A Return to Project 333

A few months ago I wrote about Clothes and Project 333. I wrote about how brand new clothes use up a lot of resources (and can also be expensive), having a significant impact on the environment. Not to mention ethical issues concerning the people employed to make them!

I feel that the main options to avoid having so much of an impact on the environment in this way are:

  • having a buying hiatus;
  • buying second-hand or from sustainable sources;
  • making and mending your own.

Although of course these are interchangeable. I try to combine elements of all three!

I was initially a bit reluctant to embark on my own Project 333. I tried to donate or recycle all the clothes that I knew I didn’t wear, were past it or that didn’t fit any more, using the ‘hanger trick’ to see whether I’d worn each item or not. And for a while I was content with just doing this. If I wasn’t sure about something, I put it in a drawer out of sight to see if I would want to take it out and wear it again. There must be close to 20 items of clothing in that drawer at the moment, and I’ve only taken 1 of those out to wear – only to decide I didn’t really want to wear it and put it straight back again. Soon these will all be consigned to a charity shop too.

Following on from this, at the beginning of July I really felt that I wanted to take the step of living with less clothes and see how I coped. Here is a reminder of what Courtney Carver says on her website about Project 333:

When: Every three months (it’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)

What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.

What not: These items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)

How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.

What else: Consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

Courtney’s rules are that your 33 should include clothes, shoes and accessories, but I decided for my first 33 I would only include clothes, although I am also keeping track of the shoes I wear. To be honest I haven’t bothered boxing up the remaining items (although this is more of a lack of space issue than anything).

I also created a little spreadsheet I could use to track how often I wore each item. Here is a snippet from July (click on it to make it bigger)! The items highlighted in yellow are those I wore most often, and red those that I didn’t wear at all throughout the month.

Project 333 spreadsheet

I’ve never been much of a shopaholic and I’m sure I don’t own nearly as many clothes as others might, but even so I have been surprised over the last month as to how content I generally am just with the choice of 33 items of clothing. Here is a breakdown, if you’re interested:

  • 6 cardigans
  • 2 jumpers
  • 5 vest tops
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 1 blouse
  • 3 long-sleeved tops
  • 5 dresses
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 pairs of leggings

Shoes:

  • 2 pairs of flats
  • 1 pair of boots

I should point out that my work wear and casual wear are pretty much the same (we have a very informal work dress code) so I haven’t had to set aside separate items for work, which you might have to factor in. Your style is likely to differ significantly from mine – and the climate could be very different – so you might have different numbers of items in each category.

I haven’t bought a single item of clothing for a few months now, I think, and I really feel that except for a new pair of boots (mine are falling apart and not repairable, unfortunately, and I would like to have some for rainy days to keep my feet dry), I have more than enough clothes to last throughout the warm/hot months of the year.

This project has also shown me how much I re-wear the same items. Even with this restriction, the fact that I didn’t wear 6 items at all throughout July shows how I always turn to my favourite items even when there is novelty or more choice. I suspect this is the same with most of us. Even if you don’t want to do Project 333, keeping track of how often you wear each item could be interesting!

I am definitely going to continue with my Project 333 items until the end of August, and then I’ll do a little reassessment to see if these items will continue to work if it’s cooler in September. Then I’ll create a new Project 333 wardrobe for the months of October, November and December, to include warmer items. When I move on to this new 33 wardrobe I’ll look through the clothes I chose not to include in my summer 33 and see how many of them I still want to keep.

I’m not sure if Project 333 is something I will continue every single season, as Courtney Carver and many other Project 333ers do, but I am really finding it a useful tool to assess my wardrobe and find out what I enjoy wearing the most. It is also interesting that no one has noticed or commented on my limited wardrobe!

Have you tried anything similar? What would you think about giving it a go?

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15 thoughts on “A Return to Project 333

  1. Joanna, I commend you for such a critical analysis of your wardrobe habits! Interestingly another blogger at http://treadingmyownpath.com/2014/08/12/minimalist-or-closet-hoarder/ just posted yesterday on her wardrobe cull methodology. Must be something in the air? Maybe you should check out her thoughts. Anyway, as I commented on her blog, I cull at the start and end of each season. Anything that hasn’t been worn, or worn only 1 or 2 times goes straight to the Op shop. I don’t buy many clothes brand new, and I don’t buy many clothes at all in Winter (cause I find Winter clothes boring). But in Summer I love a good perusal through the Op shops, and so my wardrobe expands in the warmer weather with pretty singlets and flowing skirts. None the less, I will still evaluate it at the end of Summer, and get rid of anything that didn’t work for me. Keep up you good work 🙂

    • Thank you!
      Funnily enough I’m sure I follow her blog but I didn’t get an email about it, so thank you for the link! Lots of people seem to be catching the bug for wardrobe minimalism at the moment; it’s so interesting to read different insights.
      Your idea about reviewing at the beginning and end of each season is a good one – this is what I’m hoping to do too. Charity shops are great for finding new things, and I like the fact that if I buy something and then don’t want it anymore at least I’ve only paid a small amount, it’s gone straight to charity and I can just donate the item back again. Thanks for your comment, lovely to hear from you! 🙂

  2. I’m so very impressed with your dedication and organization! Inspiring!! I felt deprived of “the right/cool” clothes when I was growing up, so I worked in a department store as soon as I could and spent all the money I earned on clothes…plus I could snag the best things when they came in the store, at a discount. It wasn’t long before all those clothes were out of style. So much money (hours of work) down the drain. Kind of inoculated me from fashion-lust. Now I wish I could care more. Maybe I should choose a few great items that make me look and feel good (less dowdy). A challenge!

    • Thank you, how lovely! I can completely understand that…I always felt under pressure at school to wear the right thing, but I never felt like I managed to keep up. It is ridiculous how much it would cost to be stylish all the time.
      My focus is now on things that I find pretty and comfortable, generally. I would definitely give it a go, it’s made me realise how many of my clothes I don’t actually enjoy wearing.

  3. I started my project with about 50 items of clothing and did the hanger trick. That got me down to my 33 items. Then I started to get really serious about tracking what I wear and don’t wear. I have a spreadsheet on the back of my bedroom door that shows each item of clothing in my wardrobe. I have four columns (one for each week). Each day I put a hashtag in the appropriate column so at the end of the month I know exactly how much I wore each item. I can then enter the totals into my spreadsheet and print out another form for next month. It’s very enlightening!

    • Ooh, great idea to print out your spreadsheet and have it in your wardrobe! I find it so interesting to track what I wear and don’t wear. I have just switched to a warmer 33 so am interested to see how that will go too! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. Love the spreadsheet idea! I just took 5 large garbage bags full of very decent clothing (that I don’t wear) to Good Will!! I’m whittling down…haven’t counted yet, though.

    • Thank you! Congratulations, 5 bags is amazing!! After I wrote this post I finally got round to taking the clothes in my ‘maybe’ drawer to charity, and I don’t miss them at all. I did lots of whittling before I started my P333, and I’m still doing it on and off. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  5. Pingback: Celebrating 4 Years of Project 333 with a Blog Tour | Project 333

  6. Pingback: Celebrating 4 Years of Project 333 with a Blog Tour - Be More with Less

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