Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Project 333: 3 Months in Review

Well the very first Phase of my Project 333 drew to a close last week. I have to say, it almost went by without notice. Life carried on as usual and the next day, even though I was officially released from the bonds of my P333 commitment, I continued dressing from my core 33 wardrobe. I mean, what did you expect I would do...ravage the boxes of clothes I had packed away, or perhaps run out to the mall for a new outfit? :) Ha! Well, the urge for neither ever hit.
The Lost Bathroom Photos:
Due to my lack of spare time, not many photos of my P333
outfits exist; these were all taken in my work bathroom,
in some sort of an attempt to document my project
So, what have I learned from this experiment in living with less? I'd say, precisely that! I learned that not only can I live with less, but my quality of life is improved by doing so. It is easier for me to find my things and easier for me to take care of my things. I get dressed in the dark in under 5 minutes and I don't worry about what I'm going to wear the night before. My mind (and my time) has been liberated!

The P333 mentality has also carried over to other areas of my life. Since initiating the Project, I have declared an all-out assault on my kitchen clutter. I have purged excessive gadgets, dinnerware and even small appliances. The kitchen situation is greatly improved but it's not quite where I'd like it to be. Organizing and streamlining my kitchen continues to be a work in progress.

Even little Otto is feeling the effects of P333. He is happy as a clam with a handful of onesies, and with summer in full force, he rarely wears pants! In all seriousness, I have not bought a stitch of clothing for Otto since May. And at that time, all but one article was purchased on consignment, drastically reducing my little prince's carbon footprint! And even though I had purchased his last batch of clothing sized larger than needed to allow room for growth, four months later his quickly growing body is demanding larger clothes.

Over the next few days, I will hit up my favourite online children's clothing reseller ( for a few choice items. I am happy to NOT be buying new goods and pushing more "stuff" out into the world. Plus, I will most likely spend less than $75 and he'll be set for the next four months. And I was recently reminded that eight or nine years ago when Emma was quite a bit younger, I had handmade some adorable clothing for her. The thought has crossed my mind to dust off the sewing machine on Otto's behalf, but I'm afraid that finding the time these days might be too tricky.

One thing I had set out to do from the beginning of P333, was to learn how to multi-purpose pieces. I did improve greatly on this as the Project wore on. I have observed and watched myself in this regard, and I now see that the quality and "personality" of an article is the key to successful multi-purposing.

Since I found it was difficult to keep photo documentation of the pieces I wore throughout the last 3 months, I kept a spreadsheet tracking my outfits. While my AE Artist jeans saw the most play, they just don't embody the versatility that I was striving for. And so, I am happy to report that the star player in my Phase I wardrobe is...the Patagonia Bandha top!

This was the shirt that went everywhere with me. When I was originally selecting my 33, I had
Patagonia Bandha Top
not expected that I would have to attend the funeral of a good friend. My wardrobe served me just fine on this front. And the Bandha top that I wore regularly to work with my black cardi, I donned one sweltering hot afternoon, with the pin-striped black skirt, to bid farewell my friend. And believe it or not, four weeks later, I wore the exact same top along with my only pair of shorts to bushwhack through the woods on a camping trip with Emma. Yes, my Bandha top has served me very well.

So, what will happen with my wardrobe now that my Phase 1 is complete? Well, I know I will definitely continue. And while I have read about (and encountered) many people who challenged the implementation and allegiance to a definitive number, it works for me. I need parameters. It is not enough for me to say I will just "cut back". I need a goal. And to be honest, I found 33 to be almost too generous a number! The only time I needed all 33 pieces, was during seasonal transitions. Otherwise, once the weather figured out where it wanted to be, I would say I had a core of 18-20 articles...3 of which were shoes.

I have been hearing some buzz about a new challenge, 36/365, in which you commit to 36 items for the entire year. Not sure if I am entirely ready for this step. But I must say, coming off such a successful Phase 1, I almost feel like this is well within my grasp.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Project 333, Phase 1: Winding Down

As I am turning the final corner of my Project 333, Phase 1, I am thinking a lot about not only how I dress, but also about how other people dress.

Throughout the project, when educating someone about what exactly I was doing and why, their reaction would go one of two ways; they were either very uneasy about the whole idea, convinced that they themselves "could NEVER do that!", or they would calmly shrug their shoulders and tell me that they are probably doing it already.


When I first heard about the project from my friend, Beverly, my reaction was quite inline with the former. And just like many of the people I've been talking to recently, after a huge gasp for air trying to digest the gist of this project, I began counting and calculating the pieces of my wardrobe, until I was convinced without certainty, that this just was not for me.

Well, as it turns out, it was for me.

I still have a couple days left in my Phase 1, but I have been doing a lot of retrospective thinking. For me, I have viewed this project almost as a personal rehabilitation. And I do believe I have been reformed! With absolute confidence, I can say that I will not go back to a cluttered and excessive wardrobe. The idea sickens me.

But, what I am most interested in right now, is those people that don't need a Project 333. You know...the calm ones that are "already doing it". I am amazed and somewhat envious of what I assume is their natural born ability to dress simply. I mean, how did they avoid getting sucked into the materialistic vortex of our society? Luckies! I am rehabilitating myself, so I will always be consciously striving and working toward this goal. It will be a lifelong effort, dare I say?

I am happy to report that I am off to a good start. Last week, the J.Crew Fall catalogue arrived in our mailbox. Not even cracked open, it landed squarely in the recycling bin. So I must admit that I have no idea what goodies are coming down the pike from them this Fall, and I probably won't find out. You see, if I don't need anything, I don't pop into their store anymore. And guess what? I can finally see that I don't need anything.

I have more thoughts on the Project as it is wrapping up for me, so stay tuned. But for now, I just wanted to acknowledge those out there that are naturally able to manage their wardrobe with grace and simplicity.

Hats off to you.