Project 333

One of my goals in learning simplicity is to continue to look for ways to challenge myself. Being intentional about change is a good thing; it helps us to deal with the many changes we cannot control that will occur in our lives.

Giving away so many of our possessions (and continuing to pare down here & there) has been a wonderful first step for me personally.  Sometimes that change was easy and delightful; other times it was harder.  It seems to me that it only gets more challenging the more you do it.  And I say: bring it on!

That’s why I am trying Project 333-the minimalist clothing challenge created by Courtney Carver over at Be More With Less.

Honestly, when I first read about it, I didn’t even consider doing it.  But one of the glorious things about simplifying and getting out of your comfort zone is that you become more willing to try something new; to expand your horizons and experiment.

So what is Project 333?  Courtney originally designed it this way:

  • Select 33 items to wear for the next 3 months
  • Includes: clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories
  • Does not include: pajamas/lounge wear, workout clothes, undergarments/socks (but don’t wear pajamas/lounge wear or workout clothes as daily outfits!)
  • Box everything else up and/or put it out of sight

While these are the basic “rules” of the challenge, Courtney reminds everyone willing to take the plunge that this is “not a project in suffering.”  That means that you can tweak some of the rules if you need to, and that you should be picking clothes that you can “comfortably live, work and play in for the next 3 months.”

This had a couple of implications for me:

  1. I am not including jewelry in my 33 items.  I am pleased with the simplified state of my jewelry and selecting what to wear each day does not take up time as I’m getting ready for the day.
  2. Since we are still having chilly mornings/evenings here in GA, my tentative wardrobe picks include a couple of light jackets, long jeans and a pair of close-toed heels.  Once we’re fully in summer I will never wear a jacket or close-toed shoes and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll wear jeans.  When that happens, I will allow myself to swap some of my items for more weather-appropriate ones.

It’s intriguing to me just how much a “capsule wardrobe” and dressing with less has impacted those who’ve tried it.  People rave about it and all the benefits associated with it. I think I’ve had a glimpse of why after giving away so many clothes: most of us need far less than we actually have!  Here are some of the benefits others have shared:

  • Less time getting ready in the morning (no time spent trying on multiple outfits before deciding what to wear; something I still desperately need!)
  • Less money spent on clothing
  • More comfort/confidence in appearance
  • Less desire to buy more clothing
  • More compliments from others

I love the sound of all of that!  And honestly, now that I’ve decided to do it, I am wondering why it sounded so scary to begin with.  I’ve compared getting dressed at home to getting dressed on vacation many times: it’s infinitely easier when you’re on a trip!  You bring an outfit for each day or a few mix & match options, and getting dressed is easy.  It’s only when you become overwhelmed with choice that it becomes a time-consuming and often frustrating challenge.

I’ve picked my wardrobe for the next 3 months, and I “officially” began the challenge onProject 333 Friday, April 1.

The space on my side of closet with just my 33 items (clothing + shoes) is fantastic!! Here’s what I have to wear for the months of April, May and June:

  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 skirt
  • 4 dresses
  • 2 light jackets
  • 2 cardigans
  • 15 tops
  • 4 pairs of shoes

Stay tuned for more observations and thoughts….so far, it’s been fairly easy.  I broke the rules once already for a warmer pair of shoes.  But it was worth it. 🙂

 

 

The Joy of Shopping?

Not too long ago, I’d probably have listed shopping for clothes as one of my favorite activities.  But as I progress on this journey of simplifying, I enjoy it less and less.  It’s such a pain…tryinglet go of more and want less on piles of stuff, over-analyzing how I look in the mirror, buying something, then hating it when I get home…being influenced by sales and advertising in stores.  WHO NEEDS IT?! Not to mention: the intentional decision to ONLY keep clothing that sparks joy has made me just…want less (and realize that I still have more than enough!).

But of course, if there’s a super special occasion, or something gets too worn out, or doesn’t fit right anymore, or I realize I have ZERO dress pants because nothing I had sparked joy, I still need things from time to time. What’s a girl to do?!

Enter a little service called Stitch Fix.  I’m sure many have heard of this, but it’s basically a personal shopping service.  You fill out a style profile, pay a $20 styling fee, and a stylist from Stitch Fix sends you 5 items in a pretty box.  You try it on, and send back what you don’t like.  (The $20 styling fee applies toward whatever you decide to buy).

stitch fix box
Always exciting to see this on your doorstep!

 

It’s FANTASTIC for many reasons.  First, no more shopping!  They always send unique pieces to be tried on in the comfort of your own home.  I believe it also eliminates a good bit of temptation to buy something you don’t need.  You have to request a “fix” to be sent, and you can leave detailed notes as to what specific piece(s) you are looking for.  There is no sale rack, or marketing.  It’s just…keep what is needed that sparks joy, and send the rest back.  Perfection.

stitch fix clothes
Pretty stack of Stitch Fix clothes

 

I tried Stitch Fix before I really began this journey to simplicity, and for me, it fits nicely into what I’m trying to accomplish. When you have less stuff, you have more time to focus on the things that matter.  When you don’t have to GO OUT SHOPPING for stuff, you save even more time. (This is of course assuming that I practice enough self control to only request a Fix when I truly need something!  Not always easy because it. is. FUN.)

But once again, I’m excited.  I’ve already begun to overflow with ideas about what my life’s work could be…drifting towards purpose and passion. Any time I can free up to pursue those endeavors is a treasure. Wouldn’t you agree?  (If you want to try out Stitch Fix, click HERE!)

Until next time,

S

Choosing Clothes that Spark Joy

If you’re following KonMari’s method of tidying, the category you begin with is CLOTHES. This includes clothes, undergarments, socks, shoes, and handbags.

I’m pretty diligent about purging clothes every so often.  But in my pursuit of less stuff, it was HIGHLY bothersome that my side of our master bedroom closet was full, AND I had a whole bunch of other stuff in the guest room closet.  One of my goals was to ONLY have clothes in my half of our closet.  I was nervous to begin.  Nonetheless, I pulled everything out of every closet and drawer.

all clothes on the floor
Oh, the joy!!

At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to tell which items sparked joy.  And the truth is, it was a little confusing in the beginning.  But as promised in the book, the more you do this, the more you “hone” your ability to decide what things spark joy in you.

 

Ladies, level with me here.  I had a LOT of clothes in my closet(s) that did not fit anymore. I’ve been working hard to lose some weight, and I’d been holding onto a TON of stuff thinking it would be a waste to get rid of it.  I practically had a whole wardrobe for when I got back to the size I used to be.  But you know what?  Almost every single item of clothing that didn’t fit went in the donate pile.  NONE OF THEM SPARKED JOY.  They were just reminders that I had failed at reaching my goal, that I wasn’t thin enough, etc etc.  I realized that they were holding me back from loving who I am TODAY, RIGHT NOW.  More importantly–from feeling GOD’S love for me just as I am.  How silly that a piece of clothing had that power over me!!

donation piles
My donation piles.  Need a hanger, anyone?

I can’t tell you how freeing it felt to let go of those things and only keep things that I really love to wear.  I gave away probably a little over half of my wardrobe. Possibly more.

In all honesty, I was still a little nervous about what I had left (or more like what I WOULDN’T have left!).  But let me assure you…when I saw that all the clothes I chose to keep fit perfectly in my side of the closet…I was so happy!

And again, even though I gave away a TON of clothes when I did this (about a month and a half ago), I have realized in the time since: I STILL HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH!  I’m also pretty sure I ended up keeping a few things that don’t really spark joy–but the more I go through this process, the easier it is to identify those things, express gratitude for them and let them go.

One of the more surprising things about this is it’s SOOOO much easier to get dressed in the morning.  I can’t tell you how many times I’d stood there, looking at all the clothes I used to have (including the stuff that didn’t fit anymore) and thinking how I had nothing to wear.  Now, if I want to wear a light sweater, I have 5-6 choices, know they all fit, and I love each one of them.  It’s delightful.  Truly.

minimalist quote
Photo Credit: Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist

Truer words may never have been spoken.  Ready for the “after” shot in my closet?  I took this photo today.

Closet After
It still makes me so happy to walk in here!

Next category I’ll tackle: BOOKS!!

S