A few months ago I was in a place where I felt like I was barely making it through the day-to-day. Every day I would come home from work, get the girls from daycare and make dinner. By the time we sat down to eat, I would say to myself, “I don’t have the energy to” whatever it was I had to do that night. I felt like I could barely make it through the girls’ bedtime.
I thought to change anything I needed to do more, but the idea of doing more stressed me out. It seemed like it would take too much effort to change. Then somehow I found Courtney Carver again, and I started reading her blog Be More With Less. I had heard of Courtney before, but it had been a while since I had thought of her. I read about her minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 and bought the microcourse.
Where I was at when I started.
After having 2 babies in the last 3 years, my wardrobe was a mess. I held onto a lot of non-maternity items because I spent so much time in the last 3 years not being able to wear them. I didn’t know what to get rid of. I had no idea if any of it was going to fit me again. If it would fit the same way it used to. What I would like when I was finally able to wear my “real” clothes again.
When I bought the Project 333 course, I was just back to wearing my regular size, but hadn’t even seen most of those clothes in almost a year.
Decluttering my closet.
The course has 10 lessons. The idea is to have 33 items in your wardrobe for 3 months. I followed it to declutter my closet and even took pictures of the enormous pile of clothes on my bed. And it was enormous. There were so many things in there I had never really liked but held onto for various reasons.
I set aside time over the weekend to get started, and continued to work on it during the week after the kids were in bed. Courtney walked me through every step, not just with daily tasks but with supportive audio and video.
I’m not going to lie, I never totally finished. I didn’t get down to exactly 33 items, but I was pretty close. I started with the spring season, so I had to account for weather from 30°F and snowy to 80°F and sunny. Still, it was the first time in a long time that I felt successful about a decluttering project.
The change in my wardrobe is amazing. I have less clothing in my closet than my husband does. I narrowed the shoes down to only 5 pairs (that can cover me in any weather).
The benefits to cleaning out my wardrobe were immediate.
Try it for yourself and see. Here are my 4 reasons you need to try a minimalist closet.
- To find clarity. By far the biggest benefit I got from doing Courtney’s Project 333 was clarity. Clearing my mind. Truly, the lack of physical clutter in just one room opened my eyes and showed me what was possible.
- To make getting dressed every day effortless. It really is effortless. I don’t really have to think about it. There aren’t a whole lot of options, but they’re all things I love to wear. It makes it really easy to pick something. I even have a conference coming up and I’m not worried about what to wear because I know I’ll be wearing stuff I love.
- To find out what your style is. The most unexpected benefit I got from this project was that after years of thinking I had no particular style, or at least of being unsure what my style was, I finally figured it out. Once I got rid of everything I didn’t really love, it was obvious what I did love. The great thing about this is it gives me more confidence in what I’m wearing.
- To use your wardrobe differently. Because of the lack of options, I am using my clothes in new ways. (If you get into the minimalist wardrobes, you’ll see that outfit options increase exponentially if you can pair each top with each bottom.) I need a shoe with heels to go with these pants and I have either a winter option or a strappy coral sandal. Well, I guess I’ll try the strappy coral sandal because it’s hot outside. I found myself doing the same thing with pairing different tops and cardigans. I used to always pair each top with whatever cardigan I liked it with best. Now I started trying new combinations.
Taking that first step with Project 333 was a catalyst for change in other areas of my life. I started this website. I stopped telling myself I’d do things “later”. I recognized that I’m ambitious. If I’m stressed out, I clean up for 5 minutes. I’ve been facing my fears and moving forward toward the life I want to live.
That’s the big lesson Courtney teaches. That’s what minimalism is all about. So thank you Courtney for your lessons in minimalism and helping others to see that once we clear out the physical clutter, we make way for joy in our lives. We make room for what matters to us.
Now it’s your turn. Let me know if you think decluttering your closet could make a difference in your life.
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Rachel, sounds like you’re really “getting things done!” Down to 5 pairs of shoes! I eliminated another pair today, and so I’m down to 25. And it’s not that I’m one of those mad shoppers who can’t stop buying shoes, it’s that I have AAAA width feet and so finding shoes is next to impossible for me and so I take extremely good care of them and keep them forever “just in case” (and in *my* case it really makes sense!). But I wore this particular pair today to test them and found right away that they make a spot on my foot hurt, so they had to go.
Rachel Bowman says
Thanks Jean! I can’t imagine having to try to find AAAA width shoes! (And I do have a few more “just in case” shoes too, though they aren’t in my closet.) Good for you for deciding right away they weren’t going to work, I’d imagine it’s especially hard when you have to go through so much work just to find them.
Jean – OMG an AAAA width!!! I’m a 9.5 AA and I complain all the time about the lack of availability and options. Personally, I never get rid of shoes and I hoard them. There is nothing wrong with hoarding shoes when you are hard to fit, but if they are uncomfortable I support the purge. I am on board with most minimalist ideals but you have to find balance, whatever that may be for you. There is not sense in stressing yourself out over a magic number.
Also, on this topic I don’t participate in the Project 333 because I’m also tall and thin. I have pants that I’ve been wearing since I was 22, I’m 36 now. Mainly keep things because I know how hard it is to find things that fit. You can only let out a hem so much. Anyways, just my two cents. I’ll purge all the other things. Great blog by the way.