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

Project 333 Round Two Update

In early January, I wrote that I had decided to do another round of the minimalist wardrobe challenge Project 333.  Since more than a month has passed since I began my current Project 333 stint, it’s time to share an update on how things are progressing for me.  In today’s post, I share my wins and challenges, some of my favorite items and outfits so far, and what I’m learning from dressing with less the second time around.

Challenge Yourself

You can learn a lot from challenging yourself to dress with less!

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Project 333 – Round Two

I have decided to dip my toe back into the Project 333 pool beginning this month.  For those of you who are new to my blog, I took on the Project 333 minimalist wardrobe challenge back in April through June of 2013.  I did this in order to cultivate more appreciation for what I had in my closet, as well as to assist me in further paring down my wardrobe.   I also hoped to spend less time thinking about what I wore and shopping for new clothing.  I achieved those benefits and more (see “My Top 8 Lessons from Project 333”) and hope to learn and grow even more the second time around!

Project 333

You can learn more about the challenge here, but here’s how it works in a nutshell…  For three months, you get dressed using only 33 items.  Project 333 “purists” include shoes, accessories, and outerwear among their 33 items, but I chose to include only my standard clothing pieces, as that was more than enough of a challenge for me at the time.   The creator of Project 333, Courtney Carver, clearly states that it’s not a project in suffering and that it’s perfectly okay to modify the rules to suit your needs, so long as you’re stretching yourself in the process. Continue reading

What I’ve Learned from Shopping My Closet

As much of the world moves into the frenetic shopping blitz of the holiday season, I’d like to talk about a different type of shopping, the “shopping” we can do in our own closets.  I first heard the term “shop your closet” a few years ago on a fashion forum and I have to admit that it didn’t sound like much fun to me at the time.  As a dyed-in-the-wool shopaholic, I believed the only shopping I could enjoy was the type that took place in malls or on e-commerce sites.  I was always looking for what was new and better than what I already had.

Benefits of Shopping Your Closet

Have you taken the time to shop your own closet?

Before this year, I regularly purchased at least 150-200 new clothing and accessory items per year.  I bought so much – and so fast – that I generally had little idea of what I already owned.  My closet was so jam-packed that even if I spent a large chunk of time looking around in there, I still wouldn’t have been able to remember most of what I possessed. Continue reading