How many items of clothing do you have in your closet? How many accessories? Shoes? Add those up. Now count up what you actually wear of those. What fraction is left behind untouched, or worn only once or twice a year? And yet, we all go out and buy more.
Enter Project 333—a fashion challenge aimed at simplifying your life and encouraging people to consume less.
Here's how it works: Every three months, round up 33 items (include clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes, but do not include wedding rings, sentimental jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing). Box up the remainder of your wardrobe, seal with tape and put it out of sight. Those 33 items will be all you will wear for the next three months.
Sound crazy? I interviewed Lynn Zhang, a friend currently undertaking the challenge to see what she had to say.
How long have you been participating in Project 333?
I started the doing the project on January 1 this year and I'm going through March 31.
What made you decide to try it?
I felt like I had way too much clothing and I stumbled upon an article that "New York Times" did about a minimalist wardrobe challenge which led me to Project 333. I thought that it would help me declutter because I always feel like I have too much stuff but can't stomach or get around to getting rid of it. I thought that by forcing myself to only use a select portion of my wardrobe it would make me consider how much of it is actually necessary and how much of it I really love. I wanted to apply this to the rest of the junk I own as well.
Are you happy participating in this challenge?
I'm very happy. It isn't hard at all. My day-to-day style was always pretty simple and this project has made it even easier. I've narrowed my wardrobe down to pieces that all match and give me enough variety to not be bored (at least after one month). It was hard initially whittling down my wardrobe but it's been great since. (I've cheated a few times but I don't feel guilty because it's not like I was having an emotional breakdown over my wardrobe.)
Do you feel like it's made you think differently about the way you dress and what you buy? Anything you've "realized"?
I think less about what I wear on a day-to-day basis because I have fewer things to choose from and I like all the pieces that I've picked. Also, because I like all the pieces I have, I like most of the outfits I wear every day. I decided a while ago to stop purchasing clothes from fast fashion chains because of ethical and environmental reasons and this challenge goes hand in hand with that decision. I've definitely realized how great having quality basics is and I put more value on having fewer items, but loving all those items. I've also started placing more sentimental value on certain items since I cleaned out my closet.
What's your favorite thing about participating in this challenge?
I like that I don't have to go through stuff I would never wear anymore. It also makes that part of my life seem more streamlined. I haven't bought any clothes in the past month because I wouldn't have been able to wear them anyway, so it's saving me money. I also really like that it's helped me streamline my style because I had to pick only things that I really love.