Now that I’m getting real-time feedback on the Tiny Wardrobe Tour about how scary scaling back in the closet can be, I thought a list of tiny wardrobe steps was in order. Even though committing to minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 may feel like a big step, there are tiny steps you can take first.
Creating a tiny wardrobe starts out being all about the stuff; the clothes on hangers, the scarves on hooks, and the jewelry and other accessories bursting out of drawers, but it never ends up being about the stuff.
The aha moments you’ll experience during 3 months of dressing with 33 items or less will be transformative. October 1st is the next official start date and whether you are considering jumping in or not, there are tiny steps you can take towards a tiny (tinier) wardrobe right now.
1. Box up everything that doesn’t fit you right now. You don’t have to give it away, just get it out of your closet. You aren’t wearing them anyway, so why face the questions about why they don’t fit, why you bought them in the first place, or why change isn’t happening as fast as you’d like. Eliminate the physical clutter, and the mental clutter goes with it.
2. Photograph yourself in clothes you never wear but have sentimental value. If you’ve saved clothes to remember a person or moment, reconsider the way you are attempting to preserve the past. Something stuffed in the back of your closet isn’t serving you or honoring any memories. Instead take a picture of yourself wearing or holding the item and display it. Or, write about why the memory is important to you. It isn’t about the stuff.
3. Donate anything you haven’t worn in 5 years. I understand the arguments about not tossing stuff after a few months, but a few years? There is a reason you haven’t worn that thing in years. Let go.
4. Unsubscribe from all shopping sites and stores. They will pull you in. It’s their job. Don’t put yourself in a position to have to push back. Instead, just remove the temptation; the sales, points, updates … all of it from your inbox and your brain.
5. Make a list of your favorite 3 outfits. If you could wear the same 3 outfits all the time, what would you be wearing. Make a list illustrate or photograph the 3 outfits. Chances are these are the three outfits that fit the best, look the best, and the clothes that let you feel most like you. You probably wear these things most of the time. Give yourself permission to wear them more.
6. Identify your weakness. It’s easy for me to identify closet weaknesses on the Tiny Wardrobe Tour. When I list the categories included in Project 333 out loud, I watch the faces. I say, The items you count towards your 33 include: clothing, accessories, jewelry, and shoes.” I pause after each one, and watch the faces. The horrified looks multiply as I work through the list.
When I told my sister about Project 333 for the first time, she said, “If I do it, I’ll have one pair of jeans and 32 purses.” She knows her weakness.
7. Watch inspiring documentaries. If you want extra motivation to shop less, or to shop more thoughtfully, watch this powerful documentary about what it really costs to make your clothes.
And, take a look inside my closet and watch how others use minimalism to create meaning in their lives in Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things.
8. Trade shopping for self-care. I used to shop for every event and emotion. Now, when I feel myself getting stressed, tired, sick, frustrated, or bored, I take better care of myself. My body and brain is telling it’s time to make a change, not that it’s time to go shopping. When I’m not feeling my best, I know my body is saying, “Take care of me.”
If you shop for every event and emotion too, make a list of other things that make you feel good trade your next shopping excursion for one of the things on your list. My list includes:
- Take a walk
- Go to yoga
- Call a friend
- Make a smoothie
- Get a massage
- Sleep for an extra hour
- Write a thank you note
9. Curate visual inspiration. Join me here on Instagram. I share round-ups like this one of tiny wardrobes in the world (and they are all over the world). You can connect with others or share your own images with the community too by searching and using hashtag #project333.
10. Put Project 333 on your calendar. On October 1st, another 3 month season of Project 333 begins. Your tiny step is to simply put it on your calendar. If you are curious, check out the rules. If you are feeling brave but need a little extra help, take the capsule wardrobe course. Use the next few weeks to work slowly through the step-by-step process to whittle down your wardrobe to 33 items or less.
Again, this is not about the stuff. It’s not even about the number of things you have. Dressing with less will help you discover so much more about your beautiful life. Go without the excess in your closet for three months and see what it’s really all about.