If you waste time, or precious energy wondering what to wear each day, then the Project 333 lifestyle can make mornings stress free, make your decisions easy and give you a renewed perspective on your wardrobe. A life-changing diagnosis and ‘can do’ attitude began this journey for one woman.

If you are returning to work after a COVID-19 working from home scenario, your morning routine might need a little rethink, unless your office has a regular Pyjama or mufti day…

Project 333

In 2010 Courtney Carver, a woman living with Multiple Sclerosis, (after a shock diagnosis in 2006) decided she needed to simplify everything so that she could focus on a healthier, happier life. –  Courtney acknowledged she spent much of her adult life tired, stressed, sick and doing work without purpose to make ends meet. “Having too much to choose from is not always a blessing”. She wanted to conserve her energy for the things that mattered most.

As part of the pare-down, she decided to make a go of a simplified wardrobe, after learning that most people only wear 20% of the clothes they own, and they wear those for 80% of the time. So, Courtney came up with the idea of 33 items for 3 months. (A season). The blessing - it saves time, money and physical energy. “I need those resources for things that matter more to me”. Project 333 was born.

2020 is the 10th year of Project 333, and Courtney’s book Project 333 was inspired by the journey. Her website has resources to help you choose your 33 pieces, and even how to address excuses, fears, and answers questions. She also has a Quarantine wardrobe! Note, it does not include track pants - that almost dangerous invitation to binge-watch your favourite series curled up on the lounge all winter.

Downsizing

A few years ago, a friend told me she had started Project 333 and was loving it. It was my kind of thing, and yet, I hadn’t the resolve to try it fully. The idea came up again when friends went travelling “living out of a suitcase”. I had done that before for a year, but I wasn’t just going to clear out my closet for the fun of it. Again I put off the temptation to try Project 333.

Fast forward to Autumn 2020, and I discovered I was living Project 333 by default. You see, on almost impulse, our little family had moved to a remote location – the kind of remote you can only fly-in and fly-out. There are zero roads that lead to this Rome. We packed up our lives and brought with us 8 suitcases, a bike and our puppy in the cargo hold. I also packed 7 (yes, seven) pairs of prescription spectacles, as I wasn’t risking going without those. I learnt that lesson from my brother, who once had to balance his newly broken frames on his nose to drive home, as they were his only pair.

I had decluttered, donated and downsized my clothing ready for the move. It felt good.

Summer was easy, I’m a big fan of a dress, throw on footwear and a hat, and voila, outfit done. No wondering “Does this top go with these pants/ skirt?” as I stood bewildered in front of my wardrobe.

We planned to meet some family in a mutually convenient destination for Easter Holidays. So, I left a suitcase of our family's winter clothes with them, to pick-up in April. You know where this is going, right?

COVID-19. No fly-in fly-out, no suitcase of warmer clothes and no ‘shops’ here. Insert a moment of pure joy when I realised my accidental Project 333 success. Luckily, I had the cool-weather basics.

The silver lining for me, it has been less effort needed to choose my outfit EVERY morning - zero wardrobe stress. And there is plenty of room to see everything. It’s been quite liberating; it saves me time getting ready, and my decisions are pretty much pre-made. I already know which pieces work together.

Project 333 Book nestled on top of a small pile of clothing

‘Can do’ attitude

Before you put the idea in the too-hard basket, some items don’t “count” in your 33. Wedding ring or piece of sentimental jewellery, underclothes, sleepwear, and workout wear. (Activewear addicts note - you ONLY wear workout wear for a workout). I don’t count my prescription glasses in my wardrobe, because for me, they are a necessity. Courtney highlights “It’s a journey about joy, not suffering.” And you don’t have to do it all at once; you can ease into it; flexibility is part of how you choose and decide what works for you.

Give yourself time to choose in advance what your seasonal clothing will need to be - to live, work, and play in. Think about the events upcoming or daily schedule for the timeframe. Go from there and give it a try.

Project 333 defined

“A small collection of 33 items including clothing, jewellery, accessories and shoes that encourage you to wear your favourite things every day (not the trendiest things, the most stylish things, or the perfect things … your  favourite things).”

The Project 333 Wardrobe – Courtney Carver.

You individually choose how many pieces in each section, so if you like more choice in shoes, you might have fewer items in jewellery, for example. That is why this wardrobe project is unique for all of us. And 33 might not be your magic number, ti might be less, it might be slightly more.

A usual starting place looks something like this:

Clothes

  • Jeans
  • Dress
  • Skirt
  • A simple t-shirt or V-neck
  • Button-down shirt
  • Blazer

 

Jewellery

  • Favourite piece

 

Accessories

  • Sunglasses
  • Purse
  • Scarf

 

Shoes

  • Flats
  • Heels
  • Walking shoes

An example of Courtney’s winter wardrobe is here if you need more inspiration from the founder of Project 333 herself. The Project 333 website and the book have fabulous tips on how to decide YOUR 33 items. Because, as Courtney says “One perfect capsule wardrobe will not work for everyone.”  We each have different bodies and lifestyles and needs, and our choices support OUR needs and lifestyles and bodies.

A calm, unhurried morning routine awaits.

Resources

Be more with less
#project333 is a visual representation of the community and resources on Instagram
Search “Project 333” on your favourite social media channel for other resources and communities.
"Project 333 The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More" Book is available for purchase online or through your favourite bookstore.

Podcasts

Soul and Wit is Courtney’s podcast channel
Courtney interviewed on the Minimalist Moms Podcast
The Productivityist episode about the core elements of Project 333
And Australian Duo Bec and Tara chat on Be Uncluttered Episode 37
Project 333 Book Flatlay with Coffee, cake candle and cutlery
 
All images supplied Courtney Carver - Be More with Less.

IDEAS does information so you can do life.