How many clothes do I need? It’s a super common question:
How many “xyz” should I have?
I see this question all time when the season changes 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. Oh, and less clothing means smaller laundry mountains 🙂
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 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?
How To Build a Wardrobe That’s Right for You
What works for me might not essentially work for you too. Having 7 summer tops seems like a step in the right direction for me but is it right for you? To maintain a wardrobe that doesn’t take too much space (and money) and works perfectly for you, consider these questions:
Do you work and need a professional wardrobe?
Do you have a very active social life?
Do you play sports or regularly go to the gym?
Do you need clothes for all four seasons?
Do you attend many social events especially evening events?
So, if you work and go out daily, you might need 7 professional tops and 3 casual ones to wear at home. These questions really define what your capsule wardrobe should look like. It helps to stick to the basic colors like white, ivory, cream, beige, black, and blue. Because these colors are easy to style and go with anything.
That’s the scoop about what you need. But what about everything you already have? If you are dealing with a terribly cluttered closet, you will have to take a whole new strategy. It’s overwhelming, I know. But to make your life easier, it’s a mission you must undertake.
Questions to Ask Yourself As You Declutter Your Closet
Is your closet so full that clothes are now piling up on its floor? Have you stopped taking out the dresses hanging at the far end of your closet? Do you have to rummage through a mess to find what you need?
Let’s be real. Most of us hold on to things longer than we should and the excuses we give ourselves are endless. It has sentimental value. It is too expensive to throw out. I will repurpose it soon. I will shed some pounds to fit into it again. It was a gift from someone dear so I can’t possibly give it away. And the list goes on.
I’ll be lying if I said I haven’t had trouble decluttering my closet. But asking myself these questions really helped me out:
Do I love it?
Does it fit me now?
Is it still in style?
Does wearing it make me feel happy?
Have I worn it in the last year?
Does it work with my other clothes?
If the answer to most of these questions is no, there is no point in letting those clothes hog your closet space.
Tips on How to Declutter Your Closet
Your house is not a junkyard for unused and unwanted items. Deciding what to keep and what to discard is a hard decision but these tips will help you make it. It’s time for the cluttered closet madness to stop.
1. Take account of everything you have in your closet
Take all the clothes out of your closet. Each and everything including those tattered handbags you stopped using years ago.
Make a list of what you own for each category. Jeans, tops, blouses, jackets, sweaters, etc. Write the numbers down. Look at every item. Touch it, feel it, wear it, assess it. This will help you get a sense of all the useful items you own and the ones that need to go. You’ll also know if you’re actually short on a particular category, say, tops.
2. Sort and separate unwanted items
The next order of business is to separate the clothes that are stained, frayed, worn out, out of fashion, or just don’t fit you anymore.
To make more responsible decisions, split these unwanted clothes into three piles. The throw-away pile, the donation pile, and the recycle pile (and if you’re thinking repurpose, we both know that’s never going to happen).
Depending upon the condition of the items, throw them in the relevant piles. The clothes that don’t fit you anymore should go to the donation pile and serve someone else. And those tattered handbags from before? Onto the throw-away pile.
3. Set a limit to each clothing category
A useful strategy to prevent your closet from becoming a mess is to set a limit to each clothing category. For instance, decide on a number of blouses that you need and stick to that number.
4. Let go of the years-old hoard
Can’t let go of something that your mom gave you? Your college clothes that remind you of happier times? The one dress that has wonderful memories attached to it? It’s time to live in the now and let go of the past.
Even if you’re holding onto them thinking you might need them later, chances are that you won’t. We grow out of certain styles and phases. Accept that you have moved on and let those clothes be useful to someone else.
5. 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.
6. Basics are a wonderful thing
I love solid colors because 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.
7. Commit to a monthly sweep
If you can’t do it weekly, commit to a monthly sweep. The more often you declutter your closet, the less messy it will become. It takes no more than 15 minutes to sort everything out and take out what you don’t need.
This sweep is not only limited to discarding stuff. Use this time to rearrange the clothes, fix what’s fallen out of place, and neatly fold the items piled up on the closet floor.
2 Minute Tip Video: Make the Most of Your Money and Avoid Future Clutter
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.
Decluttering Your Clothes Before and After
Benefits of decluttering
Decluttering your closet is rewarding in so many ways. Sometimes untidy and unorganized spaces are also affecting our minds more than we realize. here’s how reducing the clutter serves you:
It saves you time to dress up.
It saves you space.
It reduces stress.
It makes it easier to find things.
Useless clothes won’t hide the ones that you do wear.
You will feel and look better.
Do you have the right amount of clothing? Or is there something you’re constantly having to wash because you don’t have enough? Leave a comment on this page to let us know.