Project 333

I have been reading Courtney Carver’s minimalist blog Be More With Less for a couple of years now. This week I started reading another of Courtney’s blogs, Project 333.

This is a really great concept. A lot of us in the minimalist community are trying to pare down our wardrobes to what is essential, but it can be hard to choose which items are needed most. What if you discard something that you need later on? This project helps you to really decide what the key pieces are in your wardrobe. Even if you don’t follow the project to the letter, making the list can be a very helpful exercise. I am planning to take a vacation soon, and this helped me organize my packing list quickly! Also, I was trying to decide whether to give away a few necklaces and this exercise helped me part with 5 of them by focusing on what I really will use.

Here’s a summary of the project basics from the Project 333 Facebook page:

  • 3 months with 33 items
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring, underwear, sleep, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)

So basically, the idea is that for a 3-month season, e.g., Summer, you decide what your essential wardrobe will be. Then, you box up or put your other clothes in another closet and don’t use them for that 3 month period. The idea is to realize that you really don’t need that many clothes at all. Before the next season, you make a new list, maybe adding a warm coat for winter, or changing from short sleeves to long.

You can do this on your own, or subscribe to the website and join the Project 333 Facebook page. This provides support for others who are doing the same thing. Although 33 items doesn’t sound like much, I was surprised how easy it was to come up with a list, and how much it actually included. It also helped me to notice some inefficiencies in my wardrobe. For example I needed more than one color of shoes, and not all my clothes coordinate with each other. It makes more sense to have an integrated wardrobe where every top can be worn with every pair of pants or shoes, etc.

I’m in the process of losing weight (16 lbs so far), so I will be replacing my wardrobe a few times over the next year. Project 333 is a perfect way to streamline my approach so I don’t waste a lot of money on clothes that will be discarded soon.

I’ve gone down one clothing size so far. One change I already made was to switch from preppy navy to basic black as a wardrobe staple. It’s easier to match shades, more readily available and has more inexpensive options. I don’t want to buy a Ralph Lauren sweater and have to give it away in 2 months. I still have some items that coordinate with tan or navy flats but I’ll phase those out as I downsize. Eventually everything will coordinate with black.

So here’s my sample list for this summer – hopefully Fall/Winter will be a little more integrated:

  1. sunglasses
  2. beige straw handbag (black wallet doubles as a clutch)
  3. pearl earrings
  4. pearl necklace – 18″
  5. gold 10 mm ball earrings
  6. gold ring with citrine stone
  7. long necklace – gold links with turquoise beads**
  8. black strappy sandals, low heel *
  9. black flats
  10. gold strappy sandals *
  11. white cotton cardigan
  12. black cotton cardigan
  13. black, royal blue & white knit dress***
  14. black & white print short sleeve dress
  15. rose pink dress
  16. black and white print sleeveless blouse
  17. black, white, taupe print tee
  18. white short sweater
  19. kelly green short sweater
  20. bright blue short sweater
  21. coral pink short sweater
  22. red short sweater
  23. pink polo shirt
  24. black skirt
  25. khaki slacks
  26. beige khaki skirt
  27. white skirt***
  28. gray/white floral skirt
  29. blue seersucker skirt
  30. orange madras skirt
  31. denim skirt***
  32. sheer white silk scarf with handpainted design in pink/orange/green
  33. dark wash jeans

*Update – my doctor had me switch to low heels 6/6 since we removed the walking boot. So I replaced these with tan flats and brown topsiders.
**Update – yeah, this necklace hardly matches anything! Switched for neutral clear/black crystal necklace on 6/9.
***Update – wow, I’m actually not wearing all my clothes! Swapped the black, white & blue dress for a long gold necklace with little medallions, my white skirt for a black knit dress, and my denim skirt for black strappy sandals. My leg is almost healed now.

I’m not boxing up my other clothes but I will separate them. I’ll be having them tailored or giving them away soon enough.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone else is participating in Project 333 or what you consider your key wardrobe items to be.

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This entry was posted in Consumerism, Decluttering, Downsizing, Minimalism, Simple Living, Wardrobe. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Project 333

  1. Pingback: Project 333 – I’m starting on June 1st! | Simpler. Easier. Happier.

  2. So far, I’m considering my project 333 a huge success. I’ve been able to function happily with my minimal wardrobe of less than 33 items for a full two months, two weeks of which were an out-of-town vacation which included several trips to the beach and lots of visiting with family and friends. Not only did I have sufficient clothing to look presentable and feel good about my appearance, I was received several complements on my clothing, particularly my summer dresses.

  3. las artes says:

    I should take time to mention here that all clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes count in that total of 33 items. Things that don’t count are wedding rings, underwear, pajamas and workout clothes. You can find the complete guide to getting started on the Project 333 site.

  4. This is way more crazy than that time I gave up buying new clothes for a few months . What am I thinking?! Here goes!

    • Go for it! 🙂 I’m impressed you gave up shopping for a few months. I did it for just a month and it was tough. The 333 project has helped me cut down on impulse shopping – why buy something you can’t wear for 3 months, right?

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