I recently watched the documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. One of the most interesting things I found in the documentary was a discussion of Project 333. Project 333 is a fashion challenge that invites people to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.
I found this interesting so I took note of what I wore throughout the last month. I included clothing, accessories, jewelry, and shoes (a pair) as one item. The challenge does not include wedding rings or other sentimental jewelry that is never removed, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing.
I wore the following over the last month:
- Pairs of shoes: 4
- Work dress shirts: 4
- Work dress pants: 4
- Jeans: 1
- Casual going out shirts: 2
- T-shirts: 4
- Sweats: 3
- Belts: 1
- Watches: 1
- Jackets: 2
- Socks: 9
The socks put me at a total of 35 items. Without the socks, I would be at 26 items. So I am definitely in the 33 item range. This is what I consistently wear month in and month out. There is not much variation. I have more items of clothing, accessories, and shoes but I never wear these things. This tells me that I should donate these items since I have no use for them. Doing the tally above is a good way to see what you can give away. It also helps declutter your life.
How does wearing a minimal number of items of clothing help achieve financial freedom?
- Reduces costs. If you only need a small wardrobe to get by in your personal and professional life, you do not have to constantly spend money on new clothing. You can buy new clothing when the need arises (e.g., when something is completely worn out, clothing rips, shoes break apart, etc…). This makes clothing into a need, not a want. I would rather buy some shares of Johnson & Johnson or put money towards a down payment on an investment property than spend $100 on shoes.
- Conserves energy by limiting decision-making. By having a small wardrobe, figuring out what to wear in the morning is easy. This way you can focus your energy on more important morning tasks such as outlining your daily schedule, answering emails, exercising, or focusing on your family. These are all things that will help you on your journey to financial freedom. No one really cares how I dress at work as long as I do not look like a bum. Mark Zuckerberg wears the same type of outfit every day to work (grey t-shirt). Barrack Obama only wore two types of suits (grey or blue) while he was President. Money is not the issue for these two. Rather, it is allocating time to more important decisions.
- Indirect cost savings. If you have a small wardrobe, you will not need a large walk-in closet. You will not need multiple closets for clothes, accessories, or shoes. This may save you money when you purchase a house or condo, or rent a place because you will not need extra square footage. Buying too much house can be one of the biggest hindrances to financial freedom. You will also not have to buy dressers for all of your clothes – saving furniture costs. If you limit the number of shoes you have, you will not need numerous shoes racks taking up closet or floor space.
- Not only do you declutter your physical life but you declutter your mind. I feel like having less clothing and not having to decide what to wear every morning has helped clear my mind.
- You save time. You do not have to waste 10-15 minutes every morning figuring out what to wear. You do not have to spend time shopping. I hate shopping. I avoid it like the plague. I would rather focus on something more fun like exercising or studying potential investment opportunities.
- You can donate clothes, accessories, and shoes you never wear. This good deed will make someone else’s life better. Someone who is not fortunate enough to buy the same things as you. A common trait I have noticed among most wealthy individuals is that they are very charitable. I believe it is part of the responsibility of being financially free.