On Paring Down, Project 333, and World Travel

The following is a guest post from Chau Le, a globetrotter (14+ countries) and avid Krav Maga addict (she’s training to become an instructor). Chau lived abroad in Taiwan and Spain during her college years, picking up languages and a love for exotic, foreign foods. She relocated to sunny California after graduating from Portland State University and is currently pursuing a career in Communications and PR.  She loves cookies and considers her move to go to graduate school in Belgium (and quitting after 10 days) to be one of the hardest and best decisions of her life.

Chau Le, The Traveling Cherub

Chau Le enjoying her European journey. 

We’ve entered a new year, and can put Black Friday, Christmas sales, and crowded January returning sessions behind us.   So I thought it would be a good time to write about how Project 333 instilled a zen-like calmness in me that helped prevent me from rushing to Macy’s at 5 a.m., possibly saving me from actual bodily harm from fighting the crazed masses trying to get the cheapest deals at the door.

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Doing Project 333 Without Even Trying

I first took on minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 in April 2013.   It took me literally days to select my capsule wardrobe and I was riddled with intense anxiety as to whether I could actually dress with only 33 items for three whole months.   I even modified the rules of the challenge to make it easier for me, only counting clothing pieces and allowing myself carte blanche to wear as many shoes and accessories as I desired.  That helped somewhat, but I still made a number of swaps along the way and felt both emotionally and sartorially challenged by the process of dressing with less.

Keep it simple - Project 333

Aiming for simplicity, I first took on Project 333 in April 2013.

While Project 333 wasn’t even close to being easy for me, it did force me to grow.  I learned a great deal about myself and my wardrobe through the process, including the valuable lesson that I don’t need nearly as many clothes as I always believed were necessary.  I managed to pare down my wardrobe by close to 100 pieces during my first stint of Project 333 and I liked far more of my outfits than in the months leading up to the challenge. Continue reading

A Small Wardrobe for Less Stress and More Happiness

The following is a guest post from Terra Trevor, who is sharing her journey as part of my new “Stories of Recovery” seriesTerra is an essayist, memoirist and nonfiction writer of a widely published diverse body of work. She is also a good bean cook, soup maker, dreamer, and reformed shopper. Visit her weblog where she writes about simple life, the sea, the beach and the joy in becoming more with less, probing life’s complexities.

If you would like to be profiled in the “Stories of Recovery” series (you can be anonymous if desired), or if you have an idea for another type of guest post on “Recovering Shopaholic,” please connect with me to share your thoughts.

Small, Happy Wardrobe

Terra has been able to cultivate a small workable wardrobe. 

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Reader Question – Help With Paring Down a Large Wardrobe

I recently received an email from a reader who is struggling with paring down her overly large wardrobe.  She has too many clothes and would like to reduce the volume, but her difficulty lies in the fact that she still likes most of what she has.  Since I’ve struggled myself with a similar dilemma and I believe many of you can relate to this reader’s challenge, I decided to address her question in a blog post.

Overstuffed Closet

Is this what your closet looks like?  Do you want some help to pare things down?

I’ve written on the subject of reducing wardrobe size previously, most specifically in this post, but it’s an important topic that bears revisiting.  In today’s post, I’ll share some additional tips and suggestions for downsizing our closets.  If you have other words of wisdom to offer, I invite you to share them in the comments section.  There is no one right way to approach this issue, so the more tips the merrier! What feels off base to one person may totally resonate for another, so it’s helpful to get as much information as possible onto the table. Continue reading

Project 333 Round Two Recap

Last week, I finished my abbreviated second round of minimalist clothing challenge Project 333.  I’m glad I decided to shorten my Project 333 term from the standard three months to two months this time around, as I was definitely ready to regain access to the rest of my closet.  However, I’m also happy that I opted to try dressing with a capsule wardrobe once again.  I like challenges and I learned some useful things about myself and my closet through dressing with less for the past two months.

In today’s post, I offer a recap of my Project 333 experience.  Unlike my recap from my first round of the challenge, I’m not going to share a whole bunch of numbers.  I wasn’t as compelled to tabulate data this time, although I will share a few tidbits and photos in this summary.  However, my primary focus will be more on what I learned, which I hope will be useful to those of you who also want to cultivate smaller and more workable wardrobes.  In the end, that’s really what Project 333 is all about, dressing with less and loving what we wear each and every day.  A very worthy goal, I feel! Continue reading