09 Nov 2016 The Tiny Wardrobe Tour Comes to Nashville
When Courtney Carver travels, she takes her entire wardrobe along.
Wait, what?! How? Does she haul a giant trailer with a closet inside? Does she fly with the biggest suitcase allowed on a plane? Nope.
Actually, she travels with only a carry-on bag, because her entire wardrobe consists of only 33 items. In 2010, Courtney created Project 333, a minimalist fashion challenge that encourages participants to wear only 33 items total for a period of three months. This year, she took her own 33 items on the road to share her story during the Tiny Wardrobe Tour. At her Nashville stop, AFS’ own Liz Jenkins and Allie Windom had the opportunity to meet Courtney.
Why Project 333?
Courtney admits that she “shopped to feel beautiful, smart, and loved.” The start of Project 333 marked a turning point in her life. Around the time she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she decided there had to be a better way to live. For Courtney, creating Project 333 was less about fashion, and more about simplicity and making space for the important things in life. You may not think your closet is an integral part of changing your lifestyle, but Courtney speaks from experience when she says that “a simple closet is the gateway to a simple life.”
During her talk at the Tiny Wardrobe Tour, Courtney shared her best solutions for common problems that Project 333-ers face.
How did she just… STOP shopping? Isn’t that really difficult to quit, cold turkey? She replaced shopping with self care. Instead of “retail therapy,” she took time to do things she enjoyed and that brought her peace and joy, like meditation and spending time with her family. When she does consider buying something, she pauses to consider whether the item will support “the life she’s creating for herself.” If it doesn’t, she won’t buy it.
What about the initial process of eliminating so many items of clothing? Courtney recognizes that plenty of people struggle with making decisions when paring down the items in their closet.
“Holding on takes so much more energy than letting go. You have to hold on to something day, after day, after day. You only have to let go once, and then it’s over.”
When dealing with sentimental items or gifts from a loved one that you’re not sure if you should keep, hold onto it only if it brings you happy memories. If you get rid of a gift, odds are good that the giver won’t even notice you aren’t wearing it after a few months. Test the waters by not wearing the item for a few months. If the person doesn’t notice, you’re probably safe to let it go.
She’s quick to emphasize that no one template for a wardrobe will fit everyone’s lifestyle. If you need to adapt the challenge slightly to suit your needs, do it! Work uniform collections can be collectively counted as one item. Or, you may find that 40 items is better for you than 33. The most important part is to be mindful of what you do and don’t wear, and to be intentional about shopping for new items.
A Gateway to Simplicity
The most important lesson Courtney has learned through a six-year journey of paring down is this: “Simplicity is the way back to love.” She’s learned that having less “stuff” makes more mental, emotional, and physical space for more important aspects of life. Without clutter and the constant decision of what to wear, she has more time for family, close friendships, and work she’s passionate about.
No matter your beliefs about your current lifestyle, simplifying your wardrobe and your life is possible! It’ll take time (Courtney said she’s STILL simplifying, even after six years!), but the results will be completely worth it.
Read more of Courtney’s thoughts and advice on her inspiring blog, Be More With Less. Ready to start simplifying, but need some help? Contact A Fresh Space today, and we’ll get you set on the path to simple,
holistic and mindful living.