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Time to de-clutter: the making of a capsule collection or lean wardrobe

I’ve been thinking for a few months that my closet has gotten out of control. The beginning of a new year seems like an appropriate time to embark on a new project to reduce the number of items in my closet. I obviously have the staples

  • oxford-cloth button downs (white (two), blue (one), gray (one))
  • crisp dress shirt (white (two))
  • dark, slim denim (fourteen)
  • khakis (three)
  • dark brown brogue lace-ups
  • single-breasted navy blazer
  • one charcoal gray suit
  • white T-shirts (two)
  • socks
  • ties

and some would say too many of the staples. One might guess that I am above the 33 items that Project 333 would require:

  • When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • 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)
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

For my project I will embrace the spirit of Project 333 and minimalism by getting rid of the items that I have not worn in the last year and then tracking how often I am wearing other items. This is more in line with Effortless Gent’s Lean Wardrobe idea. I know it will be tough to reduce my closet as I have a number of items that I’ve had custom-made, a number of rare denims, and a number of vintage items I’ve inherited from my father-in-law.

Here is what I am starting with after weeding out a bunch of things:

That is 305 items of clothing not including undershirts, underwear, socks, winter hats, and gloves. This is actually not as bad as I expected, but clearly far beyond 33 items and probably not considered a lean wardrobe (though it does encompass clothing for all four seasons). I now have 20-30 empty hangers, two empty dresser drawers, and three empty shelves in the headboard storage cabinet.

At this point I am also going to commit to a one-for-one rule for my closet — I will only add an item if I sell or donate another similar item. I will be vigilant and look for other items that can be removed. Look for an update in three months or so.