Project 333 to the rescue

June 16, 2016

So, the other morning I was sitting on the couch with a cup of half-caff (trying to wean myself off coffee), still in my pajamas, and trying to wake up after having only 3-1/2 hours of sleep the night before. The SHUTi program I'm following for insomnia is helping, but not fast enough some nights!

Then the phone rang. A friend wanted to meet me for coffee, like now. She lost her husband a few months ago, and was feeling lonely. How soon could I be ready? I told her I'd be there in 45 minutes.

With a 20-minute drive to get to the restaurant, I had 25 minutes to get ready. After spending two minutes -- 120 seconds!! -- to select my clothes and get dressed, I had plenty of time for hair and makeup.

So how did I walk into my closet, still groggy from lack of sleep, pick out something to wear, and get dressed so fast?

Project 333 my friends.

A blog friend asked me if I was still doing Project 333, something I've blogged about here (you can also click on my Beauty & Style tab at the top of the page and find more posts about it). It basically works this way: every three months, you give yourself 33 items of clothing and accessories to wear, and that's it. When a new season comes around, you swap out some clothes, but still end up with just the 33. The idea is to create a workable, simple, no-stress wardrobe.

I don't count accessories -- shoes, scarves, jewelry, purse -- in my 33 items anymore. Accessories are fun for me, and I really like having extra to choose from, as they can really add some punch to a basic wardrobe. But I really do stick to around 33 items of clothing, or perhaps a few less (this doesn't count off-season clothes I'm not wearing right now). 

The biggest help for me was to identify five colors to wear, and to stick with this palette. Two neutrals (for me, navy and gray), a white or cream depending on your coloring (I try to avoid stark whites, and go with something softer), and two colors (well, I have three I like -- blues like periwinkle, pinks, and lavenders, all muted and soft, colors in the Soft Summer palette ).** Can you see how all these colors will work together? Every top goes with every bottom. Any sweater or shrug or jacket goes with any skirt or dress. Same with shoes.

Then I've made sure everything in my closet fits, is the right shape for my body type, and is free of stains or tears. And that I love everything, and feel comfortable in everything.

Over this past year, I've really experienced the benefits of this program.

The past few months I've traveled to Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Packing was super easy. Grab a couple bottoms (jeans, casual pants), a dress or two, a half dozen sweaters and tops, and throw them in a carry-on to mix and match all week. Easy-peasy.

And no more standing in front of a closetful of clothes every day, with nothing to wear.

So, all that time I spent researching and culling paid off. If you put the time in up front, you are free to invest your energies elsewhere -- like visiting with a friend over (half-caff) coffee.

** my red shoes are an exception to the navy/gray/cream/pink/lavender palette. I just click my heels together three times, and these go with anything! I love them.

(I'm wearing the same shoes in a gray floral pattern in the above picture. They are super comfortable. From Jambu.)


  1. Love the idea of project 333...I have a minimal wardrobe too and still think I could weed a few more items. I love being able to get dressed without much fuss...and you look great.
    I hope that your sleep patterns improve... sleep deprivation and chronic pain are two of my least favourites!

  2. I did make a start with this but now I have gone to a more natural look, greyish hair my wardrobe is not entirely suitable. I need to start over.

  3. Girl friend you look fabulous! I love your outfit and shoes, lol..
    8I'm a shoe girl, you know).
    I have a refreshed wardrobe from our trip to Miami for the birth of our grandgirl, so I am happy.
    Have a great weekend.

  4. You look snazzy! I'm glad you're still doing that 33 thing -- it's a great idea!

  5. O, you are waaay more organized than I could ever be...I am so needing to buy new clothes...but when I go shopping, I end up in a place or two where I can buy things for the house...or patio...or a new pot of flowers...*heavy sigh

  6. You look gorgeous! I really like the comfy shoes - so cute!

  7. Hello Deborah, first off I want to say that your blog looks great and I LOVE the new look. Second you look great and I love the idea of your project 333. I have gotten rid of a lot of things and clothes in my house about 25 bags that I have given away to our church! It feels good doesn't it? I do hope that you were able to cheer up your friend in her difficult time. I do hope that you are able to solve the sleeping problem. It's so nice to catch up with you. Enjoy the weekend.
    Julie xo

  8. You are amazing, my friend :) And yes, I remember Project 333 {{smiles}} You inspired me to simplify my wardrobe, but to do so in a lovely and feminine way.

    Speaking of lovely, you look stunning! Wishing you a blessed weekend. Love and hugs!

  9. Well, you look fantastic in that shot. You're a good advertisement for the 333 project. I am trying to whittle things down but sometimes I think that life is pretty complicated and I need a dress sometimes, pants most of the time, blazers etc. On the other hand perhaps I really could do it. It must take some discipline.
    I hope your sleep times lengthen!

  10. You look so good, Deborah! I love this concept, and thank you for the update on 333. I really need to try this. And I love your Jambu shoes.

  11. Hi Deborah, You look so beautiful. I love the outfit you pulled together in a short time. So chic and stylish!! So glad the 33s is working for you so well. You hair is gorgeous too. Well, I had to order the shoes in red. Can't wait to get them. Thanks for sharing the link!! Enjoy the weekend and blessings to you! xo

  12. It would take me hours to look that good on 3 and1/2 hours. I need to start the 33, I've read it but haven't applied it. Funny thing though this morning I STARTED TEARING into my closet completely frustrated with all being so cramped. Such an inspiration today.The one thing I have done to simplify my life was to stop dying my hair and I'm loving it.And the up side to that also is my hair is coming in a beautiful silver.

  13. Looking good Deborah, I wish I could pack the select few for trips as you do. It will have to take more thought for me and I know a few people that only take a cary on bag for a week away. The shoes are nice, I remember the red ones but they must be really comfortable for you to have a second pair!

  14. Hi dear Deborah ,,espero que tengas un buen fin de semana junto a tus seres queridos

  15. Lovely photo of you, Deborah. I'm a Soft Summer too, so I adore your colours. They are so pretty and gentle. Well done on your seasonal capsule wardrobe!

  16. Dearest Deborah,
    Wow you did get dressed in a hurry indeed!
    Love those shoes on you but when I viewed the video I learned that they are not adjustable around the ankle and that's my bottleneck as I have very slim ankles... They look indeed super comfy and especially the heels are safe and not too high.
    I've been sleeping very tight for the past two nights, catching up on some nights out of hell with again lots of pain in my back below the right shoulder blade. Now I'm fine again. It might be from Tuesday's emptying the garage when the painters quite suddenly showed up to pressure wash the garage, while Pieter was napping. I tried to do as much by myself but had to wake him up. Guess I over did...
    Garage is painted with 2 coats and looks great again. So glad that project is completed.
    Sending you hugs and blessings during this very special time for you as a family! Hope you manage to get your quotum of sleep.

  17. Project 333 is such a cool idea! I love your red shoes so now I'm off to see if Jambu has any orthotic-friendly shoes...

  18. You look fabulous, my friend, and your 333 project sure works. How nice to go and visit your friend, when she needed you. That is a true friend! I remember those red shoes from a previous post, and I'm glad that they're so comfy that you've purchased a second pair.


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