Project 333: mom and baby edition

We’ve been loosely following Project 333 around here this month and I thought it was time to actually track and organize those 33 pieces of clothing here on my blog. While Henry has yet to utter his first word, he’s agreed to join in.

It might seem challenging to have a wardrobe limit for a toddler. If you don’t have one, toddlers are messy. They eat messy and play messy. They also throw the messy on their parents. Having less clothing makes all of this a challenge but I like it. I like that I can’t procrastinate too much on laundry. I like giving those mini overalls a small spot clean so they don’t have to go through the wash. I like that my son just has one drawer of clothing.

As a reminder here are the rules for Project 333:

  • 3 months with 33 items
  • When: January 1 – March 31
  • 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, underwear, sleep, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
  • How: over the next two months, outline your 33 items, by the 1st of January, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of site.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. If you purchase items for project 333, stick with the one in, two out approach. Consider the essentials and stick to 33.

I’ve added an extra mini-rule for mini-Henry:

  • Back-up daycare clothing will not be counted in Henry’s 33 items. Henry goes to daycare twice a week and they require that he has two sets of back-up clothing. He also has a full rain suit there that I am not including and back-up hat and mittens. Some of the other items that live part-time at daycare – rain boots and rain jacket – will be included.

Today we are counting shoes and outerwear. The next few Mondays I will list off other sections of our wardrobes.

Rachel’s Shoes

  • Frye boots: these are new to my wardrobe and are getting a lot of use. Comfortable and they go with a lot.
  • Black heels: these are very walkable heels (Clarks brand). I’ve gone on date night in them and been fine to walk 30 minutes each way. I’ve lusted after Louboutins for years but have turned a corner since getting rid of a lot of my wardrobe. I need to dress for myself and my life. Right now that means oh so sensible Clarks. It’s not that I’ve given up – it’s that I’m happier with where I am at.
  • Nikes: this is me being honest. I wear these at least once or twice a week and often with yoga pants. I also wear them to Crossfit. While they are technically a workout shoe I wear them casually so they’re staying in my Project 333 list.
  • ? I need another pair of shoes, possibly black flats as my old ones just bit the dust.

Henry’s Shoes

  • Outdoor shoes: what a score. Back in the fall I bought these shoes, and two more in bigger sizes, from a woman with a child a year plus older than mine. These are $60 shoes when new, leather, great condition and I bought them for $10. Once Henry has outgrown them another family (or two or three!) will get lots of use out of them.
  • Soft soled shoes: these Robeez are primarily used at daycare. At home Henry cruises around in socks.
  • Rain boots: daycare insists on rain boots and I got these for $5 on Craigslist. I’m sure he will outgrow them soon.
  • Stonz cold weather booties (not pictured): I’m including these although they could be considered exercise related. Henry wears these when I run with the stroller. I time runs around his nap time and these keep his feet quite warm. They go over socks or the soft-soled shoes.

Rachel’s Outerwear

  • Black Puffy Jacket: we’re experiencing a cold winter here so this is my go to.
  • Black Swing Coat: bought in Paris on my honeymoon. Love this item but I am closely monitoring how much I wear it. It’s really not warm enough for winter days but will be too heavy in spring. We had a warmer winter last year and I wore it a lot more.

Henry’s Outerwear

  • Fleece Jacket: these Hanna Andersson best ever baby jackets are fantastic. Henry was gifted one in the 2-6 month size – we wore it past a year! Hoping we can wear this one next winter as well.
  • Rain Jacket: I like having separates to layer but we really haven’t had a lot of use for this jacket. Mental note: you don’t take very little people out to play in the driving rain a lot. If it’s raining we go to a covered play ground or an indoor gym.
  • Winter Jacket: this was a gift from my mom. Initially I didn’t think we needed it but we had some very cold days and this was a life saver.

Anyone else participating in Project 333? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email so I can link to you in my Project 333 post next week.

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  • This makes my heart leap for joy! I can’t tell you how fantastic I think this is that you could include your son. I know it is more about your choices at this point but I do believe we engraft our children into our systems. I look forward to following how this goes for you two.

  • Rachel, I admire how you marry minimalism with some admittedly very girly (and fashion-y) choices. It would be easy to take issue with the Frye boots and the Laboutins from a frugal standpoint, but certain concessions can be life-enhancing (in my opinion).

    You know that I love my Fryes too…

    • Oops! Does it sound like I own Louboutins? Nope. Just had dreams of them in a past life. Those are oh so sensible Clarks. Yeah, not that sexy but so walkable.
      Fryes: I’ve wasted a lot of $ on shoes I could barely walk in. I’m hoping I get a lot of use out of these and a lot of walking. So far so good!
      I keep trying to comment over at your site but getting an error. Need to write you an email soon…

    • It helps that I have spent a lot of money on uncomfortable shoes over the years. When I finally faced reality and donated them – why keep things that hurt you? – it was a weight off my shoulders.
      I have big feet (I’m 6ft tall) so I often tried to buy an open toed or heeled 10 or 11 and squeeze into them (I’m now an 11.5, a mythical size, post-pregnancy). Add my very high arches and I owned a lot of shoes that shredded my feet. I’m okay with just having three pairs right now because they fit and I can walk in them. We walk pretty much every where so it’s a necessity.

    • As you know, it really helps with the growing out of things at rapid pace problem. Fewer clothing items to keep track of.
      Scared for the day when Henry wants to choose his clothes. Are boys easier in that department? Think he will let me dress him until he is ten?

  • Hi Rachel – I’m doing P333 (started in late December), and have a guest post coming this Thursday on the website, as well! So interesting that you included Henry – I hadn’t thought to include my almost-3-year old in the exercise. Maybe in the next round? Then again, he doesn’t suffer from an overstuffed closet, so he probably doesn’t need it as much as I do. :)

    Re: shoes and outerwear – I’m getting by with 4 pairs of shoes (2 pairs of winter boots, unfortunately) and 2 winter coats (one parka and one wool coat). But I can’t help feel mildly ripped off that so many of my items are hats, scarves, gloves, etc…ugh, winter in Toronto!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your experience.

    take care,

    • Hello, fellow Canadian!
      Chilly winter here in Vancouver but I am sure it is nothing compared to Toronto. I am actually without a scarf at the moment. On my to buy list but haven’t found one I like enough. Understandable that you have two pairs of boots when you live in the middle of this country.
      Will keep an eye out for your Project 333 post.

  • Awesome! I’m still working on paring down my wardrobe. It doesn’t help that my husband wants ME to have / keep clothes that HE has outgrown. They’ll go… at some point.

    I saw yesterday where Baker and his family did a photo inventory of ALL their stuff! It was so cool! They own 417 things, including their RV & Jeep! I want to do that, but I have more minimalizing to do first.

    Sometimes it bugs me, too that I’m planning a different life (on the road with a different career) once I do get minimal, so I will want a different wardrobe. I’m trying to figure out how to plan for that and still get minimal NOW.

    • Have to check out Baker’s post. I’m sure it will inspire me through a second round of de-cluttering. Not sure we will ever want to get into the counting but it’s been fun for Project 333.
      As for the two wardrobes: I’m just planning for today. Have maybe ten pieces of work/office wardrobe packed away should I get back into that. I’ll keep revisiting each year and see if there is anything more I can get rid of. Hopefully in the next year I transition into my new part-time career and I can give it all away!

  • Golly – I don’t even own 33 items of clothing (discounting underwear, jammies, etc.) I own about half that. Well . . .maybe if you added summer AND winter clothes together I might get near – but probably still less than.

    And it’s still more than I need . . .

  • I may have to count my clothes at some point. I bet I’m pretty close to 33 items. My 5 year old daughter on the other hand loves to play dress up and has lots of clothes. She changes clothes 5 to 10 times a day to match her mood or her playtime activities. I’ll let her have her fun for now, and we’ll work on reducing that wardrobe when she’s out of the dress-up phase.

  • Wow, what a great idea. My husband and I are very minimal in our wardrobes, but my two kids share a small closet that is overflowing with clothes. I will be tackling their closet and will be purging any outgrown clothes this year and NOT replacing them – I’d be thrilled to cut their wardrobes in half. Given that my kids like to wear the same few outfits over and over again anyway (ahem, Canucks jerseys), it doesn’t make any sense to have all those extra clothes on hand!

    • Go Canucks! Henry just outgrew his Canuck’s sweat suit. I think my husband would have been happy for him to wear it daily.
      I guess that is the silver lining of children that have a will about what they wear: you can just keep the favorites.

  • I love it Rachel! I honestly can’t tell you how many people I go visit who have kids (mostly under the age of 1!) and they have such an unbelievable amount of stuff!! Clothes, toys, more clothes, more toys….it’s crazy. Here’s a question I could use your opinion on…..Any suggestions on good gifts for kids? I’m not big into the whole buying toys, etc just because it’s someone’s 1st birthday (especially when they are more excited about the paper!). I like buying gifts for people, but only if they are meaningful and not just more ‘junk’ to add to the pile! Any ideas?!

    • Hey Shelly,
      I would ask the parents if there is something that they need or want. Really young children who aren’t even aware that it is their birthday: I wouldn’t get them anything. Seriously. It’s painful to sit there unwrapping presents for an 8 month old and miming that they are excited about it. If you really want to give a gift ask if you could contribute a small amount to their RRSPs.
      We’re trying to enjoy these early years when Henry isn’t into the whole concept of gifts. Santa didn’t even visit him this year (the Grandmas more than made up for that).

    • Mmm gifts…we went waaaay simple as missionaries but the relatives got super-excited to buy us stuff when we brought the kids back to the States. After many fights and discussions we’ve gotten people to buy into – literally- ideas for non-consumable gifts such as museum memberships, zoo passes/memberships, days out with Grandma, sleepovers, etc. Fun for everyone, pictures forever, memories and stories that are great. Could even do a blog post somewhere else – like a blog for the kids of some sort – so everyone can show off their fun and creative and enjoyable moments with your kids. But yeah, I hear you. For us, it’s the combination of Gospel simplicity and a 1200 square foot house with 3 active kids…and still, somehow, even with all my purging and paring, too much stuff!!

  • Thanks so much for all of your inspirational posts. I’m not anywhere near 33 items yet, but I consigned, donated and trashed a good 50% of my wardrobe (all of my maternity wear- thank, Jah!). Might not be exactly a minimalist move, but I’m interviewing for a job at a place where au courant fashion is greatly emphasized, so instead of purchasing a trendy, new bag, I’m leasing one from Bag Borrow or Steal. For a person, who recently had 25 bags and pared down to 5 classics (but not quite hipster enough for this interview), this a big step.

    In addition, I am now in the process of paring down my 13 month old daughter’s wardrobe. She started out with 1 drawer and now has 4 (most of which are outgrown items).

    It is challenging as a working outside of the home /exclusively pumping mama to have time to declutter sometimes, but I do feel like even 5 minutes of decluttering a day is liberating. Thanks again for sharing and enjoy the winter!

    • Good for you, Rayreiko. I’m a big proponent of finding a shade of minimalism to suit your life. That is HUGE to remove 50% of your wardrobe. Fingers crossed you get the job. Then you can tell all of us how to be au courant with fewer clothes =)

  • I’ve been wondering how this would work with children. I have a 2.5 year old and a 10month old and – as you said – sometimes they can go through 2-3 outfits a day because of accidents or messes! I recently whittled their wardrobes down and have combined their clothes AND mine into half of my husband & I’s bedroom closet. But we’re about at the switch-size stage and was thinking of ways I could keep it going into the next size… Thanks!

    • We may be in a sweet spot at the moment. Past the blow out stage, not yet into potty training or messy art projects. I have to do Henry’s laundry at least once a week or he will be running around in babylegs with a t-shirt – and it is way too cold for that!

  • I just stumbled over your blog last night, and am loving it! I’ve been wanting to get rid of stuff, and these ideas are great. I’ll definately be looking into project 333. A lot of the clothes I have don’t really fit me, and they just need to go! I want to attempt this for myself and my boys (2.5 & 10 months – and another baby due in September~!) Their closet is overflowing – literally, and we even have way to many clothes for the next one. If it’s a girl, I know the amount of clothes and toys we have will double! So, I’d love to simplify now. Thanks for helping to motivate me. :)

    • Welcome and thanks for commenting.
      That is a lot of young ones! It’s nice that you can just keep handing clothes down and probably won’t have to box too much up.
      My closet purge was when my son was 10 months. I was mostly back to pre-baby weight but, as you know, there was a lot that just didn’t fit right anymore. It was better for my ego and mental health to just let that clothing go.
      Good luck with the simplifying and congratulations on #3 =)

  • I’ve recently found your blog and I am really enjoying it. We live in the UK, we are in our thirties and we have an 18 month old daughter. My aim is to spend less time cleaning/tidying/looking for things/eyeing up storage spaces, and so to have more time for living. Actually we’re quite good at that already as neither of us enjoy cleaning. My minimalist successes this week have been a) listing my wedding attire on Ebay b) my husband took a huge lamp to the tip and filled two charity bags of his own accord c) my husband commented (WITHOUT PROMPTING) on how nice and relaxing the house looked when it was tidy with less stuff in it. We’re getting there.

    • Nice work. It sounds like we are both looking for the same thing from minimalism. I used to really loathe cleaning but lately I’m tolerating it. Maybe because it’s easier, faster and I can see the difference immediately now that we own fewer things.
      I sold my wedding dress locally and it felt great. Everyone said I would regret it but I have the pictures for memories. Good luck with your eBay sale =)

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