Project 333: Curbing & Controlling Consumption
- Wednesday, January 12, 2011
As I write this article, I'm still gearing up for my winter list, and I'm giving myself through the first week of January to finalize it. If I find something on here doesn't work, then I'm applying the one-in, one-out rule. Here is a list of what I'm planning to wear over the next 3 months:
- Grey Slacks (1 pair)
- Khaki Pants (2 pairs)
- Jeans (2 pairs)
- Shorts (2 pairs)
- Button Up Shirts (7)
- Long Sleeve T-Shirts (2)
- Short Sleeve T-Shirts (5)
- Short Sleeve Collared Shirts (2)
- Blue Blazer (1)
- Winter Coat (1)
- Light Jacket (1)
- Shoes (3 pairs)
- Hat (1)
- Belt (1)
- Set of Ties (1)
- Additional Item To Be Determined (1)
- TOTAL = 33
You'll note I "cheated" a bit on the ties - I listed them as a "set" rather than individual items, but that is the great thing about this project. The principle is more important than a legalistic interpretation of the rules. Also, you'll note that a watch is not on the list. I don't own a watch (I just use the clock on my cell-phone). Ladies may object that this project is easier for guys than for girls. Two responses: (1) you are right, and yet (2) the Facebook Project 333 list of fans appears to be made mostly of women.
So why do I share this article with you? First, I need the accountability. I began experimenting with Project 333 for the fall (October-December) and began to "cheat" at the end. This time I'm hoping that a few of my friends will read this article and ask me how resolute I've been in following the program. Next, I share it because the pursuit of minimalism and its cousin-concept of voluntary-simplicity could benefit many Americans, but especially those struggling with compulsive consumption - a behavior pattern encouraged by a constant sense of dissatisfaction with our current possessions (see Dave Bruno on "American Style Consumerism" at http://guynameddave.com/2010/12/what-is-american-style-consumerism/).
Minimalism is also a spiritual discipline. It is a disciplined response to the temptation of building bigger barns. Remember the parable about the foolish man who built bigger barns for all of his wealth? The man's problem was not necessarily his wealth, but rather his attitude toward it. He spent his energies counting his wealth rather than considering his relationship with God. Likewise Project 333 is not an end unto itself, but a way to remove some of the distractions associated with a lifestyle of constant consumption. Even with my semi-failed attempt at 333 during the fall, I found it refreshing not to start my workday with "hmm... what shall I wear?" but, "gee... wonder what's clean?"
In an era that struggles with contentment, Paul's advice to Timothy seems especially relevant: "Godliness with contentment is great gain" (1 Timothy 6:6). We live in an era that teaches us to be discontent, and reinforces it through a variety of media. Yet we receive little advice or example on how to really be content. Even in the church, the very place that could teach us so much about this spiritual discipline of contentment, we often find a focus on bringing us the latest music and other media in an attempt to be relevant. In other words, the worship programming sometimes empowers our consumerism rather than tempers it.
If your desire for minimalism exceeds what Project 333 offers, then you might consider the 100 Things project. It is an attempt to limit the entirety of one's personal possessions (including mundane items like pens and keys) to 100 total items. Impossible in our modern society? Apparently not, as Dave Bruno's newly published The 100 Thing Challenge proves.
Recently on Spiritual Life
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content