33 Clothing items
Could you do it?
My experiment in minimalism continues. What started with Operation: Consolidation as a goal to de-clutter my life and my attic, has crept into my closet.
What originally started for me was reading an intriguing concept by Nina Yau, where she decided to push her limits and wear the same clothes to work for 7 weeks straight. Seems like a strange experiment to most, challenged her mentally. Best part, almost nobody noticed.
Then I found Project 333 by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less. A challenge to all people dabbling in the minimalist lifestyle to take a long, hard look at their wardrobe. For herself, she found that she would rely on a few staples in her wardrobe, just like most people.
Project 333 challenges anyone who is interested to take their wardrobe and pare it down to 33 items, and wear only those 33 items for 3 months, with a few notable exceptions:
- Wedding Ring
- Gym Clothes
- Around the house loungewear
So that means 33 items includes:
- Work Clothes
- Weekend Clothes (going out clothes)
While it might seem like a daunting task at first, I think it provides a worthwhile challenge.
6 months ago I was 9 years into a career in the IT Consulting business and wore slacks/dress shirts on a daily basis, and even the occasional tie. However, being 30 years old, I am more comfortable in jeans and t-shirts on the weekends and when my wife and I go out.
My break, where Project 333 comes in, is my new job I took in August, which allows me the convenience of wearing jeans/shorts/t-shirts to work every day. There is no dress code, except for the ridicule and banter if you “over-dress.”
Project 333 provides me with the challenge of taking my entire wardrobe, which consisted of about 6-8′ of closet space, a full 4 drawer dresser, 15 pairs of shoes and 10-12 coats/jackets, and pare that list down to 33 items. This filtering provides me with the opportunity to take a long, hard look at all of the clothing items that I have amassed over the years, and hung onto, for whatever reason. It forces me to make decisions of what is important to me.
- Is having 15-20 pairs of jeans really important?
- Is having 30-50 t-shirts important to me?
- Do i really need 15 pairs of shoes?
- Why do I need 10 jackets/sweatshirts?
These are decisions I face when it comes to starting this project.
The Filtering, Phase 1:Part 1
Phase 1 is basically the filtering through of all of your clothes/accessories. I began this on the evening of December 30 and made some pretty good progress. One pile for “not going to wear in 3 months” and the other pile for “would wear in the next 3 months.”
The pile of clothes I like and would wear is definitely more than 33 items, but this is just the first stage of filtering. Once through part 1 of filtering, I will go back and start to count items, making the hard decisions about what I have to wear, what I will wear around the house, and what I can live without in the next 3 months.
The Final Decision, Phase 1:Part 2
Now with Part 1 done, the clothes I can live without will be put away into boxes, not to be opened for 3 months. The only caveat I can I can foresee that might change that would be the unexpected need for warmer weather clothes, but I tried to take that into consideration from the start.
The clothes were then divided up into the 2 piles.
With that in mind, here are my 33 items:
Here are my gym clothes:
Here are my “around the house” loungewear I took a little variation with, as these are multipurpose clothes strictly for around the house, working in the garage, etc:
Here is the wreckage
Recognizing the Goal
The goal of this experiment for me is not to give away all of my clothes, or wear the same things over and again until they are worn out, the goal for me in this is to recognize what is important to me in life. I look at the boxes of clothes I packed up and realize that come the different seasons, I might wear 15-20% of those clothes. But it is the other 80-85% that drives me.
I read so many blogs, look at my own photos, always asking myself why I always worry so much about money when we travel. I realize now that is because I never purposefully save for traveling. It is always a last minute cost that I typically put on a credit card and then worry about paying off before the next trip, and that is a habit I want to break.
I think that with Operation: Consolidation and Project 333, I realize how much clutter I have in my life, how much excess, and how much excess went into that excess. Guarantee you that excess which I am selling/donating/boxing up could have translated over the years into a minimum of 4-5 large scale trips for my wife and I.
I want to understand what is important and necessary to me in my life. I want to then take what is important to me and maximize on it.
If any of this intrigues you, I urge you to get involved in the discussion, either here, or any of the other websites that are involved in this project. Here are the core websites: