Alright, so here it is, Project 333. Like my last blog post said, I’m posting all of this as a way to keep myself accountable. I went on a self-help “kim intervention” writing spree last night and this morning I woke up and suddenly realized that today was the day to follow through.
Project 333 is basically where you choose 33 items that you wear for the next 3 months (this includes clothing, accessories and shoes). It does not include things like work out clothes, lounge gear, underwear, etc. Once you choose your 33 items, you put everything else in a box and you hide it away for three months. Sounds crazy, right? It is crazy, but I think there are a lot of perks to all this craziness. You can read about the full project here:
I’m doing this project for a few reasons. First of all, I need to declutter my life. This means decluttering my mind, but also my closet. I’m not just trying to jump on the minimalist trend, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. For me, my own personal minimalism project isn’t a trend but a lifestyle I want make permanent. I have so much stuff and it’s honestly amazing how little of my possessions I actually need or even use. Allowing myself only 33 items means that I will be saving money, saving closet space, saving time getting ready in the morning and saving myself from asking that god awful question every morning of “how is it I have so many clothes but nothing to wear?” I don’t want to spend my mornings deciding what I want to wear. I want to simply get dressed, feel comfortable and put together, and move on with my day. I want to declutter my life, and it starts with my closet. After 3 months, who knows, maybe I’ll keep going and rotate to a new set of 33 items (or maybe I’ll just donate everything else).
Another big part of doing this project is that I believe there are simply too many clothes in Western society. Advertising trains us to think that we need much more than we do, and that we’re only going to look cool if we buy each and every trend. I haven't fact checked this, but I read something on the Internet that said in the 1930s, women only had 9 outfits. That is crazy to me because I think I probably have 100 outfits. I’m not proud of this. The majority of my closet is poor quality clothing that probably comes from a sweatshop by laborers who are severely underpaid and working in horrible conditions. I’m not proud of this at all, and so what I can do to take a stand against this industry is to simply stop buying.
Three months, that’s it. It can’t be that bad.
Here are my 33 items I've chosen:
- 5 pairs of shoes
- 3 dresses
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- 6 sweaters
- 6 tees
- 2 skirts
- 5 pairs of pants
- 2 neckerchief scarves
- 1 belt
- 1 watch
Things I did not include in my 33 items but I'm keeping out:
- my wedding ring and jewelry (I hardly wear any jewelry. If I do, I rotate between two necklaces).
- I'm keeping out a pair of shorts in case it gets hot enough in Seattle to wear shorts, but otherwise I won't need them.
- I'm keeping out running shoes, hiking boots, rain boots and flip flops (I consider all of these to be activity shoes, which I don't wear often, but need every now and then).
- I also kept out coats (again, they are activity coats that I may need through the summer, but not necessarily).
- like the Project rules say, I also kept out PJs, work out clothes and lounge wear (like hoodies and leggings).
So maybe I improvised a little, but for the most part I think I kept pretty bang on with the rules.
Here are some before and after photos.
I went from 15 dresses to 3:
10 long sleeve shirts down to 2:
13 sweaters down to 6:
23 t-shirts (notice I didn't even have room to hang them all, and some are doubled up) to 6:
14 pants down to 5:
5 skirts down to 2:
And here are the rest of my clothes, piled on top of one another, so it actually looks like a smaller pile than it is, that are all going into a bin and into the basement closet:
Here is a before and after of my entire closet (keep in mind that loungewear (etc) isn't included in this photo, so I still have a lot more items, and I also didn't include any before shoes because that would be a nightmare to look at):
It's only Day 1, but I already feel like I've learned so much! Here are some things I've learned:
1. I thought that choosing 33 items would be really difficult because I wouldn't feel like I had enough clothing. Turns out, I had a hard time finding 33 items that I truly wanted to wear for the next 3 months. Here's the catch: before I even looked in my closet to begin the sorting, I made a mental list of 33 items I love. By doing this, I figured that I would only really choose things that I TRULY loved, as opposed to things I only loved after I remember they existed. I was able to come up with 33 items in my mental checklist, but then when I went to purge, I actually swapped a few items out (they were too impractical) and then traded a few more things in (like basic tees). I think the hardest part is mental: thinking 33 items won't be enough. Here's my challenge to you if this project sounds freaky: don't do the challenge, but instead make a mental list of 33 clothing items you cannot live without. I'm guessing you most likely can't remember 33 items, so maybe it won't be as hard of a project for you to try after-all :)
2. I don't like the majority of my clothing. I actually felt a huge sigh of relief when I realized I wouldn't have to stare at certain items in my closet anymore. There are a lot of items I've kept because they are nice even though I don't like them. I've felt guilty for not liking all of these items and so I've kept them. The reality of it is, just because you get rid of something doesn't mean it wasn't nice or that it was worthless. These items served a purpose, and now it's time for them (and me) to move on. I'm starting to realize that maybe these items would be better donated and adored in someone else's closet, rather than sitting in my closet making me feel uncomfortable.
3. I have way too many clothes, and I actually feel like I have the least amount of clothing compared to most of my friends. Again, doing this project made me realize that there are a lot of items I don't wear anymore. Why am I holding onto a dress that I wore two years ago? Sure, it's a nice dress, but I have other dresses that I'll always choose over those dresses I haven't worn in years.
4. The project isn't as scary as it sounds because you aren't actually getting rid of anything. So for those with big attachment issues, don't worry, you're only putting things in a box and out of sight. You still have them if you really need them, but you may as well try this experiment once. What's the harm in it?
4. My style has changed. I think I've struggled with accepting this because I've wanted to hold onto a certain image of myself, but truthfully, that image of myself is no longer me. I'm starting to realize that (for example) Forever 21 just isn't my style anymore. There are a handful of items in my closet that have been worn to death, which is great, but it's okay to let go of them now because my style has changed. They worked for me when I was 13-25, and now it's been years since they stopped working for me. I've been scared to let my style evolve because I've been afraid of it becoming boring, but by letting go of my old style, I've suddenly realized there is an entire new world of "grown up" clothing out there that I actually really do love, and it's not boring! Suddenly I'm not craving the latest $10 trend, I'm craving a coveted and well made $200 jacket that is much more simple and will last me years. It's design is classic and the quality means it won't fall apart next year. In fact, if I stop buying cheaply made trend clothing, I can instead use that money to save for something that I am obsessed with and will be lasting. Saving money for certain things is a great learning lesson, and an exercise in patience (which my slightly OCD and impulsive self could really use).
5. I thought that by choosing only 33 items, I'd look boring for the next 3 months, but this isn't true. This morning I did my typical "I have nothing to weaaaarrrrrrrr ughhhhh #$@(*!." Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in my closet, I opted for jeans and a t-shirt. I then looked in the mirror and said to myself, "boring." There were simply too many options in my closet that at only 8am in the morning, I was exhausted by having to make a decision and instead of choosing something that would inspire me, I chose the simplest no-brainer option. Some people look amazing in jeans and a t-shirt. Some people just are jeans and a t-shirt kind of people. I'm not, though. So instead, I decided to start Project 333 this morning and went through my items. Once I had my 33 items, I put together an outfit I would have never thought to put together and I honestly felt great in it. It didn't take any more work, it was just having less options in front of me, where I could quickly say, okay this will go with this and this. There, done. BOOM. New outfit. Not boring.
And so, I accept this Project 333 challenge. Wish me luck.