Focused with Less: A New Year's Resolution


If you're anything like me, 2018 is full of potential; anything could happen! So why don't we start this new year with a good old fashion new year's resolution?

Instead of an overarching new year's resolution with an unattainable or daunting goal, I decided on a 30 day version of a minimalist challenge called Project 333. Simplifying your household was actually featured as number 5 on our list of "Resolutions You Can Actually Keep".

Minimalism is this crazy hippy dippy concept that living with less distractions lets you focus on what's important. I just can't resist the promise of discovering something new about life by intentionally creating an open space with less!

Follow me for 30 days of simplifying my wardrobe in this three part blog series.

The Rules

I've made a few changes to the "official" rules. This is what I believe will work for me. If you'd like to read the rules check them out here.

  1. Choose 33 items from your wardrobe including jewelry, accessories, shoes, and outerwear. Box up the rest of your wardrobe and don't touch it for one month. After that time, if you don't need any of it or can't remember particular items, donate it.
  2. Items not included:
    • Underwear and sleep wear.
    • In-home lounge wear, workout clothing and "getting dirty" work-wear will not be included in the 33 items. However, they can only be worn for their designated purpose.
  3. Any newly purchased items will replace something already in the 33 items. The old item will be donated. Newly purchased items should not be stored for "a future season" or "just in case".

Why I Want to Live with Less


Why would anyone try to live with 33 items for 30 days? I've been pairing down for years in other parts of my household with great success. "Less stuff less problems" doesn't work for everyone but it has helped me. However, for some reason, my closet has always been a cycle of shop, buy, purge, donate, and repeat. Sound familiar?

Before I started on this endeavor I considered this cycle. Probably one of the most moving issues Project 333 brought up was the emotions behind material stuff:

  • Guilt asked, “Why did you spend so much money on things you don’t wear?”
  • Frustration asked, “Are we going to have to do this again in 6 months?”
  • Fear asked, “If you let go, will you have enough to wear?”

How do you measure success at the beginning of a project? I decided that I will know if I am successful if I spend less time getting dressed in the morning and have more open space in my bedroom. Easy, right?

Clearing it all Out

So I piled all of my clothes on my bed and made four piles from the fallout of my closet. I started with the easiest to the hardest piles and tried to be as ruthless as possible:


Pile 1: Love it and Wear it Often

This pile was easy enough and luckily grew the slowest. If I responded with immediate positive emotion or did not hesitate on its continued existence, it stayed.

Pile 2: Trash & Relocate

Genuine trash and items that had made their way into my closet; no, I don't know how that coffee cup got there. Also, stained, torn or clothes beyond repair went in this pile. As a reminder, Goodwill prefers gently used clothing and housewares. They use the profits from your unwanted items to support their job training programs; let's give quality stuff!

Pile 4: Box it up for 30 days

If I hesitated or desperately wanted to keep an item but wasn't sure why, I put it in the box. Since I'm human and I make mistakes, I made a contingency plan: if I remembered an integral part of my wardrobe I could go back to the box and swap something out. However I shouldn't be swapping things repeatedly. At the end of the challenge if I couldn't remember what I boxed up or didn't need anything in that box for 30 days then it would go to Goodwill.

Pile 3: Donate

This pile was by far the hardest because it wasn't going into a storage box. I wouldn't see these things again. These were clothes I held onto for sentimental reasons. The "just in case" I lost or gained weight or needed to wear something to that fancy dinner. Take heart — when you give to Goodwill, those loved but unworn items that don't fit you or your style will support your community.

Try not to let your donation box sit at your house though! The allure to open and reconsider items is too great!  Before you give in to the temptation, find a Goodwill near you to donate!

I suggest, no matter what your new year's resolution is, to remember why you have decided to embark on this endeavor. Have fun with it, tell your friends so they can support you, and post your success on social media.


About Samantha Pohlot

Sam is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at Goodwill Industries-Knoxville in the Marketing Department. For a small living stipend and end of term education grant, AmeriCorps VISTAs serve nonprofit organizations by building relationships with the community and helping their non-profit further their mission.

Happy new year from everyone here at Goodwill Industries-Knoxville! If you would like to donate your items to Goodwill you can find what we accept and where you can donate below.