About a year and a half ago, I was fed up with my closet, with staring into that stuffed-to-the-brim space and always feeling like I had nothing to wear. I was tired of wasting oh-so-much time digging through the piles, then finally throwing on whatever was easiest instead of what looked good on me anyway. I was also extremely frustrated with the mountains of laundry.
A little Googling led me to Courtney Carver's Project 333, and now, after going through two purging cycles since last year, I'm hooked.
Today, October 1, I joined in on the newest phase of Project 333 (October 1-December 31) along with her #33in33 days photography project. I'm a little excited, and a little scared.
At a very basic level, Project 333 is about reducing your wardrobe to what some would say is a minimalist level (33 items), and sticking with it for three months. The rules, as Courtney has outlined them, are as follows:
- When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
- 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 or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
- How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
- What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.
The first time I tried to cull my wardrobe, I was appalled at how many clothes I had. I cut back to something in the 100 range, but that was just items of clothing. Not jewelry. Not scarves. Not shoes. Not purses and bags. Just tops, pants, skirts and dresses. I knew I had a bit of an addiction, but I really hadn't realized how bad it was.
The second time it got a little easier, but I still was coming in at 52 items in my closet, once again not including all the accessories.
This time, I'm a whole lot closer, but still playing the game by my own rules, which Courtney allows for as well. As she says, this is not about suffering — if you love shoes, and wear many different pairs regularly, don't include them in your main 33. Same for jewelry, and other accessories.
So I'm playing the Project 333(x2) game. I've whittled my wardrobe down to 33 core clothing items. And I've got another 33 pieces combined of jewelry, shoes, scarves, and winter-weather miscellany (heavy coats, boots, etc.), since we're likely to hit some cold spells here in Colorado.
It's taken a good solid week of free time to get to this place. And it was hard starting. But then I found the question that made all the difference in the world in helping me select what to keep and what to pack away:
If I can't wear this item for three months, will I be sad?
Things fell into place after that. Both my head and my heart knew exactly what I'd miss. And honestly, it wasn't much.
On a different note, doing this project is also helping me pinpoint my personal style. What is it that I do really love to wear? What do I wear just because it's hanging in the closet? What do I want to feel like each and every day when I put on my clothes? Delving into this topic is one of my #40before41 list items, so I'll be revisiting it as we go along over these next three months and into 2015.
Oh, and as for Courtney's newest component to Project 333, the #33in33 days challenge ... she's asking people to post photos on Instagram of 33 different outfits constructed from their 33-item capsule closet. I'm going to play along. My first post went up over there today if you're curious.