wardrobe this season, maybe we can save, you know, if you have a lot of items, maybe you can save it for the next season, if it is the right size and season. But if not, and you already have a full wardrobe because kids really don’t need more than 20 pieces of anything. They’re just gonna lose it, or it’s gonna get shoved somewhere and piled up. And nobody wants to do that much laundry. So I really do try and keep it about 14, 15 items available to the kid. And then I do a storage tote in their closet for the next size. And next season, only one tote per kid for the younger sizes.
Speaker 2 (23:02):
When they get a little bigger, they get two, you know, when they’re in the teenage two adult sizes, they do need two bins to actually fit all their clothing for the kids. I do one tote that has the next size and the next season. And that’s where I shop first. And when I get hand me downs, when my clients get their hand, me downs to my clients, they go through their stuff right away and they can immediately sort through and know the things that are not gonna go for their kids. At that time. You can save their next size and next season stuff and make sure when you go through those things that they are actually gonna work together. So before my clients even put the items into their next size, next season bin, which I recommend each kid have their own bin for the next size and the next season in the top of their own closet, or you can have your own CA you know, another place in the home that all of the people’s next size, next season bins are stored. If you have kids that like to go through things like I’ve had those before. Uh, but I do like them to go ahead and go through all of those items when they get them. And it makes it so much easier so that they can go ahead and prep the next size and next season as well, and not save bags and bags of items that aren’t even gonna work for their kids.
Speaker 1 (24:15):
This makes so much sense. I can’t thank you enough for sharing all of this with our listeners today. It seems like going down the route of a caps to a wardrobe just makes things easier and really adds to the simplicity in terms of what’s wear and closet organizations, and just simplifying everything that has to do with your clothing and fashion and style as a professional organizer and simplicity expert, you have obviously seen this play out for your clients and watch them have success with this because it eliminates the decision fatigue and clutter and makes simplicity possible in terms of shopping wardrobe, organizing and so much more. If listeners today have questions for you or want to connect, where can they find you? How can they listen to your podcast? Things like that.
So my podcast is called organized and fabulous mom. And you can find me at how to declutter organize style and design on Facebook. That’s my Facebook group and my website is JM organizing spaces.com.
Speaker 1 (25:26):
Perfect. I think you’re gonna have a lot of people that are wanting to get more information because this was so good. I have one final question for you. It’s just for fun. If you could outsource one home task, like cooking or cleaning, gardening, running carpool thing, it can be anything that you have to do related to your home or family. What would you outsource? And then what is one thing that you actually like doing and would continue doing yourself?
Speaker 2 (25:53):
I would 100% outsource all the floors. I do not like mopping and sweeping and all of that stuff. And with four kids of my own and two dogs, it is always dirty. The floor is always dirty. That 100% I would outsource. The one that I don’t mind doing is the dishes and the kitchen. I don’t mind that at all. I don’t mind the laundry, especially since I’ve simplified it so much.
Speaker 1 (26:18):
That is awesome. I think simplification is the key there. So, and that’s so funny that you narrow down the cleaning one to that one specific task of the floors. I kind of agree. I don’t mind vacuuming that much, but I’m definitely not a fan of mopping all the time. Thank you again for teaching us so many things about capsule, wardrobes, and how they’re greatly to simplify and make life easier while still looking good. There’s so much to take away from this episode. I appreciate you being here and sharing all of this with us today.
Speaker 2 (26:48):
Thank you so much, Lauren. It was a pleasure to be here with you. And I love talking with you. Hopefully we can do this again soon.
Speaker 1 (26:55):
Thank you for listening to this episode of the intentional edit podcast. I will meet you back here next week for another episode.
Speaker 1 (27:04):
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Lauren is the founder of Intentional Edit, a home organization and lifestyle company focused on consciously editing to create efficient and organized spaces. Lauren believes that a functional home that looks and feels good has a positive influence on all aspects of life. Creating systems that allow for the home to function more efficiently, therefore, eliminating most of the clutter and chaos is her priority. While trends come and go organization is always in style!
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