Summer is here and, with it, all the crazy moving around that comes with the end of the term. It’s that time of the year again when everyone is packing and unpacking, rummaging through their closets to see what is worth keeping and what isn’t (and finding some hidden treasures along the way). I look at my closet and feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I own, and the amount of things I’m going to have to pack up! Well, what if it wasn’t like that? What if your closet consisted of only 33 items?
Recently, I watched Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things and was impressed by the myriad of ways a minimalist lifestyle can look like. I pride myself in living as sustainable as possible and being conscious about what I purchase, anything from food to clothing. Minimalism, however, was something I never considered; I saw it as something too unrealistic and far-fetched, something that would require too much of a sacrifice for me to make. I am by no means a fashion-forward person, but I like having a choice in my wardrobe; just in case that special occasion happens and I need to right dress, or just in case I go to the beach and need those flowery shorts or just in case I go to a job interview and need a business-casual outfit. And it’s not just about my wardrobe, it’s about all the knick knacks that I love collecting: that rock from Sombrio Beach that looks like a heart, that random ball of yarn, that leaf that I picked up on my way to school, that pen that ran out of ink but looks nice, that half-used notebook, that half-used scented candle, that almost-broken-but-not-quite mason jar and on and on and on. All these objects have sentimental value for me and I justified having them because of that.
I remember crying when my mom wanted to throw out my favorite shoes when I was 8 years old; they didn’t fit anymore, but I still kept them in the closet because I loved them so much. Until, eventually, like it happens to almost everything else, they got thrown away them because it made no sense to keep them. I tell myself I’m not materialistic; I just keep things that mean something to me. In the documentary, however, they argue that that is the problem: we give to much value to objects and get attached to them. As a society, we have grown to place more value to things we own than on people in our lives; we use people and love objects. We should be leading a life that is rich in experiences and people, not in objects.
The zero waste movement is usually focused on recycling and composting correctly, but we often forget that that is the last of the 3 R’s. We need to reduce and reuse before we event get to recycle; instead of focusing on how to dispose of objects that no longer work, we need to focus on reducing our need for them in the first place.
So with my imminent move looming over my head and some research into the evils of the fashion industry, I decided to try minimalism out. In the documentary, they introduce Courtney, a woman that decided to only dress with 33 items for 3 months; she called this Project 333. 3 months seemed a bit overwhelming to me (especially with graduation and ensuing celebrations around the corner), so I opted for doing this project for a month and calling it Minimalist May. I got a group of friends to do it together and here we are!
My 33 items
- The 33 items include clothes, shoes, accessories, and outerwear. They do NOT include PJs, underwear, workout clothing and jewelry with sentimental value or that you never take off.
- We are allowed to borrow clothes from each other, but not from other people that are not part of the project.
- If something gets torn/damaged/too old, it can be replaced by another item.
- No shopping this month.
- Choose the 33 items and box/hide away the rest! Make an inventory to make sure you are sticking to them.
- Rain jacket
- Jean jacket
- Blue jacket
- 3 fancy dresses
- 3 everyday dresses
- 2 blouses
- 3 cardigans
- 3 sweaters
- 3 jeans
- 2 shorts
- White t-shirt
- Black t-shirt
- 5 shirts
- Black shoes
- Brown shoes
- Athletic gear:
- Hiking boots
- Running shoes
- Workout t-shirt (limit: 2)
- Swim suit
- Flip flops
- Heart necklace (wear it everyday)
- 5 bracelets (can’t take them off)
- Earrings (never change them)
- Bags (limit: 2)
- Underwear + tank tops (to wear under clothes)
- Socks + tights
Want to learn more?
Project 333: https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things: https://minimalismfilm.com/
Want to join us?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org !
-Ana Gargollo, Common Energy Director 2016-17