Project 333 – going forward

10 tops hanging on the wall

This month, I started tracking what I wear with Project 333 again. I’ve now been doing Project 333 for over a year, and have found it very effective. However, at this point, I’m starting to feel like I don’t need to track my wears anymore. The benefits of Project 333 have become fully embedded in my wardrobe, and when I do go outside of my prescribed items for the season, it’s invariably for a good reason, such as having to dress up for a more formal social occasion, or needing something smarter for an event with the most senior people at work. I’m therefore going to continue with the Project 333 principles, but without tracking what I wear each month. I wouldn’t go back to having a “free-for-all” wardrobe as I have got a lot out of Project 333:

Wardrobe space
Almost everything I can wear for the season is hanging in one wardrobe (Barring outerwear, shoes and scarves). Although logically that can’t save me a huge amount of time, psychologically I feel like I can choose what to wear much more quickly in the morning. I also find it quicker to put away my laundry, as it all goes into one place, and I hang everything instead of folding it.

Clothes maintenance
Following on from above, the new space in the wardrobe and the fact that I hang everything, means that my clothes don’t get wrinkled or squashed together when I put them away. I can be confident that everything I take out of the wardrobe will be ready to wear. This is especially useful for me as I stopped ironing my clothes at least a year ago. I hang them straight to dry, then hang them in the wardrobe, and that’s usually enough. I do have the odd thing that’s the exception, such as formal dresses for weddings, but I wear those so rarely that it’s not an issue.

Clarity
In two senses. First, I can see everything available to wear, and I no longer have the experience of forgetting something because it’s been in the back of the drawer for a while. Second, I can see what I actually wear, and what I keep for theoretical reasons. For example, I had a few formal shirts which I gave to the charity shop. I had kept them for years, in the theory that if I needed to go to a formal meeting at work, I’d want to wear a shirt. However, when that situation does arise (very infrequently), I’m much more likely to wear a more casual top with a jacket to smarten it up. I never picked those shirts, even when the exact hypothetical situation for wearing them came up.

Reality check
When I first started doing Project 333, there were some clothes in my wardrobe which were not actually for me at all. They were for my 20-year-old self, who wore t-shirts with quirky slogans, or my fashion magazine self, who wears tailored jeans with a white shirt and a belt, or my alternate reality self, who wears a party dress more than one a year for the Christmas do. Getting rid of those clothes meant getting rid of my imaginary selves, which was hard at first, as it felt like getting rid of opportunities or possibilities. However, I found that when I let go of those imaginary selves, I let go of the feeling that who I am right now isn’t enough, or isn’t as good as I used to be. Actually, present me still wears a lot of nice clothes, and they are all a lot better suited to what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis.

I definitely got a lot of benefit from Project 333; enough that I’ll continue with the principles and keep the pared-down wardrobe that I’ve developed over the last 13 months. For now, I can trust myself to stick to it without any official rules or tracking. Of course, there’s always the option to go back to that if I find myself slipping. But I enjoy it enough that I expect to carry on without any effort.

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