It’s been almost three months since I started my “Recovering Shopaholic” journey and blog. While I’ve made decent progress and learned some powerful lessons, I still have a long way to go in healing my compulsive shopping problem. I still spend far too much time and energy on shopping, getting dressed, and managing my overly large wardrobe. The portion of my life devoted to these pursuits is much too large and it’s taking away from my living a full and balanced life.
About two weeks ago, I decided to accelerate my progress. One of the best ways to grow quickly is to take on a challenge that scares you, so I’ve opted to do just that! Beginning April 1st (no, this isn’t an April Fools’ Joke!), I will begin Project 333, a minimalist fashion challenge created by Courtney Carver of the blog “Be More with Less.”
A Challenge to Dress With Less
For those who aren’t familiar with Project 333, here’s a brief overview. For a period of three months, participants get dressed using only 33 wardrobe pieces. Those who follow the challenge to the letter of the law include shoes, accessories, and outerwear in their 33 items, but many have modified the rules to meet their individual needs.
To decrease my anxiety and make the project more manageable during my first phase (yes, I may opt to do this more than once!), I’ve decided to only count clothing items this time around. You can read more about the rules and process for starting Project 333 on this page and there is even a “Dress With Less” microcourse to help you get started, but the decision to begin is the hardest part.
Tipping the Balance for Project 333
I learned about Project 333 about a year ago. I was intrigued by the challenge and saw some potential for myself in it, but I let fear get in the way of my getting started. Only recently did I decide to “feel the fear and do it anyway” and declare to the world (via the mighty Internet) that I will start Project 333 on April 1st.
What finally tipped the balance for me to say yes to Project 333? I am tired of being a slave to fashion. I’m tired of always feeling the need for more, better, and newer clothes. I’m tired of looking outside of myself for validation and proof that I am “enough.”
Every time I open my closet, I feel a sinking feeling. There is just too much in there, yet I continue to want to shop and buy more to fill my closet and the empty pit within my soul. But no matter how much I shop, I still feel empty. Buying more stuff doesn’t fill the emptiness inside. It simply glosses over it temporarily. After that brief respite, I end up feeling worse for my weakness in spending too much money for things I just don’t need.
Not All Boundaries are Effective
This year, I decided to put some boundaries on my shopping by setting a rule to buy only one item of clothing and one accessory per month. I reasoned that this would focus my buying and lead me to purchase more quality pieces which fill an actual gap in my wardrobe. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. The majority of the items I’ve purchased this year have either not been worn or worn only once thus far. Clearly, I’m still not making good decisions on what to buy – or maybe I don’t really need anything new. Revolutionary concept, I know!
My purchase limit rule may end up being good over the long run, but for now I need a radical change. I need to take my focus away from shopping and managing a large wardrobe. I must prove to myself that I don’t need to keep buying more and more in order to be well-dressed and stylish. I also need to focus on other things in life besides what I look like and what I wear! Although I know there are more important things in life, I have been living as if my wardrobe is the “be all, end all” of my existence. I wonder what could be possible for me if I were to shift my attention onto other things?
The Storm Before the Calm…
Enter Project 333. As I prepare to start the challenge next Monday, I have been focusing even more on my wardrobe, but I know this is temporary. With a closet full of 300-plus items, there have been a lot of concerns around which pieces to pick and what to do with the items that I won’t be wearing over the next three months.
The creator of Project 333 clearly states that the time between deciding to do the project and when the three month phase begins is the toughest period. Lots of fear, doubts, and anxiety are present and I find myself obsessing and worrying more about my wardrobe than I did before. Yet I know that all of these fears will melt away as I experience the peace and joy of dressing with less. If I trust the process and stay present to my experience, I know that I will learn powerful lessons and gain valuable insights along the way.
Will You Join Me for Project 333?
I invite you to join me in taking on the Project 333 challenge. We can support each other and share our fears and insights over the next three months. For those of you who aren’t ready to start Project 333 (or if it’s just not the right challenge for you), I hope my posts will still be educational and inspiring. I will promise to be honest and share the good, bad, and ugly with you. I will post my outfits from time to time and include style tips and suggestions as appropriate.
I feel I’m in for a quite a journey. I’m excited to begin! Stay tuned for my Project 333 item list and photos, to be posted early next week, and periodic updates throughout the course of the project.
If you’d like to learn more about how to do the Project 333 challenge, I highly recommend the “Dress with Less” microcourse from Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333.