Project 333: jewelry

September 26, 2014

One last post on Project 333, until December, when I will let you know how I fared with this project and my plans for going forward into the next three months. If you missed my two previous posts on Project 333, click here and here.

This picture doesn't have anything to do with the post, but aren't these beautiful? They are the last of the hydrangeas.
I gave away a lot of jewelry last spring, and sold some gold. I was still left with seven trays of jewelry, plus extra sentimental jewelry stored in a dresser. Sometimes I'd spread out all seven trays trying to decide what earrings or necklace I was going to wear that day.

Too much choice can be overwhelming.

I picked seven items of jewelry to wear for the next three months for Project 333. Over 20 percent of my budget of 33 items is jewelry! I thought when I made my choices I might regret this; I maybe should have put a pair of earrings back, and selected another sweater. But getting a couple hundred pieces down to seven was pretty good, I thought. Next time it will be easier; maybe five pieces of jewelry will suffice.

This is what I (re)learned: always use your best everyday. Just like using my vintage teacups and linens and china every day, I can wear my best every day. My husband has bought me some nice jewelry in 33 years of marriage. Should those pearls just languish there awaiting a two- or three-times-a-year outing? What about the triple strand of freshwater pearls that sits lonely at the bottom of a pile of tarnished trinkets?

Although I selected one piece of costume jewelry, the other six items are all my nicest pieces. And I'm fine wearing my small diamond studs every day. It's easy, always appropriate, and it is a way of acknowledging and appreciating my husband's thoughtfulness in giving them to me.

So, a week or so after I started this project, I packed up all the costume jewelry and put it on an upper shelf of my closet. There are two trays left of good jewelry, plus a few of my favorite costume pieces. Really. That should be enough for life.

Limits are Good

I've thought a lot about limits lately, what with doing Project 333 and being without a car right now, and having a brief time without a computer. Rather than being a burden, these limits have been good.

It's so easy to dress in the morning for one thing. And without a car, I've been able to focus more on my home and projects I have around here, and being creative. And using my husband's computer, and having to "surrender" it over to him in the evenings for a week or so made me realize that it's better to not be on a computer later at night; if I unplug and read or knit instead, I really do sleep better.

I love my new computer; I just have to remember to power off!
Too many choices can be overwhelming, can slow down our decision-making, and add unneeded stress.

I highly recommend the discipline of narrowing your choices a little and seeing how less stressful your life can be.


  1. An interesting blog post today, Deborah. I agree that we should enjoy our best every day. As I get older, I think "what am I saving it for?" I hope you enjoy a wonderful fall weekend. Mildred

  2. So true, so true! I'm glad you have decided to wear your best jewelry. So many people have been in the cycle of "accumulate", "more", etc. and now are into "less", "downsize", "edit." Me included! Somehow, we have to learn these things in a roundabout way. And, isn't it amazing what you can accomplish when you are home?

  3. When I was in B&N the other day, I saw a book that resonated with me immediately. It's called "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess." The writer and her family took seven months, identifying seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the over-indulgence Possessions and media are among the 7 excesses they focus on.

    I have not yet read this book, as I don't generally buy books. I get them from the library, and there are many holds on it. I will have to wait my turn. But I am SO in agreement with the premise of such a philosophy, which goes along with this post exactly. We have and do too much! Life was simpler when we had less choice.

    Have a great weekend.


  4. You are so right. When we are staying in our condo in NC....I have fewer clothes and less choices and it does cut down on the stress. I feel overwhelmed when I shop many times, too. That's why I'm not much of a Hobby Lobby shopper. There's so much STUFF! I don't know what I need or want....I just walk around like I'm lost! haha! Love your tips of simplifying life. Enjoy your weekend! Hugs, Diane

    1. I get that way at our large mall, too many choices! I'm easily overwhelmed.

  5. I'm so enjoying this journey with you. The limits do free us.... and give us back space and time for more of what we really love.

    I see we have similar pearls... I have similar fresh water pearl necklace. Your other strand is lovely, lovely!

    Have fun......

  6. Dearest Deborah,
    In all those years of marriage I have never given in to costume jewelry... no money for that as we had to start all over for the two of us when Pieter was 54 and also supporting his adopted daughter through the Dutch Royal Academy for which we never ever received one single dollar of tax credits because it was not within the USA. So what do you do? Stretch the dollar and certain things were just never bought. I've saved on so many things, living a frugal life. All my jewelry is of 14, 18 or 22 and even 24 kt gold or silver. I do agree with you however that I decided already in 1971 when I first married to use only one china for everyday, one set of crystal glasses and one set of flatware and I kept true to that. So useless to have one 'best' set for once a year!
    I learned over the years that buying quality for whatever you need to replace or buy, will pay off big in the long run. If we could not afford it, we just did not get it and save and wait longer.
    With all our international travel I did weigh off each piece of clothing about weight, natural fiber content which was a must and in a matching color for use with different outfits. It served me well and we almost always traveled light that way. Often I got complimented by men that picked us up, when they said: 'Is that all?' Yes, I did travel with a for that time bigger allowed carry on and that held all my clothes for a 2-week period of work. That meant some formal, some work outfits and casual business attire. It can be done!
    Sending you hugs and wishing you a happy weekend!

    By the way, I noticed that you'd liked my Google+ Page but you can have one more entrance if you follow the link to my FB Page and like that one too! Good luck...

    1. If I had all the money back that I spent on poor quality items! I never thought I could afford the better quality, or would have felt guilty spending the money, but I see now that if I'd saved and done without it would have been better to buy the really good classic quality sweater than the ten poorer quality and trendy items.

  7. Such a great idea, I have several pieces I save for best. I have made a start sorting some of the wardrobe out but still too many pieces as yet.

  8. I agree that we should use our best items everyday. I realized this about 5 years ago and I'm so thankful to no longer live my life saving things for special events. After all, every day is a special occasion! I'm really enjoying your blog posts about this adventure!

  9. I think you are so right about so many things in this one post. Too many choices can be overwhelming. I also agree about using your good stuff every day. I believe this is other areas, too.

    The part about not being on the computer at night is true as well. I found it out a different way. My husband travels during the week so I'm home alone at night a lot. At least I WAS for four years while both daughters were in college. When my younger one graduated in May and moved home for a while, it changed my evening dynamic. Now, I have her here at night and find it rude to sit on a computer while she is home. So... I have all but eliminated my evening computer time, and you are right that I do sleep better.

  10. Hi Deborah, wow you are really simplifying your life and it is a good lesson for us. I do have a lot of clothes that I go through with me and my family and give to good will. I have only a few pieces of jewelry that I rotate throughout the week. For the computer I work on in the morning and evenings are dedicated to my family, reading or crochet/knit and TV! Thanks for this nice post.

    Have a nice fall weekend.

    Julie xoxo

  11. Hi Deborah, this is such a great post. Gets one really thinking about what is important and the treasures in our life that stand the test of time. I have simplified my life a few years ago when I left Facebook, ebay store and the brick and mortar shops I was in. Now my etsy and blog is enough with the help of Shabby Cottage Shops and Embracing Cottage Style. Less has been so much more for me and I am able to be better at what I create rather then spreading myself over too many venues. It surely can be done by merely letting go. I enjoy more in person time with family and friends during my non creating/working hours. Thank you for your insight and lesson here. You are an inspiration.

    Hugs for a great weekend.
    Watch for my sent email, with info of your shipment and shipping overage.

  12. The hydrangeas are gorgeous Deborah and I'm glad you shared them. There are too many choices for everything nowadays aren't there? It takes a lot of label reading and decision making to make a purchase.

  13. I wear my diamond studs everyday and hoops or Pearl studs with them as I have two piercings....
    I see we share the same love of Mitsouko isn't it divine?
    Your pearls are classic and add to any outfit from a white tee to a LBD.
    Are you going to show us what you wear during your project333?
    I'd love to see how you mix and match your pieces.
    Enjoy your weekend!

  14. I really have to applaud your "stick to it-ness". Bravo, my friend! XOXO

  15. I look forward to your journey on the 333 project, dear Deborah. It's making me re-think all that I have in my closet.
    Happy Sunday to you. xo

  16. Good morning Deborah!
    Love your hydrangea shots...I have planted my first one this summer and can't wait to see its blooms next year!
    I totally agree with using your best everyday! How sweet that your hubby has blessed you with so much jewellery over the years!
    And yes, tie away from the computer can bring much enjoyment in other areas...Im a knitter too, and love the quiet moments and pleasure that comes when I do. Christmas gifts are happening with my needles...yeah!
    Have a wonderful day Deborah!

    All my heart,
    Deborah :)


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