on ruthlessness

I'm a sorter by nature. Give me a bunch of random bits and a little chunk of time, and I'll happily put them into distinct piles. Add that to my growing tendency toward minimalism and you have all the ingredients for a great wardrobe purge!

The notion of 'capsule wardrobes' fascinates me - if you really, really knew yourself well and put an eagle eye on what you love to wear, could you get down to a core set of clothes that served all your needs?

I love my 'batterie de cuisine', the set of pots & pans I've had for over two decades. I have just the right pot for all the things I like to cook, and despite my father's occasional plea "I found this great set of pans on sale at Macy's! Are you sure you don't need anything?", I haven't budged off of that set or felt the need to change anything.

So the notion of a 'batterie de garderobe' is something I've been edging towards for months. And now that Courtney Carver has put out the start date for the Fall 2016 edition of #project333, I'm all in!

Boyhood's away from home for his work week, so I've had carte blanche to turn the house upside down with piles of clothes. Perfect timing - let the games begin!

In the past, I've sorted and filed away clothes into empty suitcases (great use of space, IMHO); I've sorted them by season/off-season, by color stories... you name it. But this time, the goal is to only have so many clothes that they all fit in my half of the teeny wardrobe in our bedroom or in the upstairs storage closet. (That's about 5 linear feet of hanging space - not a ton!)

So out came the suitcases and the underbed storage bins... and I basically KonMari'd my way through all my clothes in under 3 hours. If I wasn't feeling the love for a piece, I gave myself a reason why - my new sorting piles: "too small" "too schlumpy", "uncomfortable, sadly", "too casual"/"too formal", "too bright" (my wardrobe's headed in a more neutral direction these days), "a past life", and "more Mom's taste than mine" (since I luck into her hand-me-downs sometimes):


These categories somehow magically gave me an extra boost, a bit of rationale for why I don't gravitate towards these pieces enough that they end up in the rotation. And those rationales made it enough for me to steel myself and get ruthless - ruthless enough to cut 1/4 of my wardrobe today!

I'm now down to a more manageable (yes, still First-World, but better) level:

•120 +/- pieces of clothing
• 35 pairs of shoes
• 15 handbags

(Those who know and love me would see that ratio of shoes to clothes as perfectly logical for me; the # of handbags, on the other hand, is probably lower than most of you suspect!)

And I have over 50 items leaving the building. I'm taking the Eileen Fisher pieces back to the store for their "Green Eileen" initiative (they re-sell them after lovingly cleaning and restoring them; the proceeds from the resale go to women's and children's charities). The others have gone into a big ol' suitcase, ready for a "Naked Lady Party"! (Down boys: it's an evening where you invite your friends over with a bottle of champagne and have them try on and take home whatever they want. Come in your best underwear!)

Next step was to lay out the 33 items I'll be using for my Fall #project333:

4 pairs of shoes; 5 pairs of pants; 2 skirts; 2 dresses... and 8 of the 33 items are me-mades!

Boyhood and I are hitting the road on a huge, cross-country road trip right as this Project 333 begins - so perfect timing to put it in action! We'll be sharing one rolly suitcase, so I imagine I won't even be taking all 33 items with me...

But more on that soon!