A Practical Guide to Owning Fewer Clothes


“Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.” – Epictetus

Consider for just a moment how your life would look different if you owned fewer clothes:

  • You would have more disposable income.
  • You would have more time to live your life.
  • Mornings would feature less stress.
  • Your closets would be well-organized and uncluttered.
  • Packing for trips/vacations would take less time.
  • Laundry days would be easier (not necessarily less, but definitely easier).

Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the benefits of owning fewer clothes, most of us buy into the lie that more is better. And because we do, we accumulate more and more clothing each season. We are convinced that new clothes will make us more joyful, more fashionable, and more popular. Unfortunately, they just end up getting in the way.

Consider going a different route with your life. Try owning fewer clothes. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy the freedom that it brings.

Whether you are hoping to minimize your wardrobe to the absolute minimum or just trying to pare down some of the excess in your closet, you will find these 10 steps practical and applicable. They are the same steps that we have used in our home:

1. Admit that you own too much clothing. That’s all you really need to get started.

2. Wear fewer colors. Most of us already have a few favorite colors that we wear most often anyway – usually because we like the way we look in them. Choosing to intentionally wear fewer colors means less accessories (shoes, belts, jewelry, handbags, etc.). It also makes too much sense not to try.

3. Embrace the idea of one. When one can be enough, embrace it – one black dress, one swimsuit, one winter coat, one black belt, one pair of black shoes, one pair of sneakers, one handbag… insert your own based on your occupation, lifestyle, or climate.

4. Donate, sell, recycle, discard. Depending on the size of one’s existing wardrobe, an initial paring down won’t take long. Make a few piles – donate, sell, or recycle. Start with the clothes that you no longer wear. You’ll be surprised how much you can remove.

5. Donate, sell, discard some more. Removing the clothes you no longer wear is easy. Removing the clothes that you don’t really need can be a tougher choice. Turn around all the hangers in your closet. After the season, remove every article of clothing that wasn’t worn. That should help get you started on a second round of paring down.

6. Impose an arbitrary moratorium on shopping. For many, clothes shopping is just a habit – and habit always takes over for inattention. To begin breaking the cycle of purchasing and discarding (the average American throws away 68 lbs. of textiles each year), set a self-imposed buying freeze. I recommend 90 days. If given enough time, this simple exercise in self-discipline will change your view of your clothing and the stores that produce, market, and sell them.

7. Set a monthly spending limit. Pick a low number and stick to it.

8. Purchase quality over quantity. Only buy clothing that you truly love – even if it costs more. If you stock your closet full of things you love, you will have less desire to add to it.

9. Avoid the sale racks. Sales can (and should) be used to help you get a better price on something you need. Unfortunately, most sale racks are designed to convince us to purchase something we don’t.

10. Impress with your character, not your clothes. Lee Mildon once said, “People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.”

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    This idea of owning fewer clothes gimme some motivation to apply this method. It useless to have many or buy plenty of clothes especially to impress others.

  2. Helen R-B says

    Great post, buying fewer items but ones of better quality really struck a chord with me. Also, mending is a really important skill. When an item of clothing/handbag/pair of shoes I really love starts to look a bit past it I almost go into mourning (I know, ridiculous) about having to potentially get rid of it. If you can mend or repair whatever it is you get the item back and feel virtuous about not buying more stuff at the same time :-)

    • says

      The other thing is, when you buy clothing that is of better quality, and likely a higher price point to begin with, it makes MORE sense to mend it…that in turn helps keep local alteration/seamstress businesses afloat. Higher quality clothing means the $10 fix or patch is worth paying for (Because the item was over $40 to begin with) whereas buying sale-only items that were only $5-$15 initially doesn’t justify spending a $10 fix…that lends itself to a ‘throwaway’ culture where hundreds of pounds of textiles go to waste from each person every year, and for what? A lost button? A small rip in a seam? Spending more initially should ensure a better quality garment, and one that (if/when it needs a repair) is worth mending.

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  4. Achoo says

    YES. I’ve been doing this for the past year and I LOVE it. I went from spending $7,000 a year on clothing (you don’t realize it until you actually add up all those little purchases) to $1000 (scaled wayyy back this year in anticipation of big life changes). I’ve done several “purges” and it feels so good… and I don’t miss a single thing I’ve gotten rid of. I’ve gotten my fiance in on it too and he loves the feeling of having a minimalist closet. We recently went to Europe with thoughtfully packed, lightweight bags. We were sitting pretty while our travel companions lugged huge suitcases up and down stairs! I would also add the following rules of thumb:

    One in One Out: Buying another pair of black boots is fine, but only to replace your old ones. Donate the old item, or you can’t buy its replacement.

    1 year rule: If you haven’t worn it in the past 12 months, donate it.

    10-item Capsule Wardrobe: This European-inspired method says that you have 10 items in your closet per season. It’s a fun challenge and you have a surprising amount of options to mix and match. It makes you pick your favorite, most-wearable items, and also makes you realize what you don’t need (like alllllll those sweaters).

    Go shopping twice a year: Carefully plan in advance exactly what you are going to buy, and invest (aka drop some dough) in great pieces for the upcoming season. What used to get me was casual shopping every weekend, a little here, a little there. But, if you save up you can buy some really high quality pieces that you will keep for a long time, and you can actually spend less over the course of a year. Quality pieces also magically keep you from wanting to stuff your closet with the briefly-satisfying cheap clothes.

    X- out your online shopping windows. Only buy things that you try on in person. It’s too easy to forget to send back an ill-fitting internet purchase.

    Ban certain stores. For me, I will never step foot in an Old Navy, Gap, Payless, H&M, Target (clothing section) again, because 1) the clothes I purged (b/c i never wore them) were invariably from these stores, and 2) to this day I still can’t walk into these stores without buying something I don’t need.

    Get used to the idea of wearing an item twice or more in a week. It’s liberating, and no one notices (you are not the center of the universe, and no one is keeping tabs on your wardrobe). It also makes you focus on neutral, classic pieces.

    Good luck everyone!

    • Sherri says

      Excellent post! I’ve been practicing the “one in, one out” philosophy for several years now. It’s very satisfying.

      Also, when you invest in a quality item, it looks better, wears better, and is often worth repairing instead of replacing.

    • says

      “Ban certain stores. For me, I will never step foot in an Old Navy, Gap, Payless, H&M, Target (clothing section) again, because 1) the clothes I purged (b/c i never wore them) were invariably from these stores, and 2) to this day I still can’t walk into these stores without buying something I don’t need.”

      THIS IS A GREAT CONCEPT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Thank you for introducing me to a new idea. It would be amazing for everyone to consider where all the clothes they DON’T wear came from ;)

      • Candace Chesnut says

        I think you would be surprised to see how much you really spend on clothing each year. I guarantee I spend at least that much.

  5. Can Not Have Enough of Somethings says

    Minimalism is a good policy to embrace for many reasons. For one, it does wonders to the wallet and the security it brings along. Second, a decluttered life is a liberated life. Many other dividends have been pointed out by others above. However, I wanted to add a few observations which make minimalism a bit difficult.

    First. You cannot have enough of undergarments. I keep as many undergarment T-shirts of various colors on hand as possible. I wear such shirts under collared shirts and even under regular T-shirts of certain styles. I use a fresh one every day. But, because I abhor chores, like doing laundry weekly, I keep enough to last me a month. The same goes for socks and underwear, modified only by seasonal temperature changes. It does not cause me problems to use socks and underwear twice, specially during colder seasons.

    Second, I live in the part of the country where layering is the only sensible way to dress up. 3/4th of the months of the year I layer up to four. (Undergarment T-shirt, collared shirt, light or heavy hoodie, and a jacket, a windbreaker, or an overcoat, as necessary. It is not always easy to balance colors and fabric weight. I step out to misty, or foggy and chilly morning and as the day progresses and the fog burns up, I delayer. Often I have to deal with windy days, and I dislike wind the most. This makes it difficult to commit to minimalism. It is easier to live in a climate that requires stocking up only on T-shirts and shorts.

    By all means buy quality even if it costs a bit more. For me that basically means cotton and other natural fibers and leather. I wear nothing but cotton and wool fabrics. Linen and silk are harder to take care of. Synthetic fibers are always for outer layer, such as windbreakers. I detest synthetic fibers on my skin. Have you noticed how difficult it is these days to get 100% cotton socks? Lucky if you get a compromise at 80% cotton. Ditch a certain shoe store, which should remain unnamed. The materials they use to make the shoes stink the feet.

    • Sarah says

      THANK YOU for this. I am in the same boat as you and I have always felt very guilty, especially about undies. Also, in my case, I need special underpants that can only be found in Europe, so it makes more sense to buy packs of two or three dozen and then forget about them for two or three years till they wear out.

    • Tracy says

      You’ll be surprised where I live, people actually have bursting wardrobes even though it’s summer all year round. I myself had to pare down lots and I am mostly sticking to a few neutral colours but I don’t really know anyone who dresses like myself…

  6. Brenda says

    You have the best site, and the most informative. I love your practical, and honest viewpoints. Keep up the great work.

  7. says

    I’ve been getting rid of clothes for the past year – but I still have an opportunity to reduce more. This post has given me a different way to look at things. This is my project for the weekend.

    • says

      Change takes a commitment; behavioural, psychological, and emotional. You can do it if the reward is greater than the difficult journey.

      Judging by the overwhelming response to this article, the reward is DEFINITELY worth changing for. Freedom, less stress, less worry, more money for things that really do make a difference to a family (family photos, a day trip somewhere fun, savings for education funds…whatever you find to be truly important to yours and your childrens wellbeing)

  8. SusanFL says

    I am leaning toward travelers clothes for my every day wear. They don’t wrinkle and they are lightweight and comfortable. And of course they are designed to take up less space. Eddie Bauer (Travex line), ExOfficio, Chicos (Travelers line), Coolibar (sun protective) all have those kind of clothes. Since I started dressing that way, I really wear all the clothes.

    • Tracy says

      R these brands good? I’m hearing them for the first time since none of these are on my shores. I just checked out coolibar and it looks goood…need plenty of sun protection here!

  9. SusanFL says

    it might be different for men, but where I work people will think it odd if you only have ten items of clothing. They will make comments like, She’s wearing that…AGAIN? Don’t think I could do that. If you are into fashion you don’t want others to think you have an inadequate wardrobe. But it doesn’t mean my closet is stuffed either. I think it is a matter of balance. Mix and match helps or, if you wear a uniform at work, I guess that cuts the wardrobe down to size as well.

  10. Emma says

    “Purchase quality over quantity. Only buy clothing that you truly love – even if it costs more. If you stock your closet full of things you love, you will have less desire to add to it.”
    Really rings true for me. I have come to turn up my nose at a lot of things going shopping because I know I have something better in my closet. There is no such thing as retail therapy! Some girls hoarde beauty products… again, quality over qyantity. Those chemical loaded low quality products will wreck their skin later. I think if you invest in an electric toothbrush, floss, quality skincare products, nutritious foods, vitamins, and a positive attitude, your vitality will make you way more charming.

    Food too. Be happy with the food in your fridge and pantry, eat less junk outside. Feel better!

  11. Pauline Tan says

    I just stumbled over your website and am so glad I did. I needed big encouragement in the area of living a minimalist’s life and here it is! Keep up the good job.

  12. Roxie Defant says

    I love this article! Just this morning I added 6 items to my give away clothing pile. As some have already mentioned I also keep clothing out of fear that I’ll gain or loose weight; however, I have never gained or lost so much that I needed to buy a new wardrobe. If they get tight I can simply minimize my groceries & save money on both food & new clothing; & if I loose weight I can simply add a few extra calories a day to fill my clothes out :) My end goal is to get all of my clothing down to where i can fit it all in my 40 L backpack, I’m almost there!!

  13. Jessi says

    Because I have two young boys, having the time to declutter and minimize is my biggest challenge, but I have begun the process. I am intrigued by the concept of buying fewer but higher quality clothing but am hesitant. It seems like a big commitment to spend $70 on an item if there’s no guarantee I will always love it, it will always fit (due to an occasional laundry mishap), my kids won’t ruin it, etc. Another issue is that I’ve almost lost the weight I need to get back to my “real” size, so haven’t wanted to invest a lot before that happens. I suppose once I take the time (when I can find it!) to shop for quality clothing, I will learn what styles, brands, etc. to invest in. But until then it seems like an expensive experiment!

  14. Adelle says

    For the girls (and guys… why not?) who wants to be on style in a minimalist way there is a wonderful website for us: Into mind (into-mind.com)

  15. M-story says

    I remember someone who just had four to five shirts and beyond that he would end up donating and gifting people. I would always wonder if I could do that… We always want more, new dress, new shoes …it does take a change of perspective to bring a change in our lifestyle :)

  16. Jessica says

    God Bless you for this work you have shared. I haven’t yet started my purging yet but have decided to start with clothes. I was curious if you could share or if anyone else had suggestions for socks. I find them everywhere. How many pairs are “normal”?

    I am starting small like you suggested with the socks. May be silly to some but with 3 girls and my husband and myself it is worthy. I am documenting my journey through pictures and am already excited to pair down. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Marcia Long says

      I own 10 pairs of socks. 1 pair for ech day of the week. Plus three additional in case I need to wear my running shoes again in a day.

  17. Martin says

    I am not sure if clothing idea of Steve Jobs was published earlier in these comments. In all the interviews he was wearing the same jeans and the black sweater and sneakers. Some day he thought that it suits him best and kept that way, trying to be comfortable, unique style and impress with personality and not the clothing. But clothes have quality to wear down. so he asked some designer YSL or Ralph to make him the same 100 units of black sweaters. and he changed them when they wore off.

    • says

      This is really interesting Martin. I am reading a book about the phycology of clothes and the basic point in it is that when we find out who we are we can dress strictly to that image and get rid of everything that is doesnt reflect the person we want to be. What a great incentive to purge our closets and define our look like Steve did.

      • Eva Z says

        I think what Steve Jobs did was a bit extreme but I do find having a “uniform” to be a good idea. By sticking to one style of clothing, limited color palette and not caving in when shopping and seeing something VERY trendy, you will also have easier time to get dressed, have less impulse buys and generally have more efficient closet. I also implemented “do I really love it” policy in a way, that I only buy what I am really excited about and what I can wear often. I work in a corporate environment so amount of my casual wear is limited, I don’t need as much for 2 days out of 7. Anyway, I think minimalism in clothes is easier for a man but for a woman especially one that loves fashion it is always a challenge :)

  18. says

    We are moving onto our 44 ft Morgan sail boat within the next few months. So far, we have had 3 garage sales… and we still have a full house. My goal is to have nothing more than what will fit in the boat… but I do have some art and family items that will go into storage. This is one of the MOST DIFFICULT events of my 63 years. I have been photographing items and favorite things. Thank God for digital!

  19. Jonathan says

    I have a few thoughts to add about clothing and paring down the quantity. Remember that there are only 7 days in a week. How many clothes can you wear in a week? Two weeks? Three weeks? Figure out what you need for biggest chunk of your life; that should be the largest chunk of your wardrobe.
    On the hanger idea I take it a step further. I start with all my hangers facing in; as I wear things the hangers are returned facing out. I wear everything from the facing in set before going back to things in the facing out set. This helps me figure out what items I really like and I can weed out the ones that I don’t like or that don’t fit well or that aren’t comfortable. Do this one category at a time (shirts, then pants, then sweaters, then whatever is left). There should be a donate bag handy so discards can go out of the closet immediately.
    When you shop for clothes ALWAYS try things on and spend enough time in the dressing room to make sure that fit is perfect. Do not make compromises. If the clothing item fits and is flattering and comfortable then ask yourself what piece(s) it might replace if it comes home with you.
    Lastly, if you really like everything you own you will take more care of those items to ensure long life (I guess that applies to more than just clothing).

  20. D-Henz says

    I’d consider my self pretty frugal, so I often shop at thrift stores. I have since stopped purchasing items from thrift stores, let alone step foot in them…this might fall under the banning certain store/sale rack technique, but just because the item is cheap doesn’t mean I need it. I just found myself accumulating lots and lots of crappy clothing.

    • Autumn says

      Alternately, thrift stores can be a great source of well made clothing. For example, the Savers near me nearly always has brand new items from Eddie Bauer, Ralph Lauren, Born, Timberland, etc. These manufacturers donate unsold items–it’s a corporate write off. I can’t always find what I’m looking for when I need a new item, but I find something often enough that that thrift store is always my first stop when I start looking.

      • Eva Z says

        That is true, sometimes you can find a true gem (a while back I got a gorgeous leather skirt that I wear often for $12) but I think the low prices often make you think that it’s ok to buy it even if you don’t need it/love it. I made a lot of junk purchases that way and most of it went back to Goodwill or trash. It takes a lot of restraint. What I find is that they often have good Halloween costumes for instance or kids clothes though.

  21. Marcia Long says

    I own ten pairs of socks. One for each day of the week plus three to wear with walking shoes or running shoes when I leave for errands or yard work.

    Numbers are different for my children because..how does it happen?.. They constantly lose socks, but only one of a pair. Right now they are down to “pairs” of mismatched socks.

    • Jo says

      It helped me and my family to wear just one color of socks. Black. Might seem boring, but who ever sees your socks? The are mostly hidden in you shoes;) It also helps not to have to many. If you got just a few, you will search for the missing sock till you fount it.

    • Paula says

      My son has all the same socks, Adidas black, low. He has about 2 packages (12 pr), I never have missing sock syndrome since I just grab 2 and call them a pair. The black color keeps them from looking dirty/dingy.

  22. Lei says

    I love consignment shopping where I can sell my clothes, shoes, accessories and books for store credit to buy gently worn clothing, etc. from other people or get cash back. As for my newborn daughter, I have given away trash bags of brand new clothes, toys, and accessories.
    I moved recently to a big city and the accumulation of stuff is wearing on me again. I’m purging for the second time this year but this time I want to truly own things made of quality. When you buy cheap you get cheap. One pet peeve I have is having to replace something that is broken, especially if it was just purchased. I’m beginning to see my mental habits of just buying things out of boredom, so it is my new goal to be more conscious of my buying choices. To wait for the “right” thing and save up for it. I appreciate the item more this way.
    When I do purge I simply ask if the item makes me feel more beautiful in mind, body or spirit? The answer is usually yes if it’s practical, easy to maintain, is used often and if it can function for more than one reason.

  23. Fiona Cee says

    i HATE clothes shopping with a passion, also shoes. NEVER buy a handbag [don’t like handbags]. but my 2 wardrobes are FULL of stuff I never wear cos nothing fits anymore.

    everything i wear lives on the outside of the wardrobe cos i can’t GET to the wardrobes. i’m drowning in stuff i can’t wear and don’t use and it just seems to grow tho i’m not buying anything.

    it’s all too much.

  24. Anette Eriksen says

    I do not own very many clothes and I ready to pare down some more after my babygirl is borrn. But I have very hard time getting rid of my weddingdress, every time I clean my closet it just hangs there taking up space. Any advice?

    • Susan says

      It might help if you imagine another young woman who wants to look beautiful on her wedding day, but has an extremely tight budget. Picture her face as she comes across your dress in a thrift shop – it is more than she ever dared hope for! Maybe you could even pin a note of blessing and encouragement to it for her to find. Instead of gathering dust in your closet, your dress could be part of another joyous occasion.

    • Dora says

      Have you ever thought of transforming your dress – or parts of it – into something useful? Like a pillow or a fancy dress? My mom kept this really cute dress that was mine when I was 3 and we didn’t have the heart to get rid of it, so I asked her to sew it onto a pillowcase. It is one of the most precious things I own.

  25. Maryanne Cumberland says

    I believe in the ‘less is more’ concept for sure but … I’m not gonna lie….buying a new article of clothing makes me smile and I feel great! Especially if i get a bargain. Just sayin’!!!! ;-)

  26. says

    This article makes more than a few presumptions about where and how other people ought to derive joy. It misses the point, I think, that for many people (me, I’m talking about myself) clothing is an expression of individualism, identity, creativity, and sometimes even art. It’s an opportunity to influence how the world perceives you, in those moments before you’re interacting on an interpersonal level.

    One piece of your advice feels sort of misguided : “Wear fewer colors…Choosing to intentionally wear fewer colors means less accessories.” That strikes me as so silly. Neutrals are some of the easiest outfits to accessorize because you get to add punches of color, or do something splendid with monochromes. Plus, dressing in a colorful way can be so beautifully cheerful, and can bring joy to a space. Would you have us all walking around in beige? I don’t get it.

    I can get down with a bunch of your other advice, like parting with old things, buying for quality, and shopping ethically. Still, I think you’re not looking outside your own worldview when you’re coming up with some of these suggestions…

    • laura m. says

      Lauren, I agree with you. I use neutrals on the bottom (pants, skirts, capri’s) to incl denim, navy, gray, black. But the tops all go with the bottoms every time & are in my color palate suited to my skin tone (blues, greens, teal, gold, brown,) At end of summer and end of winter, anything not worn that season gets donated. This is a must for everyone . I keep classic style outerwear longer- some for years, in neutrals. No dresses as I’m retired. Several skirts for certain activities. Have several pairs casual shoes in black and a few jogging shoes worn daily. My wardrobe consists mostly of active wear in polyester tops, pants, etc. These poly shirts/tops don’t fade like cotton; luv ‘em great in warmer weather.

  27. Debbie says

    I set a limit of 5 new items a year 5 years ago. I had noticed that by the time I was 40 I had accumulated enough clothes I like to last me a lifetime and that most new purchases were only a slight variation on what I had. I personally am not overly keen on the one in one out kind of philosophy as I am concerned that it can be used as justification to consume more and more stuff whilst creating a mountain of clothes in charity shops encouraging others to consume more than they need. The statistics published re the amount of fabric thrown away annually is as astonishing as I’d expect! The more I have reduced my buying, the more I have considered a purchase a committment and this really helps me make good choices. Despite my ultra tight committment my clothes are very colourful and continue to express my individuality (this is reduced by disposable throw away fashions). I get high levels of positive feedback re my “unique” style which isn’t my main motivator but I thought it worth highlighting to those who express concern that simplicity means boring, unfulfilling and lack of self expression. My main motivation is knowing that despite living in London my mortgage will be paid off when I’m 47 giving me more time to spend doing things I love :)

  28. says

    This makes so much sense! I have too many clothes and I admit it. I don’t wear more than half of them. What doesn’t help is that my weight fluctuates from time to time, and so tops that don’t fit in the present, I hope will do so in the future. Hence, they end up staying and taking up space. It creates an endless cycle.
    However, it really is time for a thorough clean out session.

  29. Gail says

    I’m concerned about where the discarded clothes go – it seems like the minimalist purging approach just adds to the overall waste stream. Are there good ways to make sure that discards are actually used and not just put in the landfills?

  30. Iryna says

    I’m so glad I found this article, really needed this inspiration. I’m a hoarder when it comes to purses, shoes, clothes, accessories, I love dressing up. But 6 month ago I moved to other country for good, so I made a choice to leave behind all the piles of stuff I accumulated over years and have a fresh start. It was very depressing first having wardrobe that fits in a large suitcase. So I asked my parents to ship a box of my stuff. Well, that wasn’t enough. Me and my husband discovered one of those thrift stores that has daily rates from 25 cent to 2 dollars per item. And it started again, we went there almost every week, and a lot of the times I was buying things i don’t need or like or would ever wear, just because they were so cheap. I like hunting for good deals. I’d rather buy 10 ok purses for 10$ instead of one awesome for 100$. I was telling myself I’m not willing to pay that much for one item. But at the same time spending just as much for bunch of things that I didn’t even like that much. But after reading this I decided – no more hoarding. Quality over quantity. And not just quality of things, but quality of life. Today I’m going to pack all the things I don’t need or like for donation.

  31. Dr B S Johri says

    I love this idea.. Certainly my wardrobe will be slim, trim and fresh. Little under-privileged will have a better look.. I am going to implement it immediately.. I am grateful to you for reminding this wonderful thought….

  32. Lindsay Cho says

    What an inspiring article! Limiting the colour palettes didn’t occur to me before!
    I am not a minimalist by all mean, but would like to share a tip here from my silly mistake – Spare down your wardrobe AFTER the season. On one super-inspired winter night, I decided to slim down my closet, which I did. Winter closet sorted alright, as I knew what I was not wearing at that time. The problem was summer clothes. Summer clothes tend to look cheap and needless in the winter time (is this just me???) next summer, I ended up buying new white t-shirts. It turns out I really did need those 5 similar looking white t-shirts (again, not a minimalist). I recommend not go through your summer closet in winter time and vise versa. Do it so after season by season with consideration, especially you’re not looking for something extreme.

  33. Keywest says

    This information is amazing. I have always been a purger although I will admit, since becoming a wife and mother (10 years ago), I have more “stuff” than I care to own up to. Lately I have been getting rid of things by the bundles but there is still so much :(
    My kids are on board (mainly because they don’t have a choice in this season) now if I could just convince my husband ;) anyway, thanks for this post…

  34. Tina says

    Years ago, I realized that if I picked 2 neutrals, black and navy blue, every year went through the same cycles, spring was pink, light green or pastels and yellow. Summer was either red, white and blue or coral and turquoise. Fall was browns, oranges, and reds with maybe some jade green. Winter was jewel tones and some metallic. So I worked in an office for years with a few pairs of slacks, 6-7 tops and 3 cardigans. Earrings or scarves or maybe a necklace. Write a chart of all the different outfits you can make out of what you have and unless an item goes with 3 other things don’t buy it. I’ve been retired for years and haven’t had to buy new clothes because my adult children give me the clothes they are tired of. Last month I got a jean jacket, 2 hooded sweatshirts, and a nice sweater. I gave Goodwill a zipper jacket, a coat, and a dressy shirt I hadn’t been wearing. I shop rummage sales and thrift shops for earrings and beads to restring into statement necklaces. No one cares what you wear unless it is truly an old fad, or a color combo like peach and purple in the middle of winter.

  35. Tina says

    Men can get away with 3 fall or winter weight sport coats and one dark suit. And maybe 1 summer weight sport coat and a blue classic blazer. My husband has a Harris tweed, a brown corduroy, a grey tweed, a dark suit, a blue blazer and a summer weight plaid. The oldest sport coat he has is at least 10 years old. Sport coats have to be in basic colors because they are expensive. Dress pants should be dark except maybe in summer. Color is expressed in ties. My husband buys a sport coat maybe every 2 or 3 years when we see one at a terrific bargain. He gets dressed up a lot. We live in the Midwest where people still get dressed up. If we lived in California or Arizona he wouldn’t need so many dressy clothes. Watch the people on news channels not the celebrities for guidance on how to dress.

  36. Velisa Takle says

    It is spring here in New Zealand. I could easily live with 2 pairs of under pants, 1 bra, 2 long tops and 2 pairs of tights/leggings… and my favourite kathmandu Jacket!

  37. Velisa Takle says

    It is spring here in New Zealand. I could easily live with 2 pairs of underpants, 1 bra, 2 long tops and 2 pairs of tights/leggings… and my favourite kathmandu Jacket!

  38. Bob P says

    I went through my overstuffed closet and found that it bordered on embarrassing how many clothes I own. I made a sweep and donated an estimated $5,000 worth of clothes to charity and boy did it make me feel good!!!!

    It was bag after bag of almost new (and sometimes Brand New with the tags)clothes that just cluttered my closet and life..

    I have put a moratorium on buying new clothes, tricked my wife into doing the same thing to her closets.. Yes.. closets.. plural

    My latest problem is that now that the novelty of having a clean organized closet has worn off, I realize that I STILL have way too many clothes, but these ones I like!! Throwing away something that you don’t use is far easier than getting rid of things that you like.

    Winter is coming and I own probably 10 winter coats. Nine of which would make a poor person much happier than it would sitting in my coat closet.. So tonight, I am going to get rid of all of them (but one).. It really isn’t so easy to do… But I am dedicated to living this lifestyle and I am sure there will be many tough decisions along the way..

  39. Katharine says

    Hi Joshua,

    I was floored by the statistic you quoted about the average American throwing away 68 pounds of textiles per year. My interest is piqued and I’d like to do some reading about it, what was your source for that statistic? Thanks.

  40. says

    Joshua, this is an interesting article. I recently read how trends are moving towards “seasonal sets”, where you may have just enough clothes to have 7-15 outfits for any given season. As that season changes, you could pack them away and bring out your other set of outfits. As a husband and father…I’ve noticed my clothing collection doesn’t grow as quickly as it once did!

Sites That Link to this Post

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  3. Netzfunde. | von allem zu viel. | October 10, 2013
  4. Less Clothes | Songs of Remorse | December 7, 2013
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