It’s been almost five years since I discovered Courtney Carver’s Project 333, the “dressing with less” program.
Since then, the capsule closet movement has grown immensely, and it’s easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of posts on the topic.
With five years now of reducing and capsuling under my belt (hah!), I thought I’d offer up a few tips and tricks I’ve learned in that time for those of you who might be interested in starting to cut back your closets in a similar fashion.
Seven TIPS For CUTTING BACK YOUR CLOSET
Tip No. 1:
If you love clothing and aren’t feeling any pressure whatsoever to change your closet or buying habits, stop reading now! You do not need this post (but thanks for reading this far). I was like that for many, many years. There is nothing wrong with keeping on the way you’re keeping on. At all. When I came across Project 333, I had been frustrated with my wardrobe and its impact on my life for a long time and was seeking ways to change. If that sounds like you, read how I got my start, and, more importantly why, here.
Tip No. 2:
Read this by Courtney. She really still is my go-to person when I’m looking for inspiration and motivation in this area. If you’re going to get lost in a blog, get lost in hers.
Tip No. 3:
It’s really important when you first start cleaning out your wardrobe, and all those plastic bins shoved under your bed or in the back of the closet or down in the basement, that you pull out every single item of wearable you own. Everything. I even try to make sure all of my laundry is done before I start digging through so there aren’t a ton of random stinky outliers.
Tip No. 4:
Start the process by making three piles: 1) Keep for sure. 2) Try on/maybe keep. 3) Donate (or dispense of/recycle in some way, if torn or stained and you can’t donate). At this point, don’t worry about how much goes in each pile, just work quickly through every item. Once you’ve done this, try on every item that was in Pile 2, and redistribute to PIle 1 or Pile 3. Bag up Pile 3 immediately and set aside.
Tip No. 5:
Honor your emotions. This process can be overwhelming and exhausting. You may think they’re just clothes — what’s so difficult? But really, you’re digging through years of your life, history and memories, and maybe tackling body issues. You’re trying on a bunch of clothes, some that will fit and some that will not. And at some point you may just hit decision fatigue. Set up somewhere where you can leave all your piles for a night if you can’t finish the process in one sitting. Recruit a friend to help, play uplifting music, drink a glass of wine.
Tip No. 6:
If you want to aim for a certain number of items to keep for your daily wardrobe, or formally do a Project 333, go ahead. However if this is your first big clearing out, you might just want to go the route I did, which was doing two years of this process each season before I committed to Project 333. Put back in your closet all of the keepers that are seasonally appropriate. Box up all the keepers that aren’t seasonally appropriate and store somewhere. Bag up the donations and drop them off somewhere as soon as you can (or plan a clothing swap with friends).
Tip No. 7:
Celebrate! Wear all the things. Enjoy all the things. Rinse and repeat — in three months or six months or whenever the season shifts and you need those sweaters (or tank tops). Note: I do still make one big pile (that’s gotten much smaller over the years) every single time I refresh my capsule closet.
Have questions I haven’t answered? Happy to answer them in the comments below!