Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Editing the Rules

The Good News

I was amazed when I did my wardrobe count and found that, including everything I own, I have 78 clothing items, 68 accessories, and 18 pairs of shoes for a grand total of 164 items. I'm pretty darn excited about this and may get the number even smaller as time goes on! To toot my own horn, 78 items of clothing vs. 261 a few months ago is a drastic improvement- I let go of 70% of my clothing! I do feel bad about the sheer waste that these numbers imply, but I am determined to look forward and see how far I have come rather than look backwards and cry over spilled milk!

The Bad News

The funny thing is that even with a much smaller wardrobe, I still have unworn items- 42 out of the 164 as of March 31st this year, more than 25%. Worse, 63 of those worn have been only worn 1-2x, leaving only 59 items worn 3x or more (only a bit over 35%)! I do have to remind myself that seasonality does come into play, as my data is currently only based on January-March, and more unworn items like my dresses and sandals will be worn in the summer. But the overall picture, using data that is already 1/4 of the year, is that I have too much still! When I remember that my goal is to wear everything 10x or more each year, it really motivates me to be more discerning and to further purge the waste. Every item I purchase just adds to the problem in this perspective.

Changes for the Future

My goals no longer align with my current wardrobe. I originally gave myself permission to buy or receive gifts of a total of 45 items, with a budget of $1800 plus eBay sales for this year. I had set the item limit to be approximately half of what I bought in the year prior (I was too much a coward to total it up, so the number is an estimate). I had a bad year last year- I overspent wildly and haphazardly, bringing home sometimes a dozen of items in a month. Some items worked out well but I also had a lot of turnover, and quite a few things did not work out! My excuse in buying so many things was that I just had a baby and was updating my professional look. In truth I did need new sizes and I did need to up the formal factor in my professional wardrobe, but I still could have done much better both in what I bought and quantity!

Only adding 45 this year seemed very ambitious, but achievable, only 4 short months ago. Now, 45 items in perspective of my current wardrobe is a ridiculously large percentage of what I own- nearly 30%! I'm sick of turnover and I don't want to purge like this every year. I feel like this year will be the 'year of the great purge' for me, after last year's 'year of the great splurge'. In no way do I want this to become the norm for me. Let's hope next year is the 'year of balance'!

So, to keep things in check, I'm adjusting the item limit. I have brought in 10 pieces as of today (nearly 4 months in! 9 were purchased and one was a gift), and have 8 months to go. I've decided to set the bar at an ambitious 25, which is much better at about 15%. It's higher than what I'd like for next year, but enough of a challenge without seeming insurmountable. If I'm successful, I want to try 12-15 items next year, and hope to get to a point where I'm only replacing worn out items and adding perhaps 5 items a year to update my style. 

The Reality

Having only 15 items left that I can buy for the next 8 months only averages just under 2 a month. This will be difficult and will force me to be very choosy and use my shopping questions and shopping list! The shopaholic inside is cringing (but she's begun to take a backseat to my BRAIN in the last few months). Two items a month will be difficult- I am not saying that I cannot do 3 one month, one the next, but that the limit will be tough overall. I still struggle with the compulsion to shop, which is evident in my post-ban binge last month. That said, I may also need to rethink my budget strategy. I originally designated $600 of the $1800 to November for Black Friday sales, but if I am going to do so I need to keep purchasing to a minimum so I have a larger number allotment for November! I'm not sure I am ready to give up the idea of Black Friday shopping, so I need to think about this a bit longer.

Looking Forward

Lastly, it's amazing to think that project 333 is so close to my total (33x4= 132 for a year, so I'm over only by 32 items). I get that project 333 isn't really designed to be a whole new set of 33 items each season. The total number is probably closer to 33 + half that each new season, or approximately 82 items. But overall, I'm making progress! I'm not really ready just yet for project 333 but I never stop considering project 333 in some form or other. I'm currently debating a project 666 (6 months, 66 items) and if I would include just regular clothing and shoes or if I would go whole hog and include accessories and outerwear.


  1. YAY for taking stock and being flexible. This is how we grow. :)

    1. Thank you, and you're right! I like crunching numbers and reflecting both on my progress and where I want to go- and I'm so pleased!

  2. Hurray for all of your hard work! You've done an amazing job at cutting down on your wardrobe.