Let me whine for a second:
Starting a minimalist lifestyle is hard.
As much as I would like to get rid of half my stuff, I need more direction. Sure, I’ve started to throw away and donate a lot of my un-used and un-loved posessions. I try really hard not to buy any junk.
But how do you start a minimalist lifestyle?
For me, the first breakthrough came when I found Project 333 on Be More with Less. The challenge is for participants to wear 33 items of clothing for 3 months – October 1 to December 31. (This doesn’t include workout clothes or pajamas.) Previously, I had gotten rid of many items of clothing. How much harder would it be to streamline it down to 33 items?
Pretty easy actually. Many of my clothes are similar colors (black, grey, purple/orchid), so I know that they coordinate well. I picked items that would mix and match easily so I would have lots of options. Everything else is boxed up in my closet, awaiting review in January when they will either be re-instated into my wardrobe or donated.
How has it been?
1) Every day I wear clothes that I love. When you’ve only got 33 pieces, you pick the ones you love. Why wouldn’t you? I love getting dressed and wearing my clothes. And I have received a lot more compliments than before.
2) This is definitely “enough” clothes for me. I look forward to January when I can edit my collection (and add a few different pieces), but I am planning on sticking to this number. I love having many options, but it’s also nice to know exactly where every piece of clothing is, where its “spot” is in my closet, and remember when I wore it last.
3) I am saving time and $$$ by not buying. I never realized how much energy I put into shopping until I stopped doing it. I have been able to get many more things done in my life when I have an extra 3-4 hours per week to work on other projects. I don’t clearly remember if I would shop that much each weekend, but I was definitely getting to the stores at least 2-3 times per month. And trying to figure out the best product, the best sales, the best time to beat the crowds, etc. What a lot of pressure!
4) I have been able to evaluate what I have and what I would like to have going forward. Call it refinement, I guess, but since I know exactly what I have already, I have been able to consider (for 2.5 months now) what new items would really enhance and improve what I have. In January, I will probably keep the dresses that I have, but I would like to find a better quality pair of jeans and maybe a new (to me) suit for work.
5) I am actually wearing out my clothes! When was the last time you wore something until it literally fell apart? I think I began noticing this about a month ago when I realized that the elbows of my black blazer were worn through. Not torn – the fabric was actually worn through. Then I noticed that the buttons were coming off of my coat. And then my flats stopped keeping water out. I felt frustrated because I think that clothes should be able to handle whatever wear and tear they are put through at my cubicle job. But then I realized that maybe I am honestly wearing them that much.
(I am planning to patch the elbows of the blazer with some cute/hipster patches. I have already sewn new buttons on the jacket. The shoes will have to be replaced.)
The great thing about this project is that it is teaching me so many of the benefits and rewards of minimalism. My goal is to apply these same principles to other parts of my life and see if they will have the same result. It might be slightly more difficult to apply to other things in my life (ie my kitchen or my crafting closet), but I am willing to give it a shot.
I would love to hear what you guys have done to begin the process of minimizing. Any insights for those of us just starting out?
Without further ado, The List*:
1. Black dress
2. Orchid floral dress
3. Purple dress
4. Red modern floral dress
5. White diamond shirt
6. Grey circle shirt
7. Lavender shirt
8. Purple floral shirt
9. Black pencil skirt
10. Herringbone skirt
11. Black pants
12. Gap jeans
13. Levi’s jeans
14. Black blazer
15. Grey blazer
16. Black cardigan
17. Grey cardigan
18. Purple/black cardigan
19. Black scarf
20. Orchid scarf
21. Black boots
22. Black heels
23. Silver flats
24. Black tights
25 Black polka dot tights
26. Black chevron tights
27. Black leggings
28. Grey cami
29. Black belt
30. Black purse
31. Red sweater (for volunteering uniform)
32. Grey outdoor coat
33. Black jacquard coat
*You can call me a big fat cheater because I am not following one of the main rules of the challenge: counting jewelry. My philosophy is that I can mix and match my clothes only so much, and jewelry is a major component for keeping outfits fresh.
Also items that have a specific purpose (ie rain boots, snow boots, umbrellas, etc.) I did not count. If my health, safety, and protection from the elements is threatened, I figure that’s a rule that can bend.