Could You Live with 33 Items of Clothes for 3 Mos?

Article by Lauren: Bneato team member (reprinted from the February 2013 Bneato Newsletter)

Beth first brought Project 333 to my attention before the holidays and asked if I wanted to blog about it. I checked it out, and it intimidated me. The gist is, you pare down to thirty-three items of clothing (including outerwear like jackets, shoes, accessories and even jewelry; excluding under garments, PJs and workout gear) for three months. The woman who created the concept lists the items she chose and how living with less made her a convert. I’m by no means a fashionista, but I don’t like looking like I wear the same thing every few days. Plus I like to have variety of items, and even indulge in some trends (color, prints, etc.), which is difficult to do when you have a wardrobe consisting of 33 items. Typically most items are neutrals so they can be mixed and matched with as many options as possible.

When I realized I was moving I thought I’d take on an altered version of Project 333 and would cut down my wardrobe as much as possible, living with only what I needed for one month while my stuff went into storage. One of my immediate concerns was that I was starting a new job and knew I’d need some professional clothing. Luckily, I’m working at a start-up where most of the guys wear jeans and a button down flannel shirt or a hoodie. But that’s not me; and I am the client service rep. so I wanted to look professional. Having lived in NYC for many years I adopted the mantra ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ and I guess that’s stuck with me even now that I’m in laid-back California.

It took two days of re-evaluating, but I was finally able to get my clothing down to 50 items. And that was a huge accomplishment considering I had already packed at least 4 large boxes of clothes and shoes. I included 2 coats, 2 suits, 4 dresses, 3 skirts, 8 sweaters, 7 work tops, 7 casual tops, 1 scarf/mitten/hat set, 2 dress pants, 4 casual pants, 2 leggings, 2 pairs of heels, 3 flats, 1 moccasin, and 2 pairs boots (uggs, and rain – which I didn’t want to bring but it was rainy when I was packing so I kept them out). I did not count jewelry, underwear/panty hose, workout clothes, or pjs – but I only brought what I needed of those).

Once I arrived to my temporary living situation and unpacked, I realized I could’ve done with less. I could’ve cut out at least one thing from each category and been totally fine. I was scared to live with less, but I think it would’ve made my life simpler – and my suitcase lighter! I’m now more open to the Project 333 challenge and think I might do it for real now that I’ve tested the waters. Something tells me this would be easier come summer time. I do enjoy living with less clutter in general, and while I always try to keep my clothes to a minimum, clearly I could be doing a better job! Project 333 has opened my eyes and I will look at the purchase of clothing a little differently now.

The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

A guest blog by Bneato team member Lauren Mang

I first learned of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge from Pinterest while browsing organization ideas (follow my Hyper Organized Board if you dare). If you haven’t already signed up for a Pinterest account, I highly recommend you do. It’s an amazing and essential tool for the paperless lifestyle!

Back to the challenge… My interest was peaked as soon as I realized it was a giant list of rooms/areas to purge. The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge has been featured on a couple of different blogs, but I first learned of it on Little Lucy Lu’s page where she states ‘I love throwing things away like it’s nobody’s business. No, you don’t understand… I LOVE IT.’ Is this woman me?! Because I love it, too!

Here’s the breakdown: Rid your life/house of 40 bags of ‘stuff’ during the 40 days of Lent (which begins February 13, 2013 this year). This includes: junk, clutter, garbage, or things you no longer use or love. Bags do not have to mean great big giant garbage bags – they can be any kind of bag: ziplock bag, brown paper lunch bag, shopping bag, plastic bag, or even 95 gallon trash bags (yes, those exist). You can use the list above (from Little Lucy Lu) or you can create your own list according to your own needs. The point is, challenge yourself to really evaluate your items and make decisions of what you need and what you don’t.

Donate your bags to charity, or if you must, put them in the trash. Lent is traditionally a time when devote Catholics repent or fast. According to Wikipedia, today’s Catholics usually ‘give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.’ It sounds like this challenge covers all three!

So take a page out of a Catholic’s book and give up clutter, give up junk, give up things you no longer love or use. At the end of 40 days you’ll have a better appreciation for the things you kept, and maybe even a small addiction to purging. Trust me, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. We can all learn to live with less… in a matter of only forty days.

*side note: if you read this post after February 13, 2013, feel free to still take on the challenge. You can tailor it to your needs: do 2-3 areas or bags a day, instead  There are no rules other than doing your best to rid yourself of clutter!

i couldn’t take it anymore

so i’ve been documenting my closet cleanse project (deets found here) over on flickr and last week around day 90, i found myself in a world of mess. i was knee deep in a painting project and things were strewn everywhere. the kitchen was so chaotic that i needed some something to make the disorganization feel sane. it’s also important to note that in the weeks prior to this moment, i had been wanting to purge my closet. since chronicling my outfits daily, it is quite obvious that i wear the same thing all the time. so with this knowledge combined with the need to feel orderly asap, i tore through my closet with ease. tossing garments that i’ve kept for no other reason than; i might wear them someday. and holy crap—i feel so much better!

the s.a.f.e. center rocks

what is the s.a.f.e. center you ask? it’s an acronym for Solvents/Automotive/Flammables/Electronics (duh:). the s.a.f.e. center takes these hazardous waste items and recycles/disposes of them. i took a back log of cell phones, wires, cds and the like last saturday and it was kinda awesome. you drive down this long driveway where a very nice woman greets you. she asks you a few questions about the items you have in your car and then she directs you further down the driveway. you’ll next see a sign that says, “turn here” and then you arrive. the experience felt similar to pulling through a drive through (only here the folks are doing major goodness for the environment as opposed to getting you to pay more $ for a extra value meal). follow this link for the s.a.f.e. center in your area + dates and times. also, they allow up to 150 lbs of stuff per trip (rock steady).

ps; the closet cleanse continues on flickr; days 17-20 are locked and loaded

closet cleanse project; days 11-15

from L-R; banana republic grey knit sweater, striped h&m top, toms; black american apparel top, vince camuto peep toe; striped h&m top, toms; white v-neck american apparel top, converse (skinny and relaxed seven jeans throughout).

ugh. i wish i could have gotten these pics up sooner. these 4 outfits are a combination of what i wore from friday through today. there’s a client meeting outfit in there, an evening out combination, relaxing at home on a sunday with friends and working with a client outfit. i didn’t realize until i put these pics together that i’ve been pretty mono-chromatic the last 5 days (white, black, grey, with the smallest hint of color in my converse). how boring!! i think i need a little color, no?!

closet confessions via bluefly

i love this series! have you guys seen it yet? i happened upon bluefly’s closet confessions this morning and i’m addicted.  2 minute edited down videos of pop culture personalities inviting you into their closets. and since i’ve been so intimate with my closet as of late, i wanted to share… this one is bethenny frankel. apparently she’s from the housewives franchise (not sure which city–i’m only interested in the real housewives of beverly hills). but i am interested in what she has to say about her closet–and the fact that she repurposed her pantry to store her shoes and accessories….

closet cleanse; day 10

black american apparel v-neck, urban outfitters jacket, seven jeans, steve madden boots

i’ve always hated it when i heard people say, “i forgot to eat.” really? really?! i mean, i think about food a lot (a lot). but this week, i was so busy on a few of the days that i really did forget to eat… but then i remembered and was like–holy cra#@!^!*^#@ i forgot to eat! i like to rationalize that the monotony of my outfits is directly related to my recently swamped days (but honestly, i do wear the same thing all the time). i am beginning to realize that this closet cleanse project is going to be just the proof i need to say goodbye to half of the clothes i never, ever wear…

closet cleanse; day 7

vintage levi strauss striped sailboat top, seven jeans, navy galoshes from the army navy store

during the day i had a client so i wore my uniform of american apparel top, seven jeans and toms. but last night, i had band practice and afterwards headed directly over to the echo to catch a friends band play, so i decided to change it up ever so slightly. i scored this top years ago for under $5 at a thrift store i frequent when i travel back home to SC. because it’s not “cool” to shop at thrift stores back home, it’s a prime spot for great finds. and yes, i know it was not raining last eve in LA BUT it did rain yesterday morning… and it was windy… and after you’ve lived in LA long enough, you’ll realize that most folks can pretty much wear anything and get away with it. galoshes found for $20 at army/navy store.

link love

seonna hong art on view at subliminal projects until december 4th
how much did you love the extra hour of sleep on saturday?! i know i did… and i think it may have started a trend. i ended up going to bed at 10:30 last evening (i know) and getting up at 7 am today with the alarm (and felt completely rested). we’ll see if this routine sticks… in the blogosphere today;
  • closet cleanse project (days 5 & 6 found here)
  • if you send out holiday cards, get ‘em done this weekend. here are some uh-mazing cards to get you started  
  • my friend, ms abby waxes poetic about this past weekend and friday night rituals (just reading her posts are soothing)
  • plan a date with a friend or your significant other and check out the new art exhibition, pattern recognition (in echo park). we went saturday eve to the opening reception and the images were nothing short of grand. my favorite artist, seonna hong (rich colors, fantastical landscapes and lots of lines)! oh yeah, apartment therapy also did a house tour of seonna’s pasadena pad a while back (tons of modern inspiration).

closet cleanse; day 4

h&m striped top, urban outfitters skirt, american apparel tights, vince camuto camel colored heels

i love the effortless look and cannot get enough of this striped top. this summer, you could find me wearing it 3-4 times/week (thank god we have a washer/dryer in the apt). it’s lightweight and classic and perfect for my simple taste. the high-waist skirt was an impulse buy two years ago. i bought it at the last minute to attend a friend’s christmas party and have probably only worn it once (maybe twice since). i pulled it out this morning for a photo shoot for before starting the rest of my day. it’s doubtful that i’ll wear it again this year but we’ll see… my mom bought me these shoes after seeing katie holmes wearing them in a magazine.