Taking on a challenge like Project 333 can seem daunting and a little bit scary. My experience has been so transformative, and the stories I hear from other participants inspire me to make it approachable for more people.
I recently joined my friends Ryan and Joshua on their Everything that Remains 100 city book tour and Joshua mentioned that he could usually tell who was doing Project 333 because they were the best dressed people in the room. If you have a chance to attend one of their events, I highly recommend it. Admission is free, and so are the hugs.
1. Taking the first step.
Getting started is always the hardest part. The process seems overwhelming. The best way to start is to set a date with your closet. Block off a day or even a few hours to turn all of your focus to what’s behind those doors. Make it fun. Bring music and snacks and dig in. Starting something new makes starting the next thing even easier. Consider it a practice that will help you jump in sooner the next time you are considering something new.
2. My body is changing.
You might be worried that if you lose or gain weight or if you body shape changes, then the items you chose won’t work anymore. That might be true, but keep in mind that Project 333 is a 3 month project. Some of the pieces you choose will still work regardless of the amount of change that would typically happen in 3 months.
Losing or gaining weight with a smaller wardrobe can also be a great benefit. Should you need to replace items, at least you don’t need to replenish a stuffed closet full of pieces that you weren’t wearing anyway.
3. I like shopping.
Shopping is fun for some and therapy for others, but when you look at the big picture there are better ways to get everything you need. If you participate in Project 333, you remove yourself from shopping for 3 months. It’s not permanent. It’s 3 months to give you the time and space you need to assess your shopping habits and see if they add value to your life or distract you from things that matter more to you.
4. I don’t know my personal style and what looks best on me.
When you shop trends, and work with a massive wardrobe, there is too much going on to develop a personal style. How can you possibly know what looks good on you, when you are always trying to wear something different or find something new?
I highly recommend not identifying your personal style for the first round of Project 333. Use what you have and don’t worry about what that says about you. By the end of 3 months of dressing with less, everything will change. You will change how you think about the clothing you boxed up and set aside. You will change how you think about the way you look in certain items, and you will have a new sense of clarity. Wait for that before making new purchases or defining a personal style.
5. I don’t love or even like what I have.
You might not be crazy about your current wardrobe and may even feel ambivalent while going through the sorting process. Work with what you have and re-assess after 3 months. Turn your focus away from what you are wearing and towards discovering what you were missing when you were spending extra time trying on multiple outfits to get ready.
You need time away from choosing so you can discover what you really want.
6. Letting go.
You don’t have to give anything away, but this is a process of letting go … for at least 3 months. You have to let go of your skinny clothes, let go of massive closet variety, (you weren’t wearing those other things anyway) and let go of the idea that your clothing defined you. Then let go of the fear of not having enough. Your extra clothing will be stored away, out of sight for 3 months. If you don’t have enough, you can bring it back.
Similar to getting started, letting go gets easier with practice. As you practice, you’ll begin to understand why it’s so hard for you to let go, and once you know that, nothing can holding you back.
7. I’ll be bored.
You might be worried that you have to dress in one neutral color. I do typically lean towards black with greens and teals, but there are plenty of options out there. Check out the Project 333 Pinterest board for examples of colorful capsule wardrobes. That said, I do recommend keeping your first round as simple as possible. You will learn so much.
8. The weather.
Your seasons may not be a consistent temperature for three months. Luckily, I created this project to handle a variety of changing weather. My first season included temps ranging from 0-90 degrees and with exception of Summer, I have to include clothing in my collection that can handle both high and low temps.
There will be a few pieces that you can only wear in the beginning or end of each season and 33 will be enough.
9. Special occasion items
Usually one special occasion outfit is plenty for one season of Project 333. If you have several events coming up and don’t want to wear the same thing to each, set aside a small capsule of 3 or 4 special occasion pieces and then you’ll have them if you need them.
This goes for vacation pieces too. If you know you have a beach trip coming in the middle of winter and don’t want to build those items into your 33, pack a small capsule collection for your trip. Don’t let the rules stop you from starting. Instead, break the rules.
10. Creating the perfect capsule wardrobe.
I want to punch perfection in the face. It really gets in the way of everything and prevents us from awesome experiences. Your capsule wardrobe won’t be perfect. Do it anyway. Each season, you’ll make it a little better. Never perfect, but better.
Less perfection equals more happiness, more risk-taking, and better relationships.