What is Project 333?
If you’ve not heard of Project 333, here’s the premise: Wear 33 pieces of clothing (including jewelry, shoes and bags) for 3 months. Pack the rest of your wardrobe out of sight. I don’t know about you, but that kind of frightens me.
Who created it and why?
Project 333 was created by Courtney Carver. Courtney had developed a habit of buying to feel better and to show others she was accomplished during a high-pressure period of her life. She was worn out and in debt, and, eventually, she fell seriously ill. It was from that place of debilitation, Courtney realized she had to make serious and drastic changes. Project 333 was born. Eventually, she wrote a book, and my husband gave it to me for Christmas.
Are 33 pieces enough?
Yes, 33 pieces are more than enough to create many outfits for a 3-month period. As long as your pieces work together, you can interchange tops, bottoms, accessories and jackets to create a variety of outfits, much more than 90 outfits, in fact. We call this a wardrobe capsule in my business.
My Favorite Takeaways
Clothing and buying more are not fixes for other things going on in your life. I have been there and done that. When we were new to Seattle, I spent my downtime shopping at local Goodwill and resale stores. I didn’t need more. I was simply decompressing from the stress. However, I came away from our time in Seattle with quite a few resale treasures that I still own. I love them, and I’m glad I have them. Be careful as you shop. The best policy is to buy the piece if it truly fills a void in your closet, rather than a void in your life.
Refuse to live in fear of not having enough. I have clients who have survived traumas. One common thread is their wardrobes have far more pieces than they could ever wear. They have enough, but they continue to buy from a place of fear. They think the new thing will help them feel better or feel more secure. One more thing is not the answer. Walk away from it and spend time doing something else that nourishes you. You have enough.
Adopt a “one is enough” philosophy wherever you can. This works with your wardrobe, but it works in many other areas, too. Have you ever known someone who always has multiples of things? 80 rolls of toilet paper in the garage, 10 candles in the bathroom cabinet, etc. A lot of older baby boomers do this, likely stemming from not having enough post WWII. I am guilty of this in my closet: 15 pairs of jeans, 15 graphic tees, 20 jackets, etc. Hey, I love fashion. Sue me! I’m not very good at “one is enough,” obviously. Here’s the thing about “one is enough.” It is. If the piece you have is dirty, you’ll wear something else. You’ll buy another one if something happens to it. You don’t need a backup, especially if you don’t love it as much as your #1.
“Just in case” means never most of the time. I’m guilty of this, too. I never go to black tie events, but maybe I will one day. So, I have a lovely long dress I’ve held onto for two years “just in case.” Many of my clients hold onto a black dress for funerals. Newsflash, no one wears black to funerals anymore. How many funerals do you attend and how often? If “almost none” and “almost never” are your answers, let go of the black dress. On the occasion of a funeral, I bet you have a non-black dress or a blouse and a skirt you can wear. If not, you can buy it when you need it.
Am I doing Project 333?
No. However, all of the above spoke to me. In fact, it inspired me to empty a bag full of clothing from my dresser drawers and closet (including the two pieces below). My wardrobe was already well-edited, mind you. As someone who works in fashion and dresses to express my personality and style, a 33-piece capsule would feel boring and stifling, just as Courtney’s overstuffed closet stifled her. But I do have favorites I wear many times over other things.
Admittedly, since removing the pieces from my closet, it has been easier to get dressed. I can better see the pieces I love to wear. Sometimes we can’t see a piece even when we are looking at it because there are too many things around it demanding attention. I feel lighter letting go of pieces I think I should be wearing, but I’m not. It’s a mental lift. I recently cleared the Safari cache on my phone and “lost” oodles of tabs I had open: articles I planned to read “one day,” products to look into, etc. It’s fine. I’ll live. Now, my phone feels lighter!
You don’t have to do Project 333 either unless it speaks to you. However, I would love for you to take something from this post and apply it. Clear out some “just in case” pieces and subpar back ups. You don’t have to donate them yet. Just see if you can live without them for a while. If you miss something, go get it. If you never miss them, donate them. There’s a lot of need for your extras in our communities.
A Gentle Reminder
Books like Project 333 remind us that we do not need as much as we think we do. Further, we do not have to hold onto things until they are worn out or threadbare (guilty). My wish for your closet is for you to see a “celebration” of the woman you are today, not the woman you were 10 years ago or the woman you hope to be in 10 lbs.
Don’t be confident in what you wear. Be confident in who you are.Courtney Carver
If you’d like help creating space in your wardrobe, leave a comment here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be delighted to assist you. Happy editing! Need inspo? Check out my “Creating Space” series on YouTube.