My Project 333 transition month

Polka Dot Dress Credit Kirsten Akens 2015

It's September and I should be starting a new three-month cycle of Project 333 (thanks to the switcheroo of my timeline that I did earlier this year).

But instead, I've decided to take what I'm calling a transition month.

As I dug out my stored clothes for fall and winter, I pulled out lots of items that made me go, "Hmmm." I haven't worn many of these pieces in nine or more months and I honestly don't know if I want to wear them or not.

My body has been shifting — a blend of food-heavy press trips and irregular exercise.

My taste has been shifting — I'm becoming more and more aware of what I really like to put on my body every day.

And my life has been shifting — I picked up an ongoing freelance gig that requires me to have a few professional items, which because I'd gone to working from home and coffee shops two years ago, I'd basically eliminated from my closet.

With that, over the past week I pulled out every item I own and placed each in one of five piles:

1) To swap or donate (I've got a large bag so far)

2) To consign (Another large bag so far, and if my local shops don't want these pieces, they go immediately into pile number one)

3) To store (for a different season — three medium-size plastic bins for this use)

4) To for-sure-include in the next cycle

5) To test

It's pile number five that I'm playing with during the month of September.

I started by making sure everything up for consideration was washed and visible in my closet. This category includes about 60 items right now — and because we're still getting 80-degree days, but temps will drop fast come October/November, it ranges from tank tops to heavy sweaters. My goal during September is to wear each of those 60-some pieces at least once. From there, the item gets redistributed to one of the other four categories.

Just yesterday I donned a denim skirt and a striped flowy top, neither of which I had worn in quite some time. I liked the skirt. It went in the probably-include pile (I need to see how many other denim skirts I end up with first). I did not like how the top fit. It's going to my next swap.

This whole process brings home what becomes more and more clear to me each cycle in regard to a capsule closet or minimalist approach:

You need to make it work for you.

Earlier in my journey, the guidelines and structure of Project 333 were exactly what I needed to get started. Now, I blend Courtney's suggestions with my own, and feel no qualms about the integration. In fact, it's fun.

My goal this month is to get my closet down by about half. I do still use "33" as my guideline. (I've always been drawn to the number three so for some reason it feels right.) I also want to leave a few slots open to add a couple "business-y" items.

Courtney writes in a recent blog post that there are five essentials to a capsule wardrobe:

Peace     ::     Ease     ::     Love     ::     Clarity     ::     Space

Letting go of the mass of clothes I used to mess around with every day has been physically freeing. But perhaps even more so, it's been emotionally freeing. It's not for everyone, but if you think it might be for you, I encourage you to give Project 333, or some variation on it, a try.