The concept of a wardrobe capsule intrigued me.
Are you someone who likes systems? Do you like your closet to be organized, your clothes tie together in a cohesive way and save money? You may be interested in a wardrobe capsule system.
A wardrobe capsule works like this: Dress with fewer items – a lot fewer – with each coordinating with the other. Box up the other clothes for the next season or give them away. Your choices are narrowed down and you life gets easier. Two years ago, I stumbled upon Project 333: Be More With Less. I tried it, loved it and have been doing a version of it ever since then so I thought I’d share a review.
The author Courtney Carver promised if you pare down your wardrobe to 33 items for 3 months (each season), you’ll find more joy in your life since you aren’t spending time worrying about what to wear! Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
“Be more with less is about simplifying your life and really living. Focus on the best things instead of all things so you can create a life with more joy and less obligation.”Courtney Carver
Are you focusing on the “best things” in life? I sure wasn’t!
I held onto things I didn’t need and accumulated more stuff! I’d inherited a house full of furniture and heirlooms from my grandparents. When my Mom passed away, even more came my way. I couldn’t bear to part with things from these people I loved so much.
In addition, my closet was crammed with items of all sizes and seasons including things that didn’t fit. In the mornings, I’d spend time putting on outfits only to reject several until I found what I wanted to wear. I craved the simplicity of paring down my life to what’s the most important and including only “the best.”
Project 333 goes deeper than a wardrobe capsule.
While Courtney’s Project 333 is about simplifying what you wear and your closet, it’s goes deeper than that.
Courtney was on the corporate track, had a large home with a corresponding mortgage, a closet full of clothes and like many of us, lots of “stuff.” When the 2008 financial crisis hit at the same time she was struggling with a challenging health issue (Multiple Sclerosis,) she knew something had to change. She simplified her life, downsized, worked less, paid off debt and reduced her possessions.
I wanted what Courtney had, don’t you? Through simplifying her life, she was able to focus on the absolute best things in her life. She found joy with fewer things and obligations and created more joy with the space she opened up in her life.
Project 333 – The Wardrobe Capsule was born out of her struggle.
The premise is each season – for three months- you pare down the items in your closet to 33 total items. That’s right – only 33 items total! This would include pants, skirts, sweaters, shoes and jewelry – everything. Obviously, you pick the items you adore, look fabulous and go together.
Box up everything else up and label by season. Every three months you clean out your closet for items you no longer wear, don’t fit or you are ready to part with them.
As someone who loves to be organized, the concept of Project 333 resonated with me. Productivity systems to free up “me time,” are in my wheelhouse and as a midlife woman who wants more out of every moment in my life, I thought, this is exactly what I need.
Since I purchased Courtney’s class “Project 333” two years ago, I’ve integrated the concept every single season. Since I wear a lot of black, I chose black, white and royal blue as my colors for my first Fall Wardrobe Capsule. Since minimalism is not my thing, the low water mark of 33 total items was a pipe dream and the first time, I ended up with 45 NOT including shoes or accessories. (Check out her book on Amazon – here.)
Organizing my clothes so everything goes together just feels right.
Every morning when I head into my closet to pick out clothes, it’s easier and saves time. With less to choose from, everything fitting and coordinating, there is not a bad choice to be made.
Buying fewer clothes but of higher quality saves money, too. If you stick to this idea going forward, you are able to improve your individual clothing pieces so everything is high quality and you’d absolutely love everything in your closet. The financial planner in me likes this idea – because you have a wardrobe system in place, you’d spend less over time and have better quality.
For me, Project 333 was a huge success. No one noticed I wore the exact same black skirt to work every day. Since I paired it with different tops and jackets, my “look” for work was very different each day. Because I had enough mix and match items, I could make up multiple outfits.
Was I bored with my garment choices? Yes!
Wearing the same basics over and over again was a completely new concept for me. However, with season changes in the Rocky Mountains every 3 months, it worked. With a new season come a new wardrobe. Just pull down your boxes, pick out your clothes for the next season and pack up the clothes you’ve been wearing.
After the fall season, I invested in a high quality pencil black skirt – Halogen Brand. The texture is dreamy, it rolls up for travel so it doesn’t wrinkle, and the length is perfect for business. During the process, I got rid of skirts and pants that didn’t fit or I just didn’t wear. Then to make sure the ones I kept fit well, I had them tailored.
Contentment was an unexpected benefit.
How you start your day is so important! I love to start my day on a positive note if I can without looking in the mirror and rejecting outfits. Imagine walking into your closet and having only items that fit well and look gorgeous to choose from. My mornings were easier and more pleasant since I wasn’t trying on things and having to disapprove at the beginning of my day.
Who do we dress for anyways? We should be dressing for ourselves! Now that I am working remotely, I make sure my wardrobe is not limited to only leggings and sweatshirts. Even if I don’t have an “on camera” call, most days I wear casual dresses that I love even though I am working remotely. If I have a client meeting, I add a scarf and a corporate casual jacket.
Project 333 takes time each season to cull through your clothes.
The benefits are tremendous so it is worth the time spent. By boxing up your last season’s clothes, you create room in your closet. With an every 3 month focus, you are constantly de-cluttering and letting the old things go.
When you open up your boxes for the next season, it’s joyful! A new (but old) box of clothes is there for you to open with no attached credit card payment – it’s free. They are yours. Retail therapy at its finest without the corresponding debt.
Choose a realistic number for your wardrobe capsule.
Since 33 items never quite worked for me, I plan on loosening my guidelines going forward and calling mine Project 366.
No matter the number of items you choose, the concept still works. For me, sixty six sounds about right. That said, Courtney’s program was something I am glad I tried and will stick to going forward.
Have you tried it? Let me know if you were able to get to 33 items! What did you love about it? Leave a comment below.
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