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How much clothing do I need?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I never thought I would be the type to need to declutter my clothing, but, I confess, the time has come! I have outgrown my storage space, and really must do something about this. I have only a tiny dresser, and a small closet. I could theoretically do laundry weekly, but in reality, I had better not count on it. Sweaters that need to go to the dry cleaners probably have a slower turnover than things I wash at home. I own 4 or 5 jackets, which is probably more than I need, but each is so unique! Things have gotten out of hand because I spend way too much time at thrift stores, and can't resist a bargain.


I dress fairly casually for work (jeans or slacks with a nice blouse or sweater), so that doesn't require a dedicated wardrobe. I wear Birkenstocks when it is dry, and boots when it rains. I love fancy socks, colorful scarves. Hawaiian shirts have a place in my heart, but I don't usually wear then for work. I don't really need to have a separate wardrobe for days off, but I would like a couple tank tops/shorts for hot days at home. I sleep in t-shirts, with or without pj bottoms (seasonally adjusted).


How many pants/tops is reasonable? How many shoes do 2 feet need? How many scarves is excessive? I would like to pare it down to the practical/necessary, but don't want to go overboard on the donations. Can you help me judge where the balance is?

post #2 of 3

It really depends on what you are comfortable with. Some minimalists will say a 10 piece wardrobe, not counting underwear, is all they need. Some people can't imagine getting away with less than is already stuffed into their storage area.


I've found project 333 very helpful for starting to pare down my wardrobe. I just started this month. You pick 33 items to wear for three months. And store off season clothes out of sight. Honestly, 80% of what I've been wearing recently is 5 t-shirts and 2-3 pairs of jeans. I have 2 button-up shirts, a cardigan, 2 sweaters, and 2 jackets for layering when it starts to get cold. But I'm in a super casual office and hardly ever dress up.


One often cited way of dealing with clothing clutter is to turn everything so the hanger is backwards in your closet, after you wear something turn the hanger around when you put it back, then donate what hasn't been worn in 3/6/9/12 months.


Also, I've found the idea of letting go of your "fantasy selves," and being realistic about what clothing your life actually requires right now has helped me let go of the things that aren't me anymore, or never were.

post #3 of 3
I would take everything out of your closet and dresser

Put back the following for each season:

10 complete work outfits (some outfits may share a sweater or jacket)
5 weekend tops and maybe 3 bottoms.
1 or 2 Dressy outfits
5 scarves unless there are more included in the work clothes that you actually wear

Take the rest and pack it away in another room for a while. See what you can live without and then go ahead and donate. This way if you wish you had something and you really can't do without it, add it in if there is space. Otherwise trade it for something you originally kept. I would let your space and how you live/what you really wear determine how much you keep more than a number, but this is a good place to start.
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