Project 333

March 19, 2011

I cleaned out my closet this week. I’ve been intrigued by the idea of the minimalist wardrobe for a while. We use 10% of our belongings 90% of the time. Call it 20/80 if that sounds closer to you. But, you get the idea- we use our same belongings over and over again. And most of the stuff we own rarely gets used. It’s the same with clothing. We wear the same things over and over again- and much (if not most) of our clothing never gets worn.

So, I’ve been primed for Courtney Carver’s Project 333. The idea is that you choose 33 items that you will wear for the next 3 months. I prepped my closet this week. Over the last year, I had already gotten rid of probably half of my clothing. This week, I tried on all of my remaining clothing. In order to stay, an item had to fit; I had to love it; and I had to feel good in it. It’s not welcome if it makes you feel old or frumpy or fat or geeky or . . . . fill in the blank.

On Wednesday, I got all of my remaining clothing out. This was the hard part. This is when I started having to make choices. Let me stop and say that while I love quirky projects like this, Project 333 is not an exercise in deprivation. In the ’70s, there was a line of clothing called Garanimals. They launched all of their lines with a different animal. As a shopper, you could choose any two items with the same animal on them, and they would match. So, if you had a closet full of their Zebra line, you could get dressed in the dark, and everything would match. This is what I want. I want not to have to worry about my clothing. I want to (metaphorically) be able to get dressed in the dark. I want everything that I have to go together and look good so that I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to wear.

So, I’m down to 35 pieces of clothing. I have two plastic bins in the garage labelled “Project 333”. It will be fun to get them out at the end of June to see if I still want to keep anything.

I’m looking forward to being better dressed with less. I found myself wearing cuter clothing this week. The structure of this exercise is making me wear my cuter clothing more often. I’m looking forward to continuing to shed what I don’t love and sparingly picking up pieces that fit my Garanimal motif.

This is also a part of our larger journey. The “Charlie and Robin figuring out what’s next” journey. I took my children to the San Francisco symphony this week. I had to walk three city blocks in a hurry because we were running behind. My feet were killing me. As much as I love my cute black boots, I really don’t see shoes that won’t take three city blocks fitting into my life. So, they’re going. If I miss them, I’ll get new boots and be a lot more careful that they feel good on my feet. Our family’s journey is going to include beautiful music and traveling and public transportation and walking and cooking and school and children and work. In order for my clothing to come along on our journey, it has to shape up and earn its keep. And I want to be able to get dressed in the dark. Because when I get dressed in the dark, I’ll be thinking about the possibilities of the day ahead instead of worrying about what scarf I’m going to wear.

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3 Responses to “Project 333”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Hi Robin,
    I really enjoy reading your blog! This post came at a good time. We’re paring down our stuff even more than before. We miss you in the neighborhood. When we walk by your old house on the way to school, it’s just not the same.

  2. Jenny A Says:

    I found your about a month ago when looking for info on bees. I liked it then and bookmarked it for when I had time. Reading through it tonight (I’m in Sweden) has been great. You write well and I found your 333 project to be inspiring. Think I might give it a go myself. Thanks for sharing!

    • Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

      Thanks Jenny! So glad to have you! Project 333 has been great. I’m enjoying the process.


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