How many clothes are too many? Ten tops? Twenty? Fifty? How many clothes do you own? How many clothes do you wear? How many clothes do you need? Numbers!  I want the numbers!

Right now at least some of you are thinking- ‘OK- there’s probably something I can get rid of. But LA- what do I do? Where do I start? Please LA- help me.”

Ok- maybe that’s a bit of a stretch.  Maybe I shouldn’t think of myself as  “WhittleWoman” the superhero who blogs by day and curates wardrobes by night (FYI- I do have few enough clothes that they would fit in a standard size, old school phone booth) But- this is how I started my less is more closet philosophy.

  1. Take a week and write down exactly what you wore everyday. Every item of clothing or accessory, and what were you wearing it for: Work, date, coffee, etc
  2. Really look at your clothing diary: determine the categories that you normally dress in and figure out what percentage of the week you need to wear a certain type of clothing. (If you work a job which requires you to wear clothing of a certain style that you do not wear any other time, you have to account for how much time is spent at job versus other activities.  If it’s a third of your waking moments, then guess what a third of your wardrobe should be)
  3. Which leads us to: percentages. (yes- there is math involved) What percent of your week are you in comfy clothing? Active wear? Formal? Casual? Elegant? Knowing how often you wear certain types of clothing helps us know how much we need.
  4. Now- go into your wardrobe and pull out the pieces that you LOVE (these are the pieces you automatically reach for when you get dressed) These are going to be the building blocks of your wardrobe.
  5. Make outfits using these pieces. Outfits that you love and feel confident wearing.
  6. Put these pieces of clothing in another place.  These are the clothes that are not going anywhere for the time being.
  7. Take out every item of clothing that you own and put it on you bed.  Every item.
  8. Once your clothes are out of your drawers and closets pick up each item of clothing:
  9. Does it still fit?  If the answer is no, unless it has HUGE sentimental value, put it in the donation pile.  If you are keeping it for any other reason than wardrobe, put it aside where you keep memory things.  Keepsakes do not belong in active wardrobe.
  10. Does it need repair? Buttons?  Seams? If you can and feel it’s worth it to repair, then put it in a “fix” pile.  But if it’s not repairable or not worth it to you? It’s ok if you don’t want to fix something- just put it in donations- someone else will gladly wear it
  11. Do you love it?  Seriously, is there something about the item that makes you feel good? Does it serve a specific purpose or need? (you need it for work, for an activity- you don’t necessarily love it, but definitely need it) If it doesn’t, put it in the donation pile.
  12. What if it’s a maybe?  Here’s my thing with maybe items.  I understand how you might want to narrow your closet down more before you start tossing everything, so I will allow you a maybe pile.  But here’s the catch.  You can’t have more than five items of clothing in your maybe pile at a time.  When it looks like a sixth item is making it’s way in, you must pick one of those items and either donate or keep.  It is imperative that you keep the maybe pile manageable because otherwise you will just have a big maybe pile and not have gotten rid of anything.
  13. Things with tags still on them.  If you bought the item in the past week, or bought it on sale at the end of a season and you haven’t reached appropriate time to wear it, then fine.  But if you have things you’ve bought and haven’t worn…..

It is not easy to evaluate every item of clothing that you own. It can be an emotional experience.  But getting rid of extra baggage is a good thing.  Think of the space, both in your head and in your closet, that you will save. I know there are a lot of people that equate material possessions with happiness. And I want you to think if owning things really makes you happy: is it owning a lot of things, or is it owning certain special things?

This seems like a lot of steps, but really, this whole thing is step one. You have to get rid of what doesn’t belong before you work on what does belong.

Tomorrow- we start to curate.

27 thoughts on “How I Whittled Down My Wardrobe

  1. You never said there would be math involved! Using your method, I should only have less than 10 ITEMS in my closet. 98% fits in the doesn’t fit category. But, I’m still actively wearing some of them because its generally illegal and very chilly to walk around naked.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I have scrubs and I have regular clothes- all casual. I’m just not an outfit sort of person. The scrubs take up more space in my closet than the tops and sweaters. I do have way too many scrubs for my work schedule but I justify that by telling myself I can wait longer to wash those work clothes!
    I also swap out seasonally by fall/winter into spring/summer so when that happens I reevaluate everything and donate or toss twice a year before packing away the out of season stuff.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Work uniforms are a whole different subcategory. You actively use all of them and there’s not much choice. It’s all choice. I like the outfit method because I think so many people get paralyzed by the “I have nothing to wear” scenario

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am going to do this, this weekend I hope! I like how you broke it down! At one time, I wanted to get rid of my dresser and just use the closet, but I think my husband loves our dresser too much. What do you use- Dresser or closet?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I live in a small apartment so space is minimal. I use a closet for some things and I use shelves for other things. Hopefully I’ll have pics tomorrow or thursday

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You said you want numbers, so I got curious and went to my closet.
    15 tops – long sleeve for winter
    6 tops – medium sleeve for spring/autumn days
    15 tops – sleeveless for summer
    2 jeans – that currently fit (I’ve lost 35 lbs this past year, gave larger sizes away already)
    4 jeans – that I barely fit in to but hope to be able to wear soon (then I will donate above 2 pair)
    3 pairs capris
    6 cardigan sweaters
    1 nice pants outfit
    1 “little black dress”
    2 winter coats (that I use when I travel back east, one short, one long)
    4 lighter jackets for CA weather

    Considering that there are only seven days in a week, I have an abundance of clothes. I should mention that I’m retired, so I don’t need work clothes.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So it comes down to, do you wear all of them and love them? Like you said, there’s 7 days in a week….how much do you wear per Week? That’s the point I’m at…how much do I actually need? Which clothes do I tend to gravitate to? I’m wearing a shirt today that I’m still debating if I should keep it. I am finding that less clothes is making me significantly happier, but it’s not always easy


      1. Oh I see. Well, I’m not sure I love any of them, but I do like 99% of them well enough. I basically have two weeks worth of tops for each season, and I do wear them all. I definitely wear my two pair of jeans a lot. I have a couple of warmer sweaters that I don’t wear much in southern California even when it’s “cold” here … but I keep those for my trips back east in the winter.

        The funny thing is, I could probably be happy wearing the same seven tops over and over, but I’d be self conscious doing that … wondering if other people would start to think, “Oh it’s Tuesday so Pam is wearing the green top”. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Unlike you I’ve got closet space galore, so I waffle about what to get rid of because it’s not in the way physically, more like emotionally. I like the five items max in the maybe pile. That’s a doable concrete number I can get behind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s a big problem…people make a maybe pile, but then it’s half the closet….at some point there has to be a decision. I’m wearing a maybe shirt today. There are reasons why I love it, but reasons why I don’t….still mulling

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If I applied this to my wardrobe I would only have two pairs of jeans, two pairs of walking trouser two tee-shirts, three jumper, one pair of trainers, one pair of walking boots, one pair of wellies, one pair of sandals. I did say IF I applied this 😊

    Liked by 2 people

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