Project 333: 3 Lessons I Learned From a 33-Item Wardrobe

Have you heard of Project 333? The Project 333 rules are simple: you only get to wear 33 items of clothing for 3 months. I have tried this challenge and want to share my insights and thoughts with you today.

For me, the purpose of the challenge was to see how many items of clothing I actually need and actually wear. 33 pieces might sound like a lot to some of you, but I am used to having much more, so this was a challenge for sure.

I started the challenge in July and I started off really strong, excited, and motivated. In the second month, things started going worse. There was lots of wear and tear, my clothes were falling apart, and I even had to throw away one of my favorite tops.

Towards the end, I kind of got used to wearing the same thing over and over again and it felt normal to have 33 pieces in my closet.

I had to end the challenge a bit early because of a trip that required warmer clothes, but I am proud of myself for sticking through as long as I did. I do feel like it was a valuable experience, my lifestyle changed and I learned some amazing lessons.

Linen shorts

Lesson 1. I wore all 33 pieces many times over the 3 months

The first thing that I noticed was that the 80-20 rule no longer applied. The 80-20 rule in the context of wardrobe says that we only wear about 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. This was definitely true for me before the challenge.

However, when I reduced my wardrobe to 33 pieces and hand-picked the pieces that I was wearing the most, I felt like I was rotating through all of my clothes. Within three months, I was able to wear all 33 pieces.

Of course, I still had my favorites, like the leopard dress which fits me so well, is easy to put on, and goes for all kinds of occasions, my dressy olive dress for nights out and date nights, and my linen shorts which I would make different outfits with by rotating the tops.

This is really how it should be. Clothes are meant to be worn and not stored. A little bit of intentionality can really help us appreciate and love the things that we already have instead of blindly adding more to the pile.

333 wardrobe

Lesson 2. 33 items was not enough for me

Having a capsule wardrobe definitely worked for me and I am not going back, but 33 items was not practical. This was one of the hottest summers, I sweat a lot, so I ended up washing my clothes a lot, which resulted in wear and tear. Moreover, when I did not have time for laundry, I ran out of things really quickly and did not have anything to wear.

Finally, my weight fluctuates quite a lot, so I would definitely benefit from having a few different sizes. 33 pieces did not give me enough wiggle room for life to happen.

If I were to do it again, I would change things up to make sure that it fits me and my lifestyle. For example, I would first start with 33 pieces but reexamine them at the end of every month, see which pieces I did not really use, and switch them out or add a couple more pieces.

I believe that if I did this every month for three months, I would get closer to having a more functional capsule wardrobe.

I started dressing and living for myself

Lesson 3. I started dressing and living for myself

My priorities started shifting pretty early on. I really had no idea how much of my time, energy, and mental space I was dedicating to clothes: not just shopping but getting dressed in the morning, doing laundry, organizing, decluttering, and just browsing.

I do love clothes so it is not necessarily a bad thing, but I definitely benefited from simplifying this area of my life. I was able to prioritize other things, like extensively researching for my upcoming trip, spending time with my friends and family, and enjoying the outdoors.

When I decided to take some side trips to Maui and Kauai, I was able to pack within 10 minutes or so, which made it so easy. I loved being able to prioritize experiences over material things that do not bring any lasting value.

Moreover, I started prioritizing myself. I thought that I would get bored with my clothes, but the opposite happened - I really enjoyed my clothes. I woke up every day and felt like I was dressing for myself and I looked like myself. It really made me reflect on the past and ask myself if I was dressing for myself or for others, and how many clothes I bought for taking photos and not for me.

I could put on the most expensive pieces of clothing and beautiful fabrics, but if they do not make me feel like myself, there is no room in my life for those anymore.

Nobody ever noticed that I was wearing the same clothes over and over again. It does not really matter what I am wearing, because what matters is how authentic and comfortable I feel in my clothes and how that reflects on everything else throughout the day.

I truly enjoyed simplifying my wardrobe and my life with this challenge. This was such a valuable and fun experience, I had a lot of fun doing it and learned a lot about myself and my habits along the way.

Project 333

Would you try the 333 wardrobe challenge? Do you think it would be a big change for you? What would your Project 333 wardrobe list include? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Join the conversation
  • Maria Maria on Feb 10, 2024
    Great inspiration, when i retired, little be little got rid of all my work cloth, high hills and beautiful dresses that i would wear to work events. I am procrastinating, but I know that my closets still have too many casual outfits that hang there unworn
  • P P on Feb 10, 2024
    Be sure to keep one outfit to weaar to a wedding & one to weaar to a funeral!