First off… some of you might be new to minimalism and/or the idea of a capsule wardrobe. You’re welcome.
Project 333 was created by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less. Here’s her description of Project 333:
Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.
I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled across Project 333 myself. But a few years ago I decided I needed to work on my “vanity” during Lent. So I decided to pare down my clothes SIGNIFICANTLY and wear only minimal jewelry and makeup.
For 40 days… Oh yeah, and it was right after I had started a new job. So first impressions were definitely on the line.
Project 333 gave me some guidelines for how to do this “fashion fast”.
I have loved clothes with the deepest passion ever since I can remember. On my 2nd birthday, all my relatives got me clothes and I couldn’t wait to rip off the clothes I was wearing and try them all on. The infamous quote is “I can weawr this with my t-shewrt!” (I will never live it down…)
So to me, the idea of going into my beloved closet and completely gutting it was terrifying.
“This is going to be hell.” I thought.
But I carefully selected my 33 items, made sure they were mix and match-able, and then put away the rest of my wardrobe in some large totes in the basement.
40 days later, I had some observations:
- This made getting ready in the morning so much faster. Everything went together. There were less options to mull over. I didn’t try on 30 outfits before finally slapping on the same old thing I always wore. And our room didn’t look like a tornado had ripped through my laundry basket!
- Choosing higher quality clothes is an absolute necessity for a capsule wardrobe. I don’t think I’ve ever seen clothes wear out faster. I used to think “Eh, quality isn’t that big of a deal. I’ve never noticed a difference between a nice t-shirt and a cheap t-shirt.” Yeah… turns out when you wear things more frequently, the quality will become very evident very quickly. By the end of my 40 day experiment, I needed to replace several items ASAP.
- Boredom is a possibility, but not a necessity. Yes, I did get bored with my first capsule wardrobe. I needed to pick better pieces and better options for accessories if I was going to make this work long term.
- I wanted to do this long term. And I didn’t want to limit the concept to my clothes.
Project 333 officially became my gateway into Minimalism. Much to my “saver” husband’s chagrin, I began to overhaul all of our belongings. Nothing was safe. Nothing was sacred. Muahahahaha….
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. -William Morris
About a year after I did my initial Project 333 experiment I was walking around my adorable little house, 6 months pregnant, in a “nesting” mood, and I couldn’t find anything else to organize or minimize. So I sat down and enjoyed a cup of tea in the nursery.
This is it. I have arrived at minimalism.
(Pause while future self starts laughing hysterically)
Yeah, I did a really great job down sizing our possessions. Our house was in great shape. Everything had a place and a purpose. It was beautiful. But the important thing I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to stay in those glorious moments for very long. New stuff will always find a way into our lives. Heck, we had a baby, and then a month later sold our house and moved to a new town! So my pristine little world that I had all prepared quickly got turned upside down and we had to adjust to a new normal as a family.
So my new found obsession with minimalism evolved and (hopefully) matured.
Currently, yes I still use a capsule wardrobe. I love the simplicity and the creativity of it. The process of curating my wardrobe every 4-6 months allows me to explore my sense of style, express myself deliberately through fashion, and really just be thoughtful about how I present myself. Do I follow Project 333 anymore? Sort of… loosely.
I now think of myself as “mildly minimalist”. My wardrobe is thoughtfully pared down and I regularly purge and re-assess it. As far as our house is concerned, I cannot walk two feet without seeing something that I need to organize or minimize (Sorry Marie Kondo!) But overall, when I look around my somewhat messy house, I can say that 95% of what we own has a useful purpose or brings us some joy. It’s a fact of life that we will need to regularly re-assess our possessions. Things wear out, lose their usefulness, or overstay their welcome. Then we lovingly pass them along to a different purpose somewhere else (I do love that idea from Marie Kondo!)
So yes, I am Mildly Minimalist. And I’m still learning what that means. Have you tried Project 333, the KonMari Method or something similar? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!