Inspiration Corner

Dressing like a Minimalist: Project 333 and Capsule Wardrobes

In the wake of a fairly productive yard sale and a truckload of donated items, I wasn’t sure what next to tackle on my minimalism journey. Suddenly, my kid learned how to crawl and I realized that Laundry Mountain was a real and insurmountable obstacle in my life. Well duh, this means I have too many clothes! Between pregnancy and motherhood, gaining and losing the same 20 pounds, and five years of jobs with uniquely different clothing requirements (retail management, food service, and offices), it was obvious my wardrobe was out of control. My closets are stuffed, my attic is full, and I’m not even sure most of it even fits or looks good. I barely even manage to find pants in the morning.

I stumbled upon Project 333, the brainchild of Courtney Carver, who first writes about her minimalist wardrobe challenge in 2010 at her blog “Be More with Less“.  For the past 4 years, Courtney’s wardrobe has been filled with only 33 items (shoes, accessories, outwear, etc) for 3 months at a time.

“I remember my pre-333 days thinking that a new dress that I saw in a magazine would make me improve my life, or scoring an amazing deal at a semi-annual sale would make me happy and finally complete my wardrobe, but it never did. I always needed more. There is nothing you can buy that will finally make you anything. The secret to having it all is recognizing that you already do.”

– Courtney Carver, Project 333

 The project is a variation of what’s called a “capsule wardrobe“, which is a term coined by a London boutique owner named Susie Faux in the 1970’s. The idea is to have only a few classic items in your wardrobe that will never go out of style, and you augment them with trendier seasonal pieces. Capsule wardrobes tend to be color coordinated so that you can easily mix and match pieces to create a variety of new outfits without taking up space in your closet.

For the next few weeks, my goal will be to minimize my wardrobe by following in Courtney’s footsteps. My first 3 months will range from October 1st – December 31st. If your post-college, post-baby, post-breakup wardrobe needs a makeover too, please follow along and comment below!

Inspiration Corner: Tiny Houses

If you have Netflix, I encourage you to check out a documentary called Tiny: A Story about Living Small.

“TINY is a documentary about home, and how we find it.

The film follows one couple’s attempt to build a “tiny house” from scratch, and profiles other families who have downsized their lives into homes smaller than the average parking space.

Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about good design, the nature of home, and the changing American Dream.”

In this documentary, Christopher Smith is a late 20-something on a journey to find himself by building a tiny house with his bare hands, and live in it on a 5 acre plot of land in Colorado. Tiny houses are just that: houses that are built to last as long as a traditional home, but are only 80-400 square feet. They are usually on wheels, in order to circumvent building codes. People who live in tiny houses are often environmentally conscious, as living in a tiny house cuts down significantly on the ecological waste that a traditional home produces. They are also simplifying their lives: you simply can’t have a ton of stuff in a tiny house. This frees up their time and resources for other pursuits, such as spending time with family, enjoying nature, or just enjoying life to the fullest without all the extra crap that we assume we need for every day life.

While you’re watching the documentary, entertain these questions:

  • What would my tiny house look like?
  • What would my essential items be?
  • Where would I live?
  • Who would be with me?
  • How else could I spend my money? Would I have a different job?
  • How would I spend my time, if I only had to clean and organize 100 square feet worth of stuff?

If you’re feeling demotivated, spend some time with the last one. What could you be doing if you got rid of 90% of your belongings, TODAY? What would life be like? How much fun could you be having RIGHT NOW if you didn’t have to squeeze xyz out of a few minutes of peace?

Maybe living in a tiny house isn’t your dream. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your stuff, I encourage you to take an hour or two to watch Tiny (On Netflix, iTunes, or DVD), or check out some of the blogs from other Tiny house creators here and here.