This is it – my final Project 333 update! Well, it may not be my final update forever more, but it’s the last one for now. I have completed thirteen weeks of dressing with only 33 garments, which was something I never thought I’d be able to do. When I first heard about Project 333 about a year ago, I was intrigued but I didn’t even think of taking on the challenge myself. Then in March, Courtney Carver (creator of Project 333) challenged me to do it, and you know the rest of the story!
My Project 333 Journey
If you’re new to my blog and my journey, you may be interested in reading “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” my guest post on the Project 333 site in which I voiced my four big fears about doing the challenge and the ways I planned to overcome them. Since that time, I’ve been posting weekly Project 333 updates on my blog, including photos of all of the outfits I’ve worn along the way.
I’ve experienced many ups and downs as the weeks progressed, but I’m very glad I decided to do Project 333. I’ve learned a great deal about my wardrobe, my evolving sense of style, and myself. It was definitely a good thing for me to do!
Full “Debrief” and Closet Inventory Coming Soon…
Next week, I will post a full “debrief” on my Project 333 experience – what I learned, what I’d do differently, and how I’ll approach my wardrobe in the future. Later this week, I’ll share the results of my mid-year “closet audit,” which is still underway. I know I’ve made excellent progress in paring down my overly large wardrobe, but I don’t know the specific numbers just yet.
For today, though, I’ll just focus on Week 13… In this post, I share my final Project 333 outfits, as well as my evolving thought process on what’s next in my wardrobe journey. I’ll close with a few links to other bloggers’ posts about Project 333. As the new season of Project 333 gets going, I’ve read some excellent posts on selecting items for the challenge and alternate ways of approaching the rules.
Week 13 Outfits
I have a confession to make… I cheated on Project 333 during my final week! On Monday evening, my husband and I made a rare outing to a baseball game and I opted to wear a top that was not in my P333 wardrobe capsule. Believe it or not, it gets pretty chilly in the evenings in San Diego and I wanted to be warm. None of my Project 333 tops were sufficiently warm, so I pulled out a waffle-weave long-sleeved shirt to wear to the game, along with a warm jacket. I may have broken the rules (not that I didn’t break them from the get-go by not including shoes and accessories in the mix!), but I was comfortable and happy during the game.
My three other outfits were all repeats of previous ensembles. There’s only so much mixing and matching one can do with 33 garments! However, I unknowingly repeated a very recent outfit (outfit #3), which shows that I’m focusing on wearing what I like instead of having to be different all the time. That’s a definite step in the right direction!
July and Beyond
In last week’s update, I wrote about my post-Project 333 plans. Although I haven’t changed my mind about any of the actions mentioned, I’m wondering if perhaps I should continue with Project 333 or a variation thereof. As I was going through all of my clothes yesterday evening (still not done yet!), I began to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of my wardrobe. While I’m proud to have purged a large number of items since the beginning of 2013, there’s still too much there!
I know I complained a lot about feeling bored with my Project 333 capsule, but there was a refreshing element to having such a small wardrobe. I liked having fewer items to choose from and found it much easier to get dressed each day. I definitely want to pare my wardrobe down to a more minimalist state, although I am still somewhat unclear on the specific number of items I’d like to ultimately own. I just know it’s more than 33 but less than the 272 garments I had back in January.
I believe it is possible to be happy and stylish dressing with only 33 garments, or even 33 total wardrobe items. I just didn’t select the right items and my overall wardrobe includes too many lower-quality knit pieces. I didn’t realize that when I was shopping constantly and wearing my clothes so infrequently, but I now understand the error of my ways. It may take a while to cultivate a wardrobe I truly love, but I believe I will get there eventually.
For Now, I’m Non-Committal
I’m not prepared to commit to another season of Project 333 at this point. I’m going to play it by ear, wear what I feel “called” to wear, release anything that isn’t an “8” or higher, and only bring garments back into my closet after I wear them.
As I wear things, I will make a list and see what’s there when I reach 33 (I can’t take credit for this idea, as I read about it in the Project 333 Facebook group). At that point, I may decide to dip my toe in the Project 333 pool yet again. I will definitely keep you all posted!
Willingness to Let Go…
I’m finding it easier and easier to let go of items in my closet that don’t serve me. Project 333 taught me what I should have learned a long time ago, that one doesn’t need a huge wardrobe to dress well and have sufficient sartorial variety. I may never have a closet full of “10”s, as that’s likely an unachievable goal, but I can certainly open my closet and be greeted by an assortment of “8”s and “9”s (with maybe a “10” or two in the mix).
I Appreciate Your Support
Thank you for following my Project 333 journey! I might not have completed the process without a wonderful group of readers cheering me on. I have to say that I’m very proud of myself for sticking it out! Sure, I made eight swaps and didn’t follow the challenge to the letter of the law, but doing what I did was a major stretch for this longtime “more is more” shopaholic. I did it and I celebrate the strength and fortitude it took to see it through!
If you also completed Project 333, I salute you. If you didn’t take on that particular challenge but have faced your shopping demons in other powerful ways, my hat is off to you, too! I like to think that there is strength in numbers and we inspire each other. Even those of you who have never commented or contacted me offline, I’ve known you’re out there and your presence has helped me to forge ahead during difficult times. Thank you all for your support!
Interested in Project 333?
I’ve done a lot of “beating the drum” for Project 333 over the weeks, so you know I’m a big believer. Although one can definitely get started with the challenge by just reading the rules, I wholeheartedly endorse the “Dress with Less” Microcourse.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m an affiliate for this course, so I will earn a commission if you make a purchase via the links on my site. But truth be told, I extolled the virtues of the course long before I signed on as an affiliate. Here is what’s included in the course:
- 11 PDF files, including daily activities (the course is designed to be done in a week but you can proceed at your own pace), sample item lists, frequently asked questions, and a form to use when making your list.
- Audio message of Courtney Carver’s Project 333 story
- Recorded Q & A webinar
- 3 additional audio recordings to help with your motivation and process
- 2 playlists to use while going through your closet and selecting your 33 (Courtney is a real mix-master!)
- Access to a private Facebook group to use for support, questions, and accountability
I found the microcourse extremely beneficial in preparing me to take on Project 333 and I feel that you will, too. I think it’s an excellent value at just $15.
Don’t worry that the summer season of Project 333 started today, as you can jump on board with the challenge anytime. As I mentioned above, I may dive back in, but even if I don’t, I would be happy to answer any questions you have and offer support however I can.
Project 333 Accounts from Other Bloggers
Many other bloggers have written about Project 333, so I’ve been including a few links in each of my weekly updates. Here’s my Week 13 installment – enjoy!
- Project 33(9): An Ambitious Wardrobe Challenge –Melissa shares her decision process for starting Project 333 and outlines her revised rules and her item list.
- Hoarding Minimalism: Project 333 Summer Session – Recovering hoarder Alison has been doing Project 333 since the beginning of the year. In this post, she shares her selections for the summer session (which she started on June 1st – see, you can start anytime!).
- Project 333, Phase 3: The List – Linda shares photos of her 33 items, as well as an update on what she’s purged from her wardrobe since she started Project 333 in January. (Also check out her Project 333 “Look Book,” which shows just how versatile 33 items can be!)
In upcoming posts, I’ll share my mid-year closet inventory, an update on my “Wardrobe Benchwarmer Project,” a full debrief on Project 333, and my thoughts on staying true to oneself. I’ll also be writing more about cultivating a full life and finding other ways to meet emotional needs besides excessive shopping.
If there are any topics you’d like to see covered in “Recovering Shopaholic,” please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below or connect with me privately.