When I initially began my journey toward a more minimalistic life I had to confront the beast that was my closet. I don’t have a walk-in closet in my master bedroom, rather a long(ish) narrow one with upper and lower poles for hanging clothes that takes up two-thirds of the space. The other one-third only has a top pole and was probably designed for dresses and robes and such. My husband and I decided to use that space to store our wire baskets for folded clothing items to eliminate the need for a dresser. All of my clothes had to be confined to two 4 foot poles and a couple of inches on either side of the wire drawers. My husband had the same amount of space.
Now wouldn’t you think that my clothes would spill over into my husband’s space since we all know that women usually have more clothes than men, right? Wrong. My husband’s nice pressed shirts kept finding a home on my side of the divider because his clothes were getting crushed and wrinkled on his side. He wears more office-type clothes than I do and needs a more professional wardrobe (while I, on the other hand, am presently sitting at the kitchen table in my PJ’s!).
What was I to do? Simple. Pare down my clothes and rid myself of old, unused, ill-fitting, and out of style items. I know how to do this as I’ve done it multiple times before. I took everything out of the closet and sorted each item into one of three piles (1) Keep (2) Donate (3) Throw Away (some things even Goodwill and Salvation Army can’t reuse). Before I saved anything I had to try on each item and check for fit. I had a small stash of items for “when I lose 20 pounds.” A little self awareness goes a long way when taking a realistic view of one’s present wardrobe. If it doesn’t fit — out it goes! It doesn’t matter how much I spent on it.
I also made the decision to have a base color. Since my hair is going silver (unfortunately not pure white like my mom) I look much better in black than brown. I eliminated all of my brown clothes (I know black and brown are both neutrals and, therefore, go together, but I don’t personally like mixing the two.) I also look great is saturated color, jewel tones work very well. Out went any too light pastels or colors I never wore because I didn’t feel good in them. You know what I mean. That tomato soup colored sweater that looked cute in the store that always ended up back on the hanger because it was never just right? Yep, that one finds a new home.
I ended up bagging five 55-gallon garbage bags full of clothes, shoes, and purses to donate. I had a separate bag filled with coats to take to a homeless shelter. When I was finished I sighed with pleasure and gave myself a pat on the back. Job accomplished!
But was I really finished? Did I truly wear all of the clothes that I’d kept? Even taking into account change of season clothes (here in So Cal we really only have two seasons) was I keeping items that would never see the light of day? Did I love everything? Did I look good in everything? Were there sentimental items left behind?
No. No. Yes. No. No. Yes. Aw, shoot! I still have more purging to do!
Courtney Carver to the rescue! I mentioned her in yesterday’s post. Project 333. I am taking the challenge of narrowing my wardrobe down to 33 pieces that I will wear for at least 3 months, including accessories, shoes, and jewelry. I don’t anticipate this will be easy and I may fudge a bit on the accessories and jewelry. I want to be upfront here, ya know? But I will give it a go, beginning today. I will take before and after pictures of my closet – ugh – and post them on a future post when I confess to one and all if I successfully completed the challenge. By the way, I plan on placing my eliminated clothing and shoes in a bag and storing it in the garage for the next 3 months — just in case!
I don’t think there is anything magical about the number 33. I think it was a clever way of coming up with a challenge – 33 items 3 months — project 333. But, it has been working for Courtney for four years and for thousands of others around the world. I suggest you start at the Take a Tour section and see what you think.
In the meantime I’m going to start on my own Project 333. I’ll let you know how it goes. If you decide to take up the challenge write a comment and let me know.