Dec 2, 2010

The Pros and cons of My Project 333

As December winds down, Project 333 comes to a close. Seeing as I didn’t update in November, I wanted to be sure to check in and share my thoughts on the three month process – what I’ve learned, my thoughts going forward and such.

The first lesson I learned was in what I truly did and did not wear. While I don’t think I can pare down my year-round wardrobe to 33 items – or even 40 – I know that I have far more clothing than I actually wear. Even among the items I put on my original Project 333 list, only around half saw regular wear.

I’m definitely a staples kind of girl – tank tops and tights for layers, dresses for everyday, a cardigan to keep me warm, and my boots and I’m ready to go 9 days out of 10. While I could stand to have a few more tank tops and tights than this project afforded me, I quickly grew comfortable with the quick dressing time each morning, and cannot imagine going back.

Confession: I did not put the rest of my clothes away for three months once I picked out my 33 items. I left them sitting out in the closet and the drawers – and while I did not dip in, I notice that I still had a momentary panic each day when I went to decide what to wear.

My first order of business for 2011 is definitely to bag up much of what is in those drawers and the closet to donate. Now that I know what I actually wear each day, and can better estimate what I’ll need in the warmer months of the year, I know which clothes I don’t wear and thus no longer need to hold onto.

I’m glad I left all my clothes out like that –it was a constant reminder of just how much I owned versus how much I was actually using on a daily basis, almost a meditation on the perils of excess! Now that I know for a fact I can live day-to-day with less, I’m going to quickly pare down to what I know I need.

Going Forward:

The hope with a challenge like this may have been to learn to live with owning only 33 items of clothing, but I know now I’ll need a bit more than that to be most comfortable with my wardrobe. However, this does not mean a closet full of clothes – instead, it means owning multiples of some of the staples, and letting go of those items I thought I wore but learned I didn’t. Practically, this looks like:
  • Picking up a few extra pairs of footless black tights – I wore mine almost every day

  • Making sure I have enough black tank tops to wear one every day for a week. It got old having to wash my two black tank tops several times a week, and now I know for sure I do everything but shower in them!

  • Letting go of most of the print-based tees I own. I included only one in my original 33 items, which I wear constantly, but every other shirt has languished unwanted. Now that I’m wearing dresses almost every day, I can’t see needing most of them any longer.

  • At some point I’ll knit myself another cardigan to wear – the one I’ve got right now gets worn every day. While I don’t mind wearing the same outer layering piece every day, owning another would mean this one would last markedly longer.

  • I’d like to own another few dresses, just so I have more than four to rotate between. Practically however, I’m not sure I need more, so I’m going to be super choosy when it comes to new ones.

  • I missed wearing my pullover sweaters. While I had two pairs of jeans on my 33 list, I wore dresses every day, and my pullovers languished unworn. I think that simply adding a black skirt to my wardrobe will instantly make those sweaters wearable in these coldest months of the year.

  • Jeans are for suckers. I wore my skinny jeans once every two weeks or so {when we’d go out to watch Husker games, and I wanted to wear my Husker shirt}, but I had no need for two pairs on my list. Skirts are seriously more comfortable, and I’m going to plan my wardrobe accordingly going forward.

Those of you that participated in Project 333, what are some things you took away from the experience? What are some of the changes you’ll be making to your wardrobe going forward? Are you planning on participating in another three months sometime down the line?

As I continue to pare down and simplify my wardrobe – moving ever closer to a uniform of sorts I think – I’m interested to know how you all feel about this type of project. I’d love to hear about other minimalist wardrobes, what staples you couldn’t live without, and how many items of clothing you think you could live with if asked to pare down to the bare minimum.

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