Posted in Declutter

Trying out a capsule wardrobe – Take 1

Having successfully completed Minsgame (and creating a whole hashtag to prove it #PPTKOMins) I have decided to launch straight into another challenge, this time, regarding my wardrobe.  Find out about it in this weeks blog post, where I will be experimenting with capsule wardrobes, namely Project 333.

The house is being decluttered.

A mass cupboard clearout has had an amazing impact on the house; after two trips to the tip, there are now over 25 bags worths of rubbish that are no longer cluttering up the house.  After clearing the cupboard, we have been able to move all the camping gear and bikes into the space that has been cleared, which in turn has opened up the kitchen…and has further fuelled my desire for a tidy house.

There has been a few downsides; I think we may have inhaled an entire bottle of  Cillit Bang Black Mould Remover!  The boys thought we had built an indoor swimming pool when they came in from school, so strong was the chlorine smell (Hannah thought we were covering up a murder – I really need to have a word with that girl).  Another downside has been the fact that all the creatures that had been dwelling, in perfect security, in the cupboard have now migrated into the rest of the house.  I was savaged (i.e.: it walked up my arm!) by a spider so large I could have put a saddle on it and told the kids I had got them a pony…

But arachnid attacks aside, the decluttering continues, and I awoke at 6 yesterday morning with a wild idea… I really wanted to try out the 333 project and have a capsule wardrobe.

Project 333 – So what is it?

An Instagram post I had read the night before had reminded me of the idea; one with which I was familiar through research I had been carrying out for my book.  Having already KonMaried (totally a verb!) my wardrobe to a state where it was fairly reduced by most people’s standards – for example, I only own four pairs of footwear: Boots/Trainers/Baseball Boots/Posh Shoes. – I figured that reducing them down further would not be too difficult.  (There is actually a difference between KonMaring and 333ing, which is also now a verb I intend using, and you can find out more in this article.  But back to me at 6 o’clock, the other morning…) The basic premise is to wear 33 items of carefully curated clothing items over a 3 month period.

While still sat in bed, I made a quick list, creating headers :

Tops     Skirts     Bottoms       Dresses      Accessories  

There are exclusions as part of the rules – so I needed to look up Courtney Carver’s website ‘Be More With Less‘.  Apparently, my personal rules were close to hers.   None of the following are included in your 33 items.

Underwear (I assume this includes socks and tights)
PJ’s – or bed wear
Uniforms – like my Guide uniform, or work clothes
Your wedding ring, or jewelry you never take off – I am including my watch in this.

I don’t own ‘work out clothes’ or indeed ‘in home lounge wear’ – I have a personal rule to never wear anything I wouldn’t be willing to be carried outside by a Fireman in. The one thing I do have though, is a lack of central heating, so I have chucked in an extra hoodie, just to wear in the house if it gets chilly.

While searching the rules, I was drawn in to Courtney’s world and explored her website further. My personal favourite was the detailed how-to of clearing out your closet. – I particularly liked the ‘could take 2-5 hours, brings snacks and stay hydrated’- Purlease! I’ll do it one! *

Challenge Accepted!

I don’t have the luxury of a closet, or a bedroom…or indeed a bed, so I put all the clothes I own, apart from a few items that are currently in the wash, and a peach jumper that I seem to have misplaced**,  in a pile, on the living room floor.  Courtney suggests putting the clothes that don’t make it into your 33 away, rather than actually getting rid of them forever – this makes choosing easier if you know that you can always get an item out if you felt you HAD to have it, and it also gives me new options when I do it all again in December. My knitwear, at present, is stored in a large wheeled suitcase that I bought in Tokyo, and will be the perfect place to store all of the clothes I won’t be using.
Taking pictures took most of the time as I whizzed through my wardrobe.  Lots of my dresses, while I love them, are clearly a bit “summery”, so were obvious choices for the suitcase.  My biggest ‘loss’ will be the black floral culottes that I bought in a mall near Nara – I did lots of shopping in Japan, so much so that I needed to buy a suitcase to bring it all home in, well, that and the knife issue, but that’s a story for another time – however they are black, and most of my other clothes are blue and navy, so they will not coordinate, colour wise, with enough of my other clothes to make them a sensible choice. There is also the issue of the floral design, which will clash with a number of my patterned tops.

Whittling down the clothes was like being Simon Cowell on X-Factor – “You are all great shirts, but only 1 of you can go through to the next round”.  I eventually pared down the clothes to my “winners”; my final 33 items that will comprise my wardrobe for the next 3 months.  Can we, at this point, take a moment to note how impressive it is that the remainder of my wardrobe ALL managed to fit in one suitcase?  Can we also take a minute to note the extreme irony that all of the things I DON’T really want will now be protected in the event of fire or flood…


So why the 333 method?

There are a number of ways of reducing your wardrobe, and following the Kon Mari method has served me well.  I am currently in a position (financially and spatially!)  where I really need to STOP buying more clothes, and if I limit myself to just 33 pieces, even if just for a few months, I’m hoping I will be able to take note of what I wear, and what pieces I can look to invest in in the future.  To this end I have created an excel page matrix (nerd alert!), so that I can measure which pieces, or outfits get used the most.  While I haven’t officially started on my ‘sartorial slimdown’ at the time of writing this blog post, from looking at the spreadsheet, I notice that I may have over estimated the number of shorts I will need for winter.  These are also only on the list because I always wear ‘safety shorts’ under my dresses, and my 2 pairs of shorts and 1 pair of navy leggings, will never be worn alone, and are therefore taking up a disproportionate part of my “bottoms” selection (See! The nerdy spreadsheet matrix works!) I have also decided to swap out one of my patterned blouses, for a plain, one colour, long sleeve top -Blue, of course! (Further consultation of the nerd-sheet has seen me swap out a number of dresses too, and I have done something I thought I would never do again…I got a pair of jeans.  We shall see how that goes!)

This method, indeed the entire concept of a capsule wardrobe is not for everyone.  I have never been a big ‘clothes’ person (as opposed to someone who has to wear ‘big clothes’, but I am also working on that aspect of my life too!) and getting you to ‘hide’ your clothes away is probably not a great way to encourage decluttering, but if you can work with a reduced wardrobe for a small amount of time, it may give you pause, and then when you eventually retrieve the rest of your wardrobe, it may give you an insight into how many clothes you actually need, and what you actually want to wear.  It is said that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.  If this is truly the case, then I should be able to manage 3 months with 30% of my actual wardrobe.

Is this something you think you could do? Would you rather minimise other areas of your life – and leave your wardrobe out of it?  Are capsule wardrobes a useful travelling tool, but that are where the benefits end?  Would love to know what others think.

Picking my 33 pieces
Decisions, decisions…

* Actually took 57 minutes, and that was because I had to set all the clothes up for photos!

** Panic over! The peach jumper has shown up.

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Mature (technically) graduate, vlogger, blogger, dreaming of travelling, mum of 4, K-pop addict, Japanese culture fan, and wannabe minimalist. And that is what this is all about... I am clearing, decluttering and "minimalising" with the long term aim of travelling and completing the adventures on my #kettlelist (Bucket list seems a bit final!) Come visit me on twitter and instagram @Pollyplaits , or on Youtube for my Polly put the kettle on (#PPTKO) weekly vlog that is DEFINITELY #NOTa50x50

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