How Taming My Wardrobe Helps Me Tame My Appetite

You may think that organizing your wardrobe has nothing to do with weight loss. You'd be wrong.

This January, I watched the documentary Minimalism on Netflix. Minimalism, if you haven’t seen the term thrown around before, refers to restricting the things you own intentionally in order to spend less time and energy managing large amounts of stuff.

Nowhere in my life is this more needed than in my wardrobe: I own more clothes than I need to own, and I'm slow to throw things out or donate them, so they end up in piles or overflowing from drawers and closets. At a time in my life where managing my weight and health is at the forefront of my mind—what with meal preparation, workouts, and doing a lot of home cooking—I don’t want to be constantly distracted by my lack of clothing organization.

Minimalism introduced me to Project 333, a challenge where you choose only 33 clothing items, including accessories, and wear them on rotation for 3 months. For me, this worked out to about 8 outfits’ worth of clothing, with some additional tops and pants to change things up. After 3 months, you change things out for the new season’s weather-appropriate attire, but for any given season you have a very simple set of options when it comes to choosing clothes. The principle is that by focusing on this small, curated collection of clothing for one season, you simplify your life by not having to come up with new outfits or face an overwhelming wardrobe.

Project 333 isn’t for people who relish choosing their outfits, but for people like me, who just want something unwrinkled, presentable, and somewhat matching to wear, it was an amazing new way to organize. I packed up all my other clothing, and since I wasn’t actually getting rid of it, I didn’t feel any regret or worry that I was being wasteful. Then I hung up all my outfits so I could see easily what options I had and quickly make a plan for the week, taking into account which days needed to be a little dressier due to meetings or events.

Since completing the project, I notice savings in time and mental energy all over—and the benefits have spilled over into my fitness and weight loss efforts. My bedroom is tidier, which lowers my stress level when I get home from work, making it easier to get started on a healthy dinner. I wash far fewer clothes now because I don’t have to guess what is clean and what is dirty, because I actually remember everything I’ve worn recently. I always know where clean workout clothes are because there aren’t piles of other clothes covering them up. Keeping up with my workout schedule has been easier, because I keep a set of gym clothes in the car and one at home just in case I want to go for a run around the block.

Wardrobe might not be the area in your life that needs simplifying, but you might be surprised how beneficial simplicity can be for staying on track. I know that for me, too much complexity makes me lose my resolve to make hard choices, like eating healthy or training for my half marathon. Even if you choose something other than Project 333 to do it, I definitely recommend making some mental and physical space for your DietBet or StepBet work. It makes a huge difference.

Make it WayBetter

Is there something you could stand to simplify in your life by taking away some of the choices or by implementing a weekly plan? We all have areas of our lives where we don’t mind being a bit automatic, and it makes space for the harder challenges we truly want to get into!