The concept of minimalism is extremely fascinating to me. People who live in Tiny Homes, capsule wardrobes, couch surfers, all of it. I started dabbling with the concept a few years ago. I read a book about it, watched “The Minimalists” TED Talk and even listened to the audiobook version of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (up until Marie Kondo started telling me to talk to my stuff…then it got a bit weird).
If you saw my house though you would never think that I had any minimalist tendencies whatsoever. Our home is over 3,000 square feet. We have 5 bedrooms and 3 and a half bathrooms. A family room, living room, media room, dining room, breakfast nook, etc.
And the stuff. My closets are full, my pantry is full and quite frankly 99% of the time there is clutter somewhere (usually the nightstand by my bed, my closet, the countertops of my kitchen).
My best friend has always lived in small spaces and has been one of those carefully curated people. Her wardrobe is immaculate (she’s gorgeous and has the perfect body too so that helps) and she always looks fashionable but timeless. She pays more for what she does have but she doesn’t need a ton to be happy.
Recently I started reading Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver. Courtney is the founder of a movement called “Project 333” in which you select 33 articles of clothing (clothes, jewelry, accessories and dare I say it…SHOES) to wear for 3 months/1 season.
Sitting on a plane headed to San Diego (with NO wifi) I thought that it sounded crazy. 33 articles of clothing for 3 months? For fun (and because,again, NO wifi) I pulled out a journal and started listing my “favorite” articles of clothing. The tried and true pieces that I gravitate towards for day to day, trips, work functions, nights out, etc. I visualized my laundry room (yes, yet another room in my house that I forgot to list above) and the clothes I have hanging there regularly. You guys, I couldn’t even list 33 items. I got to about 30 and stalled. This means that MOST of my clothes are sitting in my closet literally just taking up space.
Doing the exercise when I was away from my closet was helpful. There were no visual reminders. Just me thinking about the things that I love that I feel the most beautiful in. The exercise also helped me identify a few gaps in my wardrobe. For example I have a whole section of my closet dedicated to little black dresses but I couldn’t identify “one” as the perfect little black dress. The one that you can wear to the office, to church, to brunch, etc. So it may be time to start looking for a new one of those and purge the rest.
I was also shocked by the fact that as I thought through the 50+ pairs of shoes in my closet I easily identified 5 pairs as my most worn, tried and true favorites: My Black Vans (for just kicking around), a pair of brown wedges that work well with just about everything, gray peep toe booties, Tory Burch sandals and a pair of Coach leopard print stilettos (I don’t wear these super often but I love to wear them for special occasions).
It is important to note that I didn’t include the following in my 33: under garments (I include camisoles/tank tops in this category but only the ones that I wear under things, if I would wear it solo it goes in the 33), active wear (although I did include one pair of black Zella leggings in my 33 because I wear them out more often than I wear them to the gym…lets be real), tennis shoes (I consider these active wear because I’m not the type that wears tennis shoes out and about but if you are you should include them), bathing suits/cover ups (also active wear in my mind), sleep wear, bumming around clothes (sweats, oversize shirts, etc.), jewelry that I never take off: wedding ring, a gold ring on my left pinky, a stack of bracelets on my left wrist that have my son’s names and birthdays engraved on them, a small gold necklace that also has my son’s names and birthdays engraved on them (maybe its so I can never forget their birthdays???), etc.
The next part of the challenge is to wear these 33 items for 3 months. After that you can swap them out for other items. 3 months feels like a long time to me. I have several trips planned in the next three months: work trips, bachelorette weekend, a wedding. But hey, why not at least try it right? And so what, maybe for me its 50 items. The point is to hopefully make me realize that I have WAY more than I need and to be grateful for what I do have.
So who’s with me? 33 items for 3 months? I think we can do it.