The seed was planted when I changed my closet over from winter to summer clothes (we kind of missed spring here this year). I weeded out a few t-shirts and tank tops I hadn’t worn and wouldn’t miss, but ultimately my closet was more full than before I switched my wardrobe over. One option was to ask Matt to pick through his clothes and pack up his winter sweaters or dress shirts he won’t wear, but these things tend to go more smoothly when he works at his own pace :)

Another option was to bear with my crammed closet until Fall comes and hope I remember what I wore or not so I know what to pack away and what to give away. Chances of that are pretty slim, however, since even if I did remember what I wore, I always have the nagging thought that “maybe next year” I’ll wear the shimmery top I’ve been hoarding since grade 11. Maybe next year indeed.

The rich soil in which the seed was planted is the fact I am visiting my parents for a month and am totally overwhelmed at the thought of packing for that trip. The last time Matt and I were away overnight it took him three trips to bring everything down to the car. “When in doubt, pack it” doesn’t work so well for air travel, and I know the more streamlined I can travel, the easier it will be.

The water that ripened the seed was this article, which popped up in my search for “minimalist wardrobe.” It’s not that I want to be an all-out minimalist, but I figured peering at one extreme might help me inch a bit closer toward owning less excessively.

A New Challenge

Duly inspired, I went over to Project 333, a minimalist challenge I first came across a few years ago. This is the seed – to choose 33 items for the next 3 months that will be my entire wardrobe. I’m not going to throw out the clothes that don’t make the cut, at least not until the three months are over, but this will definitely help me sift my clothes from ‘like’ to ‘love’ and eliminate the odd hangers-on that I like but don’t go with anything. The perks that make this easier are being on mat leave (no work clothes required) and being in a season of life that already involves doing laundry frequently – this should help me not run out of clothes! The main challenge I foresee is that life with a baby is a little more sweaty and a little more spitty-uppy than usual, so outfits are less likely to last more than one wear. But that brings us back to laundry, which is an ongoing process anyway. We’ll see how it goes.

What I hope for is to realize I don’t need as much as I think I do. I’d love to get free of my “maybe next year” clothes without the crippling fear I’ll regret it.

And really, the worst that could happen is I bail on the challenge. If I really need an item, or if I am miserable wearing the same sweater, I’m fully prepared to make adjustments. As the Project 333 people say, this is not an exercise in suffering – the point is to discover that simpler is usually easier. At the very least it will save me some stress over packing for my trip!

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