I’ve started doing Project 333.
Project 333 is a minimalist wardrobe project. In its own words,
“Project 333 is a minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.”
You start by going through your entire wardrobe. For me, that was a lot – about 45 coathagers full, plus five full drawers in a tallboy, plus about 12 pairs of shoes.
You choose 33 items (or less) that fit you and your current lifestyle and season, and box the rest and seal them, then put them out of sight.
Then you work with those 33 items for the next three months.
The 33 items includes: raincoats, jackets, shoes, belts, accesories etc. It does not include nightwear, gym wear (but you can only wear gym wear to the gym) and “lounge wear” (which I take to mean home-only clothing).
What I found
First of all, I found a whole lot of clothes in my wardrobe that I haven’t worn in ages. There were some that I was emotionally attached to, but still haven’t worn in years. I loved the image of myself in those clothes, and the memories I had of myself wearing them, but they didn’t fit who I am here and now any more.
Or the clothes simply didn’t fit any more. There was a lot of that. This has been a rough year emotionally for me, and I’m currently weighing in at my heaviest ever – about 20 kgs up on my usual weight.
Then there were the clothes I’d bought when shopping with friends. I’ve realised now that shopping with friends is a bad idea. They influence me, and I’m tempted to buy things that they like on me but that I won’t necessarily wear.
Then there were the accessories. Fashion magazines tell us to accesorize, but the truth is, I’m a basic kind of woman. Fashion might want us to wear scarves, pins, hats, gloves…but I don’t feel comfortable in them. I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl. Always have been, probably always will be.
What I discovered about myself
I’ve always found style hard. I always thought others had it, and I didn’t. But clearing away the clutter – which was the stuff I didn’t wear, won’t wear, haven’t worn, and will never wear despite fashion telling me I should – helped me realise the blatantly obvious.
I do have a style. My style is jeans, funky vintage shirts, leather jackets, cool t-shirts with clever sayings on them, knee high riding boots…yes, I definitely have a style. It was just lost beneath all the stuff I felt I was supposed to have to match other people’s goals for me.
I also discovered I don’t need many clothes. The clothes I love – and that I wear over and over – aren’t very numerous.
I wear about four shirts constantly.
I wear the same number of t-shirts over and over.
I live in one pair of riding boots practically every day.
And I have two summer dresses – no more – that I love.
This isn’t simplicity, it’s clarity
What I’m finding is that Project 333 is not a project in simplicity for me, althought I suppose it is. It’s a project in clarity. It’s helping me see who I am, more clearly.
By clearing away the clutter, I’m able to see what I like and don’t like more clearly, more directly. I don’t have to guess at who I am and what I like, because when I reduce myself to the necessities, it all becomes crystal clear.
Boxes of stuff I don’t need or want
And all that stuff in boxes? Well, at the end of three months, I do an assessment of what I’ve been wearing, cull anything I didn’t wear, go through the boxes and grab anything I want to wear – taking the number up to no more than 33 – and the process starts over.
I can find everything I need. Everything fits. Everything is something I love and want to wear. I’m feeling better. If this is minimalism, why didn’t I do this years ago?
Maybe sometimes we lose the truth among the clutter.