Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Rules for Project 333

As a part of the process for getting my clothing organized into wardrobes for Project 333 (in my case 3-35) was to also set up a series of ground rules for how I plan to arrange and interact with the wardrobes for each season.  So here are the ground rules I established, which were used to guide me through selection and future replacements of items.

The Rules

  1. To start, all items were selected directly from the current wardrobe; no new items were purchased to start.
  2. Any future items which may be needed to replace damaged or worn clothing should first be sought through eco-friendly means from consignment or second hand shops.  If a new item must be purchased, it should be sustainably produced and of high quality, natural fabrics.
  3. No more than 35 items are allowed for each "Season".
  4. Shoes, accessories and jewelry do not count for the overall 35.
  5. Undies, bras and socks are not a part of the count for the over all 35.
  6. Workout clothes are a separate set of 35 items because they technically cannot be worn to work.
  7. An item can only be replaced or traded out for another, no new items may join the wardrobe to bring it above 35.
That is basically it.  I do have two white tanks and two white long sleeves for wearing under sweaters in the winter because of itching, but other than that, I am sticking to my 35 items.  One week from today I will be unpacking my Fall Wardrobe!

Some additional motivation :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Downsizing My Closet

My sister is convinced that the Zero Waste Home book has become my lifestyle bible and that I am now going around spreading the word like some crazy zealot.

Not. True.

I am however attempting to make changes to how I live in an effort to decrease the impact I have on the environment and to live a simpler and eco-friendly life.

Simple=less stuff
Eco-friendly=less trash

So now that I have cleared out most of the plastic containers which had accumulated in my kitchen cabinets, the next stop was my closet.  I know...probably the toughest spot to tackle because I looove clothes!  Like Bea in Zero Waste, I was NOT going to have a wardrobe which fit into a carry-on suit case.  That was just not possible for me.  So I started searching the internet for ideas on how to create a capsule wardrobe (where everything is coordinating giving you more options, but with fewer clothes) and came across a few inspiring websites.

The Project 333 - Less is the new black.
Be More with Less - A minimalist fashion project.
Into Mind - A minimalist approach to personal style and wardrobe building
Uniform Project - One dress, 365 days.  All to raise money to send kids to school in India.  Check out the Tedx talk on the site. - Sustainable fashion made in the USA.  The Versalette, one piece of clothing 30 ways.

Needing some moral support for the project, I called on my sister (a costume designer) to come and help me start the process of simplifying my closet.  I decided to go with a system based on Project 333 - 33 items for 3 months - and created a wardrobe for each season.  Fall - September, October, November. Winter - December, January, February. Spring - March, April, May. And finally the summer - June, July, August.

We started with a full closet and pulled out several items which I counted as "must haves" for each season and then built the rest of the wardrobe around those items, using what I already had in my closets and drawers.  Whatever was left after that, was either recycled, donated or consigned.  That meant, the cute top which matched only one other item usually went in the discard pile. Tear.

I am including a before picture and will show a true after picture when I get started in September.  While I do have a seriously pared down wardrobe for summer right now, I wanted to start fresh with the fall cycle.  I will include a complete list of my fall items and the basic rules in September.

So here is to a year (hopefully longer) of living with less.

P.S. This was a very difficult area to tackle, I spent most of the summer thinking about it and mentally preparing myself to part with almost half of my wardrobe.  This is not for the faint of heart!  We will see how I feel about it come the end of November :)

P.P.S. Some additional resources I forgot to include last week.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Giving Waste the Boot

It has been almost a year since I have posted last and while I am still baking up a storm, thanks to Pinterest, I have not taken as much time to post or take pictures of what I have made.  I did decide however to change slightly the focus on the blog.  I will still be posting about baking and cooking and all things tasty, however I wanted more flexibility to write about things which inspired me I have changed my tag line and given the page a face lift of sorts.

Now with free reign to write as I please I want to share a book I have reciently finsihed reading and which I am sure my friends and family are sick and tired of hearing about.  It is called Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste.  Blogger Bea Johnson was doing an interview on WYPR to promote her new book and when I caught some of her message I knew I had to read it.

Since completing the book, I have started to re-evaluate all of the "stuff" which has accumulated in my house and started taking small steps to produce less waste and keep what is truly necessary.  The message from Zero Waste Home is not necessarily about minimalist living, but rather about decreasing the amount of waste you or your family produces to have a positive impact on the Earth.  It is about having less "stuff" to worry about or clean, so you can spend more quality time with your family and friends.

The first step I took was to clean out all of the plastic containers from the cupboard where they had been piling up for that day-when-I-would-need-them.  In the spirit of Zero Waste, I recycled what was there and have switched over to storing my leftovers in glass containers, which are reusable, instead of the plastic which will eventually have to be disposed of.  I would post a picture, but I did not take a "before" shot, but I am sure you can just look in your container drawer and get your own visual.

So what is the problem with plastic containers?  Well...eventually they break down and give off gasses which could be harmful to your health when heating food, but additionally it takes much more energy to recycle those plastic containers, no matter how long you may re-use them and so in the end your carbon foot print is a size 9 opposed to a size 8.  Along with getting rid of the plastic, I am making the conscience choice to avoid items packaged in plastic when possible to keep it out of the house.  It is taking some adjustment, but I am slowly getting the hang of it.