Translated with the help of Lucie Battaglia. Thank you Lucie!

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You may have heard about Project 333. In a spirit of minimalism and responsible consumption, some people take on the challenge to only use 33 articles of clothing, jewelry and accessories for 3 months. The purpose of this project is to become aware of our behaviour in regards to fashion, use less, and find out what we really need. Also, it helps us see if there is really a difference in how we feel and how others perceive us with a smaller wardrobe.

The story

In 2010, the minimalist blogger Courtney Carver published on her site bemorewithless.com the article “How to Simplify your Closet”. The initial idea was to simplify her wardrobe to the maximum. This involves emptying the closet and putting everything on the bed, then asking the following questions for each piece:

  1. Does it fit me right now?
  2. Do I love it?
  3. Is it in good condition?
  4. Does it speak to my be more with less lifestyle?
Courtney Carver, blogueuse minimaliste

Courtney Carver, minimalism blogger

If the piece of clothing receives a “yes” to each of these four questions, keep it. If not, donate it. The blogger explained she was very satisfied after completing this project in a day. She planned to do another clean-up at the end of June, three months later. Thus is born project 333, confirmed a little later with the article Minimalist Fashion Project 333 Begins.” Three months in, none of her coworkers noticed that she’d only been using 33 items. For someone who used to dream about a big, beautiful walk-in closet to hold more stuff, her closet now looked bare, simple and surprisingly, inspiring. She could have stored everything without even owning a closet. Carver felt much happier and planned on repeating the experience every three months. A year in, no one noticed.

Five years later, in 2015, CNN broadcasted Courtney Carver’ story on their website: “Declutter your wardrobe: Lessons from people who’ve done it.” They report that over the past five years, the blogger only kept 33 clothes and accessories in her wardrobe for every three-month period. It brought the movement, already embraced by several Internet users, to the general public.

Even if everything seems to have gone too far in the fashion world, this new social phenomenon is gaining momentum and contradicts the dominant mainstream “fast fashion” philosophy. (Yeah, I know, I just said fast fashion was a philosophy…) You just have to search the Internet to discover dozens of bloggers who practice Project 333.

If you are like me, by now, you have certainly asked yourself the following question: “If I own 10 pairs of underwear plus 10 pairs of socks, for a sum of 20 items, how is it possible to keep a limit of 33?” Well, there are some rules that ensure that functional items are not included in this count (from the website https://bemorewithless.com/project-333/):

The rules

When : Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)

What : 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.

What not : these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring, underwear, sleep, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)

How : Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.

What else : consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. If you purchase items for project 333, stick with the one in, two out approach. Consider the essentials and stick to 33.

Of all existing blog posts on the Internet about Project 333, a good proportion are from women who love fashion a lot and who had a jam-packed wardrobe before. No need to be a monk or a minimalist to take on Project 333. On the contrary, this challenge is made for those who love fashion. Adding this constraint pushes you to be more creative and versatile with each chosen item. The project is about style and fashion, as well as responsible consumption: a true balance between fashion and sustainable development. It’s inspiring.

Courtney Carver and her website bemorewithless.com, now have:

Are you ready for Project 333?

About the author Ugo Dutil: I grew up at the ecovillage “La Cite Ecologique” from 1 to 11. I decided to go back and live there when I was 25 years old. I like this way of life that allows us to prioritize human relationships over material possessions. I’ve been working with Respecterre since 2013. Voluntary simplicity and responsible consumption, especially in textiles, fascinates me.

 

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References

1.Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things. https://minimalismfilm.com/
2.Minimalist Fashion Project 333 Begins. https://bemorewithless.com/minimalist-fashion-project-333-begins/
3.How to Simplify your Closet. https://bemorewithless.com/minimalist-fashion-project-333-begins/
4.Declutter your wardrobe: Lessons from people who’ve done it. https://www.cnn.com/2016/10/10/health/declutter-minimalist-style-feat/