Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My first attempt at Project 333

I'm not exactly the poster child for counter culture (I'm a bit too uptight for that), but I do tend to like things that are... different. I think that's why minimalism appealed to me in the beginning. It's the exact opposite of what we're supposed to be doing (which is consuming. A lot). I'm a big fan of exact opposite. It's not that I'm trying to be contrary or anything. It's mostly that the exact opposite is a lot more interesting than the mainstream.

So when I first heard about Project 333 a year or two ago, I was immediately intrigued. To break it down: You pick 33 items that you wear just that for 3 months. But it's not a lesson in depravation (you can replace items as needed); it's about simplifying.

I mean, that sounds kind of awesome, right? Kind of weird and really different from all the consumer-ladden messages out there in the world. But while it appealed to me, I wasn't sure I could actually do it. I hadn't come out as a minimalist yet--I hadn't even begun to think about what minimalism might look like. I guess what I'm saying is that I wasn't ready yet.

But my life has changed a lot in the last year, and I don't have to think about what minimalism would look like anymore because we live it every day. (Or, I should say: Eric and I live it, Abby lives it until you start talking about her books or clothes, and Johanna is a hoarder.) But I haven't bothered with my closet yet, not really. I've gotten rid of a lot of items... but I also bring in a lot of items. I mean, I really, really like clothes. And I tell myself I don't have that extensive of a closet anyway. (Fun fact: Yes, I do.)

But still... this idea intrigues me. And that's what I've been working on for the last couple of weeks: A pared-down wardrobe. The fall cycle of Project 333 started Oct. 1, but I started two weeks before that, using the extra time as a dress rehearsal. It also took me that long to figure out the rules. I am all about rules. (I told you I'm uptight.) My biggest issue was what counts in the total and what doesn't. I mean, undies don't count, but do scarves? Shoes? Jewelry? My coat? My "weekend clothes," which includes my one pair of jeans and my only sweatshirt and my extensive long-sleeve t-shirt collection? How about tank tops, which I wear underneath my clothing?

In the end, I decided to include everything that wasn't an accessory. Or my PJs. And somehow managed to get it down to these items (it took three tries, though, full disclosure):

7 pairs pants: black cords, black dress, grey dress, beige, what Eddie Bauer calls "driftwood," jeans, denim dress
3 skirts: grey plaid, black, purple
1 dress: black/white
1 coat: black dress
1 sweatshirt: navy/thrashed
5 sweaters: black, grey, plum, orange-red (cardigans), grey turtleneck
1 jacket: denim
8 button-down shirts: light grey, dark grey, black, white, plaid flannel, navy/white dots, dark blue, teal
3 tank tops: navy, white, black
2 long-sleeved t-shirts: white waffle, black
2 t-shirts: black, navy
3 pairs of shoes (all black): boots, my dress work shoes, dress flats

That makes 37 items, in case you're counting. Well, in my defense, I'm counting my coat and my tank tops, and tank tops are practically underwear, okay? Still, it turns out 37 items is quite a lot. Except I have this nagging doubt that something is going to come up and I won't have adequate clothing, or the right clothing, or... I suppose that's most of the point of this exercise anyway, to prove I can. I'm ready for the challenge.

To give myself an idea of what I'm actually wearing (I worry about not having enough, but I feel guilty about having four more items than what's called for in The Rules), I've turned all my hangers backwards. When I wear something, I place the hanger forwards. I'm just kind of curious, you know? Will I end up wearing everything, or will I still only wear 20% of what's in my closet, which is average? (I was going to link Internet Proof of This Fact, but whatever, everyone knows it, just Google it, see? I was right.) Although I'll have to let Eric crunch those numbers for me because, ick, math.

So... I'm coming out as a Project 333 participant I guess is the whole point of this post. I'll let you know how it goes. So far, on day 3? Not so bad. :)


Sheryl said...

Wow! I'm impressed and inspired! You're so brave Trisha! Seriously, I'd have to start with baby steps... like just taking 33 items out of the closet. I have been struggling with my overcrowded closet and dresser for some time though, and maybe I should give myself a good challenge like this to get started!

Trisha Walker said...

You don't have to get rid of the clothing you subtract from you're closet... I think Courtney (she came up with this whole ordeal three years ago) suggests boxing them up and keeping them out of sight. In three months you can switch out items, or maybe have an easier time letting them go if it turns out you didn't miss something.

And probably I'm more crazy then brave. :)