This minimalist closet challenge might be your solution to spring cleaning. Instead of using spring cleaning to get organized or as an excuse to buy more stuff for your stuff, consider this alternative.
My Minimalist Closet Story
I don’t meet many people who are happy with their closet. I wasn’t happy with my closet either until I got rid of most of the stuff inside it. Before I simplified my closet, getting dressed was a chore. Each day, after opening my closet door, the inner chatter began.
“What am I going to wear today?”
“I should wear more color.”
“That hasn’t fit me in years.”
“Is this my style? Is this my style? Is this my style?”
“What’s my style?”
“Why did I spend so much money on that?”
“I should cut the tags off and try to wear that.”
“Does this look good on me?”
“I don’t have time for this.”
“Those shoes kill my feet but look great with that skirt.”
“I’m so bored with my wardrobe.”
“I need something new.”
The conversation inside my head varied from day to day, but I’d ultimately decide that the solution to my closet woes was buying something new. A new outfit, scarf, pair of shoes, or something to better organize my closet. That’s it! My stuff needed more stuff.
Maybe the solution to closet chaos isn’t more stuff.
In 2010, after decades of these hopeless conversations, decades of buying more and more and more to solve my problems, and finally admitting that my system wasn’t working, I decided to give myself a break. I didn’t know what the solution was, but I wanted to create a little space and time to think about it … or to not think about it.
Even though people called my time out extreme, severe and lots of other things, I didn’t escape to a deserted island or burn all of my clothes.
Instead, I promised myself and the internet that I’d dress with 33 items or less including clothing, jewelry, accessories and shoes for three months. I didn’t count underwear, sleep wear, in home lounge wear, workout clothes or my wedding ring.
I hid everything else.
I called the challenge Project 333.
For three months, I’d open my closet and see about twenty pieces of clothing hanging in my closet. Additionally, I had a few pairs of shoes, a winter hat, scarf and gloves, a purse and sunglasses and two pieces of jewelry. You can see my first Project 333 list here.
At first I thought I might not have enough or that people would notice I was wearing the same items over and over again. I was working full-time in advertising sales (oh, the irony) and visiting clients, attending in-office meetings and community events. What would people think?
Dressing with less became the solution.
After a week of better mornings, noticing a peaceful feeling when I opened my closet and more ease getting dressed, I let go of my fears. As the weeks went on, I didn’t just notice more time from not shopping or stressing about what to wear, and more space in my closet, but I felt lighter overall. I wasn’t as distracted or overwhelmed.
I didn’t need to use my newfound time or space to find the solution I was looking for either. Project 333 was the solution. The experiment I created to get a break from closet chaos became the solution. I didn’t need more. I needed less.
Eventually I let go of most of the stuff I hid and I still dress with 33 items or less every three months. I buy things in between seasons if I want or need to add something to my wardrobe. Sometimes I don’t.
If you are starting to think about spring cleaning, before you buy stuff for your stuff, consider living with less stuff for a few months. Test it out. See how it feels.
If you’d like to join me for Project 333: 3 months of dressing with less, the following resources may be helpful.
- Find the rules here.
- See my closet tour here on Instagram or Facebook.
- Join me in my closet and see a bunch of outfits created from a few items of clothing in Minimalism, a Documentary about the Important Things.
- Grab the new Project 333 Quickstart Guide.
- Sign up to receive (very occasional) updates about the new Project 333 book (coming March 2020).
Now instead of spending my time and energy on clothes and shopping, I can turn my attention to what really matters to me.
If you are wondering, no one noticed what I was wearing. I had enough and I am happier and more confident dressing with less from my minimalist closet. It never felt like a sacrifice. I didn’t get bored.
I’ll trade a full closet for more ease and less stress anytime.