Downsizing my Wardrobe: What I Gained & What’s Next.

Empty hangers – casualties of wardrobe downsizing.

Three whole months have passed since I removed most of my wardrobe and started wearing 33 items of clothing, shoes and accessories. (Here’s how I did it and what my wardrobe looked like.)

I want to share the results of my little experiment and what I’ll be doing next.

What I Gained from Downsizing my Wardrobe

- I could unsubscribe from every single deal site since I wasn’t looking to add anything to my wardrobe (or Gabe’s).

- I realized how many of my clothes do not fit me well, are not functional, and generally just aren’t a good fit for my lifestyle. It was easier to donate clothes when I had the criteria: must love it.

- I don’t compare my clothes with others; I’m just not interested in entering that race.

- A ton of empty space on my closet bar.

- A healthy annoyance with HGTV’s obsession with gigantic walk-in closets. (“You have too many clothes!” I shout at the TV.)

- Organizing tools like this scarf and belt holder look pathetically empty now.

- As I mentioned before - getting dressed is a cinch, I do less laundry, and our room stays neater.

- I don’t go to Target and walk through the clothing section wondering, “What do I need?” In fact, I haven’t bought any clothes for the past three months. (I did take part in a clothing swap which was fantastic!)

- Shopping is not recreation for me. Not that I was ever much of a shopper (aside from my adolescent years – “Let’s go to the mall!”), but I had even less desire.

- Going through the stored clothing at the end of the project gave me perspective – a bit of distance from clothing I’ve had for ages resulted in a new appreciation for what I loved and realizations that certain clothes are just not happening. I was less attached to clothing and more able to toss it.

What Happens Next

Well, it’s over now. Does that mean I’m going to get the four huge trash bags and two boxes full of clothes from the top of my closet and put it all back in my closet?

Nope. Never, ever again will I have that many clothes in my closet all at once. Ever.

Moving forward, I decided a new model of small wardrobe rotation would work for me: 33 items of clothing, shoes, and accessories every two months. I won’t be counting my jewelry, which is a  rather small collection anyhow at 11 items. It just doesn’t clutter my closet like shoes and clothes do. And two months seems like it will work better than three – the weather changes a great deal in three months here.

I moved some of the clothes out and swapped in more dresses, skirts, and tank tops for the next few summer months:

When I swapped my last wardrobe out with this one, I got rid of a laundry basket full of clothing. I imagine that after a year or so of doing this, I’ll be left with only clothes that I truly love – both in my clothes and those waiting for their turn in my closet.

Also, it makes me realize how many freaking clothes I have. I mean, really.

I’m so glad I did Project 333. It had certainly changed the way I think about clothes and my wardrobe.

Gabe Wearing my Necklace

I left the room and came back to this. 

With fewer choices families have the freedom to appreciate things—and one another—more deeply. – Simplicity Parenting

About Ashley

Ashley is a web designer by day (and night). She blogs about her attempts to live more simply and pursuing happiness while juggling a job she loves and life with an adorable toddler and an academic husband.

Comments

  1. Christina says:

    Oh my gosh, this is super inspiring! I tend to get the itch to shop in the summer because I have a lot more free time, but I basically just cut myself off from spending money on things like that a few months ago. It’s amazing, once you take away the option of shopping, how much less comparing with others and wanting of things that you do! I’m not certain that I could get my wardrobe down to 33 items, but you’ve definitely inspired me to get rid of more things.

    • “It’s amazing, once you take away the option of shopping, how much less comparing with others and wanting of things that you do!”

      YES! This! Exactly!! Though, sometimes I feel left out when my sisters are all going shopping and it’s not really fun any more. :-/

  2. I love that you did this project. It really does put in perspective what you have, what you need and where your focus should be. Plus, over the last 3 months, I haven’t once looked at one of your photos and thought, “well, I’ve seen THAT outfit before.” Seriously – no one else is noticing that you’re rotating the same clothes, which makes it all the more worthwhile! You’re inspiring me to go through my clothes and get rid of what no longer fits my body or my lifestyle!
    Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks’s most recent post :: InvolvedMy Profile

  3. I just read an excerpt from a book called Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion that was about the environmental and social costs of, well, all the cheap crap I buy. I’m really looking to clear out a lot of the stuff I have, but also to quit buying so much. It’s so easy to spend $7 on a top I’ll wear once or twice without really thinking of the implications for the environment.
    Jane’s most recent post :: Info HoardMy Profile

  4. This project sounds so freeing! I have a feeling that if I could just not be afraid of the idea of getting rid of my clothes (really, why do I think I will ever be able to fit back into my size 3 shorts?) then I think I would have much less laundry, a cleaner apt., and an easier time picking out my clothes in the morning. I move in a month, and I think that will be the perfect opportunity to give this a try. (But I am stills scared) ;)

    P.S. Oh my goodness, that photo of Gabe is beyond funny and adorable!
    Ashlie’s most recent post :: A clarification:My Profile

  5. Wow. This is very cool. I confess that I think I love clothes & dressing up too much to go this minimalist, but it does make you reconsider…
    Suburban Sweetheart’s most recent post :: If That’s Movin’ Up Then I’m Movin’ OutMy Profile

  6. I steal all of my sister’s clothes ;) I know it’s terrible but it’s like going shopping without spending any money!

  7. I love your progress with this project. I think this is the prefect mix of items, just enough to provide some variety and yet small enough to fit into a normal closet. After my pregnancy, I am definitely doing this!

  8. This project has been truly inspiring and while I haven’t done a 33 project quite yet, I have started to clean out my closet and at least get rid off the stuff I really do not wear (or haven’t worn in a while).
    It’s nice to purge and make space.
    San’s most recent post :: SometimesMy Profile

  9. I read this and thought “I SO want and need to do this!”

    …followed by a moment of self-doubt and being terrified.

    Especially of not having anything to wear. How do you get over the paranoia? :( or am I the only one who feels like that?? LOL

    OK, perhaps I should wait a few months before making a big purge considering I’m in maternity clothes right now. And getting rid of my postpartum clothes would likely be a mistake {and easily influenced by my raging hormones} right now :)
    Rachel {at} It’s a Hero’s most recent post :: oh baby! 26 weeks!My Profile

  10. I’ve been googling for project 333 experiences, and the more i read, the more it seems like the most sensible thing to do! The results you wrote, particularly the lessened desire to buy clothes (which constantlyplagues me, even if i actually don’t buy that much), are really inspiring!

  11. Just stumbled upon your website and let me just say I am obsessed! It is just wonderful!
    You have a new loyal follower :)

  12. I just stumbled upon your blog and let me just say I am OBSESSED! It is wonderful! As a new mom I need this in my life! Thanks so much for sharing.
    -Your latest fan
    Sarah Rose Storm’s most recent post :: Winter Romance Personalized Custom Initals Large Archival Print by CreatedByStormMy Profile

  13. The cutest last photo!!! I like doing less laundry too.
    lisacng @ expandng.com’s most recent post :: Why does my two year old have PMS?My Profile

Trackbacks

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