We recently watched the documentary Minimalism on Netflix.  We both always liked the idea of minimalist living and with the new year, decided this would be a perfect time to give it a go while we prepare for tiny living in the bus.

We decided to start with our closet. I often find myself feeling like I have nothing to wear but the truth of the matter is, I had too much to wear and my favorite items were always dirty or buried deep in my drawer.

Insert project 333.  The idea is to create a “capsule wardrobe” consisting of only 33 (excluding socks, underwear, etc) staple items that you really enjoy wearing, are in good condition, and are functional for a period of 3 months.

Step 1: get rid of the junk

We started by getting rid of anything that was falling apart.  I don’t know why we feel so inclined to keep faded old shirts with holes in them…  Letting go of these was pretty easy.  zac had some trouble with a few of his favorite shirts that had seen better days.

Most of these items were not fit for donation because they were stained or damaged.  I don’t like to see all that fabric go to waste, so I made the dogs some rope toys from them by cutting them into strips and braiding them.




Step 2: Start Sorting

Next, we brought all of our clothes upstairs and sorted them into 3 piles:

Love it, Like it, Lose it

Step 3: Be Brutal

The next part got kind of difficult.  With the remaining items, we had the following checklist to determine what makes the cut:

  • Do I feel good wearing this? Probably the most important question!
  • Does it fit properly? This means you can’t keep a shirt just because you like the graphic if it is too tight and makes you feel insecure when you wear it.
  • Does it fit my style? A cool part of narrowing down your wardrobe is that you finally get a clearer picture of what your “style” is. . . What textures, fabrics, colors, and shapes you like most.
  • Does it go with all of my other items? For me, this experiment brought clarity as to why I like the clothes that I do.  I found that I only wear dark skinny jeans (which fortunately go with everything), and I wear a lot of brown leather and denim.  Meaning, I don’t need to hold on to those black ballet flats I always had “just in case”.
  • When will I wear this? We found it helpful to think about our daily activities and make sure we had something to cover each of those activities from meeting with clients to working on the bus.
  • Will it show Tuco’s fur? This one is a big one for us but may not apply to everyone out there!  I found myself not wearing my cute and comfy black leggings because Tuco hair would show up all over it.  So I threw out the black items in my closet (again, I found i like browns and greys more anyway). This may also mean leaving fleece items behind.

We ended up with 2 contractor size trash bags + a kitchen trash bag full of clothes to donate.  Embarrassingly, many of the items we donated were brand new.  This really made me think about our impulse shopping habits.  No one needs this many clothes. At least someone will benefit from our mistakes.


This is where I landed after the purge!  I have 33 items in my capsule.

  • 4 pairs of long pants (1 nice dark pair of jeans, 2 pair of everyday jeans, and 1 pair of romp around/work on the bus jeans)
  • 6 sweaters
  • 1 summer dress (i am on the hunt for a cold-weather dress)
  • 2 flannel shirts (layers are good!)
  • 3 long sleeve shirts
  • 5 short sleeve/ medium sleeve shirts
  • 2 t shirts (plus my volunteer shirt but uniforms do not count)
  • 3 pairs of lounge pants (1 pajama pant, 2 sweatpants)
  • 1 belt
  • 2 beanies
  • 3 tank tops
  • 1 cardigan


Step 4: (thoughtfully) Fill the holes. 

Finally, after narrowing down our items, we were able to see what pieces are missing and go do some intentional shopping.  I have a bad habit of buying cheap, poorly constructed “disposable” clothing which is bad for the environment. Moving forward, I will be only purchasing well made items that will be long lasting and I will be trying to shop ethical clothing brands who are environmentally conscious and pay their workers fairly as often as possible.  (check out a list of companies here)

Tip: Wear your favorite outfit to go shopping for the missing items so you have something to compare to while trying on clothes.

I decided I need a new every day jacket, 1 well made belt that goes with everything to replace the one I have, and a warm cardigan I can wear around the house and to the grocery store (and not look like a slob) to replace my existing one that doesn’t fit well.

Step 5: put your capsule wardrobe to the test

Now, for the rest of the month, I will be hanging all of my clothes and rotating the things I wear to the front.  By the end of the month, I should know what I wear the most and what I barely touch and then go on to make further edits.

Next up, our dishes and kitchen gadgets are gonna be put through the ringer!

If you decide to give project 333 a try, let us know what your results are in the comments!

Zac HendersonComment