Wondering what to wear today? Stillwater’s Zach Carlsen isn’t

Zach Carlsen of Stillwater had a “crazy idea” last year, he acknowledges. He’d wear the same outfit every day for a year as part of a personal mission to minimize the number of small decisions he makes every day and focus his energy on bigger things.

It’s part performance art, he says on his Facebook page.

Wanting to give a photo update on how The Uniform Project is going—where I am wearing the same outfit for an entire…

Posted by Zach Carlsen on Friday, November 2, 2018

He has five pair of pants — all the same — four sweaters — all the same — 18 boxer shorts — all the same — 12 socks — all the same. The only thing different are four pairs of shoes and two belt buckles.

Today is Day 60.

He tells the Stillwater Gazette that he got the idea from a creative manager at Sony Music, who has been wearing the same outfit for five years.

The goal is to reduce “decision fatigue,” he tells the paper.

He explains decision fatigue with the “20 spoons” metaphor.

Say you start each day with 20 spoons to make decisions with. Before you leave the house, you’ve likely decided what to wear, what to eat, how much coffee to drink and whether you’ll do the dishes now or later. You give a spoon away with each decision, Carlsen said, and by the time you return from work, there’s little energy for other things.

Carlsen had already experimented with decreasing the amount of decisions he makes each week, he said. About two years ago, he started meal prepping on Sunday nights, which freed up a lot of time during the week.

“Most of us understandably just do it all and it’s an auto-pilot thing,” Carlsen said. “But I got tired of doing it all.”

After researching the idea for nine months, he gave away 10 bags of clothes from his closet, which forced Carlsen, a life coach, to rethink his relationship with “stuff.”

“I was holding onto all this stuff because I felt guilty … To me, that’s an anchor,” Carlsen told reporter Kim Schneider. “It has truly been one of the most emotional processes of letting go.”

He said letting go of the physical, allowed him to let go of things he held onto internally.