Conquering the Closet


Contemplate your dream closet. What image comes to mind? I can bet everything is tidy and fits perfectly within the space allowed.  Clothing items are easily accessible and you look and feel fabulous wearing everything in its confines. Your accessories have been carefully selected to enhance your outfits, and are displayed in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and reachable. Now, I challenge you to think about your current wardrobe situation. Are there items from ten or more years ago, buried under more current pieces? How about things with the tags still attached? Unwashed or worn all while taking up precious real estate? Are you hoarding ill-fitting clothes out of guilt? Thinking that perhaps you should keep them to get your money’s worth? Now, think back to your ideal closet.  Are you willing to make the necessary cuts to achieve that dream?

I was so certain that I wore every piece that remained in my closet after a few big purges; nevertheless, I wanted to make sure with a simple experiment. A little over a month ago, I turned all my hangers around so that the open part of the hook was facing outward. After I wore something and it had been cleaned, it would be returned to the closet with the hanger placed the “correct,” inward facing way. This would provide an easy way to see what was worn regularly. A couple weeks in, I noticed that many of my seasonally appropriate pieces still weren’t worn, so I consciously spent the remaining two weeks donning myself with those previously unworn articles. You know what? I still found things I didn’t particularly like to wear, purging twenty more pieces of clothing from my already heavily culled closet.  

Realizing I tend to select only my absolute favorites, I decided to expand my experiment to embrace Courtney Carver’s Project 333.  The rules are straightforward: Choose only thirty-three items (or less) to wear for three months. Items that are part of the count include clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear, and shoes. The exceptions, however, are wedding ring/band, socks, underwear, lounge wear, and workout attire; with the caveat that lounge and workout clothes are only used for their intended purposes.

Because the weather in North Carolina has been unpredictable lately (where are you winter?), choosing pieces for this February-April period was hard for me.  Ultimately, I decided on some pieces that would lend themselves to layering. Veering from the blacks and grays that one would typically see in a minimalist’s capsule wardrobe, I also incorporated some bold patterns and colors to my capsule. Here’s the lineup for this three-month period: One black tank top, five neutral t-shirts, two ¾ length shirts, two ¾ length patterned cardigans, one turquoise long sleeve shirt, one pair of jeans, one pair of black leggings, five patterned skirts, six dresses, six pair of shoes, one belt, and two pairs of earrings. That comes to a grand total of thirty-three! I did not count my pajamas/loungewear (two pants and two shirts), socks, tights, underwear, coats/jackets, or wedding rings.


Two weeks into Project 333, I’ve found that only having access to roughly half of my entire wardrobe has been awakening. This seemingly drastic approach to culling my closet has me realizing I don’t need a ton of clothes, just a good mix of bland and bold to showcase my style all whilst getting enough variety to suit my taste. I have been inspired by how easy it has been to get dressed in the mornings because everything currently in my closet sparks joy!

What about the clothing not being utilized during this three-month period? Well, it will look different based on the “extra spaces” in each specific home. Courtney Carver suggests putting the extra clothing in boxes and taping it. Out of sight, out of mind.  In my case, we have a guest room with an empty closet. The clothes and shoes that are not being used in my capsule this round are being stored in there until the end of April, when this three-month session expires.

Maybe Project 333 is for you. What do you have to lose by trying it out?  I, for one, will definitely be participating beyond this round. Will you join me? Choose to take a discerning look at what you own and vow to keep only the things you actually wear.  In doing so, you will reclaim your closet; conquering your wardrobe once and for all!



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