Dressing with Less will Help You Get Everything You Really Want

Project 333 Will Help You Get Everything You Want

One of the best parts of Project 333 is that you are released from your shopping addiction or casual shopping habit for 3 whole months. Once you define your capsule wardrobe and decide what you’ll be wearing, you don’t have to think about …

  • your favorite sales
  • buy one, get one deals
  • special offers
  • email discounts and advertising from shopping sites
  • corporate newsletters
  • rewards cards
  • coveting the sunglasses your friend is wearing
  • window shopping
  • climbing credit card debt
  • buyer’s remorse

Now all of that energy you directed towards shopping and buying new stuff can be redirected to what really matters in your life. Now that shopping is out, anything you really want is in.

  • Write a book.
  • Start a blog.
  • Move across the country.
  • Read a book.
  • Connect with a long-lost friend.
  • Start a savings account.
  • Insert what you want here.

So what do you want?

That’s the big question. What do you really want? Pre-Project 333, I didn’t shop for clothes because I needed more clothes. Believe me, I had plenty. Instead I shopped because I wanted to feel a certain way.

I bought jeans that made me feel skinny, dresses that made me feel flirty, and heels that made me feel powerful. Advertisers convinced me that I’d feel everything I wanted to feel if I came home with something new. And I did feel that way, for about five minutes. And then I felt crappy for spending money on another black dress or pair of shoes.

You'll never find something to wear that makes you feel beautiful, smart, or loved if you don't believe that you already are.

I didn’t see my shopping motivations this clearly until I stopped shopping. I knew I shopped to feel better when things went wrong, or to treat myself because I deserved something new for working so hard, but I didn’t know that I was trying to buy something that is not for sale.

How to figure out what you really want

Project 333 and dressing with less helped me curb my shopping habits. Getting rid of the clutter, excess, and all the things that were distracting me, made room to figure out what I wanted. I wanted freedom. Freedom from the things that weighed me down, and freedom to want what I wanted and time to do what it took to get it, and enjoy and appreciate it.

At the end of last year I spent a day with Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. I used it to define what I really want and how I want to feel. Now I do things that genuinely contribute to those feelings. I am guided by what I want to feel, not what I’m supposed to feel and definitely not what advertisers tell me to feel.

The Desire Map will help you determine how you want to feel. Through a series of exercises, you’ll discover and identify your core desired feelings.

Reading The Desire Map shook my soul, lifted me up, and revealed that I wanted so much more than I’ve been willing to ask for. I resonated with so much of this book, but three thoughts stuck with me. I wrote them in my 2014 planner and think of them daily.

  • Be anchored to the desired feeling, and open to the form in which it manifests.
  • You can feel light when someone else is heavy. You can feel confident when things go sideways.
  • If you have to step outside of yourself, away from your values and soul to get your needs met, then you’re not really going to get your needs met.

When you are connected to your core desired feelings instead of external triggers, you don’t have to prove your worth, prove your love, prove your work, or prove one more thing to one more person. When you stop proving, you can stop waiting for someone else to tell you that you are good enough. You can stop worrying about what other people think about what you do, what you want and who you are.

Today, I still occasionally buy clothes, but I shop for gaps in my wardrobe and not for a feeling or because I think I deserve it. Now I think I deserve so much more, like feeling the way I want to feel.

Let the Desire Map help you determine what you want, take a break from clothes shopping and remember that you’ll never find something to wear that makes you feel beautiful, smart, or loved if you don’t believe that you already are.


  1. Sadie says

    What a wonderful post! I love that you are staying so true to the heart of what this project is all about– making room in your life for things that MATTER. Many similar capsule-wardrobe projects continually build on themselves until they are no longer about paring down, but about finding the ABSOLUTE PERFECT items. You can find yourself spending just as much time chasing the PERFECT little black dress as you did chasing a full wardrobe!

    This project has made me feel like I like my clothes more and like I’m more stylish, but most importantly, it’s put the whole realm of constant shopping for clothes OUTSIDE of my brain, and I am so grateful for the open space.

    The funny thing is, 33 items is kind of a natural number for me. I used to feel anxious about having only two or three pairs of work slacks, but somehow, I always ended up wearing only two or three of what I had anyway!

  2. Malkah Hochman says

    Thanks once again for your words of wisdom! I too, shopped for a certain feeling. I am now looking at my clothes in a completely different way. I want to look nice but what I really want is to feel great. My closet is getting more and more organized and curated. I have definitely identified my favorites and little by little I am letting go of the things that I don’t wear. Getting dressed is easy and I really don’t mind wearing the same things. I have always been attracted to the idea of simplicity and quality over quantity. Your Project 333 is a great way to start and it is easily adaptable to other areas of my life. Letting go of things (and sometimes) people that do not add joy to my life is a process but it is a very important process. I don’t want to spend time and money on things that ultimately bring me down. Keep up the great work!

  3. Sarah says

    I’m just about to enter my 3rd cycle of Project 333 and I have found it revolutionary / amazing.

    I read something the other day which I just had to post on here as I thought it would motivate those trying to downsize their wardrobe.

    “People don’t like you for your clothes – they may like your clothes but it doesn’t mean they like you”

    This statement really made me think and confirmed Project 333 is the way to go. Hopefully others will be inspired / reassured by it too.

  4. Eva says

    A question – is it 33 pieces per year or is it 33 pieces per 3 month that is 33*4 pieces per year?
    Sorry, but I can’t dem to find that stated anywhere and I’m a bit confused.
    I really like your website and it’s very inspiring and helpful as I am decluttering my wardrobe right now after years of neglect due to illness.
    It really is easier with less. This year I have declutter 125 pieces of clothing/bags/shoes/belts and I dont miss a thing! And I could donate/recycle 100 more pieces. The feeling of space and order is almost addictive!

    / Eva from Sweden

    • courtney says

      Hi Eva,

      Project 333 is 33 items for 3 months, but there are plenty of pieces that can cross over from season to season.

  5. Lara Markus says

    I love your project!! It has been the best inspiration. Every time, after I read one of your posts, I run to my closet and take another thing out!
    I´ve already taken everything that I didn´t wear, didn´t love, didn´t fit or didn´t have what to match it with. I only have stuff I love, feels good and looks good on me.
    My teenage daughters already started doing the same, and they love how easy it is for them to get dressed, and the best part: they have realized how little we need, and that having too much is not better!
    Thanks for inspiring us!