Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge

I'm joined by Courtney Carver, author of the brand new book Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More. In today's episode, she shares her minimalist wardrobe challenge that has spread throughout the world. I also have my sister-in-law, Kim, joining us for a mini-coaching call with Courtney. Kim is brand new to a capsule wardrobe and Project 333, and Courtney is talking her through the process.

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Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More

Kim's Final Project 333 Wardrobe List:

  1. Black Sunglasses
  2. Big Purse
  3. Wristlet
  4. Scarf
  5. Earrings
  6. Necklace
  7. Bigger Necklace
  8. Watch
  9. Sandals
  10. Sandals
  11. Tom's
  12. Leggings
  13. Dark Boot Cut Jeans
  14. Light Boot Cut Jeans
  15. Dark Boot Cut Jeans
  16. Black Maxi Dress
  17. Jean Jacket
  18. T-Shirt
  19. T-Shirt
  20. T-Shirt
  21. T-Shirt
  22. Cardigan
  23. Cardigan
  24. Oversized sweater
  25. Blazer
  26. Dress Shirt

Hello, it's episode 201. And today we're talking about developing a minimalist wardrobe. Hi, this is Denaye. I'm the founder of Simple Families. Simple families is an online community for parents who are seeking a simpler more intentional life. In this show, we focus on minimalism with kids, positive parenting, family wellness, and decreasing the mental load. My perspectives are based in my firsthand experience, raising kids, but also rooted in my Ph.D. In child development. So you're going to hear conversations that are based in research, but more importantly, real life. Thanks for joining us. Hi there. And thanks for tuning in today.

Talking about minimizing the closet. Now, minimizing the closet was the first thing I did on my path towards a lighter life. And I will say that it changed everything forever. In this episode, I am joined by Courtney Carver, who is the founder of project three 33, and also the founder of bemorewithless.com. Courtney is the author of now two books, soulful simplicity, and the brand new book project three 33, which just came out yesterday. Courtney's work has been inspiring me for years. I first discovered her back in 2015, which was at the very beginning of my journey towards minimalism when I first started writing about it. But she's been on this path and inspiring people all over the world for far longer than that. If you're not familiar with project three 33, it's a challenge that Courtney created to get people to live with and only wear 33 items for three months.

I'm so happy to have Courtney joining me today, but I also have another exciting guest, which is my sister-in-law Kim. I visited Kim and her family in Phoenix in January, and we started talking a little bit about simplifying her wardrobe. And I was telling her about project three 33, and I thought that might be a great place for her to start. So in this episode today, Courtney is going to do a mini coaching session and walk Kim through getting started because getting started is truly the hardest part. Before we get further into today's episode. Here's a quick 62nd word from our sponsor. The sponsor for today's episode is Native. And if you know Native, if you've tried native, then you probably love it. Just like I do. Native is a natural deodorant company and natural deodorant was a hard sell for me. I tried a lot of different varieties that didn't work, and I went back and forth between trying natural and going back to the traditional conventional options.

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All right, back to our episode today, I am so happy to welcome both Courtney and Kim. We're going to start this episode by Courtney telling us a little bit more about project three 33 in her work in minimalist fashion. And then after that, I'm going to let Courtney and Kim take it away. And Courtney will walk Kim through the very basics of getting started. I hope you enjoy this episode.

Denaye Barahona: Hi Courtney. Thanks so much for joining me.

Courtney: Hey Denaye, thanks for inviting me.

Denaye Barahona: Well this is, it's been a long time. You were in, you were on episode 89 with me and you were talking about your first book, soulful simplicity. When was that?

Courtney: That would have been probably 2018, early 2018. Yeah.

Denaye Barahona: Okay. Wow. So now you have a brand new book project three 33.

Courtney: Yes. It's out in the world. I'm very excited. It feels like a completely different animal than book. Number one. It is and so when I got this book, I was like, wow, this is very straightforward, very practical, which I think many people need when they're starting with the wardrobe. What do you think about that?

Courtney: Definitely people want to know exactly, you know, how to approach it, different ways to approach it, how to break the rules, what might work best for them. So it's not an exact science by any means, but I think the book gives some people room to create something that'll work well for them.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So this isn't new to you though. You've been talking about this for how long now?

Courtney: Almost 10 years.

Denaye Barahona: Oh my goodness. Wow. So tell me, where did it start? The history of it and a little bit about how you got started with be more with less?

Courtney: Yeah, it's funny to think about how long it's actually been, because it doesn't feel like it's been this long, but bemorewithless.com started in May of 2010. And then I started to think about project three 33 in the summer of that year and announced it in October. So I did my first round in the fall of 2010 and invited, you know, a very small community to join me if they were interested. And it kind of took on a life of its own, right from the get-go and has been going strong ever since. I mean, people from all over the world are doing the challenge and it's something that I keep getting new questions about and different feedback. And so I feel like it's just one of those things that is just going to continue it's timeless.

Denaye Barahona: Right. So tell us exactly what it is.

Courtney: Sure. So project three 33 is a minimalist fashion challenge that invite you to, I guess, sample simplicity or sample minimalism without making a permanent commitment. And so for three months you dress with 33 items or less including clothing, jewelry, accessories, and shoes, and you hide everything else. So you don't get rid of it, you don't have to make any decisions about it. You just get it out of sight and kind of free up some space for yourself, not only in your closet, but in the rest of your life, because you're not shopping during that time or really giving much thought to what you're wearing because you're working with a small collection of hopefully some of your favorite items.

Denaye Barahona: So, I first discovered this and the idea of a capsule wardrobe back in 2015. And it was, I would say my first foray into minimalism and not something I didn't, wasn't looking for it per se. I kind of stumbled upon it. My thought when we were preparing for this interview was I was going to ask you, why this book now? Is this something that you've been thinking of since 2010, or do you feel like it just needed to be put into book form because you've been kind of talking about it in blog form for so long?

Courtney: No, I wasn't really thinking about it. Definitely not from the beginning. I mean, in 2010 it was a personal challenge and I thought it would be fun for three months and then we'd all move on. And after soulful simplicity, my first book came out, there was a chapter called simple as the new black, and it was about project three 33, and people were really kind of had renewed interest in it, in that specific chapter. And a few months later, my publishers asked me if I would write a book specific to project three 33, because again, it just seems to take over the conversation, whether it's one chapter in a book or one sentence and a presentation that I give about willpower or something completely unrelated or seemingly unrelated, it always comes to the, to the front of the conversation. So I think it's really in response to what people want. Right.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And in many ways, it's, it's not easy to do, but it can be a more tangible way to get started with simplifying your life.

Courtney: Usually what I hear and I know what I experienced is that it's not easy to think about, but it is actually pretty easy to do. In fact, it makes a lot of other things in your life, much easier, but thinking about it and considering it is really hard because we don't know what to expect. And we think of all the things that could possibly go wrong, which I think is how we at least I approach a lot of things. And so this has helped me approach other things in a more open way, just because I've realized that the hardest part for me on this challenge was overthinking it.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. And I know when I first started, I was pretty rigid about sticking with the numbers and that felt a little bit stressful getting started, but I do, I do feel like starting with a challenge, like this is a way to sort of give some structure to the process. And I know that that helped me a lot. Sure. And there's no magic

Courtney: To the number. I mean, I think it's a great place to start for most people, but some people have done it with 36 items or 40 items or even fewer items. So wherever the number lies for you, I think as long as it's a kind of a boundary or like a rule for you for three months, it just helps you learn more about yourself and then gives you more information to decide how you want to move forward.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, and I feel like as I've moved on, it's been five years now for me that I feel like I've really grown into making decisions about my own wardrobe. Like at first I just wanted someone to tell me exactly what to buy. I'm like if you gave me a list of the specific things and items to buy, I would just click on them and buy them and be done with it. I felt like I wanted that much support in the process. Do you get that a lot?

Courtney: I do. I get a lot of those questions and requests for a straightforward list or who to buy from or what to wear. And I think it's such a trap because that's, what's really gotten us in trouble in the first place is not really trusting what we like and enjoy in our lives, and not understanding what we want and need in our closets and our kitchens and our wherever like everywhere. So I think going through the process really, depending on yourself, to make those decisions and understanding that after three months of dressing with a handful of items, you have a better understanding of what you really want or need is pretty powerful. Versus just buying what everyone recommends or what looks like the easy solution, because as we all know what works best for one person is a complete failure for another person.

Denaye Barahona: Right. And I definitely found that I wanted a lot of guidance at first. And then once I moved forward in the process, I think I had more confidence and more self-awareness over the things that really made me happy. It's interesting that you say that you recommend holding on to everything. And that would have been my natural inclination when I first started, but I had this feeling once I went through my whole closet and got rid of 90% of everything, I put it all into big black leaf bags, like landscaping bags. And I had either two or three of them, but I needed them out of my house. Like I couldn't stand to look at them anymore. Like I just had this overwhelming feeling where I just, they had to go. And once they were physically out of my house, I donated them. I felt so much better just like that actual, it felt like a ripping the bandaid off. And that was really, I ripped the bandaid off on the clothes. And then it was a slippery slope from there. I moved through every other area of my house.

Courtney: That's great. And I think that for some people that really works, I know I definitely donated some items in the beginning, but I want to give that option for people to not worry about it right away. I think it's easier to make those decisions once we've had some distance from our stuff. And so there might be some obvious suspects that you're like, I haven't worn this in 10 years, or this is in terrible condition or I'm never going to wear this and I want to let go of it immediately. But most of the stuff has some kind of hold on us. It feels like, and so just to remove that from our line of vision is so important because then we break that hold and when it's time to revisit, we can let go with more ease.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. I do agree with that. And I know I just having talked to a lot of other women, especially that it can be really hard to let go of that stuff right away. So, I think the way that I felt maybe unique from a lot of other people, a lot of other people will go through and feel more of a tendency to hold onto the stuff for longer. So, I do love that you get that option and even suggestion that it doesn't have to be a lifetime commitment. You can just, you know, put it under the bed or put it in another closet, but get it out of sight.

Courtney: Yeah. I refuse to believe that there is one right way to do anything except maybe baking. Maybe you have to really follow the directions on baking. But otherwise there is a little bit of wiggle room in everything that we do. Right.

Denaye Barahona: And I do think that starting with something that is structured, like this can really give us the confidence to go out and kind of wing it on our own.

Courtney: Sure, and the interesting thing about kind of setting these boundaries, whether it be in our closet or around our work or wherever it is for me anyway, it really allows for a lot more flexibility in areas of my life where I need it.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah, absolutely. I love opening my closet in the mornings because it takes less than 10 seconds for me to make a choice and everything, all my choices are so much better than they ever were before. Yeah, just downsizing my wardrobe, I would say was probably the most impactful item of the physical stuff in my house that I have decluttered.

Courtney: That's great.

Denaye Barahona: Yeah. So I I've loved the process so much. So in January I was visiting my brother and his wife, Kim. They have two boys who are 11 and 13. They live in Phoenix and Kim has been following some bull families all along and has sort of watched me move through my capsule wardrobe and getting rid of my stuff, and she's always been curious.

Denaye Barahona: So, she started asking me some questions and I immediately was like, well, let's go to your closet right now. My kids were with me and I'd put them to bed. And I said, well, let's just go do it and she's like, well, I'm not quite ready for that. And so I was like, well, you know what, maybe you should come on and join me in my chat with Courtney. And she can start to walk you through this process because I feel like you've probably talked to a lot of newbies getting started who have some pretty basic questions I have.

Courtney: Interestingly enough, I haven't done a one-on-one on an, on a call like this. So I'm really looking forward to seeing how things unfold.

Denaye Barahona: Cool. Well, I'm excited to give you the chance to chat with her and I'm excited also to visit her again maybe next year and to see some big changes in her closet. Cause I do think she's going to love it when I was there. She said she felt motivated to get rid of a couple of sweatshirts from 1999. So I felt like we were on, we were on a good start. But overall she has a lot of cute stuff, but I think she was just spending a little overwhelmed with some of the stuff that she had that she wasn't wearing so much. All right. So I am going to go ahead and turn you over to Kim.

Courtney: Hi Kim.

Kim: Hi Courtney. Thanks for having me.

Courtney: I'm really excited to chat with you. So tell me a little bit about where, where you are right now in terms of the wardrobe that you have and the wardrobe that you're looking to create.

Kim: So, it's been a process and I see myself slowly moving towards a minimalistic kind of a wardrobe, but there are a lot of things that I struggle to take out of the closet and let go of right now. And Denaye called me out on a couple more fun pieces, like the sweatshirts from 99, but even some pieces like with weight fluctuations and, and kind of what direction to head as far as style, because I don't know that I have one of those from myself.

Kim: So, I was kind of looking for recommendations on how to really find the pieces that you love and then how to emotionally let go. Of some of those older pieces that you know, are for whatever reason were tied to.

Courtney: Sure, well I can completely understand almost everything that you're saying, actually, everything that you're saying, especially about finding a style because I didn't have one. I had all of them and just wore whatever was on sale or what was, I don't know, trendy or whatever. And I just had a closet full of all these different choices. So I could never really determine what I enjoyed because there was just too much to choose from. So one thing I want to ask you is are you open to doing project three 33 right now? Like going all in?

Kim: Yeah, absolutely.

Courtney: Okay. Wow. Yay. All right. Well, this is not going to be that complicated because as Denaye and I were kind of talking about none of this really has to be permanent, but I think it will be good for us to talk about some of the things that you brought up so that when it's time to revisit these items, if you don't want to do it now, you'll have the right questions to ask or things to think about. So for starters, in terms of thinking about your personal style, I would think more about what fits your body and your lifestyle today. So kind of disregard the weight fluctuation and just think about right now.

Courtney: So, if you have, for instance, multiple sizes in your closet, which I know many of us have done that including myself, but are there pieces that fit you now, not thinking about if you might lose or gain weight in the future.

Kim: So there's a few. Yeah. That I pieces now that I love how they fit and feel for sure.

Courtney: Great. Are you wearing something like that now? Like, do you have a few pieces on that you are comfortable in, that you might include in your capsule wardrobe?

Kim: Yeah. So one of the things that I'm wearing right now is a really great pair of leggings that Denaye actually suggested that I buy and I definitely am in love with them.

Courtney: Great.

Kim: They're the best thing. And then the other thing that I do tend to wear is like an oversized comfy t-shirt. So like, and then I could throw a cardigan over it or a Jean jacket or, you know, depending on what I'm about to do, I can dress it up or dress it down.

Courtney: Okay. And that makes you, you feel good in those clothes?

Kim: Not for the fanciest of occasions, you know, but definitely for what I would, I would need to do day to day.

Courtney: Okay. And then for the fancy occasions, are there a lot of them?

Kim: No, not a lot of them, but I do find myself in a meeting or two throughout the week or leading a group of ladies that I would probably want to look a little bit better for it.

Courtney: Okay. And how might you what, what would you do for that? For instance, would you be leaning towards a dress or a skirt or pants and a top and a blazer or something like that?

Kim: Probably the pants, the top, and a blazer.

Courtney: Okay. And then can you think of other places that you could wear that pants top blazer? Like would that be appropriate for a night out with your husband for instance, or an event at your kid's school? Something like that?

Kim: Yeah, absolutely.

Courtney: Okay. All right. So here is what I recommend to get started. I want you to kind of let go of that concern of the weight fluctuation temporarily only because we're talking about a span of three months, I'm elation that you're going to experience the clothes that you have will probably accommodate that. And if for some reason they don't then make changes, like either pick something from what you have currently, or find someth ing new.

Courtney: Like, even though you're going to commit to these three months of this capsule wardrobe, this is not a project in suffering. I don't want you to be uncomfortable or wearing clothes that don't fit you. But I also think that sometimes we get really concerned about weight ups and downs and that stress perpetuates some of the problem, not in every case. And certainly I don't have any science-based evidence to support that, but I know for myself, when I finally just said, I'm only keeping one size in my closet, it was never a problem.

Kim: Yeah. That makes sense. Because you're constantly looking at those things that you either want to wear or, you know, goodness forbid you don't want to wear again.

Courtney: Right and then you feel bad about yourself because either they don't fit or you spent too much money on them and you're not wearing them. And it, it makes us feel bad and stressed and who knows what happens after that?

Kim: Okay. So I really Liked that. So only one size in the closet at one time.

Courtney: Whatever fits you today is what you're going to include in the wardrobe.

Kim: Okay.

Courtney: But you're going to give yourself permission to swap items out if you have like a drastic weight change.

Kim: Okay.

Courtney: Okay. And then in terms of the style, like your personal style, we're also going to throw that out the window for now, because what you think you might want or need today is going to feel very different in three months after moving through these three months with more space, time, energy, and maybe even money, if you've been spending money on clothes. So the way that I want you to pick out your capsule wardrobe, and then we're going to deal with all the excess stuff. So stuff you're not going to count towards your 33 items, underwear, sleepwear, lounge wear like stuff you might wear around the house or do yard work in, but you're not going out in the world in, so you're not going to count those items.

Courtney: And you're also not going to count any workout clothes, as long as you're using those clothes to work out,

Kim: Not visit the world with like.

Courtney: If you stop at the grocery store on your way to yoga, that's fine. But if you're wearing your yoga pants all the time, then count those in your 33 items is kind of how I like to think about it. And that rule came from my daughter telling me to stop wearing my yoga pants everywhere 10 years ago, times have changed. Now I think more and more people, including myself are wearing I guess, atleisure wear, is that the right term? But it just counted in your 33 items.

Courtney: KImSo, first I want you to think about like the, not let's think about the non clothing stuff, so accessories that you use every single day. So like for instance, on my list, and then I'm going to have you give me a few items and I'm going to try to count out your items as we go. And then this is kind of like making a budget. It doesn't always work the first time. So you might have to go in and refine it. But on my accessories list right now, sunglasses, a handbag, a tote bag, two scarves, it's a five items. What are some accessories that you use on a pretty much a daily or weekly basis?

Kim: Definitely sunglasses and I buy cheap ones. So I tend to have quite a few pairs laying around. Okay. Do you have a favorite pair? I do have a favorite pair. And so I guess this is a good question. I have a black pair and I have a Brown tortoise shell pair.

Courtney: Okay.

Kim: Is that I feel like both are necessary.

Courtney: And how are they necessary?

Kim: Well, when I don't I wear with black clothes and the other one? I would wear with Brown or off-color clothes like Navy.

Courtney: Okay. Let's just assume that both pair of sunglasses go with everything and it doesn't matter if they match or not. So I'm going to encourage you to pick for now one pair. And then if we have room at the end, you can add the other one back in.

Kim: Okay. And I would know my favorite are definitely the black pair.

Courtney: Okay. There you go. So you've got your black pair of sunglasses. What else do you carry a purse or?

Kim: I do, I have a bigger purse that I tend to like take with me to meetings that would have like my notebooks and different things in there. But I also have like like a little wristlet wallet that is literally just a wallet then where my phone fits, but I pull that out of my purse if I was going to run into the store.

Courtney: Great. Would you ever just carry it separately or do you think it's more like a wallet?

Kim: No. No. I carry it separately for sure.

Courtney: Okay. So let's count that. And then what about like a scarf? I know you're in Phoenix, so it's warmer, but I know I wear a scarf everywhere.

Kim: So, I do wear one, not when it's super hot, but I do have one that I tend to kind of throw on to dress up some of my dresses or my planer t-shirts that kind of thing.

Courtney: Okay. Do you think you might want to include that in the next three months?

Kim: Let me, yeah, I do. I think I would need to.

Courtney: And again, we can change this up and I'm going to actually send you this list that I'm making right now, so you can see for yourself.

Kim: Oh, nice.

Courtney: How it's unfolding. Can you think of other accessories right now that you use frequently?

Kim: No, I don't think so. Now what about jewelry? Is that something that count?

Courtney: Let's talk about that next. Okay. So tell me about how you wear jewelry right now?

Kim: I'm actually very simple on jewelry. I usually have a pair of earrings or like I pretty much rotate between three gold, silver and these little studs that I wear. Okay and then I almost always have a necklace weather and there's only two that I really go back and forth between.

Courtney: Let's think about just for the next three months, picking one pair of earrings and maybe they just stay in your ears even it's okay. They, I don't know if they feel comfortable like that. So you don't even have to think about them. I cut out urines completely for my first season, but let's think about just to start one pair of earrings. And could you pick one necklace?

Kim: I'm thinking about that. Yeah. I think I probably could, cause I have one I would lean into more so, you know, and I do love. And when I was listening to you and Denaye before this, about the not having to give it up forever just for three months. And when I think of it like that, it doesn't seem so painful, right?

Courtney: Right. It's not, it's not, I mean, three months ago we were in the midst of the holiday season. So it goes fast and again, at the end of the three months, you may feel differently about those items. I probably had when I first started 20 necklaces that weren't like expensive jewelry, but just kind of accessorizing costume jewelry. And I only kept one in my collection. And when I went back to the other ones, I was just like, what was I thinking? Like, this doesn't even feel like me anymore. So, but if you would ask me at the beginning, I would have thought, Oh no, of course I'm going to bring those back in. So let's just see what happens with that, and then tell me about shoes.

Kim: Oh boy, I'm going to get in trouble here. So I won't count any of my workout shoes cause I have one or two pairs, like I'll throw one for outdoor workouts and then I have another one for strictly gym workouts. Right. Great, perfect. So we won't count those because those, I do wear pretty much strictly for that. But I have sandals because it's Phoenix. I have them galore. Okay. And then I have like a pair of like Tom type loafers that I would slip on. Okay. And then of course I have a few pairs of dress shoes that collect dust and I pulled them out for weddings and whatnot, so.

Courtney: Okay. So when let's go back to, when you told me about the, sometimes you do a meeting or two during the week, would you wear sandals or dress shoes to that?

Kim: I actually would probably wear either the sandals or the top.

Courtney: Perfect. That's great. So I say we include the Toms. We include, do you want to include a pair of dress shoes? Like one pair of dress shoes?

Kim: That one's tough. I'm going to say, Oh boy, I'm going to say no. And the reason why I would say no is because if I were to think about this as, as a capsule wardrobe, in that mindset, they might not be the most comfortable shoes. They're just shoes that I've bought and I've kept. So I don't know that I have like huge amounts of love for them.

Courtney: Do they hurt your feet?

Kim: Yeah.

Courtney: I want you to really think about that when it's time to hold on or let go of them. Because I mean, I don't think we deserve to be in pain when we're walking through our day. So really give that some thought, like what's so important that you have to be in pain.

Kim: Yeah, and then maybe if I did feel like I really wanted to dress shoes, it would be time to begin to shop for something.

Courtney: Correct.

Kim: Very comfortable yet. Cute and stylish.

Courtney: That's right.

Kim: Okay. So those can go.

Courtney: yes. Those can go. Or if you're not ready to let them go, you could put them out.

Kim: Yes. Which, which is probably more realistic for me.

Courtney: That's fine. Okay. So we've got the Toms. Tell me how many pairs of sandals you might want to include for three months?

Kim: Well, since you've already heard of my funny little admission about my sunglasses, I do the same thing with sandals. I have basically one style, I guess, that I could narrow it down to you, but I, I keep a black pair and I keep like a cognac style Brown.

Courtney: Okay. Well, I think you could include both of those. I think we've got room for who's your parents. And so we've got the Toms two pair of sandals. Is there another pair of shoes that you might want to rotate in there? Or do you think that three would be enough for you? I, I would probably be okay. Now during this though, like say my Toms are a little bit old. If I wanted to shop for like a little bit like something to replace the Toms, would I do that in that three months or what I say? No.

Courtney: I think that you'll have to gauge that for yourself. Myself. I would probably say no unless they're falling apart. Okay. Just because I don't want to shop for anything at all and see what that feels like. But if you know that these guys are on the way out and you need to replace them then yeah.

Kim: Okay. So then I will keep these ones. I'll go. The I'll go the lengths with them. Okay.

Courtney: Okay. Great. All right. So now, so we, we're up to nine items, which is great. Right? So let's move on to close. So you've got 24 items left, which seems like a lot to me. Does that, or does that not to you or does that?

Kim: When I think of limiting myself, it seems like very little, but when I think of what I would fill in there, then it seems like a lot. I don't know if that makes sense.

Courtney: Totally does. Let's let's break it down by items. So let's first start with, do we want to include any kind of dressy dressy item, like for a wedding or I don't know. Really formal.

Kim: I would say no, just because I, I don't really even have one that I would pull from right now. And yeah. I, and I think that anything, like, I know I don't have a wedding coming up, so I know that's not even something that I would look towards. So I would say I have a couple, like one dress that I could wear for a fairly nice occasion that wouldn't be too comfortable if that makes sense.

Courtney: How uncomfortable? Well, I mean, if it was, it wouldn't be uncomfortable to wear to a formal event, you mean?

Kim: Yeah. I think I could get away with, you know, any event that would pop up in the next three months where I would need to be dressy.

Courtney: Great. What, what, how would you refer to that dress?

Kim: It's a long black it's like a cute maxi dress. That's a little bit, you know, it's made with a better material. So it holds up nicely throughout the day.

Courtney: And sounds amazing. So a black maxi dress. Okay. And then any skirts, are you a skirt person?

Kim: Nope. Not a skirt person.

Courtney: Okay. So then we can move on to what I think is the next easiest category and that's,pants or shorts. Okay. So what for pants? You've got those leggings that you really like?

Kim: Yes.

Courtney: Okay.

Kim: And then, so right now I have two or three pairs of jeans and they're pretty much, well, there's two different styles. I have like wider legged pants that are, you know, boot cut, I would say. And I have two colors of that. And then I have like a fitted, like straight or leggings, not leggings. So I'm trying to think of the word,

Courtney: Skinny jeans?

Kim: Skinny jeans. There we go. And I have two different colors of those, like a light and a dark of each.

Courtney: What do you mean? A light and a dark, like a light denim in a dark denim.

Kim: Exactly. Yeah.

Courtney: Okay. So which do you like better the light or the dark? Or do you love them? Both.

Kim: So with the boot cut ones, I could pick one that I definitely always pull from more than the others, but with the skinny jeans, probably the dark, just because it's more flattering, but I don't know that I have a favorite. One of those.

Courtney: Okay. Let's talk about the boot cut. Which one is your favorite?

Kim: The darker one.

Courtney: Okay. So dark boot cut. And then let's say we'll include both skinny jeans and then are there any other pants?

Kim: Not really. No.

Courtney: Great. That's perfect.

Kim: I mean, there are definitely in my closet, but none that I pull out to wear regularly. Right. Those are the ones that are like give or take five, 10 pound pants that are in the closet that I would have to put in the bag.

Courtney: Okay. Good. We'll putting them in the bag for sure. Okay. all right. So let's talk about your oversized t-shirt and cardigan combo. It sounds like that's kind of your day-to-day uniform.

Kim: Yeah.

Courtney: So how many t-shirts would you like to include?

Kim: Oh, man.

Courtney: Tell me that. So the different colors?

Kim: Yes.

Courtney: Do you wear all the different colors or do you have a couple of favorites?

Kim: I would say I rotate, so I have four.

Courtney: Okay.

Kim: And I do rotate those kind of regularly.

Courtney: Okay, good. So for now I'm just going to put them all on here. So I'm just going to call them t-shirts okay. For four items. And then you can decide when you get this list, which ones those are. And then how about the cardigans?

Kim: So, I have one, two, probably. I have plenty. I really do stick between, I would say I stick with three of them. Mostly if I like, I could already narrow it down to three mostly. I'm not sure how much they're going to come into play in the next three months in here in Phoenix cause we're starting our heat wave here soon. Okay. So I may be able to lower it down to like only one.

Courtney: You want to put two in just to feel like you've got that option? Yeah, maybe yeah. Two. Okay. So now we've got a good rotation of t-shirts and cardigans. What about like, is there any outerwear, like a rain jacket? Is that silly? Does it ever ran in Phoenix?

Kim: You know, it does very rarely. So, no, I don't, I don't really even have anything like that, that I would grab from on the rainy days. I would just throw on an oversized sweater or something to stay.

Courtney: Is oversized sweater different than the cardigans?

Kim: You got me on that one.

Courtney: Okay. So you're going to include how many oversize sweaters?

Kim: Just, I know I can narrow it down to one.

Courtney: Okay. And then what about like we talked about maybe a blazer or a jacket that you might wear to one of these dressier meetings.

Kim: So I do have one.

Courtney: Okay.

Kim: And I definitely like it.

Courtney: That's great.

Kim: Yeah. I would, I would include it, I would think. And then maybe look to get a better one, if that makes sense. Cause it's not the easiest to be in all day, so yeah. So I have one that I would use right now or I would upgrade it at some point.

Courtney: And you'd wear the blazer with either the jeans or the leggings.

Kim: Yeah, for sure.

Courtney: Okay, good. And what would you wear under the blazer? Like what kind of shirt?

Kim: Most of the time, It would, I mean, a lot of times it's like one of the t-shirts with like that's when I would throw on like an accessory to kind of just dress it up. But since we're sticking with just one necklace, I'm struggling to find what I have in my closet that I would put under this blazer.

Courtney: Well, you've got plenty of room left if you wanted to add another necklace.

Kim: Yeah. Maybe, maybe one larger necklace that hangs down because sure. The one I tend to wear is just like a nice one that falls soft, probably, you know, like 12 to 15 inches, but I usually will grab like a chunkier one for like, if I was trying to dress up the outfit.

Courtney: Okay.

Kim: And then I would like put in those nicer, you know, my t-shirts in there.

Courtney: The t-shirts that we already have on the list. Right.

Kim: Yeah.

Courtney: Okay. All right. So we have nine items left.

Kim: Oh my goodness.

Courtney: Right. You already have a complete wardrobe, but you have nine more items you could add. Now someone that lives like where I live in salt Lake city, those nine items are half. At least half of them are taken up with coats, gloves, hats, and so on. So you've really got some nice choices here. You could add to the list, a few items you could add all nine or you could not add any what are you thinking? Like where are you feeling like, Oh, I wish I could include this,

Kim: Okay. So I'm thinking right now and under my blazer, this would look good too. I have a really cute dress shirt and I don't pull it from it very often, but this would definitely be a perfect one. If I wanted to go out to dinner with my husband or to a meeting and I definitely would pull that one in and it makes me feel like now that we're talking about this and I don't know how silly this is going to sound like everything in my closet is not something I would choose to put in this wardrobe. So it's there, and I'm not even choosing to keep it. Does that make sense?

Courtney: It sounds like most of us actually. Yeah.

Kim: It's very interesting. I'm like going through the whole picture of my closet in my head and I'm like, there's nothing that I'm going to miss that's that I'm attached to now.

Courtney: But here's, what's the difference is going to be, so you probably weren't wearing those items anyway. You've probably been dressing within like the project three 33 parameters, but every single day you're looking at all of that other stuff and how that affects you. You don't know yet.

Courtney: So how it makes you feel every day, because it feels so normal. You might not know until it's gone, which is really exciting. Yeah. So would you like at this point to add anything else, like earrings, I'm just looking through your list to see where you might want to add something or you could just leave it open. And I mean, not that I want to encourage you to go and fill this space up, but if you really saw a gap, you know, in what you were wearing, perhaps you might add it.

Kim: Yeah. I think I like the idea of leaving the gap open in, now that we're talking, like it's kind of coming to me that I have been hesitant to add pieces to my wardrobe because quote unquote, I have this huge wardrobe and you know, I don't need anything, but now that I'm looking at this, I don't need to feel guilty to add a couple of key pieces to my wardrobe that would make me feel better. Does that make sense or like that I would love to wear,

Courtney: Yes. Look you never need to wear shoes that hurt your feet and you never need to feel guilty about your clothes.

Kim: Yes. Oh, and I did just think of one thing I have a jean jacket. Did we add that? No?

Courtney: No.

Kim: I definitely have to add that Jean jacket. It's so cute and easy to pop on with almost anything that I wear.

Courtney: Okay. Any bracelets?

Kim: You know, I have my watch, which I wear a lot. Let me think. I mean, a bracelet would be okay. There's one bracelet that I'll pull out to kind of dress up a little bit, but it's so few and far between, I might not have thought of it, but if you didn't say something,

Courtney: Then don't include it honestly. Like don't give yourself one more thing to think about, but I'd count your watch if you wear it.

Kim: Okay. Then. Yeah, I wear every day it's, you know, tracks the steps and everything. So definitely it's a good component.

Courtney: Okay, great. So look, you're at 26 items right now, which means there's six more that you can kind of either leave alone or consider what you might add during the three months. And maybe you want to wait until the end of the three months before you add anything.

Courtney: But what I'd like you to do after our call is take a picture of your closet as it is now, and then take everything out. Except these items, these 26 items that I'm going to email you and take another picture. And with all those other items, I just want you to get them out of sight. Even though we know the shoes are probably going to go. And a lot of the other stuff you're just going to let go of just so you don't have that extra stress of where it's all going. Just get it out of sight.

Courtney: It, do you have someplace you could put it like a garage or under the bed or in another room?

Kim: Yeah, definitely.

Courtney: Perfect. Okay. And then your class is going to feel empty.

Kim: Yes.

Courtney: But you're not going to fill up the empty space because it's going to teach you something.

Kim: Okay.

Courtney: Over the next three months. So I'm going to email you the list. You're going to take a picture. You're going to remove all this extra stuff that we don't have on the list. And then you're going to take another picture and then you're going to go live your life for three months and see what happens.

Kim: Okay. That is exciting and scary.

Courtney: Yeah. I really want you to follow up with me at the end of the three months and tell me what happened if you don't mind.

Kim: No, no problem at all. Okay. That sounds so fun.

Courtney: All right. Well, Denaye, I think we've got a yes.

Denaye Barahona: I can't wait to see it. Yes. Lots and lots of pictures. Kim shameless pictures do not worry at all about how crazy it is. If you haven't seen my before pictures, I'll put those in the show notes too. So anyone can see those. I love seeing the before and after pictures on this kind of thing, and I think you're going to love the empty space. You're going to want to hang out in there.

Kim: Yeah.

Courtney: I think so too. And remember no guilt and you're not wearing anything that is uncomfortable.

Kim: Okay. Yeah, definitely. Okay. And that's super exciting. Like, I mean, it's weird that when you talk me through this, how those ideas of why keep those, if they're not comfortable, why keep those, if you know, they hurt or why keep them in the closet if given like this, when you're telling me to pull from them, I don't even want to pull from them. It's kind of, it makes me feel kind of funny that I've kept them this long.

Courtney: Yeah well, just it's part of the process and I'm really excited for you. I think this is a great list and it's going to make things better for you.

Kim: Yeah. Thank you very much, Courtney and Anthony really appreciate it.

Denaye Barahona: Awesome. Well, thank you for being willing to give it a try, Kim and Courtney. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. And I'm so excited for this new book. I'm going to put the link project three 33, the minimalist fashion challenge that proves less really is so much more.

I'm going to put that link in the show notes so everyone can pick one up.

Courtney: Thanks Denaye. Thanks Kim. Thank you.

Denaye Barahona: Thanks so much for tuning in today. I hope you'll check out Courtney at bemorewithless.com and her book project three 33. The minimalist fashion challenge that proves less really is so much more. If you go to simple families.com/episode201, you'll find the links to learn more about Courtney and get a copy of her new book as always. Thanks so much for tuning in. If you enjoy the simple families podcast, hit subscribe to make sure you get all the latest episodes and make sure you're on the email list. That's where you're going to get updates with what's going on on the podcast, on the blog and in the community. Have a good one.

Denaye Barahona

Dr. Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She partners with families to tackle the challenges of raising children. Denaye is a minimalist who claims to be a decluttering expert (don't let her near your closet). She loves to travel, talk health-and-wellness, and give unsolicited advice. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Minimalists, Motherly, Becoming Minimalist, and numerous other media outlets. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in child and family practice.