Quiet Closet Chaos in Two Weeks or Less

Thinking back to the very first time I moved away to college, and then remembering all of my other moves, the part of my life that was the most difficult to transition was my closet and all of the things I wore.

I don’t mean emotionally difficult, I mean a physical pain in the you know what. Boxes of pants, shirts, dresses, skirts and shoes had to be carried out. I remember countless trips to the car with hangers over both arms. And then, there were the seasonal boxes of clothes that hadn’t made an appearance in the closet in months.

It’s ironic that the smallest spaces have the capacity to produce the most stuff.

Over the years, I tried to solve this problem with high level organizational systems. Yep, I spent money on stuff to organize my stuff. It was a temporary fix and a complete waste of money, time and energy.

More stuff wasn’t the answer. Getting organized wasn’t the answer. Not even a bigger closet could solve this problem.

The real solution was simplicity. Owning less and having fewer items to move around, take care of, store and think about changed everything. My next move will only require one arm of hangers and a small suitcase, if that. Owning fewer items of clothing will make my next move a breeze and everyday in between is easier, quieter and better than before with more.

If a new way of thinking about your clothes and closet is part of your new year, here are two ways to get started.

Quiet Closet Chaos in Two Weeks or Less

Two Days

Over the next two days, pack a suitcase as if you were going on a seven-day trip. The destination: YOUR LIFE. Set aside enough clothing to get through exactly seven days of your life.

With your seven days of clothing set aside, box up everything else and hide the boxes in another room. Challenge yourself to see how long you can dress with your seven days worth of clothing. Thirty days will be long enough to prove that you can successfully dress with less.

If you notice yourself coming up with different excuses like …

  • I might go on vacation and need different clothes.
  • It might snow and I need extra boots.
  • My clothes will wear out faster.
  • People will think I’m weird.

… breathe, and keep going. This is temporary. Your other clothes will be in a box in another room. If there is a problem, you can go get them.

Two Weeks

This more gradual approach may have more staying power, but also use it to plan for a longer period of time. Following the minimalist fashion Project 333 Guidelines, choose 33 items of clothing/accessories/shoes/jewelry for the next 3 months. You can do this on your own or join the Quick Start Course and work with others paring down their possessions.

A few helpful tips:

  • Remember this isn’t permanent unless you want it to be. This is an experiment to see if dressing with less makes your life better. If it does, you can give your extras away. If it doesn’t, you can sling all of those hangers over both arms and bring them back to your closet.
  • Give up your jewelry or accessories for three months except for one or two pieces that you absolutely love. This eliminates having to sort through more stuff so you can focus on just clothes. After three months, you’ll either miss the items you stored or realize they were only cluttering your closet and your look.
  • If you decide that you’d like extra motivation, instruction and accountability sign up for the Project 333 Quick Start course by January 8th.

Saving money, time and energy are only a few of the benefits you will experience over the next thirty days to three months.


  1. says

    I am going to pack later today for a 5 day trip and having my Project 333 wardrobe will make it much easier even though we are headed to a slightly warmer place!

  2. Toni says

    I have heard about Project 333 and have been interested in participating. I might jump on the bandwagon! I lost about 20 lbs over the last year, so I had to buy new clothes. I’m not planning on purchasing more, other than a couple of dresses for church. I don’t have a lot of clothes, but I love wearing what I have. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I have a lot of it. That is one area where I really need to pare down to what I truly love. Great tips and thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    We have a room in our house, that we call “purgatory,” where all the items we’re considering eliminating go, until we are able to make a run to Goodwill. It’s really helped us to pare down, and very few things that are put into that room ever come back into use. The trick, though, seems to be making regular runs to Goodwill. Otherwise, the room just fills up!

  4. says

    I loved this the best: “Over the next two days, pack a suitcase as if you were going on a seven-day trip. The destination: YOUR LIFE.”

    I am thinking this will help de-cluttering every single area in my life!

    Hugs. Always inspiring, Courtney!

    By the way, the link to signing up for the Project 333 in the newsletter does not work :-)and here in this post, it leads to a 404-error page.

  5. says

    After following your blog for a while now (and also other “minimalism” blogs) I have reduced my wardrobe by at least 70 % – something I never thought was possible. And I should add – I feel like I have much nicer clothes now, because I’ve only kept the absolue best pieces of clothing. The best thing, now – I think I’d be able to pack that suitcase and fit pretty much everything I have… except for my 3 winter coats… Still have not been able to get rid of any of them – but we do have a long winter over here. :-)
    Anyway – thanks for inspiring people like me!

  6. Julie f says

    I was motivated to build a wardrobe when I got a job promotion. I went on several shopping trips to “upgrade” my clothes and found that I still did not have anything to wear! I am so glad I found your site! The first 25 items were easy – these we’re my favorite things. I spent the weekend boxing the rest and trying to make compromises. I settled on 33 articles of clothing, not including 3 pairs of shoes and a few accessories, since I really don’t wear much. I am so happy with my new wardrobe! I can see ways to create outfits since I stuck with a color scheme. Thanks for the wonderful advice. I can’t wait to apply this paring down to the rest of my life!