Monday, October 25, 2010

Project 333

Project 333 is the brainchild of Courtney who blogs at  She writes inspiring posts about simplifying everything from your kitchen to your sentimental items.  In September, she introduced the idea of wearing only 33 items of clothing for a 3 month period, October 1st through December 31st.  After reading the post, I knew right away that I wanted to participate, but knowing myself well enough, I wondered if I could sustain that  much fashion 'boredom' for that long.  I mulled it over for a couple of weeks, spent an hour one afternoon writing out a list of all the clothing I own, and finally on October 1st decided, Okay, I'll give it a try.

When I worked through my closet on the day I wrote down my clothes list, I discovered two things. First, I found out that I have fewer clothes than I feared.  Through the years, I've learned what I like to wear, what looks best on me, and how to avoid impluse buying of clothes (most of the time).  Second, I realized that I have more clothes than I thought!  In my mind I thought, "I only have four or five pairs of pants."  Reality check: double that number.  But I wasn't wearing the other pants!  I was cycling through the same five pants and leaving the others in the closet, sad, alone and unworn.  That was lesson number one.

Lesson number two was the realization that I really like the clothes that I wear. They're comfortable and colorful.  They're casual and classic.  They're mostly washable.  I tend to find a pair of pants I like and buy two in different colors and wear them until they fall apart.  I do the same thing with t shirts, but with those I buy them four or five at a time.  Last winter I even did that with a cashmere sweater I found at a great price. I have never owned a classic cashmere sweater, and I have heard people say that they wear their cashmere sweater all winter the way other people wear a favorite sweatshirt.  I loved the teal sweater but my husband preferred the purple one, so I bought both. And I started wearing them instead of my sweatshirt, at home, on errands, to work.  Yes, if I like something, I wear it to death.

When I mentioned Project 333 to The Professor, he thought a minute and said, "I don't think I own much more than 33 pieces of clothing."  He was right; he had a better estimate of what's in his closet than I did.

This link will take you to the first post Courtney wrote about Project 333.

Here is the original post I wrote about Project 333 at the blog I share with my two daughters.

I quietly joined Minimalist Fashion Project 333 on October 1st. When I first read about the project on Courtney's blog BeMoreWithLess, I thought, "Hey, I could do that. No sweat. I don't have that many clothes, anyway." Then I walked back to my closet and took an honest look. I certainly had more than thirty-three items hanging there. So I began to glean and declutter the clothes I obviously would never wear again and dropped them in to a big black trash bag to take to the thrift store.

Here are the original rules for Project 333:

•When: October 1 – December 31 (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, underwear, sleep, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)

•How: over the next two months, outline your 33 items, by the 1st of October, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of site.

•What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. If you purchase items for project 333, stick with the one in, two out approach. Consider the essentials and stick to 33.

Now it is October 5th.
I'm posting my list:

1. black dress slacks
2. black capris
3. grey jeans
4. tan jeans
5. navy fleece jacket
6. long sleeved black knit top
7. long-sleeved white knit top
8. navy skirt
9. navy short-sleeved knit top
10. teal cashmere sweater
11. purple cashmere sweater
12. turquoise cardigan
13. print blouse
14. black camisole
15. white camisole
16.-22. various colored t shirts
23. black shoes
24. black flipflops
25. sterling silver earrings
26. watch
27.-28. two necklaces
29. gloves
30. lavender 3/4 sleeve sweater
These last three slots I am reserving for scarves and a sweater that I've nearly finished knitting. Or maybe another pair of earrings (I do love my earrings).
Five days in to this and I'm thinking that because I made my final list last week and started the project when the weather was presenting us with triple digit temperatures I may have over estimated the t shirts and under estimated the sweaters. This week we are having rain, clouds, fog, and temperatures in the 60s. We shall see.

I did add a turquoise fleece pullover within a few days, and I realized that I had not added my tennis shoes to the the list. Even though I wear them for work outs, I also wear them with my jeans several times a week. So, I have 32 pieces of clothing on my list and I'm still holding out for a handmade scarf or sweater.

We are almost 1/3 of the way through the minimalist fashion project, but you can join at any time!  Choose your 33 items and join us!


meg said...

I'm absolutely loving this project and experiencing all the other things that can happen besides just living with the clothes one likes best. It really does keep me from hiding behind a clothing facade! How about you?

Bethany said...

I am really interested in this... I always think I gravitate towards the same things (and usually those things that don't take too long to iron!) anyways. It is scary to think about limits though. I think it depends on your personas... how many different roles you play in your life and dressing appropriately for each one. There's always that dress that only sees weddings and funerals too! ;)

Willow said...

Meg, I love the fact that choosing clothes every evening for the next day is so much easier. I spend much less time thinking about my outfits and accesories. Because I chose my favorites, I feel like I look great every day and then I just stop thinking about it.

Willow said...

Bethany, I agree that occasionally we have clothing that is worn for a special occasion. I still wear the gorgeous dress I bought for my daughter's wedding four years ago about once a year. But truthfully, most of those clothes are only worn once (like the other mother of the bride and mother of the groom dresses). I think what I've learned in just one month is that I really only wear a few clothes on a daily basis. Hmmm, I can see another post forming in my brain about this...

Hollace said...

You made me just realize I haven't seen 2 pair of my good jeans in a long time. I wonder where they are...

Willow said...

Hollace, If you haven't seen those jeans for awhile, maybe your don't need them ;)

roxie said...

But, what if my grownup sorts out 33 well-planned practical items, and my inner 3-year-old has a day when she needs to wear pink and purple. Or my inner crone insists on purple and red. Or the recluse takes over and wants to go graygraygray. What then? I have a lot of people living in my head, and I try to give everyone a turn. Does a Halloween costume count? Oh - underwear! I could have a huge collection of underwear! Anyone know where I can get a 36DD bra with pink unicorns and glitter?

Bravo for you, Willow. I am loving hearing about what you are learning.

Brenda said...

I would love to do this sometime, but right now is not right for me. Its such a fun challenge. I love hearing your experiences and what you chose to wear. I hope you write a summary at the end, what you learned and how you feel about those 33 items!

Flower said...

Good for you! I will applaud all of your efforts! I have a special wardrobe for at can't be purchased anywhere and it has taken time to get it in the condition I like! I wonder if anyone else dresses different at home? It saves the better clothes for going out of the house. Shoes are that way, too. Worn! They take years to make it to the back door for gardening or walking through the woods.

Knitting Linguist said...

Oh, wow. What a great project! Given the inclusion of accessories, I'm not sure I could do it, but it does make me think that I could cut down the number of clothing items in my closet by a LOT. And that I probably should.

Marg said...

this sounds like a lot of fun...but I don't know if I could make those decisions right now...I'm somewhat like you...I have my favorites and wear them and wear them...except my golf shirts are getting little wear over the past months..
Oh well, I can see where you are coming from and it looks like lots of fun and learning to live with less.

Tracy said...

Fun to see your list and how you're doing with the Project, Willow! Like you, before I started going through my closet, I imagined I had less than I actually did--I was just wearing the same things over & over that I really liked. This project gave me a chance to really take stock of our closets (mine & hubby's too!) and cull the extra and donate away. I feel so much better with less! Though I have 33 items I have kept a couple extra things for the holidays coming up, but they are not among my daily 33. Thanks for the update and links. :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

This is a very intriguing project. I like the simplicity of it, but wonder how I would do at keeping things so limited! I know I would soon be engaging in wild episodes of escape from these constraints!!

ellen b. said...

Maybe some time in the future I'll think about this interesting challenge...

Unknown said...

arh...there are too much junk in my closet kak Willow...I really need to keep it down to 33 or less :) Happy weekend.

Deborah said...

I started the 333 Challenge almost three weeks ago (late), just recentl posting my list, and it has been a learning experience.
Like you, I can wear certain items for to death; glad I'm not the only one :)
Thanks for posting freshly!