For months (years? my whole life?) I have had low level stressful feelings on opening my wardrobe and deciding what to wear. I thought it was just me, a combination of social anxiety and a dissatisfaction with my body.
Some time in December, during my quest to discover a simple more minimal life, I stumbled across Project 333.
The challenge was simple: reduce your wardrobe to 33 items and wear just those items for 3 months.
There were other optional rules, but I decided to keep my own Project 333 challenge as simple as possible.
I went to my wardrobe and quickly assessed the situation.
Step 1: I threw away all broken, stained, or heavily worn items.
Step 2: I took out everything that did not fit and divided the piles into two categories; doesn’t fit and don’t ever want to wear, and doesn’t fit just now but would like to wear one day. The former was donated, the latter was placed into a large black suitcase.
Step 3: I removed everything seasonal that did not match the season we were in (Winter). This meant that all linen trousers, sandals and summer clothing was placed neatly into the case.
I decided that anything which did not fit in the case would be further minimised. I went back through and donated a few more items that I did not love.
Step 4: I donated any clothes and shoes that fitted, but that I did not wish to wear – i.e. items that I had purchased in error.
What I was left with was already fairly minimal. I removed everything else and one by one I selected items that I wore ‘very regularly’, pieces that I loved, and items that fitted the season perfectly. I tried to also consider my new capsule wardrobe as a whole to ensure everything mixed and matched.
My immediate feeling was a sense of relief. I liked the look of my new capsule wardrobe. It became very clear to me (after years of confusion) that I did have a personal style, and once the noise was removed, I could finally see it, and build upon it.
This was my wardrobe post purge. I placed the suitcase inside the wardrobe along with a sealed holdall of shoes (ones that were not counted within my 33 items). I began to live my life.
Every day I got up, and with ease, selected an outfit to wear. For once I felt no stress. I didn’t feel disappointed at the way I looked or depressed I wasn’t a stone lighter. In fact, I felt much better. I wondered if I could get through a whole three months…
During my first three months I have required outfits for casual socialising, meals out, Christmas, and jury service. From these 33 items I have been able to assemble an outfit for EVERY occasion. I am a little shocked, I was convinced I’d have to dip into the case at some point.
Instead of focusing on what I’m going to wear and how I look, I focus on the experience of what I’m doing that day, and who I am with. I have stopped worrying about what to wear, because I simply wear what is clean, ironed, and hung up.
I am approaching the end of the initial three month challenge and I can’t imagine having my wardrobe any other way now. During my refresh week I am going to remove anything old and worn. I’m going to revisit my case and top up with items from my case that will complement the Spring season, and then I will assess my wardrobe as a whole to see if I need to purchase any key items to pull it all together. Then I will forget all about it for another three months.
Over the last three months I have purchased one item of clothing; a white jumper £22 – my entire spending on clothes. While the object of the challenge was for simplicity, I have also saved a significant amount of money too.
Could you live with just 33 items of clothing for 3 months?