math on the move minimalist closet

Throw it all Away: How to Save Money on Clothes and Still Look Amazing

I adore throwing things away. As a child, I would get in trouble for filling up an empty trashcan after my mom had just taken the trash out. I love eliminating duplicates, downsizing, and donating. It felt like for years I would always be tossing clothes out of my closet, getting rid of things that were never worn, and reorganizing with no real change. I moved from California to Colorado with what I thought was a minimal amount of clothes, only to donate more when I arrived.

It’s Easier than you Think

I think everyone can relate when I say that the majority of clothes in our closet sit there and are never worn. We hold on to them, thinking we will wear them one day, or we have them for a special occasion, but we are only kidding ourselves. My closet was my White Whale, the hardest thing for me to clean out. I could never find a good organizational system, or an efficient way to clean it out. I got so sick of being overwhelmed with what was in there, and by always asking myself (and Josh) what to wear, that I took every single last piece out of my closet, and narrowed my wardrobe down to 33 items.

It’s called Project 333, created by genius Courtney Carver. It’s pretty simple, you just have to crack your knuckles and dive in. Here are the basics:

  • For 3 months, you get 33 items of clothes, including shoes, accessories, jewelry and outerwear (underwear, pajamas, and workout gear don’t count–if you wear them for their intended purpose).
  • Take the rest of your clothes, put them in a bin and save them for your wardrobe switch in 3 months.
  • Boom. Done.

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I have used this method for many years and this is what I have noticed:

I spend significantly less money on clothes. Like almost no money. Because two-thirds of my wardrobe is tucked away for most of the year, I shop my own clothes. It’s like getting new clothes every 3 months.

No one ever notices if:

  1. I wear the same thing, or
  2. I get something new.

Turns out, people are too focused on themselves to care what you’re wearing.

math on the move minimalism

Invest in Slow Fashion

Because I have less clothes, I take better care of my clothes, and I care where they come from. It becomes an issue of quality over quantity. Most of my clothes become items that have structure, will hold up over time, and are classic pieces instead of trendy or a fad. If I spend money on clothes, it’s an investment on a piece of clothing I know will last me a long time. I have blouses that I have had for 7 years (I’m retiring them before I move, RIP) and pants that are the same age that have held up because I paid for quality and I take care of them.

Over the past year, my closet has become more curated, and I will specifically avoid purchasing items that serve duplicate functions, or don’t work with more than one item. My closet is like Alton Brown’s kitchen: no unitaskers.

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I have forgotten on a number of occasions to switch my closet over on the start of a 3 month cycle. I have worn the same set of clothes for 6 months straight before remembering or getting bored. Your 3 months can start and stop whenever.

Okay, Now It’s Your Turn

Does now seem like a good time? Here’s some tips to get you started:

Take a picture of your closet, and then take every single thing out of your closet. Seriously. Everything. Holy crap, you probably should vacuum in there now.

Once everything is out, I found it helpful to make a list of things I absolutely must have in my wardrobe regardless of rotation. For me, this included:img_20180612_212255

  • Black Slacks
  • Harry Potter T-Shirt
  • Scarf
  • Sweater
  • Blouse
  • Work shoes
  • Jeans

Build your must-have list around your everyday activities and go from there.

Start shopping your wardrobe. Make piles of what you want to put in your 33 items, what know you definitely want to donate, and what you want to keep in your bin for the next rotation. This process will take a couple hours (maybe longer if your closet looks anything like my sister’s), you might want to hydrate.

Once you have your 33 items (including accessories and shoes), assemble your closet, and then take your “after” picture. Be amazed at how much cleaner it is! You can breathe again! Your mornings just got a little easier, your laundry just got easier!

Don’t be surprised if at the end of your first 3 months, you notice that you end up not wearing a couple items in your closet. Every time I swap my wardrobe, more and more items get donated. I have a list of items for what’s going with me when I move, and it’s only 37 items in total.

How to save money on clothes math on the move

Like I said, I love throwing things out.

And so, I leave you with my trusty J.Crew checkered shirt which has been in my 33 for a year now, in Colorado, California, and Ohio.

I took that shirt with me to Germany, too.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe?  What’s an item that makes it through every season?  Let me know in the comments!


 

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Helen
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Helen

Well said. Less is more!! If we lived closer, we’d probably be bumping into each other regularly on the way to the dumpster! My apt. complex (which I do love as a place for me) has storage closets which were included in our rent. This year, they decided to separate them from our lease and have us pay extra for storage, up to $150/mo. I opened mine up, looked in, and thought, No Way. That’s very expensive junk. All gone now. Love to you guys, Helen

erinmaglione
Guest

Awesome! If you need to keep things in a storage unit, you’re clearly not finding any use for it. Glad you got to toss some stuff and save some money (my two favorite things to do)!

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[…] to a new town.  My library card is a badge of honor, a mark of citizenship (For how much I love throwing things away, I still have my Fort Collins Library card in my […]

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[…]  This is what my closet looks like:   you can learn more about my love for Project 333 in my Throw it all Away post (are you seeing a theme here? Because I […]

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[…] mentioned it in previous posts, but here’s a quick rundown of how it works: with this system, you have 33 items of clothes […]

Aimee
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Aimee

I came here through your latest Project 333 post on Instagram and laughed when I saw the Harry Potter t-shirt on your list. One of my Hogwarts Running Club shirts and my Ravenclaw crest necklace were definitely among my non-negotiables when I made my list.

erinmaglione
Guest

Yes! My Harry Potter shirts are non-negotiable! 😀

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