We’ve now come to my penultimate Project 333 update (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence!). I’m now in the final week of my first term (but maybe not my last) of this enlightening and growth-producing minimalist fashion challenge.
Week 12 presented some problems for me, but they were more in terms of my life than my wardrobe. My issues with my Project 333 capsule wardrobe have been well documented in previous updates, so I won’t belabor those points again here. Suffice it to say that if I had it to do over again or if I ever take on Project 333 again, I would make different choices for what to include among my 33 items. My thoughts on this and many other topics will be included in my full Project 333 de-brief, to be posted in early July.
But now let’s look at Week 12… This post includes my Week 12 outfit photos, the challenges I encountered during the week, some more thoughts on what’s next for me after Project 333, and a few useful links on Project 333 and other interesting topics.
Week 12 Outfits
Let’s start with the four outfits I wore during Week 12. Two of these ensembles were repeats from previous weeks and one was very close to a copy of a previous look. Only the fourth outfit was an original, and that look was my favorite of the week.
I’m grateful the weather has gotten warmer and I look forward to wearing more of my skirts and dresses in the coming weeks. I’m a bit tired of some of my Project 333 items, so I am anxious to revisit my other garments that have been tucked away during the past three months.
Hitting a Few Bumps in the Road…
This past week was challenging for me emotionally, which led to some relapses in terms of my shopping. In “Boring Wardrobe – or Boring Life,” I mentioned that I have “some health challenges for which solutions have eluded me.” Last week, I finally received a diagnosis for one of my troubling health issues, and this was both a relief and a cause for stress.
What I have is not life-threatening but it can be difficult to manage and requires both medication (which I fear) and some strict dietary changes (which I dread). I experience a lot of anxiety around taking medication (those pesky side effects!) and my long history of eating disorders makes me want eating to be easy, as it was fraught for me for so many years. I don’t enjoy cooking, most of what I eat is simple to prepare, and I like to spend as little time as possible dealing with the process of feeding myself. Now I will have to take more care in this matter, which I accept but don’t like.
A Bit of a Shopping Relapse
My anxiety around my health led me to spend more time browsing both e-commerce stores and brick-and-mortar shops this past week. While I didn’t spend all that much money, I did spend a lot of time and energy on shopping-related activities. At first, I didn’t notice I was doing this, but after going to two consignment shops and two standard stores on Saturday, I had to face the truth. I was using shopping as means of soothing myself and avoiding having to think about my troubling health situation.
Even before the difficult health news, the fact that Project 333 was coming to an end intensified my focus on shopping. Over the past few months, I knew that any clothes I purchased could not be worn until July, which tempered my enthusiasm for buying new things. As July rapidly approached, I found myself thinking more about shopping and browsing the online stores more frequently.
I’m Grateful for this Blog – and You!
Clearly, I still have a long way to go in my recovery process. Fortunately, I have my blog and a wonderful community of readers to support me along the way. Many of you have shared that my blog has helped and inspired you and I am always thrilled to hear that. But please know that your feedback and encouragement have benefitted me tremendously as well. I am grateful for this blog and for all of you!
More Thoughts on What’s Next
In last week’s update, I shared some thoughts on what I plan to do next after Project 333 concludes. Some of you offered suggestions for me either in the comments section of that post or via email. I very much appreciate your ideas and am continuing to formulate a comprehensive plan for July and beyond.
What I have definitely decided to do is the following:
Review and Pare Things Down Further
This week I will review my complete wardrobe and aim to pare things down further. I will try on all of my clothes and rate each garment on a scale of 1-10 in terms of appearance, fit, comfort, and resonance with my lifestyle and evolving sense of personal style (which has been shifting quite a bit in recent months).
Anything that is less than an “8” will either be immediately donated or consigned or placed into a “maybe” box to be revisited again in one month (I’ve done this before and it’s been a helpful way of addressing pieces I wasn’t quite ready to part with).
Mid-Year Closet Inventory
After my full closet review, I will do a mid-year wardrobe inventory. This will help me to assess how I’m doing compared to the January inventory I wrote about in “The Cold, Hard Facts: What I Have.” I will also assess my progress with “The Wardrobe Benchwarmer Project.”
Bringing Other Garments Back to My Closet
Beginning on July 1st, I will allow myself to access my full wardrobe once again. However, I will only bring garments back into my closet after I wear them. This will push me to make a conscious decision about whether or not an item deserves to be part of my wardrobe.
Revisit and Work Through “To Buy or Not to Buy”
I am going to re-read and complete all of the exercises in “To Buy or Not to Buy” by April Lane Benson. This book really delves into why compulsive shoppers shop too much and how we can stop this self-destructive behavior.
I read the book a few years ago but did not complete the recommended journaling and exercises, which are the most important part of the process. Two of my readers are currently working through the book and have reported amazing progress. My experiences with this book will be the topic of a number of future posts. I encourage you to work through the book along with me and share what you learn.
Other Possibilities and Coming Attractions
The above is my short-term plan for continuing to address my wardrobe and shopping issues. I’m also considering another shopping hiatus as well as revisiting Project 333 or a similar challenge later in the summer or fall. I enjoy the simplicity and structure of an organized wardrobe challenge and I learned a great deal from my Project 333 experience.
I’m pleased with what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown since starting this blog in January, but I know I have a long way to go in my recovering shopaholic journey. Thus far, I’ve mostly been focusing on the “full closet” portion of my mission (and tagline), “Trade Your Full Closet for a Full Life.” Although I will continue to address my wardrobe, I’ll also delve more into defining what it means to have a “full life” and start taking the necessary steps to create that reality for myself. Stay tuned!
Project 333 Useful Links
Here are some posts from other bloggers on their Project 333 experience:
- Our Little Apartment: My 33-Item Wardrobe – Web designer mom Ashley shares photos of her Project 333 capsule items, as well as her process for narrowing her wardrobe down from 134 to 33 items. Also check out her follow-up post, “What I Gained & What’s Next.”
- Glasgow Mummy: Project 333 Round-up – Scotland single mom Sarah shares a recap of her Project 333 experience, as well as some photos of her favorite wardrobe pieces. Other useful posts are her list of 33 items and information on her decluttering process.
- Tiny Living: Creating a Minimalist Wardrobe with Project 333 – Includes photos of Sara’s 33 items (and a few outfit photos, too!) and insights on what she’s learned after two months of doing Project 333.
NOTE: The next Project 333 term starts on July 1st. If you’re interested in taking on the challenge, I highly recommend the “Dress with Less” microcourse from Project 333 creator Courtney Carver.
- This course is designed to be done over a one week period, so now is the perfect time to start!
- It includes both written and audio material, PDF worksheets, and membership in a private Project 333 Facebook group.
- It’s very reasonably priced and extremely helpful! It definitely helped me break through my fears, get into action, and start the project from an empowered state of mind.
May Also Be of Interest…
Included below are links to some other articles that I read over the past week. I found these articles interesting and informative and hope you will, too!
- How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear – Although this post is a few years old, the excellent advice still applies! Included is some excellent advice from popular bloggers, as well as the always fabulous Tim Gunn.
- Refine Your Style and Upgrade Your Wardrobe: 20 Quick-Fix Ideas – A series of little assignments that can be completed in fifteen minute or less. I plan to take some of them on in the coming weeks and will share my experience in future posts. This site includes some other great articles on wardrobe and style topics, so you might want to browse around a bit!
- Why and Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion – Today’s post on the Project 333 blog provides an overview on what sustainable fashion is, as well as some tips and resources for more ethical shopping practices.