Our society is known for being materialistic and consuming more than we need. Much of the time, we are being bombarded by advertisements in stores, commercials, social media, and on billboards. We are constantly being told that we need something that is better than we currently have. We are persuaded by the fancy clothes and how beautiful the models look wearing them. When we get home with our full shopping bags, we are excited to try out our new outfits and show the world what we bought. However, when weeks or months have passed, the familiar statement of “I have nothing to wear” lingers in our minds. We feel the need to go out and buy more and continue the cycle again, adding to our already stuffed wardrobe. Taking a moment to think about how much you are spending on clothes or materialistic items per year could put things into perspective.
“The U.S. apparel industry today is a $12 billion business and the average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually” (Forbes.com, 2015). Our closets are growing, but yet, so is our amount of debt. “Our researchers found the median debt per American household to be $2,300, while the average debt stands at $5,700” (Valuepenguin.com, 2017). Another view to examine is the discontent among people that could possibly lead to their amount of consumption. When taking a survey of 1,000 women of how they feel about their wardrobe, 21% to be “unwearable,” 33% too tight and 24% too loose, and 47 per cent admit they struggle to pick out an outfit before heading out to work (Her.IE, 2017). As mentioned before, there are many solutions able to be approached when wanted to downsize and simplify our lives.
Project 333 has been a popular choice for many. It is centered around minimizing the number of clothes someone has in their closet. They have to narrow it down to 33 clothing items, which includes accessories and shoes. For 3 months, they can only wear the 33 items they have selected. During the project, the other clothes are stored away and the hope at the end is to help people realize that they don’t need a whole closet full of clothes and continue to even add to it.
During an interview with Shannon Cosner, who has been living by Project 333 principles for five years and ten years with being very intentional with money. The statement that hit home with her was that on average, we wear 20% of clothes 80% of time. Since starting Project 333, she has minimized tremendously and now has fewer items of higher quality. She has changed her consumerism way and no longer shops to feel better, rewards herself or goes when bored. She believes in striving for simplicity, keeping things that add value and let the things go that don’t. Most importantly, Shannon strongly stated, “Being an example is the best way to influence people.” Usually when people have less materialistic items and focus more on life fulfilling activities, they are happier.
Being aware of how much we are spending and putting effort into things that are not adding to our lives is crucial. Intentionality really is key and will lead us to spend time where we find the most joy. Downsizing wardrobes, consuming less, and finding the root of our discontent is just the beginning to a more fulfilling life.