What is P333?
This project is an attempt to reduce our clothing consumption. It’s a 3-month challenge in which you wear only 33 items, and put the rest of your closet in boxes, not to be touched until the 3 months is up.
Why do P333?
Lots of reasons! The fashion industry is fast rising in our consciousness as one of the most polluting industries in the world. Human rights and labour violations in the fashion industry are also rampant. There are personal benefits to reducing our clothing consumption too: the original creator of the challenge was looking to reduce stress in her life. For me, I plan to increase my awareness of how much I own and consume with this project. While there is no formal moratorium on purchasing during this challenge, practically there’s not much point since I’m limited to the 33 items I’ve chosen. More philosophically, I hope that Project 333 will help me to move one step closer to voluntary simplicity – a real challenge during one of the most acquisitive times of year. Owning things isn’t the problem: we all need to wear clothes or we’d be rejected from society (and probably very cold). But we can transition to owning things that are beautiful, durable, and practical. I don’t plan on sacrificing aesthetics and wearing a hemp sack for the sake of sustainability, as I believe that beauty in our lives does matter. Project 333 should demonstrate that you can have your cake and eat it too!
How do I do P333?
Check out the Be More With Less blog for rules, inspiration, and support! I’ve paraphrased the “rules” of the project here for your convenience.
- The challenge takes three months, and you can start anytime
- You get to have 33 items to wear. That includes clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear, and shoes
- Don’t count jewelry you never take off, underwear, socks, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, or workout wear during a workout. Find more here fire opal jewelry
- Choose your items and box up (don’t give away yet) the rest of your wardrobe
- Feel free to replace any items that you realize don’t fit, or that wear out, during the challenge (from your wardrobe or the store)
My P333 Challenge
I’m running this challenge from November 1, 2016 until January 31, 2016 – or at least, I intend to. I’ve modified the rules a bit to accommodate for my newbie status and the cold, though many P333-ers get through cold winters without these tweaks! I’ll be excluding outerwear and shoes, as well as my sunglasses, backpack for carrying work things, and everyday purse. I don’t need help reducing these items as I’m down to the minimum I’m comfortable with already (except for that one “back-up” rain jacket…).
For some context, I live in Winnipeg and expect this challenge to see sun, snow, and rain; temperatures ranging from +10 to sub-minus-25; and wind. I commute on the bus, so have to walk and wait for it at each end of the day. I enjoy outdoor winter physical activities (but that counts as a workout, so the clothes I need for that don’t ‘count’ towards my 33), and work in an environment where I need to dress tidily but not in suits. I’ll be getting through Buy Nothing Day (Nov 25), all of the holiday “shopping season”, a week-long trip home for Christmas, and the coldest month of the year during this challenge.
I’ll be checking in a few times through the challenge to let you know how it’s going! If you have any questions, or want to participate too, why not join me? It’s easy to join me: just decide, make your list, and start on any day you choose! I encourage you to do this project and think about simplifying your life, reducing your consumption, and choosing voluntary simplicity. Let us know in the comments below: have you done this? Tried something similar? Got questions about fast fashion or resources you’d like to share? Let us know!
Want to know how it went? Check out our followup post here!
Hey everybody, with the new year, I bring you a new project update!
I’ve been learning SO MUCH by doing this challenge and I’d recommend it to anybody who has more than 50 seasonally-appropriate items in their closet (which I’d be willing to wager is most of you reading this).
That said, I’m getting sick of it! One of the things I learned is which types of jewelry I value…and I’d value having access to more than a single pair of earrings (on top of the necklace and ring I wear constantly and didn’t include in the challenge). I’m going to purge several items that I’ve kept as “just in case” things that I sometimes wear but don’t appreciate, and get it down to just the most timeless, versatile, sentimental pieces.
If you’re intimidated by P333 because you have a lot of sentimental items, don’t forget you don’t have to get rid of them, just pack them up for 3 months! It’ll help you to sort out what is actually meaningful to you, what you’ve been hanging onto out of guilt, obligation, or “just in case” fear.
For some, this becomes a lifelong style guide. For me, I’m looking forward to this being over (only 28 more days, you guys! It’s exciting to finally see the end) because I want to accessorize a bit more. My day to day clothing hasn’t felt restrictive at all though, and just simplified my brain.
I have a couple of vneck shirts that have either completely or mostly worn out over the course of this challenge, and I’ve learned not to buy that kind again…I’ll wear out what I have left and then buy better quality next time (if there is a next time, I have a LOT of long sleeved shirts!).
I recommend including shoes even if you think you don’t need to pare down (same goes for all the categories, actually), because you might be surprised. Also the 3 months is worth it! The first month broke the ice and got me comfortable enough to include accessories and outerwear in the challenge. The second month brought me new insights and lessons and to a point of peace with less stuff (handy, since I moved during that month!). I’ll let you know at the end what the third month brings…perhaps appreciation for beautiful things and joy around adding in some old favourites I haven’t had access to?
Finally, a confession – which may relieve those of you following along with me. I cheated over Christmas. I got given two lovely necklaces and a gorgeous pair of earrings for Christmas and couldn’t resist putting them on for a day or two (which also showed the gift-givers my appreciation!). P333 is a project whose job is to work FOR ME, so if you take this on, make it your own!
I didn’t think I could do it, but for December and January I’ll be whittling down my list further so I can include all my outerwear within the 33 items! So yes, that will include my winter coat(s), four pairs of shoes, and the hats, scarves, and mitts I’ll need to get through even Winnipeg’s coldest days. It CAN be done, who woulda thunk?
Here’s some fun statistics for you after I did a full inventory of my clothes:
384 items of clothing, shoes, accessories, and related items, total. 250 that are “eligible” for my P333 challenge. 217 or more into storage. 33 that make the cut into the wardrobe. 3 months of wearing nothing but those. 1 big project!
Some fun weirdly big numbers:
7 nose studs (my nose is no longer pierced)
5 swim caps (haven’t used one in 3 years)
14 long sleeved shirts
10 pairs of bottoms that don’t actually fit right now
44 pairs of socks
The funniest part? Even after nearly a month, there’s still 8 items I haven’t worn at all, and another 5 that I’ve only worn once. That means I’ve only been wearing 60% of my clothes (20 out of 33).
Another big plus with living like this – is not having to wash as many clothes. I get a lot of free 2nd hand clothes from relatives and friends and I used to like to wear a variety of clothes. But then I would end up with a big pile of clothes to wash. So now I have a few clothes items I just wear at work, other items for the bike ride to work, a set for at home and a set for yard chores. This way I can wear each set more times before they need washing. For my summer running clothes I wear the same outfit for every run and give it a little wash in the sink after each run. I use 1 set of sheets and towels as well. I wash early in the morning and they have all day to dry on the clothesline before I need them at the end of the day. This saves folding too!
I added up the clothes I regularly wear and came to 26, including most of the exclusions. 2 outdoor pants (1 is my work pants that I also wear for other things), 2 work shirts, 4 outdoor shirts, 2 sweaters, one coat, one pair of shoes, a toque, a pair of gloves, a skirt I sometimes wear to church, nylons with it, 1 pair of dress shoes, 2 pairs of indoor pants, 3 indoor shirts, 1 sweater, a nightgown, slippers, and a bathrobe. I’ll also add another coat I’m probably wear as it gets colder and my winter boots, and my swimsuit as I’ve just started swimming again and hope to continue more often again. So total 29 I guess.
Sounds like you’ve got a bit of wiggle room even! I’m impressed 🙂 It sounds like you were pretty much doing this already?
Not that this is the point of the challenge, but in the past week I’ve had several compliments on how I’m dressed or clothing I’m wearing. This stands out because I don’t usually! Perhaps it’s worth it to have only my favourites and not wear the “meh” items that make an occasional circulation into use – worth it not just for the environmental benefit of buying less “fast fashion” but for the personal satisfaction of looking put together!
I had a couple questions about this already today: some rule clarifications (and don’t forget that I got this from http://www.bemorewithless.com where you can find a lot more tips, rule clarifications, and support!).
No, underwear and socks don’t count. Neither do pyjamas, workout clothes worn only for working out (don’t try to sneak in an extra pair of “yoga” pants!!), or that sweater you wear at home that never leaves the house.
One pair of shoes = one single item.
Need to wear a uniform at work? Feel free to get creative with your counting of that – the author of the challenge suggests you consider your uniform as a single item since you MUST wear it.
Also, I am bending the rules to make this a little easier to accept doing. I’m not counting jewelry, although I’m only allowing myself access to one necklace other than what I usually wear, and three pairs of earrings. I am (as is accepted by the challenge rules) not counting the jewelry I ALWAYS wear and sleep with on: my right-hand ring, my watch, my cross necklace. I am also not counting my shoes or outerwear at this point, partially due to the time of year I’m starting this (late fall, covering into deep winter).
Am I being a wimp? Maybe! Will I get stricter? Probably! I’m giving myself one month at this more relaxed level and then on December 1st will re-evaluate and see if I can’t tighten things up a bit. This is my first time doing something like this so I need a bit of a “trial run”!
One last thing: this isn’t an exercise in deprivation. If something stops fitting or wears out during the challenge, you can replace it, either with a new item or something you’ve stored away in your closet.