My First Attempt at Project 333

Over the last few months, I have been slowly reducing my wardrobe.  I am probably down to about 50% or less of the collection I started with.  However, I have noticed that downsizing clothing has been a challenge for me.  I know that I want a more minimal closet, but I don’t seem to be able to make the necessary choices yet.

This is why I was so excited to learn about Project 333, a fashion challenge created back in 2010 by Courtney Carver, creator of BeMorewithLess.com.   The idea of Project 333 is to reduce your wardrobe down to 33 items, including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes, for 3 months.    Excluded from the 33 items are your underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing.   The rest of your clothing can be boxed up and hidden away.  The idea of essentially hiding clothes from myself really is genius.  It allows me to keep some of these items while I try out a minimal wardrobe; The best of both worlds for someone like me who is still in minimalism testing mode.

I had actually heard of the project about a year ago, but at the time I considered it to be a bit extreme and didn’t think it would be possible for me.   More recently, I was re-inspired by the idea when reading a recent post on BecomingMinimalist.com  (brought to my attention by BreaktheTwitch.com).  This post explained how just 33 articles of clothing could be mixed and matched to create 25,176 unique outfit combinations.  That should be enough for me, right?  So, I’m giving it a try.

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The first step was to empty out my closet, which was… horrifying.   I live in an old New England house with tiny closets and  WAY too much stuff.    After taking everything out, I began the sorting process, really trying to focus on which items I actually wear on daily basis.  Luckily for me, I do not wear many accessories or jewelry and I wear jeans just about every day.    This means that I got to focus on shirts and keep a few pairs of shoes around.

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I did decide to part  with several items.  This is my Donate Pile, which includes  some really nice suits that I don’t need, about 10 shirts and 8 pairs of shoes.   I had been having trouble donating my more expensive items, particularly the suits, but for whatever reason I felt today was the day.  I will just be thankful that I don’t have to wear suits anymore and let go.

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I stored the items I am NOT keeping in the wardrobe in a bin that slides under my bed.  Out of sight, out of mind.   Perhaps at the end of the 3 months, I’ll be more comfortable parting with some of these items.

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These are the five pairs of shoes I decided to keep.  Not very fashionable, but all super comfy.  Tried and true.

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Two pairs of earrings.

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And finally, the clothes.   To my eyes, it looks like more than 33 items at first glance, but I can assure you there are 26 items hanging there.   4 pairs of jeans, 1 jacket, 1 dress, 1 skirt, 2 sweatshirts and 17 various shirts.   It doesn’t seem nearly as restrictive as I had imagined.  I am feeling pretty confident that I can actually do this.

Tomorrow, I am looking forward to waking up and opening my coset door to see a clean and tidy space for the first time, ever!

Please let me know if you have tried Project 333 and if you have any thoughts or advice!  

 

9 thoughts on “My First Attempt at Project 333

  1. I enjoyed this article. I haven’t tried project 333 but am currently working on my closet situation. I literally have almost no decent clothes to wear. I am trying to wear out what I have left for everyday, and be very deliberate when I replace anything. I too, am looking forward to less.

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    1. That is exactly my problem too! I don’t have many quality items and don’t feel particularly good wearing any of it. From now on, I am not buying any clothing unless i LOVE it and it serves to replace something old and worn out.

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    2. I feel the same way, Brenda. But the wearing out part is so hard! I want to just ditch everything and go buy all really good quality, ethically manufactured clothing…no more fast fashion. Of course, that kinda of goes against the fast fashion concerns of responsibly getting rid of clothing you no longer want/need/wear.

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  2. I didn’t do Project 333, but when I lost enough weight, (acid reflux dietary makeover, didn’t want to be on meds permanently), to where a lot of my stuff looked silly-big I cleared out my closet and kept only what I regularly wore and that still fit me and my lifestyle. I was able to get all of my hangable clothes and shoes in my tiny closet with six inches to spare on the rod. I was inspired to do the same with my jewelry and cosmetics. Getting dressed is a pleasure now as I can make a quicker decision and love all the pieces I now own. I feel polished and comfortable and I am no longer tempted to shop since I already have what I need.

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  3. I haven’t done Project 333, but this does make me want to count what’s in my closet because I think I might be close to that! I’m pretty good at clearing out clutter, but for some reason I hang on to clothes I really don’t wear for way too long. I’m not a big shopper either so I don’t own that much clothing anyway, but I’ve been making an effort to get rid of a handful of things each week over the last few weeks and that’s what has gotten me closer to the 33 items (I think, I’ll count and see!).

    Since I’m a crap shopper, you guys have suggestions on where you buy high quality clothes when you need to replace something?

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    1. I know it sounds odd, but most of the high quality clothes in my closet were purchased gently used at thrift stores for pennies on the dollar of their original value. The strategy that “suits” me best is to be open minded. Two weeks ago I found two pairs of jeans that fit perfectly originally in the $50 a pair price range for $4 each and five T-shirts for $1.55 each that were valued around $28 new. (Not fast fashion branded…) Mind you, I was hoping to find a dress that day, but a few months ago I found two black dresses for under $9. This is amazing considering how picky I am. One was Lands End (had a monogram I picked off with patience over about twenty minutes) and the second from The Limited is 3/4 sleeves and mid calf with cute waist detailing… perfect concert wear and machine washable. I keep everything visible for all seasons in my closet year round, so I don’t go by that third black turtleneck because it was on sale in April. I know what I own, about seventy items in all. I wear almost everything…and a lovely white linen dress in case Cupid shoots an arrow is hanging up as well. For every two pairs of shoes I donate, I get one pair new. I only where the same gold ear posts I’ve had for decades (James Avery) and two silver toggle clasp bracelets from two separate beach vacations to different states in Mexico. I detest wearing a scarf unless I’m cold, so I waste little time, space or money on additional accessories. I have purchased about half a dozen new items that are organic free trade no child labor. I buy undies made in NYC by people paid fairly with benefits. They last forever and their models aren’t parading around in wings. I refuse to fold t-shirts MariKondo style as each one is cut differently, they do wrinkle, and they’ll topple over if I’m getting close to laundry day. They are quite happy on hangers. I tried to have a very small wardrobe, but even high quality items will wear out faster if worn many times a week or month and it’s nice not to have to launder mid week a small load(because not all of us have spouses and two or more adorable kids). Most of my clothes are solid colored so most skirts/ pants/jeans/ shorts go with most tops. Thanks for letting me share!

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