I remember being a teenager and wanting nice clothes. Not because I needed them, but because all of the other kids at school had nice clothes. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t give two shits about what they thought. I just didn’t want to be picked on. I wanted to be invisible. And to be invisible, you have to blend in.
“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” – Japanese proverb.
To this day, I still feel bad about bugging my parents to get me clothes. I had a part-time job. I should have been buying my own. Minimalism, Project 333, and frugality weren’t cool back then. You just got picked on for being poor.
Let’s fast forward a bit. Ten years later. I’ve come into my own as an adult.
More or less…
The year was 2007
I was in my second year of culinary school and it was time for my internship.
My sister and soon to be brother-in-law were in Oxford, Mississippi while my little sister was finishing up her degree. They were kind enough to let me stay with them, as my internship was at a local Oxford restaurant.
I showed up with a backpack and a framed picture of my dog. My BIL, Jeff, said, “You need some help with your stuff?”
To which I replied, “This is my stuff.”
Related: An introduction to minimalism
They still pick on me to this day. It took a long time for me to realize that I was a minimalist by nature. I’ve never needed much and never really wanted much. Now minimalism seems to be taking off among the corporate types who want to simplify their lives. I reckon that having money isn’t enough when you’re miserable with what you do every day at work.
I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called “The Minimalists”. Experts discussed the consumption problem in this country. We, as humans, constantly strive to achieve more. We want that joy that the shiny new toy brings us. The problem is that the joy wears off as soon as there’s a new and improved item. People invest a lot of their money into stuff and a lot of that stuff is unnecessary crap.
One part of that documentary in particular, about project 333, piqued my interest.
Project 333 – A worthy opponent?
I said, “Oh my. This seems ambitious.”
So I tried it. I put together everything that I wear on a regular basis. I hit 23 items. Bam. Take that! Suckas….
Then I found the website itself, the one that I just linked to, and decided to visit the page. One thing I missed was this part:
“What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)”
Well, that changes things. I assumed that underwear, socks, and the like would count toward the 33 items, and I was very wrong. So allow me to recount.
7. Seven. One more than 6 and one less than 8.
That’s right. I will only wear 7 items this winter. Two button down shirts for work, one pair of britches, one pair of shoes, one hat, one zip-up hoody, and one pair of fingerless gloves.
Related: Difficulties with minimalism
The people who are utilizing this program are making cuts to their wardrobe and it’s still nearly five times more than what I use. It is now more clear than ever before that this country has a serious problem with consumption.
Of the seven items that I wear, only two have come into my possession in the last twelve months. They were both replacement items, not additions. The britches I got on sale last spring and my sneakers were replaced just a few months ago via Christmas present. Hah. So in the last year I’ve spent sixty bucks on clothing for myself. I’m gonna put a check in the win column for that.
I can honestly say I conquered Project 333.
Here’s what’s really bothering me though: If 33 items per season are what folks are cutting down to, how many clothes did they have before trying this program?