.I mean, wow. That kind of says it all. Courtney Carver, creator of the blog Be More With Less, began Project 333 in 2010. What is Project 333? The idea that living with the same 33 pieces of clothing (including shoes and jewelry!) for 3 months straight will give you back time, money and sanity. Since then, it has been covered everywhere from O Magazine to the Today Show. Sound impossible? Yeah, I thought so too before I saw Courtney speak as part of her Tiny Wardrobe tour at Hera Hub DC last week. As someone who has gone into closets for years, I know that most people wear very little of their entire wardrobe. Normal people that is, not fashion stylists! Could I do it? Well of course I could if I really wanted to but…
Even as someone with a well-edited closet compared to most, I have been trying to edit more from my closet and life for a few years. I think that once all the big baby equipment left the house, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and wanted to keep going. But did I? We edited our book shelves, a very big deal for two people who come from the book-loving families we do. We’ve done a few other areas but somehow the clutter always seems to creep back in a different area. I love how Courtney and Marie Kondo of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up use the same approach of starting with the closet first. I’ve seen for years that once a client starts in the closet, they keep going through their house and life. As I recently read on my friend, organizer Rachel Rosenthal’s website, “With Organization Comes Empowerment.” -Lynda Peterson
Courtney’s first instruction is so simple, and much less organized and specific than the way we do things with clients. However, it is effective. Simple take all the clothes from your closet, and wherever else you are hiding them around your house, and put them on your bed. Divide them into yes, no and maybe piles. Pull your favorite pieces out of the yes pile and start there towards your 33. See if you even need to take anything from your maybe pile. You will be motivated to finish in a day so that you can go to sleep on your bed that night. Simple but brilliant and highly effective. 33 pieces seems so scary but really, wouldn’t you love to only wear the pieces that speak to your soul, each and every day? Or if you don’t really care about clothes (not my readers of course!), wouldn’t it be great to only have highly functional pieces you know work to choose from every morning?
The most interesting question Courtney asked, and one that I wouldn’t mind answering for myself, is if you are getting less joy from your clothes because of the lack of variety, where else are you going to find it? In other words, what pieces of joy are you missing now that you would find if you weren’t consumed with buying, wearing and styling your wardrobe for 3 months? As I said before, wow, just wow.
Or maybe by wearing only the items that truly express your inner personality, the pieces that give you the most confidence, that kick-ass feeling you get from wearing your favorite pieces would become so ingrained in you that you wouldn’t need them to feel powerful. As another side of the same coin, imagine if you could only wear your best black pants, what you’d be capable of if you couldn’t wear those pants that make you feel not so great but you spent money on them so you wear them anyway.
Have you heard the saying, “What’s your Why?” There is always a Why in any worthwhile endeavor. Courtney did not create Project 333 as a marketing tool. She was motivated by a health crisis and debt. What would your motivation be?
Want to take the Project 333 challenge but need some extra help? Courtney offers a micro-course for $19.99 to walk you through the process in detail, including a playlist to help you get going! I think that even if you can’t actually make it to 33 pieces, the idea of drilling your wardrobe down to only the most loved and functional pieces is highly worth one’s time and effort.
As a sidenote, Kyle and I were thrilled to see a Doffer Boys tee in Courtney’s capsule wardrobe. Doffer Boys is a local designer we and our clients love. We’ve been asking Silke, one of the designers, to make more t-shirts. Perhaps she will now that she knows one of her tees is so good, it is 1 of only 33 pieces in someone’s wardrobe!
Lani Inlander is a personal stylist, working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day. You can find her in the Washington, D.C. and New York metropolitan areas.