A few months ago I joined Project 333, an experiment in minimalist dressing. The idea was to limit the number of clothes I wore, in an attempt to learn which clothes I actually loved, and which clothes I needed to break up with. This part of the experiment was a success: I’ve simplified my wardrobe and cleaned out my closets and drawers.
I’ve also felt a psychic weight lifted off me. I no longer feel an artificial need to buy clothing. This kind of false need builds up over time, as you see advertisements for clothing or simply see how other people are dressing. I no longer feel this way, and it’s a relief.
I’m not saying I’ll never need clothes again! Of course I will. But when I buy clothes, I’ll buy things that I absolutely love, that I can wear every week. I’ll be less likely to buy things that I “might” need or “should” have.
And I’m not denying myself in any way. I’m not looking frayed and tattered. Actually it’s the opposite: I’m wearing my favorite clothes all the time.
Going Beyond Clothing
The most important lessons I learned from Project 333 were not about clothing. I did learn that living with fewer clothes makes me happier, but then I began to ask a bigger question: what do I truly need in life?
The answer to this will be different for everybody, but for most people there are probably some essentials, like food, clothing, shelter, health, and companionship. Here in America, these things are fairly easy to come by for most people.
If that’s all we truly need, there’s a hurdle to jump over, but it’s not as high as we tell ourselves it is. And so many people working their butts off trying to earn ever-more money, sometimes even to the detriment of their health and relationships, when their fundamental needs are already met.
Why are we doing this to ourselves? What is the significance of life? By no means have I found an answer to this question, but I found that participating in Project 333 was a powerful push to think about the “big picture”, beyond just clothing.
Interested in trying out Project 333 for yourself? Courtney Carver started Project 333 and is kicking off “round 2” of Project 333 starting January 1st. Anyone can participate, and it’s never too late to join in, so if you’re interested, head on over to her blog and subscribe to it for updates.
Project 333 is an exercise in leading a minimalist lifestyle. If you’re interested in learning more about this, I recommend you check out Leo Babauta’s Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life. Clothing is one of the many topics he writes about.