How NOT to Project 333

This is what my closet looked like two weeks ago.

 I thought I had culled and donated as much as I possibly could. But I was still overwhelmed. Getting dressed in the mornings took forever. I'd go to bed at night, actively trying to plan my outfit for the next day, only to find I didn't have time to iron or my dream outfit was too tight.  I also felt an obligation to wear everything in my closet (and dresser. There's a dresser involved as well.) I'd heard the old addage, "You only wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time." Well, not me. I loved all my clothes equally and would wear them as such.  Only I don't LOVE all my clothes. Some things are itchy, or don't fit, or aren't really ME. But I felt like they all needed equal attention.About a year ago, we put our 3000sf house on the market. I had to pack up all my photos and sentimental items to "stage" the house for sale. Our attic was filled to the rim. I gave away clothes and had a yard sale. As the months passed, I kept looking around and thinking I still had way too much stuff to pack up should the house sell. Even though we took the house off the market, I still felt like I was being smothered by all the things I didn't need. I cleaned out the attic and the kitchen and luckily I didn't have too much clutter to deal with. The more blogs I read about decluttering, though, the more I read about Project 333 and my closet felt stifling. I thought, "There's no way I can live with only 33 items of clothing." But the more I read, the more I wanted to see how low I could get. Two weeks ago, I took the plunge. Here's my closet now: 

Here's everything I did wrong:

  1.  I didn't count shoes and jewelry. You are given a pass on workout clothes, underwear, and pajamas, but not shoes and jewelry. I didn't think I could make a small wardrobe work without the extra shoe and jewelry options. I'm realizing that's not the case. My lifestyle is a little different than when I felt like I needed flashy shoes and accessories and I just don't like them anymore. I'm going to get rid of a bunch soon like earring that are too heavy and bracelets that are too noisy.
  2. I went over the 33 item limit. I ended up saving about 50 things. I also made the mistake of asking my husband to put my 6 (six!) bags of clothes that didn't make it into the attic and of course, he didn't. So the first day, I had a panic and went straight for the bags, pulling things out. I had a "come to Jesus" moment though and put everything back (in the bags, not the closet.) I also put the bags in the attic myself so I didn't have that option again.
  3. Last weekend, my sister sent 3 bags of clothes to my daughter. Looking at all the boutique and high-end cast-offs, I kept a few things for myself. I never said I was an image of self-control.
  4. I kept too many "fantasy" items. These are things I bought because I wanted to be the kind of person who wore them. A JCrew dress and Anthropologie dress, to be specific. I paid a lot for them, and really like them, but I can see I'm not going to wear them. I've got a business trip coming up and if I can't bring myself to pack them, they're going to have to go. 
Even though I consider myself deficient, I don't consider myself a failure. Here's why:

  1. I still got rid of a boat-load of stuff. Besides the 6 (six!) space bags full of stuff in the attic, I also sent 3 (three!) garbage bags of stuff to charity. My dresser is almost completely empty except for pj's and workout stuff and underwear and you've seen my closet.
  2. I'm getting rid of things that stayed. Those fantasy dresses, a t-shirt with awkward sleeves, stuff that doesn't fit, jewelry that hasn't been in style since the early part of the century, yes the 2000's! (for shame!)
  3. I haven't taken any more stuff out. I switched a few dress pants for jeans when I got the opportunity to start working from home, but (except for my sister's stuff) the overall count has gone down, not up.
  4. I'm figuring out my style. Luckily, that seems to be French casual. I've got navy stripes, boatnecks, and a trench coat. Flats, white tees, jeans, and leather pants(!) and I love them all. For the longest time, I wore mostly preppy clothes. Polos, colored jeans, "mom" clothes, and I never felt like "me." I looked ok, and I thought that was what counted. Well, now I want to look Good and FEEL Good. Goodbye capris and flip flops!
I'm going to be honest, P333 isn't for everyone, but it SHOULD be. There are so many reasons to cut down on our consumerism, from ecological and human rights issues, to freeing ourselves from the chains of the earning-spending cycle. I hope one day I can get my wants down to only my needs so I can free up my time for living instead of spending-earning. I want to be able to pack up and move without having to rent a whole caravan of moving vans and I definitely don't want my kids to have to deal with an overwhelming bunch of crap should something happen to me. It's going to be a journey, but I'm packing light.