Find 20 Minutes: Wardrobe Edition

Aug 19

What could you do with 20 free minutes?

  • Bang out 500 words of your novel
  • Strengthen your body with push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, toe touches, and maybe a bit of hoola hooping
  • Sketch your surroundings
  • Write a letter
  • Weed a flower bed
  • Nap
  • Play catch with your kids

For most of my adult life, I’ve had a love affair with my wardrobe. I loved to shop. My stylish mom ravishes sales with her keen eye and frugal nature and lavishes me with her finds. I love to finger fabrics, to try on shoes. I love the promise of a new purse.

But look at the ways this love affair steals time:

  • shopping and trying on clothes
  • maintaining clothes
  • creating outfits
  • trying on clothes to find the just-right fit and perfect outfit for the day

I moved my giant wardrobe from my little New York co-op (oh, it had a closet worthy of my wardrobe) to my adobe casita in New Mexico (featuring two big closets! For me, just one person!) to the little yellow ranch in the woods of Connecticut. Little all around. Little-tiny-crammed closet became the new wardrobe normal.

And it was too much. I spent way too much time dealing with my wardrobe. I couldn’t see what I had; everything was crammed together, which meant I had to press clothes every morning. I had no sense of what needed repair. The time thief was winning.

One decision thwarted the thief.

Three years ago, I joined Project 333.

Sure, I resisted it, even as I longed for it. Thirty-three items? How could I possibly?

Let me distill how Project 333 (or a similar endeavor; the numbers are arbitrary) can help you find 20 minutes:

1. Less time shopping. If an item in my minimal wardrobe wears out, I decide if I want to replicate or replace it. In either case, I strategize before I buy. I know what I have, so I don’t spend much time wondering if a replacement will match anything in my wardrobe. And I no longer shop as a hobby.

2. Maintenance is a snap. I have less laundry, and because my closet is not crammed, clothes don’t crumple in the closet. It takes me a matter of minutes to asses the state of hems and buttons.

3. Mix and match. Everything goes with everything in my wardrobe. I selected a neutral (gray) and chose my wardrobe around that. I’d be willing to bet that I can get dressed with my eyes closed and not embarrass myself.

4. Everything’s Perfect. I also eliminated clothes that were not really my style, which I’d call tailored romantic. If they don’t fit my style, they don’t stay in my closet. I feel like my outside reflects my inside every time I get dressed. My wardrobe may be limited, but it takes me through work days, teaching workshops at the local yarn store, dinners out, and tromping around the 4-H fair.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of dressing with less, I recommend you start with Courtney Carver’s excellent Micro-Course Dress with Less: Click here to view more details.* The course is a week-long, and it includes pdf worksheets, playlists to inspire you (Courtney’s a real Mix Master), and access to a private FaceBook group, where you’ll find lots of people ready to cheer for you and answer questions.

And if you have any questions about paring down your wardrobe, well, I’m here for you. I’d love to chat with you about your clothing list-sometimes it helps to hear that you really can get by with one pair of black pants!

What are your tips for finding 20 minutes in your wardrobe?

*Please note: I am an affiliate for this program. I believe with all of my heart in Courtney’s work. Having done Project 333 for almost three years, I know her advice works!

PS: Want to find out where your time is hiding like so many quarters under the sofa cushion? Registration for my micro-course You Have Time is now closed, but you can sign up to be notified about upcoming sessions!


  1. Christina /

    It is funny that you post this article now – I just spent the weekend cleaning out my closet. I haven’t held myself to project 333 for the past few season (I think being pregnant in there messed things up). But, I’m now back to my normal size and looking at my closet. Figuring out what you need/want and really picking stuff that fits takes a bit of time – but is so worth it.

    I’m not down to 33 items and I always struggle with how to count handmade items (because I love to make stuff). But, I plan to clean more this week – and see just how low I can get.

    • Profile photo of Beverly

      The first time I did P333, I didn’t have a special rule about hand made items, but after that, I decided that if I made it, I would not count it. I’m not that prolific, which means I don’t have many extra hand made items! I’m excited to read that you’re going back to the P333 mind set! You’ll love doing it again!

  2. Great post, it really does save time and energy, in the long run! I’m planning my autumn wardbrobe now, starting University I’ll have different needs. Not a really strict 33 yet.

    • Profile photo of Beverly

      Joelle, I find the same thing-during the academic year, I keep my full allotment of 33 items. In the summer, when I’m not teaching, I have under 20. It’s less about the numbers and more about every item being just right!

  3. I love having “air” between my clothes and seeing just what’s available to wear. My husband looks in my closet or drawers and feels I have nothing to wear. For me it feels more like freedom as I can see everything at a glance and dress well, quickly and easily, with no angst.

    • Profile photo of Beverly

      The last thing we need in the morning is angst! We need air and freedom! Well said, Margene!

  4. Very intriguing. I’d bet that I only wear 33 things. Have you ever posted what your 33 items are? I’m going to look further into this. I’d rather have 33 nice things than a closet full of junk!

  5. Hey,
    I like your post! I am following Courtney’s blog since May, but haven’t come down to 33 items yet. Though I did pack down all dark wintry clothes right then, which gave me a better overview on my summer wardrobe. I know I am wearing some clothes a lot and some just sometimes and then there are some clothes I want to wear but cannot find the right moment…
    In July I moved and now I have a limited wardrobe installed, and I am trying to figute out a fall wardrobe for September-November. Hopefully 30-ish pieces! I don’t know why it seems so hard to decide on the clothes, after all I am not going to throw away anything, it will just move to my cellar.

    Thank you for sharing, you see I am still in the process.

  6. Great post. I may just opt in for the micro course. I have a good understanding of minimizing, but this could be the extra push I need.

    I have a question for you re: makeup and skin care vis-a-vis Project 333. Are these routines streamlined for you as well? If so, would you be willing to share the routines and products you use?

    • Profile photo of Beverly

      Hi Gina,
      Even though I love makeup and skin care products, I have a pretty streamlined routine. I will be sure to post about it soon! Thanks for the idea!


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