Do you struggle with deciding what to wear? Does looking in your closet cause a wave of fatigue? Do you feel like you never have enough clothes? Are you spending money you don’t have on clothes you don’t wear?
This was exactly what Courtney Carver was experiencing when she came up with Project 333. She purged her clothes and limited her wardrobe to 33 items she would actually wear over the next 3 months. Lessons she learned:
- I need way less stuff than I think, to be happy
- No one cares what I’m wearing
- Deciding what to wear requires mental energy better spent on other things
- A simple closet is the gateway to a simple life / I’m happier with less choice
- Simplicity is the way back to love
Courtney is on the road talking about Project 333. Katherine attended an event where she talked about this fashion challenge and what she learned and why 10s of thousands of people around the world have taken this challenge.
For Courtney this isn’t fashion advice or the skinny on the perfect capsule wardrobe. It was an experiment in seeing how having less choice in our wardrobe can enhance our lives. Courtney used to look for clothes to make her feel beautiful and loved. She wanted to be perceived in a certain way at her job and in life. But it didn’t work – she always felt like she needed more and what she had wasn’t enough. Having the clothes didn’t make her feel better.
In 2006 she was diagnosed with MS and found out that stress exacerbated the symptoms. She decided to do some radical simplifying in order to help manage her stress. She tackled her diet, her debt, then her clutter. When she started decluttering her house she saved her closet for last – having experienced the powerful benefits of her Project 333 she now she wishes she had started there.
The number 33 isn’t some magic formula – it’s just the number Courtney chose when she figured out roughly what she would need for a week at work. Any number you choose could work.
Suggested steps to creating a 33 piece wardrobe:
STEP 1: Gather
Gather every piece of clothing, accessories and shoes from all over the house into one place … on your bed, preferably. If you put everything on your bed, you force yourself to finish before bedtime.
STEP 2: Create Piles
Create 4 piles: CLOTHES I LOVE – MAYBE – DONATE – TRASH
- LOVE: I love these items. They fit me well and I wear them frequently.
- MAYBE: I want to keep this but I don’t know why. (you know you have those items)
- DONATE: These items don’t fit my body or my life.
- TRASH: These items are in poor condition. (repurpose if possible)
STEP 3: Bag
Bag up the donations and trash immediately
STEP 4: Retest Your Attachments
From the MAYBE and LOVE piles, re-test your attachments. Ask yourself:
“Would I go to the store and buy these today?”
“Will I wear this in the next 3-6 months (or ever)?”
STEP 5: Choose 33 Items
Choose 33 items that you’ll wear for the next 3 months. Remember this includes purses, shoes, belts and jewelry. It does NOT include underwear, sleepwear, workout clothes, or specialty clothes (skiing, swimming). If you wear your loungewear/workout wear as “regular” clothes then they need to be included in the 33 count.
STEP 6: Box and Store
Box up the rest of the LOVE and MAYBE clothes and store them out of the way.
STEP 7: Review and Restart
After 3 months, go through the process again, including the clothes you had boxed up and stored.
We are up for the challenge! Are you? Let us know and we’ll report back in 3 months. We’d love to hear how it goes for you as well.