It’s a super common question:
How many “xyz” should I have?
I see this question all time when the seasons change and people are trying to figure out if they have enough summer clothes. Or when a child grows and parents are trying to figure out how many outfits they should buy in the new size.
And since I’m don’t think there is a “one size fits all” answer to this question, I’m going to try to help you figure out the right answer for you.
It’s basically a formula for figuring out what you need.
Having less means spending less money on clothing. Plus, I’ve found that it’s much easier to get dressed when I have fewer choices, so it makes sense to try to get by with as little as you can. O, and less clothing means smaller laundry mountains 🙂
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How Many Clothes Do I Need?
How Often Do You Do Laundry?
How often you can wash your clothes is one of the biggest factors in deciding what you need. If you can only get to the laundromat once a month, you’re going to need enough underwear to make it that long, right?
I have a laundry day once a week. This means that at a minimum, Austin and I each need enough clothing to last seven days. Since we experience extreme temperatures in both the summer and the winter, we need at least a week’s worth of hot weather and cold weather clothing.
How Often Do You Wear It?
The next big factor is how often you wear something.
Austin needs work clothes for five days a week. He can usually wear pants for more than one day before they need to be washed. He has about 4 pairs of nice work pants, 6 button up long sleeve shirts, plus 4 short sleeve dress shirts for extra hot days.
I need pajamas for every night. I wear my pajama pants for 2 nights before I throw them in the wash but I only wear t-shirts once. I have 9 t-shirts and 4 pairs of pajama pants and it’s just enough.
It might seem like I have an excessive number of fleeces. However, in the winter I wear one every day and wash almost all of them every week. For me, I have the right amount.
If you have young children that are messy, they may go through an average of two full outfits per day. If you do laundry once a week, you probably need to have about 14 outfits for them.
If you think about how often you need to wear a certain item of clothing (plus factor in if it can be worn more than once before being washed) you should be able to figure out an ideal number.
Do You Have Room for It?
Obviously, it’s nice to have variety and there are many things that don’t get worn often but are still nice to have. Once you have your basics covered based on how often you do laundry and how often you wear something, you can add some variety if you have the room for it.
We don’t go to fancy places very often but I still keep a nice dress in my closet for when I need it.
I have more than 7 summer tops because I like to have more options. Some are a bit nicer and some are for when it’s extra hot out. I could have less but since I have the space (and like and wear them all), I’m happy to have some extras.
Now, I’m not saying that if you have a walk-in closet you should fill it up. It’s still good to be extra picky about what you keep. But if you have the space and you like and wear everything in there, why not?
To have less, it helps if everything matches. Most of Austin’s work clothes can be mixed and matched which makes it easier for him to have less. That one top that only goes with that one pair of jeans probably won’t see much action.
Basics are a wonderful thing. I love solid colors becasue they can be mixed and matched and accessorized in so many ways. Basics can seem boring, but they often get worn the most and are super versatile, which is wonderful if you don’t have a lot. I’ve got some other tips for simplifying your wardrobe here.
How many clothes you have depends on a few deciding factors.
By limiting your numbers as much as possible, you save money, time, and space in your home but, of course, it’s important to have enough.
By thinking about how often we wear our clothes, how often we like to do laundry, and what we have space for, we’ve figured out what works best for us. I hope these questions help you decide what works best for you.
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