I’ve now officially passed the halfway point for Project 333! When I started the challenge, I had my doubts about whether I’d be able to complete it. Now I definitely feel I will make it to the end of June. I’m sure I’ll still experience some struggles along the way, and I may even have to do another swap or two, but I’m confident I’ll be able to see the challenge through to completion.
The Easiest Week So Far
Week seven was actually a fairly easy week, perhaps my most relaxed week thus far. Perhaps it’s taken me this long to build a workable wardrobe capsule and adjust to getting dressed with fewer garments to choose from. I actually commented to my husband the other day that “Project 333 isn’t all that hard.”
In fact, the most difficult part for me is posting my outfit photos each week. If it wasn’t for that part of the equation, I think my stress level would be low and I’d really be enjoying the pleasure of a streamlined closet. Posting the outfit photos does have a positive effect, however. It pushes me to wear better outfits and dress a bit nicer, even if all I’m doing is running out to do a few errands.
Wins for Week Seven
I have some exciting wins to report from the past week:
All 33 items have been worn
Now that we’re past the halfway point of Project 333, I’m pleased to report that I’ve worn all 33 garments in my capsule! There is one swapped in tank top that has yet to be worn, but the top it replaced was included in an outfit a few weeks ago. Other than that, everything has been worn, including the top and skirt I swapped in last week. In fact, many garments have been worn five or even six times. I’ll provide the actual numbers in my month two update, as I’m keeping track of everything (no big surprise there, nerd that I am…).
Still no shopping during May! I felt minimal temptation to shop and only did a little bit of online browsing this past week. Upon a reader’s request, I’m saving images of what I felt tempted to buy and will do a “What I Didn’t Buy” post in early June.
Further pared down both clothes and jewelry
Feeling burdened by the weight of my “stuff,” I was inspired to go through my stored garments once again. Even though my non-capsule wardrobe was out of sight, it definitely wasn’t out of mind. As a result of an impromptu weekend “closet audit,” I have 22 additional items (including three pairs of shoes) ready for consignment or donation this week.
I also took some time to review my extensive jewelry collection and designated some pieces to pass on to both my mom and the local consignment store. I still have quite a large jewelry collection, but I’m gradually either incorporating the pieces into my outfits or putting them aside for others to enjoy.
Challenges from Week Seven
As I mentioned previously, this was not an especially challenging week, but I do have a few issues to report:
My husband is not as excited as I am about my success in paring down my wardrobe. When he sees items going out the door, his mind immediately flashes to the wasted dollars spent on those pieces. He suggested that I try to “push myself to like things” instead of just letting them go.
While I see his point about the wasted money, I do feel it’s important that we actually enjoy what we’re wearing. The garments I decided to purge are mostly ill-fitting (some jackets and tops are tight due to my pre-menopausal bust size increase), unflattering, or out of sync with my lifestyle. No need to keep such pieces when I have such a large wardrobe in the first place. Better to wear the things I love more often!
Clutter, clutter, everywhere!
I’ve begun to feel more and more uneasy about excess and clutter in all areas of my life. While this could easily fall under the “win” column, I’m including it here because it’s disrupting my peace of mind. I find myself feeling a sense of urgency to “get rid of stuff” now instead of gently nudging myself to pare things down gradually.
The bottom line is that I took month or years to accumulate the clutter, so I don’t need to eliminate it all overnight. My main areas of clutter at this point are email and online/physical files, but I’d also like to reduce the size of my book and memento collections.
I don’t even do yoga!
It bothers me that there are weeks when I only get dressed in “regular clothes” on four or five days. I like to be comfortable at home and most of my pants and jeans just aren’t as cozy as my yoga pants. However, I would like to challenge myself to incorporate more standard tops into my at-home ensembles. I also plan to gradually purchase more comfortable pants that can be worn when working at home, as well as when I leave the house for casual appointments or errands.
Week Seven Outfits
The good news is that I broke the open cardigan monotony of Week 6! I only included this type of garment in one outfit during Week 7. Of course, that wasn’t that difficult to do when I only “got dressed” four times during the week. I swear I should be buying the finest quality loungewear known to man, I wear it so often! I could show you photos of what I wear around the house, but I don’t want to put you to sleep… Okay, it’s not that bad, but it’s not terribly exciting, either.
Here are my outfits from Week 7. Fortunately, it was warm enough to wear skirt/dress outfits on two of the days. In fact, I would have worn more such outfits had I worn regular clothes on the other days of the week. For one of my outfits, I include a photo showing the orange anorak I wore over the day’s capsule garments. I only wore this jacket outside, but I like the pairing of orange and gray and plan to revisit this combination in the future.
Want to Learn More About Project 333?
While some of my readers are Project 333 veterans, others are learning about this minimalist wardrobe challenge for the first time. Since I started Project 333, I’ve become aware of many others who have successfully negotiated the challenge and have lots of wisdom to share. For that reason, I plan to include a few “useful links” at the end of each of my remaining weekly updates.
If you’ve been contemplating doing Project 333 yourself or just love reading about this topic, I encourage you to check out the wise words of my fellow travelers on the road toward streamlined closets and wardrobe peace:
- Terra Trevor – Project 333: A Small Wardrobe for a Lithe Life
- Santa Cruz Stasi – Project 333 at Week 6
- Go Downsize – Simplify Your Wardrobe with Project 333
Another great resource is the “Dress with Less Microcourse” developed by Courtney Carver, the creator of Project 333. The course is packed with lots of useful information and is highly affordable at just $15. I took the course myself when preparing to start the challenge and it helped me to take the necessary preparation steps while minimizing stress.
Of course, you are welcome to ask me any questions you have about Project 333 (or anything else), but I want to provide you with other resources to help point you in the right direction. I hope you find the additional links useful!
I’m glad to hear that you did so well this week! I have to admit that I spent $13.94 for a shirt on Ebay this week. I returned several things that had come in from my overspending at the beginning of the month so I figured I was back on track. Then I remembered what you had said about the return and buy cycle…..On one hand I feel good that I spend about 1/3 of what I used to and on the other I know I still buy too much. I don’t have any wardrobe holes-real or imagined. Something I realized that I don’t like so much is that I think I enjoy buying the clothes more than I enjoy wearing them. Something that you have inspired me to do is to spend a little time coming up with an outfit and to use and enjoy all of the jewelry that I have.
Tonya, I’m so happy I’ve inspired you to use more of your wardrobe and jewelry and to think more about what you buy. You said something very powerful that is true for me, too: “Something I realized that I don’t like so much is that I think I enjoy buying the clothes more than I enjoy wearing them.” I just might have to write a post about that one! Awareness is an important first step. It sound like you’re doing well. Spending $13.94 for a shirt isn’t bad at all, plus you’re learning a lot about yourself.
I would enjoy reading that post!
Ah, the “sunk cost” reaction your husband is having is not that unusual. We try to justify money already spent rather than letting go of those sunk costs. My son turned me on to the idea of discounting sunk costs when making decisions and just using them to learn from for future action. I’m very glad you are enjoying your smaller wardrobe!
Juhli, Your son sounds like a wise man! I do think the important thing is that we learn from our mistakes, but I certainly understand if it takes my husband a while to really “get” that I have learned. It’s been a long road with my shopping problem, but I really feel I’ve turned a corner.
Hi Debbie! I always enjoy seeing your outfits each week. Here is a suggestion that might help your yoga pant dilemma. I have been working from my home office for about 15 years now. Sometimes I work all day from home, other days I go into our office. However, from the very start, I told myself that if it was a workday I was going to dress like I was at work, even if I didn’t plan on leaving the house or meeting with anyone. In reality, you never know what exactly the day will bring or who you will meet. So Monday through Friday, if I am working, I am dressed for the part. I learned very early on that this was a good strategy because when you are dressed to work, you feel more confident and professional–even if no one sees you but yourself in the mirror.
And, I have a positive followup to the sham shirt story to share. I took the sheer sham shirt back to the store a few days ago. Yesterday, I decided to pay a visit to my local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, a place I have been shopping happily since my college days, and I scored! I found a never worn sheer long sleeved watercolor floral blouse by Carole Little, and it was made in the USA. What a difference! The blouse is cut generously with good seam allowances, it has nice tailoring details and mother of pearl buttons. It says “quality manufacture” throughout. I feel like I found what I was looking for (a sheer floral shirt) and I did it in a good way. The color palette is different than the sham shirt, but in reality it is a more sophisticated look and the colors lend themselves to any season, not just summer. Oh, and it cost 1/4 the price!
Deby, Congrats on your thrift shopping success! I used to wear Carole Little all the time. I’m glad you were able to find a better quality shirt and save money, too!
Thanks for the tip re: my yoga pants issue. I know that it is helpful for many to dress for work even when working from home, but my issue is really one of comfort. I have a few health issues that get in the way, especially when I’m wearing pants. I would love to find some more comfortable pants to wear at home. I know I do feel better when I am showered and have my hair and make-up done and I never work in pajamas. I think I will end up finding a happy medium – a step up from workout wear and a step below what I usually wear when I’m out and about. I want to always be wearing something I could leave the house in, even if I don’t end up doing that. I’ll get there…
I am so enjoying reading about your journey. Interesting how it mirrors mine, although I would never define myself as an over-shopper. And interesting how it DOES spill over into other areas. I , too, culled the jewelry, and then my scarves, and then the books…and then the kitchen utensils, and then the…..it continues! Life is much more peaceful and stress-free. Why do we feel the need to have and keep so much stuff!! (Maybe your husband is worried that you will be replacing all that ‘stuff” in the future!)
Julie, Welcome and thanks for your comment! I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. It sounds like you’ve done an excellent job in paring down the clutter in all areas of your life. I’ve done well in most other areas. The closet and the information clutter are the last hold-outs. You’re probably right about my husband! I don’t blame him for worrying that I’ll just bring more clothes into my closet, as that’s what I’ve done in the past. It will take him a while to trust me – and for me to fully trust myself!
Your posts are interesting and must be very helpful for others who have large and/or less-than-useful wardrobes. I’ve always had a wardrobe that is limited in size — ever since childhood. I built my wardrobe around a few basic colors (what is now called a capsule wardrobe) and I only buy “timeless” classics to replace worn-out or otherwise damaged clothes. I spend, including shoes, lingerie, accessories, outerwear, and upkeep (dry cleaning, repair, etc.) less than $20 a month on clothing — often less. Most clothing available these days is either way too expensive or very trendy and of limited shelf-life. I buy only quality clothes, shoes, and accessories (in fact, most of my jewelry is artist-made). For example, I recently purchased an Eileen Fisher top (originally $98) for about $20 with tax in a dept. store sale. I buy only items I absolutely love and that I know will work with several items of clothing I already have. And with a $20/month budget limitation, I really have to consider how I want to spend that money. I’d rather save up and buy quality or try to find a new or gently worn items at a resale shop, on Ebay, or among friends and family. I don’t shop very often — it’s a commercial activity and not recreation for me.
Dottie, Welcome and thanks for your comment. It sounds like you are doing very well with your wardrobe! It’s amazing how setting limits can help us be smarter with our purchases. For me, setting an item number limit as well as a dollar limit was needed because I still had a tendency to buy too many things. I hope to be in a better place with the whole thing before long. Blogging is helping and I’m glad my posts are interesting and helpful even to those who aren’t compulsive shoppers.
A thought —
When you do your “what I didn’t buy” post, you should try to remember what you didn’t buy before you look at any notes/pictures — how much of an impact did they make in your memory? How useful would they have been in your wardrobe? (If not much, you may not miss them.)
Sara, What an excellent idea! I love it and will definitely use it. Before I look in my “things I want” folder, I will write down what items I remember and/or still want to buy. It will be an enlightening experience, I’m sure.
I love the rust colored jacket with the leopard print dress! I also like the suggestion of dressing for your workday. Even though I don’t have a paying job, even if I am just planning to stay home with the kids all day, I try to put on an outfit that I could leave the house in, just in case plans change. My commitment to myself when I became a mom was that I would never wear exercise clothes out of the house unless I was on my way to or from an exercise class. (I also always wear earrings and a touch of makeup.) It definitely makes a difference in how I feel.
Renee, Thanks for the compliment! That’s one of my favorite jackets and I always love animal print. I don’t wear exercise clothes out of the house, either, except for on walks or to the gym. I used to sometimes wear them to do other errands, but not anymore. I think the rule of always wearing something you’d leave the house in is a good one. I don’t always abide by it, but perhaps now is the time to start!
Really like those little blazers on you!
Thanks, Chris! I’m sure it’s not much of a surprise that I have more 🙂 I’ve only saved the best ones, though!
Ah yes, the sunk cost syndrom! I used to have a closet full of expensive (but ill fitting after the children, out of date, not my life style anymore) clothes that used to wear me down every time I opened my closet door. It was very liberating to get rid of them and have someone else use the. I did however pack them up while the husband was away. 😉
Cornelia, Sounds like you definitely get it! I did get that sinking feeling every time I looked in my closet and saw the items I wasn’t wearing. It feels good to have my pared down Project 333 closet and I don’t intend to go back to the overly stuffed closet ever again. My husband will come around, but I can understand him worrying that I’ll just fill the closet up again! My track record isn’t the best…
Thanks a lot for linking to our site, it’s very kind of you 🙂
You’re welcome! Your site has a lot of great resources and I’m sure it will be useful to my readers.
Im so happy that yoy are doing this project and that it seems to bee working for you:) I love doing it, and like the constant reminder NOT to buy more clothes:) I save so much money this way. Have you calculate how much money you saved so far?:)
Thanks for the kind link:) Love your journey:) Maria
Thanks for your comment, Maria! I’m not sure how much I’m saving by doing Project 333, but I do know that I’ve spent about $600 less this year than I did last year by this time. So that’s some good progress! I think the best thing I’ve learned from Project 333 is that I don’t really need NEARLY as many clothes as I think I do!
I have also had a clash with my hubby on my wardrobe size. Since I’ve realized how few clothing I need (from his closet challenge) I now realize that I have enough clothes to probably not shop for another 2 years, maybe longer. He would love to see me not shop again until everything has worn out. But the thought of doing that is daunting! It puts me right into panic mode “what, no shopping for years?!” He doesn’t understand why I donate items that still have a useable lifespan in them. I’ve tried explaining to him that woman’s tastes and styles change often and I enjoy fashion too much to be a sideline participant while I await my clothes to wear out.
But sometimes I wonder, if I purchased items that were true 10’s, maybe I really would keep them all until they wore out, just like he does. Then I think about purging the majority of my wardrobe and truly only keeping all the 10’s, but I am not that bold just yet. Maybe if I do these closet challenges long enough I’ll be able to close down the ’boutique’ (what I call the closet, now shopping bags, of clothes that are on hold and not in the current working rotation.)
Our husbands sound very much alike… My husband keeps his clothes far longer than I do. He had an over-sized wardrobe, too, but it was mostly because I kept buying things for him! He’s now buying only higher-end garments and he wears what he has all the time. I need to do the same! Like you, I panic when I consider not shopping for long periods of time. However, I also have very few true 10’s in my closet and much of what I had (and to some extent, have) were not even 8’s or higher. Plus, my standards for what’s a 10 keep going up! As for your “boutique,” my guess is that it will keep getting smaller. That’s what happened to the bins I had for all of my non-Project 333 clothes. Now everything fits in my closet (except coats) and my closet is getting roomier as time goes on. It’s a process, but I think lasting change is more likely if we make changes slowly.
I agree Debbie! I’ve been doing hubby’s closet challenge for over 4 months now, and not only is that the longest time I’ve done a wardrobe challenge, but I’ve also been able to keep from panicking that I have no clothes, because purging the boutique has been slow too. In the past, I would do a big closet purge, then panic and do a big shopping trip.
Your hubby really came up with a wonderful challenge for you! Have others on the YLF forum started doing it, too? I think such a challenge would be useful for many people. I haven’t been doing the same challenge, but what I’ve been doing has been similar. I agree that slow purging tends to be more successful. If I had to eliminate half of my wardrobe in a month or so, I know I would have filled in much of the space in short order. Yet I’ve pared down half of my closet in a year and I feel comfortable with the size of my wardrobe now (and would even like to make it smaller).