How do you know how many clothes you really need? Use this free 4-page checklist and tips from a professional organizer to determine your own unique needs based on your space, lifestyle and preferences.
In this process, you will be looking at the big picture, not at individual clothing items. You will consider your unique needs and preferences for your current lifestyle. Once you make the rational decisions about what makes sense for your life, then you can begin the decluttering process.
Let’s be honest. If you’re reading this, you probably have too many clothes. The vast majority of us have too many clothes.
I am not going to tell you how many clothing items you should have. That is 100% your decision.
As a professional organizer, I can help you think about your goals, your space, your clothing and what will work best for you. This is what I do when I work with clients.
I will give you questions, a free printable checklist and things to consider in your decision process. The decisions are in your hands. You are in control.
Do I Have Too Many Clothes Quiz
Answer these questions to help you decide if you have too many clothes. Your answers and whether they mean you have too many clothes, depend on your unique space and your unique needs. If you answer these questions honestly, you will have a clear idea whether you have too many clothing items.
- Do you have clothes that won’t fit in your closet or dresser?
- Do you have to use a closet in a second room to hold all your clothes?
- Do you have to change out your clothes each season? (Some people prefer to change out their seasonal clothes and this is different than need to because your reasonably sized space is too filled.)
- Do you have clothes that you haven’t worn in the past year?
- Do you have items you don’t even know you have?
- Do you have clothing that doesn’t fit you?
- Do you have items that still have the tags on?
- Do you have items that don’t go with anything else you own?
- Do have items you don’t like?
- Do you find it easier to pile your clean clothes on your dresser, a chair or on the floor rather than put them away?
How Many Clothes Do You Really Need?
The purpose of the How Many Clothes Do You Really Need checklist and this process is for you to rationally and purposefully decide how many clothes in each clothing category you need for your specific and unique lifestyle and situation.
This is a cerebral and objective exercise. Often decluttering clothing can be emotional. Using this checklist takes the emotion out of this step and allows to you set your own personal priorities and realistically consider what makes sense for you, your budget, your lifestyle, your values, etc.
Start by downloading the free 4-page checklist. You will use this tool to methodically and rationally decide how many of each category of clothing you need in your current home and current lifestyle.
How to Download the How Many Clothes Do You Really Need Checklist
- Click on the link above.
- When the pdf opens you can right click on it and
- Print directly from the pdf.
- Save the pdf to your device and print later.
- Grab your checklist and a pencil (because you’ll probably be changing your mind as you go along).
- Use the instructions below in this article to determine how many of each item you need.
It’s important to understand that you are not deciding about individual clothing items. You are looking at the big picture, evaluating your lifestyle, your needs and how many of different clothing items you really need for you life.
Why Should You Decide How Many Clothes You Need?
Before you bought or rented your home, you decided how big of a home with what requirements you needed. Then you figured out what you could afford, where you’d like to live and which home you would select. That’s what we’re doing here with your clothing.
If you jump straight into decluttering, it can be difficult because there are so many emotions involved. It’s like just looking at houses without first deciding how much you can spend and where you’d like to live.
If you start first by deciding how many of each different category of clothing you need, really need, then it’s much easier to declutter.
Let’s say you decide you need 10 pairs of jeans. If you have 6 pairs, then you can declutter but you don’t have to stress over it. If you have 30 pairs of jeans, you know you need to make the tough decisions to reduce your 30 jeans down to 10.
Questions to Ask as You Decide How Many Clothes You Really Need
- Consider your lifestyle right now.
- If you used to work in a corporate job, but are now working full-time from home, you probably don’t need as many corporate clothing items (or at least you don’t need as many pants and skirts!)
- If you used to live in a cold climate and now live in a tropical climate, you don’t need as many heavy coats, sweaters and snow boots.
- If you used to wear a different size of clothing and you won’t be fitting back in the clothes in the next year, then let them go. If you lose or gain the weight back, you’ll want new clothes that fit your new shape and are in style.
- If your life used to require you attend many formal events, but you no longer do, then you don’t need to keep as many formal dresses, shoes and suits.
- Consider your personal preferences.
- If you used to wear heels, but now prefer flats, then you don’t need to keep many pairs of heels.
- If you prefer to wear pants, why keep lots of skirts and dresses?
- If you used to wear only black but now favor colorful clothes, why hold onto lots of black clothing items?
- Examine your space.
- If you would like to keep 30 pairs of jeans, but only have space for 5 pairs, then you need to be realistic about how many pairs of jeans you really need.
- If you would like to have an entire wall of artfully displayed purses, but only have space to fit three purses, you need to adjust your rationally chosen number of purses to keep.
- Consider your budget.
- If you need to save money, then keep your target number of clothing items within your budget.
- If you need to earn extra money, look at items you can sell from your wardrobe and set a new target number of clothing items so you don’t simple purchase replacements.
- If most of your wardrobe requires professional cleaning and it’s impacting your budget, then you may need to reduce the number of those types of clothing items.
- Evaluate your energy level.
- Having items requires your energy to maintain them. Physical energy in cleaning, caring for and organizing clothing is expended. You also expend mental energy worrying about caring for, organizing and maintaining clothing.
- Assess the amount of energy expended in cleaning and caring for your clothing. If you have three pairs of jeans and wear them three times each before washing, that will take less energy than if you have 30 pairs of jeans and wash them every time you wear them.
- It takes more time and energy to get dressed each day when you have more clothes.
- Consider the ethical implications of how much you really need. I am not telling you what you should answer. I am encouraging you to think deeply about your own values and answers to these questions.
- Are there other people in your community that could and would use some of the clothing you have? And how happy would they be to have those items versus the items sitting unused in your closet?
- Evaluate how the total number of clothing items you choose and maintain impacts the environment.
- Consider how your clothing purchases impact your budget.
- What would you rather do with your money instead of spending it on clothing?
- What lessons are you teaching your children?
- What do you prefer in your closet and drawers – lots of clothing or lots of space? Decide where on that spectrum you want to live.
How to Use the How Many Clothes Do You Really Need Checklist
- Once you’ve thought through the questions above and determine your personal priorities, get the How Many Clothes Do You Really Need 4-page checklist, your favorite drink and sit down to work through it.
- The checklist is a framework to get you started thinking in detail about all your different clothing items. It is not a requirements checklist, it’s a framework to assist you in setting your own requirements.
- Make the checklist work for your unique needs and clothing mix. Line through a category you don’t have and add one that you do.
- Each page of the checklist has a blank clothing item section so you can add your own specific clothing category.
- Once you’ve worked through each of the four pages of the checklist, you can add as many additional pages as you need to decide on every category of clothing you have.
- When you have completed the How Many Clothing Do You Really Need checklist, you are ready to go to your closet and dresser and begin editing (decluttering) your individual clothing items.
More clothing management resources:
- Decluttering Bedroom Ideas
- Folding Clothes Tutorials
- Clothes Storage Ideas
- Organizing Kids Clothing
- Tips to Wash Smelly Workout Clothes
- Bedroom Organization Products and DIY
You may find my 37-page How to Fold Clothes ebook helpful in putting all your clothes back away after decluttering.
For more decluttering and organizing support, come join the Simple Organization Tips and Ideas Facebook Group. You can ask your specific questions there and find encouragement, support and lots of ideas.
Be sure to pin this free printable checklist so you can review each year and determine how many clothes do you really need in your wardrobe.