29 Responses to “The Dress with Less Challenge”


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  1. So glad to hear there’s going to be another round. I’ve been interested in joining, but didn’t really find out about Project 333 until the second month, and I wanted to fully learn about it then.

    Will you let us know the details soon? Thanks!

  2. e

    I have been a quiet participant in the 333 project and I am absolutely loving it. I’m glad you’ve posted an update with “lessons learned”. Here are a few of mine:

    1) There are a few (about 6) things out of my 33 I have never worn! Yikes! I don’t want to get rid of them, yet, because I love them and they look amazing on me – but they aren’t quite as convenient to wear, and when it is cold, I want to get clothes on as fast as possible – seconds count!

    2) I need a simple black t-shirt to serve as an undershirt – I didn’t own one before the challenge, and there are many times when I would have worn one of my cardigans, but have lacked something simple to wear under it. So I will be adding that to my closet.

    3) I should have included both my (identical) pairs of jeans, as one is generally in the laundry hamper. Actually, to be honest, I have added in the second pair.

    4) I LOVE shopping for clothes, but my new mantra is “there will be something just as cute next season.” 333 has helped me realize that I already have cute clothes that don’t get enough wear, and so even if I love an item, buying it won’t necessarily help me.

    5) The item that is getting the most use is one I ALMOST didn’t include – a white, knit, cowl-neck dress that I wear either as a dress with tights or as a sweater over pants. It is cute either way, and makes me feel like I have two separate outfits. I can’t believe it almost didn’t make the cut!

    6) My closet looks GREAT with less stuff (though it is still cramped, because I share a single, small closet with my fiance).


  3. Meg

    I’m SO glad I added my scarves to the mix, because they turn my shirts & sweaters into substitute turtlenecks, which is good now that it’s snowing outside! I’ve worn everything in my collection at least once, and my half the closet looks so roomy and serene ;D

  4. Courtney,
    Thank you for sharing the progress with this challenge! I was not at a point where this would be a priority with me, howver I have been purging many areas of my home, books and clothes being a major part of that.
    I may consider the thought of joining in the next round, although I will have to see where my life is at that moment! Even just reading these interviews gets me motivated to see if I can do with less!

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Project 333. I can relate to the old home with a small bathroom and closets. My own home is a few years short of 100. You can tell that things like the bathroom and closets were an not an importance back then.

    Over this past summer my frustration grew to the point I just donated all of my clothing expect for what I needed for work and a few leisure outfits. I’ve never been happier.

    • I have always donated clothes each season but until I deliberately committed to living with less, my closet was always overflowing. I used to get a little burst of happiness when I brought a bag of clothes out of the house, but now, enjoying a quiet closet and fewer choices gives me happiness all the time!

  6. I’ve been quietly stalking the challenge, following others posts and progress. I absolutely love the pictures and the posts — thanks for sharing your journeys! I am intrigued, but perhaps overwhelmed? I’ve been focusing on decluttering my whole house, and I have taken about 6 trips with trunk-fulls of bags of clothes and personal items to Salvation Army over the last few months. So, I am making overall progress. The more I read, the more I realize it’s about making choices for items that are interchangeable and intermixable, complement each other, and fit great. I am working on streamlining my wardrobe in order to whittle it down to closer to 33 items…but I feel like I need a professional stylist or something! Or actually to just steal a friend for an afternoon who will watch me try on all my outfits and help me decide what stays and what goes in the final cut, lol. Maybe I’ll have a minimalist fashion party? Instead of a clothing swap, everyone pack up their wardrobes and bring ‘em to my house, we try things on, make our outfits, and sort out our new wardrobes — then we all donate everything else. Anyone want to come? :)

    • Courtney Carver

      Clara, It sounds like you are making great progress. My suggestion is to pick three or four “signature” items and then keep the rest really simple and functional. Don’t feel pressured to get rid of everything else, but box it up and see what it’s like without it.

  7. Ryan Mitchell

    I love this concept. I’ve recently starting making more trips to Goodwill with books & other stuff from my 1,000 square foot home. My wife donated all of her shoes except 11 of them. Yeaaaa for earthquake path living in San Diego is great. Anyhow wonderful concept. Thanks. – RYAN

  8. Clothes are my Achilles’ heel. I can remember when I was 14 thinking how great that I had seven (7!) days worth of outfits to wear to school without repeats. Now I have two closets full of clothes wearing me down, not to mention sweaters, etc., in dresser drawers! I’m probably long past due to pare down, so I will be following your new challenge closely…hopefully participating!

  9. Keira

    I considered doing the 333 Challenge when it was originally proposed, but realized that I had no desire to go without access to my jewelry for that long. Most of the jewelry I wear is sentimental or symbolic. The feeling behind not wanting to give it up for 3 months wasn’t so much an unwillingness to be unadorned as it was an unwillingness to forgo the happy nostalgic feelings I get when I wear most of my pieces.

    I used to have one of those big jewelry armoire things to hold all my pieces, and it was a pain to lug with me whenever I moved. So I do understand how some people with a lot of jewelry might consider it part of the clutter. A few years ago I sold the armoire on Craigslist and put all my jewelry in one of those hanging organizers http://www.dressbarn.com/items/dress/images/large/100769942_951.jpg . Now it all hangs in my closet with my clothing and takes up practically no room at all.

    I will probably try the Part II Challenge when it gets rolled out, but I’m definitely going to exclude the jewelry! :)

  10. I’ve been quietly wearing my 33 items for two months now. Wow, laundry is so easy! I admit I’m getting a little bored with my clothes even though I have lots of color in my t shirts. One thing I didn’t plan for–I’ve lost weight in the past two months–I simply had to change out one pair of casual slacks for a new smaller pair. I’m hoping I’ll make it another month without having to change out my dressy slacks for another size. You asked if people noticed–if they do, they’re not saying anything to me :)

  11. This is such a great idea! I just had foot surgery on both feet but as soon as I’m mobile I’ll be inspecting my wardrobe to find out which outfits are going to cut it! Count me in!

  12. I love your blog and your ideas and the challenges in every category: dress, entertain, perfection–perfectly fun!

  13. e

    Project 333 CRISIS! :)

    Hee, hee. Not really a crisis, but let me share a story and get some advice…when I started project 333, I boxed up a LOT of clothes. I told myself, “it’s OK, you can take them out in January if you want.” Well, during project 333, I realized that I absolutely love having an emptier closet and that I don’t want to go back to ALL THAT STUFF. However, some of the things I boxed up were both sentimental AND look good on me – vintage t-shirts that belonged to my dad, dresses that were gifts from my fiance, etc.

    So here’s where I made a mistake. I KNOW I was supposed to keep the boxes closed and donate everything, but I couldn’t bear to do it. So last night, I opened them up with the intent of setting aside the bulk of the clothes to donate before the New Year.

    It didn’t go so well. So far, I’ve managed to get rid of about 1/3 of the clothes – or one large box – but that means 2/3 of the clothes are still there. Which is a LOT of clothes.

    I know opening the box was a mistake, but I remembered there were things in the box that I wanted to get out. And then I found myself wanting to keep almost everything. Any advice from other 333-ers?


    PS: I donated more stuff than I would have if I HADN’T boxed it up for three months, so progress is being made. Just very slowly.

    • Courtney Carver

      Breathe E!

      Slow progress is an awesome accomplishment so don’t get down on yourself. My recommendation is to incorporate some of the meaningful pieces into phase two, box up the rest and see how you feel about it in March or April.

      Please remember: This project is not about being miserable. Have fun with it. You might get more feedback from other members on the Facebook page, so drop a line there as well.

      Hang in there, you are doing great!

      • e

        Thanks, Courtney!

        Don’t worry – I’m not miserable! I love the project. :)

        I think I am having a general mini-holiday-meltdown trying to get everything in order for guests, finishing up work projects, etc., and I just wish I could have trashed everything in those boxes guilt-free. I have been working on a journey towards minimalism for a while, and some days I feel great, and some days I feel like I am not really getting anywhere.

        Today I am going to try to get rid of a few more pieces and then start thinking about my 33 items for January 1st. I’m definitely staying in the challenge and looking forward to the next three months! Wheeeeee!


  14. Courtney Carver

    If you are just getting started with Project 333 or want to stay in touch, check out:

    So glad you are all enjoying living with less!

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