I’ve been experimenting with the Project 333 minimalist fashion challenge established by Courtney Carver from Be More with Less.
I must say the outcome and benefits have truly blown my mind.
I’m not a minimalist by any stretch of the word, but I do believe in only holding onto those things that are actually used and useful for my family. I know first-hand how beneficial eliminating unnecessary clutter from your life is and hence I spend my working hours promoting this to my clients and anyone else who will listen.
Okay, so what is Project 333? To give you a background, I built a capsule wardrobe of 33 items of clothing for myself and each of my 3 daughters a 3-month period. I left my my husbands wardrobe alone. I chose to begin in Oct, Nov & Dec. The 33 items excluded school uniform, underwear, socks/tights and PJs – but included everything else! In my own wardrobe, I didn’t quite pair it down to exactly 33 items. If I was to follow the challenge to the letter, I would have included my shoes, jewellery, scarves and other accessories within the 33 items, but considering I’d already organised these items so that they were not taking up space, getting in the way or making my life more difficult in any way, I chose to exclude them.
My initial motivation for trialling the Project 333 minimalist fashion challenge was not for me personally, but so that I can talk to the concept of having a capsule wardrobe and this particular wardrobe challenge to my clients from a place of experience. From heavily decluttering other areas of my home and my clients homes, I knew what to expect. BUT, here’s the big BUT, I honestly didn’t anticipate so many other little knock-on effects.
The benefits really surprised me, so much so that I have been spouting the benefits to anyone that will listen.
The benefits of a minimalist wardrobe that I DID ANTICIPATE
1. LESS LAUNDRY TO WASH, FOLD & PUT AWAY
Now that is pretty obvious, you have less clothing, so of course, there will be less laundry. It has really broken down the laundry simple and manageable quantities. The time taken for each step of the wash, dry, put away process has been reduced. On a really bad week, when I haven’t washed anything all week and every item of clothing we own is in the wash, I am looking at less than 200 items for my family of 5. According to appliances online, 1kg of laundry is approx. 5 shirts, so in my 8kg washer that would be roughly 5 loads of washing to wash ALL of the clothing our family owns. Plus, a load of school uniforms and our smalls.
2. SAVING MONEY
I’ve stopped impulse buying clothes, in fact, I’ve stopped going shopping as an ‘outing’ or as something fun to do online. I’m now shopping with a purpose.
3. MORE TIME JUST BEING WITH MY FAMILY
Rather than spending all of Sunday afternoon folding and putting away my families’ clothes (my usual routine), I’m now finding that I have time to sit down on a Sunday afternoon to watch a family movie. I mean really sit down, cuddle my kids and focus only on the movie, rather than doing the laundry in the same room whilst my children watch a movie. I am really enjoying the extra cuddle time with my daughters.
4. LESS OVERWHELM
Choosing what to wear each day is now much easier. I know everything in my wardrobe fits, suits my body shape and works with other items in the wardrobe. I did hire a Stylist, the lovely Janette Wojtaszak to help pull together my capsule wardrobe. Such a fun experience - you can read about my experience with Janette here.
Here are the SURPRISE BENEFITS of a minimalist wardrobe (and in my opinion, some of the best ones)
1. I FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF
My outfits are more pulled together. It makes me want to make a little more effort into my appearance and step away from my mummy uniform of jeans and a tee and wear a few more dresses. Almost every time I do, I get complimented by someone which is an unsual surprise and a great confidence builder. My wardrobe is not restrictive at all!
2. MY DAUGHTER'S BEDROOMS ARE REMAINING TIDY FOR LONGER
This is probably the most surprising benefit of the whole experiment! My daughters have stopped taking their clean clothes out of their drawers and leaving them on the floor. Yep! It’s so obvious in hindsight, that of course my kids are going to have to pull everything out to find what they are looking for when the space is jam-packed full of clothing and kids being kids are rarely going to put things away without being asked. But by reducing their clothing so drastically that there are only about 5 t-shirt options in the drawer (instead of 30), there is no longer any need for them to pull everything out to find the 'right' one. The clothes stay in the drawer! Happy Mum! This alone is enough to make the whole experiment worthwhile.
3. IT'S EASIER FOR MY CHILDREN TO PUT THEIR CLOTHES AWAY
Even if they happen to wear every item of clothing in their wardrobe in a week, it’s only a couple of small piles of clean clothes for each child to put away. Then because the drawers and wardrobe are not already overloaded it is very easy for them put away each item properly. Putting their clothes away has changed from a fight to get them to do it, to something that they just do when asked. Amazeballs.
4. MY DAUGHTERS ARE CLOTHING CHOICES ARE MORE PULLED TOGETHER
I had considered this from a personal perspective but didn’t consider the impact on my children. Being 5, 7 and 9 years old, I don’t really have a lot of say in what my daughters choose to wear anymore (much to my dismay), but I am really enjoying the fact that because they have a lot less choice in their wardrobe, rather than wearing the mismatched hand-me down leggings and old t-shirts, they are choosing to wear outfits that we would have previously reserved to go out somewhere special, to parties or to dinner as their everyday wear. I thought it may stress me out a little, but I’m actually enjoying that these outfits are finally being worn.
5. MY CHILDREN ARE NOT WEARING AS MANY OUTFITS
My eldest daughter (who is almost 10) is now choosing to wear the same outfit again for consecutive days (when it wasn’t dirty). Normally, it would be me questioning why she put on a new outfit when the one she only wore for a couple of hours after school the previous day was still clean. It may be because she is maturing, but I’m also assuming that as there is less choice, that she understands she needs to keep some outfits clean for the remainder of the week.
It now 9 months on since I started the Project 333 experiment and whilst I find the outcomes so beneficial to my family, I do find that I need to really make an effort to revisit our wardrobe as the seasons change (which has been difficult with the unpredictability of the Canberra weather these past few months). I’ve noticed that if I don’t continually edit, as we introduce new items of clothing without pulling out some others, we (mainly my children) fall back into our old habits – clean and folded washing not put away, clean clothes being pulled out of drawers/wardrobes and left all over the floor and my daughters are wearing odd mismatched clothing again.
These reasons alone are enough incentive for me to make a permanent switch to a minimalist wardrobe. I won’t be keeping with the 33 items rule, but rather it will be a number that works for my family, but never the less we will be continuing with more of a minimalist wardrobe.
If you are finding the whole laundry process overwhelming, even if you don’t go as extreme as I did with my family, I highly recommend giving the Project 333 minimalist fashion challenge a try. I'm happy to talk you through it - just give me a call.