Creating a tiny wardrobe starts out being heavily focused on the stuff; the clothes on hangers, your favorite pair of shoes, scarves on hooks, jewelry and other accessories bursting out of drawers and boxes, but it never ends up being about the stuff. The first time I tried minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 was in October of 2010. I thought my tiny wardrobe would last for three months, the duration of the challenge. Instead, because I enjoyed the benefits of dressing with less so much, I still dress with 33 items or less every three months (13 years later).
The aha moments you’ll experience during three months of dressing with 33 items or less will be transformative. Say goodbye to decision fatigue and feeling overwhelmed with closet chaos and say hello to more confidence in your own personal style, saving money and more peaceful mornings as you get ready for the day. If you are curious about Project 333, but aren’t quite ready to jump in, here are 10 tiny steps to take towards your tiny wardrobe. You don’t have to do them all but they will each get you closer to starting minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 or closer to having a tiny wardrobe.
10 Tiny Steps to Take Towards Your Tiny Wardrobe
1. Box up everything that doesn’t fit your body or your lifestyle.
You don’t have to give it away, just get it out of your closet and hide it for awhile. You aren’t wearing them anyway, so why face the questions about why they don’t fit or why you bought them in the first place. Eliminate the physical clutter, and the mental clutter goes with it. Tiny wardrobe beginners notice a big difference when they hide the things that aren’t important to them.
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. This is about love, not 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 to click; the sales, points, updates … all of it from your inbox and your brain. Instead of focusing on what you need or what you want, take a look at what you have. If you want to simplify your closet, check out the 10 items professionals say make your closet feel cluttered.
5. Make a list of your favorite 3 outfits.
If you could wear the same three outfits all the time, what would you be wearing. Make a list and 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. Don’t worry about a wider range of looks or the quantity of your choices. Give yourself permission to wear your favorite things every day.
6. Identify your weakness.
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. What’s yours? Consider your preferences too. Your capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to look like the ones you see on Pinterest or Facebook. Wear dresses and skirts or pants and blazers. Wear solids, neutrals, stripes or patterns. You really can’t do it wrong if you wear what you enjoy.
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. 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 me it’s time to make a change, not that it’s time add to cart or add to my tiny wardrobe. 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. When you feel like shopping, check your list and trade shopping for self-care. My list includes:
- Take a walk
- Get on the mat
- Call a friend
- Make a smoothie
- Sleep for an extra hour
- Take a bath
- Write a thank you note
9. Curate visual inspiration.
Join me here on Instagram for inspiration to dress with less and simplify your life. You can connect with others or share your own images with the community too by searching and using hashtag #project333. Additionally, read other blog posts about tiny wardrobes and Project 333. Project 333 is on Pinterest too!
10. Put Project 333 on your calendar.
Project 333: The Rules
Every three months. New seasons start on Jan. 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1, but you can start anytime. 33 items will be enough for any 3 months.
33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
These items are not counted as part of your 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (as long as your workout clothing is working out)
Choose your 33 items, box up the rest of your wardrobe, seal it with tape and put it out of sight for three months. Do it on your own or take the course.
You are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.
You might be thinking, “I could never get to 33 items in my wardrobe” but remember, this is a three month challenge, not a life time commitment. Dressing with less will help you discover so much more about what you want and need in your closet and in your life. Go without the excess in your closet for three months and see what it’s really all about.