Home Forums Living Spaces Clothing Closets How much clothing should I own?

This topic contains 21 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  chacha1 7 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #158874


    Hi all-

    I’m a male, 35, married and work in a pretty casual work environment. No dress code, but I wear a collared shirt every day (not normally tucked in). On my days off I’m a t-shirt and jeans or t-shirt and shorts kind of person. So, pretty casual. So my question is…how much clothing do I need? I have tried to de-clutter my closet and find myself hitting a wall with what I’m willing to let go. If I had some number to work off that would really help me find it within myself to get some more stuff out of there.

    Also looking for pointers for what I should be hanging on to. I saw elsewhere in this forum a mention of getting rid of clothes that no longer fit (even if you plan on dieting to fit into them again. I know I’m guilty of this, just haven’t rectified the situation. Considering my style and needs, what other tips and tricks can you all suggest.

    Thanks very much for your responses. My wife and closet will appreciate your help!


  • #173037


    How much clothing should I own?

    A couple of questions for you. Where do you live, climate-wise? Do you have 4 distinct seasons, or more moderate temperatures? Do you have your own washer and dryer or do you use a laundromat?

    In general, this would be my minimum.

    5 work shirts
    5 work pants
    1 pr. work shoes
    2 weekend shirts
    1 pr. jeans for weekend
    1 sweatshirt
    1 pr. sweatpants
    1 pr. shorts (unless you live in a hot climate, then 2-3 pr. shorts)
    1 pr. casual shoes/running shoes/sandals
    7 pr. socks
    7 pr. underwear
    1 suit, tie, pr. shoes for weddings, funerals, job interviews, etc.
    fleece jacket or pullover
    windbreaker type jacket or jean jacket
    overcoat for winter
    hat, gloves, scarf
    exercise gear as needed

    If you use a laundromat, I’d add 3-4 items per category, to carry you over if you can’t get there on schedule.

    If you live where there are distinct summer and winter seasons, you might need 5 winter work shirts and 5 summer work shirts, and so on.

    Another way to do this is to toss all your dirty laundry in one place for a week. At the end of the week, count up what’s in there. That will tell you the clothes you actually used that week, and give you an idea of what sort of minimum requirements you have.

  • #173038


    How much clothing should I own?

    You can also try skipping laundry for a week (or once from whatever your usual schedule is). At the end of two weeks, if you like it at all, you’ve probably worn it. What is left in your closet will be either special occasion items or things that you can probably get rid of easily.
    Right now, I’m reversing hangers to sort what I’m actually wearing. As I wear, wash and return an item to the closet, I hang it on a point-out hanger. I try to pick things from regular hangers every time I choose another day’s outfit. Some things, like cardis that go over multiple outfits get worn regardless of the hangers, but it’s still a good way to gradually sort as you go. I wear things I might have overlooked, and there’s nothing like a day in an item of clothing to help you decide if you really like it enough to keep it. It helps me eliminate things that fit well but have a tendency to scratch or to wrinkle like crazy after 15 minutes sitting down.

  • #173042


    How much clothing should I own?

    My DH has about 3x as many clothes as he actually wears. That may be the situation you’re in.

    The first thing I’d suggest is take out all your collared shirts, the ones you most often wear to work, and try them all on. Any that don’t fit RIGHT NOW, put in the donate pile. If a shirt is too tight anywhere, it doesn’t fit you anymore.

    Any that are damaged – torn or stained – put in the trash. Any that need minor mending, like a new button, put aside to take care of. Now count up how many you have that are wearable/will be wearable. If it’s more than ten, you have plenty. if it’s more than fifteen, choose five to get rid of – or let your wife choose HER least favorites!

    And you also might want to look them over and say, is this shirt how I want to present myself? Does it have a shirttail hem or a straight hem (which looks better untucked)? Which one(s) do I like the least, and when could I budget to replace it/them?

    And then do the same exercise with work pants. Men have a tendency to wear pants long beyond the point at which they ceased to fit well or look good. You’re better off with three pairs of good-quality jeans or cords than with a dozen raggedy ill-fitting pairs.

    Most people (me included) have more leisure clothes than they need. You probably only need a half-dozen t-shirts since those will get washed every time you wear them.

    Shoes … two pair for work (to wear on alternate days), a pair of dress shoes (but only if you own a suit or a slacks/blazer combo), and a pair of Converse or Keds sneakers will take care of most guys. πŸ™‚

  • #173045


    How much clothing should I own?

    Thanks for the tips and tricks so far. To answer some of your questions:

    -I live in Maryland so we get a mix of everything, weather-wise. Yesterday is was sunny and mid 70’s, today they’re calling for storm showers.

    -I do my laundry every 9-10 days, so call it a week and a half. That’s fine by me.

    -T-shirts get washed after wearing them once but jeans, pants, and collared shirts will get several wearings before going in the wash.

    -No special activities other than trips to the gym, but I think the four pair of gym shorts I have is enough. They take up very little space in a mostly empty dresser so while I probably have more than I need, it’s harmless.

    -I’m okay with wearing the same rotating batch of shirts over and over again, but I like the idea of giving them a week off between wears. For example, the collared button-down shirt I’m currently wearing won’t see the light of day until next week at the earliest.

    @jbeany: I do the reverse hanger thing as well to sort of track what I’ve been wearing. Unfortunately I moved recently so that entire system is out of whack and I had to start over. It’s going to take a year before that shakes out.

    @chacha1: I will take your suggestion starting with my t-shirts to heart. I know some of the armpits have been “blown out” as they become discolored due to my anti-persparent. That’s an easy target. Some with any where the seam is coming apart under the arms.

  • #173055


    How much clothing should I own?

    I know I have too many clothes, and the point was driven home to me on the trip I took for the last 2 weeks. I had 3 pair of pants (black, navy, tan) and 5 shirts (2 t-shirts, 3 business casual type, 2 of them long sleeved, one 3/4), plus sleepwear, underwear, socks, a fleece jacket, a windbreaker, sneakers (runners, trainers, whatever you call them) and brown clogs. I actually bought a souvenir t-shirt from the Grand Canyon, so I had an extra on the 2nd half of the trip. I was perfectly happy with the selection. I did have the opportunity to do laundry about a week into the trip, without which it would have been much more inconvenient to have have so few clothes.

    And on an unrelated topic, I ranted (to myself) the whole trip about the necessity to have a separate charger for each piece of elctronic equipment – cell phone, camera (part of the trip was a photography class), MP3 player and iPad.

  • #173058


    How much clothing should I own?

    Don’t even get me started on this- hubby and I just went to my Mom’s yesterday to move her summer stuff downstairs and her winter stuff upstairs…OMG. She worked at the local paper her entire adult life and her clothes are her persona. If she got rid of them it would be like getting rid of herself. Since she had a stroke seven years ago, she really holds onto that part of her life. She had 30 white blouses- i counted them. she still has a mink stole and persian lamb jacket. she has wool suits that she hasn’t worn in 10 years. she has stuff still that I haven’t seen in probably 20 years. But she won’t get rid of it and I don’t argue about it.
    She was just talking about a friend of hers who is 87 and lives in a one room apt. at a nursing center. She doens’t understand how she can live in such a small space and the fact that she hs ONE closet, really freaks my Mom out. Never could she only have one closet. I tried to explain to her that some people don’t need so much stuff and clothes and space and are quite happy living that way- she simply refuses to think its normal!
    So the moral of this story is- if you think you have too much- think of my Mom and you will feel better! We probably brought up 40 items each trip upstairs and there were at least 10 separate piles of clothing.. 10*40=yikes!!!! And these are the just her WINTER clothes.

  • #173065


    How much clothing should I own?

    @pkilmain – you can get a universal charger (called an iGo) at any Radio Shack store and online (www.igo.com). You buy tips for the make/model of phone, mp3, etc that you need to charge and you can charge multiple items at a time. It even has an adapter to let you charge from your car. There are multiple models available – I have a basic one, but you can buy models that even work with laptops. They are pricier, but the base model is $30. I’ve had mine for 6 years and it’s still going strong. I have tips for my phone, ipod and bluetooth headset. It also packs up really small, so it’s easy to travel with. I am never without a charger. So worth the $$!

  • #173118


    How much clothing should I own?

    For things that don’t currently fit you, but you’re hoping to loose into, I’d put them in a different spot than your other clothes. Like a dated box in the garage. Once you get down to that size you can “go shopping” and reintegrate some of those clothes. If they end up being out there a long time they might be out of style if they aren’t classic pieces.

    Clearing up your closet and your space may give you some clarity of mind to really get going on that exercise plan. For me stress really holds me back from organzing my lunch before work and working out in the AM. That leads to eating unhealthy (and expensive!) stuff at work and reduces the chances that I’ll work out at all that day.

    Also I don’t like to “waste” things. So seperating them from my normal stuff for awhile can help me let go of them. Or realize that I did actually want them! Of coures this tends to be just a small fraction of whatever I set aside. It can be exciting to discover that thing you were looking for that you were so sure was gone forever was just out in a box in the garage. Maybe thats just due to having moved a few months back, haha. For lost into clothes “going shopping” in the garage can really be a cause for celebration!

  • #173130


    How much clothing should I own?

    Thanks, desidou, I’ll check it out….

    I also have clothing that I’ve “outgrown” but held onto. I packed it all away in 2 plastic totes and keep them on the shelf at the top of my closet. I have recently been able to pull a couple items out – Yay – and donate the corresponding too large ones. πŸ™‚

  • #173157


    How much clothing should I own?

    For things that I want a clean item every day (like tops or underwear), I count the number of days between laundry days & then add one. For example, if I do laundry once a week, then I need 7 + 1 of the item. That way, you have something clean to wear on laundry day. If I wear the thing for 2 or 3 days before laundering, then I probably need 4 of something (wearing for 2 days each) or 3 of something (3 days each).

    That doesn’t account for seasons or variety… just “bare bones.” It also doesn’t account for special use items (for example, workout clothes) or clothes for painting or cleaning out the garage.

    To make sure there’s always something clean to put on to run out somewhere, a person might figure the number of required things to include always having one clean outfit in the closet that’s ready to wear.

  • #173210


    How much clothing should I own?

    As far as clothing that no longer fits, I’d say it should be donated unless you are actively, successfully, and consistently losing weight now and plan to continue to do so in the future. If you are going on that diet “tomorrow” or starting that work out plan “next week”, ditch the clothing that you’ve outgrown. It’ll just clog up space and remind you that you are larger than you used to be.

  • #173239


    How much clothing should I own?

    Oh, I scrutinized that clothing very well before I decided what to save. Only the things I really liked and only 1-2 sizes down (depending on what it was). I’ve pulled out several items to wear already. πŸ™‚ The things that get too big or don’t fit well are already donated.

  • #173248


    How much clothing should I own?

    You appear to be somebody who likes clothes and to have lots of them.

    In your situation, I would first determine the storage spaces for my clothes (dresser, closet, bin, or whatever). Then, I would get rid of pieces of clothing only to the point that all my clothing can fit into the storage spaces.

  • #210832


    How much clothing should I own?

    use casual around 3 pairs its enough i guess


  • #210835


    How much clothing should I own?

    ugh, SPAM. ^

  • #210865


    How much clothing should I own?

    Something to think about is the change of seasons. If you have a few Hawaiian or bright colors you might want to only wear those in the summer.

    I would first go through everything and get rid of anything that is worn out. Look at the collars, fabric. I notice any collared shirts seem to look sloppy when they are worn out/old.

    You mentioned you have a change of seasons – do you dress like you do? I know for us we wear short sleeves year round but my husband has a few nice sweaters from ll bean he just throws over his shirts. He has around a dozen button up shirts and then maybe 8 tshirts. He has four sweaters, and one nicer sweater. About 5 pairs of jeans and 5 dress paints, he also has 5 khaki shorts.

  • #210873


    How much clothing should I own?

    Sometimes I appreciate the spammers, because they bring old threads back to life that I may not have read before!

    I have done quite well with Project 333, which is just 33 items of clothing for a particular season – actually, what amazes me is that even with only 33 items, certain items may only get worn once in three months.

    That being said, I do have a struggle right now with clothes that are boxed up that I am saving for when I lose weight. I am struggling with losing the weight, so some clothes have been hanging around in boxes for quite some time. I don’t think I am saving things in an extreme way – I got rid of a LOT of clothing that no longer fits – but there are some pieces that I absolutely adore and that I wouldn’t be able to buy again (vintage, etc.) that I have held on to.

    Any advice there? Should I maybe set myself an ultimatum – i.e., anything that doesn’t fit by December 31st gets donated no matter what?

  • #210927


    How much clothing should I own?

    Once you get rid of the low-hanging fruit (is stained/torn, don’t like, makes you sad), then ask yourself what your actual goal is. Do you want to be a minimalist with clothing? Do you want to have everything fit a certain look, or have it all match to make mornings easier? Do you need it to all fit into a certain space? There’s nothing intrinsically immoral about having a lot of clothes, especially if they don’t make your life more difficult.

    @sleepykitten, adoring something is a pretty good reason to keep it, IMO, especially if it’s not making you feel bad about yourself or taking up needed room. Maybe you could even display the best piece by hanging it on a hook in your bedroom!

  • #210934


    How much clothing should I own?

    @sleepykitten, much-loved vintage pieces would be definite keepers for me BUT that said, the supply of great vintage clothing is pretty much inexhaustible.

    If you have a great vintage dress that is now 2-3 sizes too small, you may want to take a cold hard look at how much life change you need to make in order to fit in that dress. If fitting in that dress is worth it to you, then hang it on the wall like whit suggests and there’s your daily motivation.

    I had a great Betsey Johnson dress that DH bought for me, that I was wearing when we got engaged. I kept it for a looong time, even though it really only fit me during my most-skinny time (I got down to a size 4-6 through stress and disordered eating. I don’t recommend it). Finally gave it to a friend. I knew I did not want to do what would be necessary to get down to that size again.

    If pieces you are ‘saving’ are not intrinsically special – vintage or made-to-order or otherwise unique – I think it’s better to donate them. A shopping trip, even if it’s to the thrift or consignment store, is a great reward for getting healthier IMO.

  • #210971


    How much clothing should I own?

    @whit – good point about adoring an item making it worth keeping – more as art, in a way, than as clothing.

    @chacha1 – your suggestion of keeping an awesome vintage dress displayed as inspiration is also a good one. Also, I have a hard time taking the cold, hard looks at myself and facing reality. πŸ™‚ I do know that it is important to get to a healthier weight. It’s complicated for me (ha, ha! probably everyone feels they are different and special and so I get how lame that sounds!) because I gained a lot of weight very quickly after a tough time in my life…the weight reminds me of that time and definitely needs to be uncluttered, but I don’t seem to be able to find the inner drive. Anyway, I should probably set some sort of limit – i.e., pick three favorite items to keep regardless and donate the rest – or something of that sort. I probably have 20+ things stashed away…probably not ALL of them are QUITE as special as I think they are! πŸ™‚

  • #210985


    How much clothing should I own?

    Good luck, and remember gaining weight does not mean you’re a bad person. It just means you had some bad habits for a while. Change the habits and the weight will come off … and the faster it went on, *usually* the faster it will come off once you make the necessary changes.

    Highly recommend working with a nutritionist to develop an eating plan, one visit costs way less than a month of Jenny Craig, and you’ll come away with ideas on how to eat REAL food to get the results you want.

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