Updated: Jan 24
Could you wear the same 33 items for 3 months? I did.
Rewind to Spring 2017. We were living with family to save money to buy a home. Our girls were 5 and 1. I had just stopped breast feeding the baby, and was still learning how to juggle having two kids, while working full time. I had recently had a conversation with my husband stating that when we moved I was getting rid of all of our things. I remember feeling overwhelmed by all the things we owned, the duties of motherhood, and of course the never laundry. Around that time, I also read Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and was ready to let go of anything that felt like clutter.
I can't remember how I exactly came across Project 333, but once I read about it, I knew I wanted to try it. So what is it exactly? I think Courtney (the creator) may have tweaked the program slightly over the last few years. She even has a book out now. But it's still pretty easy to explain:
-You wear 33 items for 3 months
- This includes clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes
-It does not include :
your wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off
in-home lounge wear
workout clothing (that you actually use to workout)
The idea behind the project is that you really can live with less and reduce a significant amount of stress in your life by reducing what is in your closet. So, I selected my 33 items (there are guides to help you with this step) and boxed up the rest. While writing this post, I actually found my list of 33 items, and I honestly don't even know what half of the items were. I do remember picking things that I could mix and match. It was winter in Michigan, so I made sure to select items that I could layer. I also picked minimal jewelry, which was easy, because I tend to stick to studs or hoops.
The most important rule in the challenge is that I wasn't supposed to tell anyone that I was doing the project. Courtney says that no one will notice that you have been wearing the same 33 items. When I first started the challenge, I was a bit self-conscious. I was sure that people could notice I kept wearing the same clothes. But about 8 weeks in I mentioned it to my co-worker who shared an office with me, and she was so shocked and intrigued! She said she hadn't noticed at all.
I think that while dressing up can be fun, and we may have items that we really enjoy wearing, we give too much value to clothing. Of course some are sentimental because they help us remember different times in our life. But if you really think about it, we get dressed 365 days a year. Which means you potentially may ask yourself at least 365 times a year, "What am I going to wear?"
I am thinking about doing the challenge again sometime this year. I have actually narrowed down my closet quite a bit over the past 3 years, and I have tried to only purchase clothing that I really like, or could wear multiple ways. As I get older, I continue to feel the need to be less consumed by stuff, clothes included. I also do not have a large closet, so it wouldn't work for me to have a lot anyway. This is not a knock, however, to anyone who has a closet full of clothing. It is an invitation rather, to think about what you own, and if you are keeping things that you do not serve you well.
Here are some FAQs I often get asked when I tell others about Project 333.
Did anyone notice that you were wearing the same 33 items?
I don't believe so. I only told one person (and my husband of course) and no one mentioned it to me or asked me about it. I even got compliments on a lot of my outfits.
What did I enjoy about the challenge?
Getting dressed was a breeze. It was also very visually calming to look into my closet and to see less clothes. I did have to do laundry more often, but that was also easy as I washed all of my clothes in about 2 loads.
What was an unexpected benefit you noticed?
I went on a short weekend trip and it took me about 15 minutes to pack, maybe less. I really enjoyed having less to chose from.
Was there anything that was hard?
For the first week or so, I overthought my outfits. As time continued, I realized I could put pieces together as I wanted. I also created some new outfits that I liked a lot, and would not have worn if I didn't do the challenge.
Would I do it again?
Absolutely, it wasn't hard at all. I hadn't realized how much thought I was giving into selecting an outfit. It was freeing giving my energy elsewhere, which was important with two little kids at home.
Tell me in the comments, are you intrigued? Would you try this challenge? You can read more about Project 333 at https://bemorewithless.com/project-333-challenge/.