Too many clothes? How Many Clothes Do I Need?!
One thing that costs many families a lot of extra money and causes lots of stress is having too many clothes. Besides the cost of buying more clothes than you need, storing them, caring for them and trying not to constantly trip over them can be overwhelming. Save yourself the time and trouble – Make sure your wardrobe fits your needs.
If you’re wondering, “How many Clothes Do I need?” we’ve put together a general list of how many of each type of clothing we recommend. Don’t be horrified if it doesn’t fit your families’ needs. When my granddaughter was born she had a stomach valve problem and we had to deal with non-stop throwing up. She needed about 3-4 times as many sleepers as a normal baby. Not only that but my daughter and I had to change our own clothes from her bouts about 4-5 times a day. Throw in the fact that it was the dead of winter with no dryer and, needless to say, the clothes list had to be adjusted very quickly.
It takes just a couple of minutes when you are organizing your children’s clothes to really figure what they need. Do they wear 7 t-shirts a week and you wash t-shirts twice a week? Then 7 t-shirts should be more than plenty. If they wear 7 pairs of socks and underwear a week and you wash twice a week, 10 pairs of everything is more than plenty. Why put 15-20 pairs back in the drawer, especially if you don’t have a lot of room?
Be sure to go through and weed out too small or worn out clothes in your children’s drawers every couple of months. More children become frustrated trying to put their clothes away into drawers that are already full of clothing they have outgrown. They then get in trouble for not putting everything away properly. There’s a scripture that says “do not provoke your children to anger”. This is one of those cases where parents do it all the time.
Sit down and plan how many outfits each member of your family needs. Most families wash the laundry once a week or more. You don’t need 15 pairs of jeans for each child. Three or four pairs will work just fine. A newborn may need 10 pairs of pajamas since the newborn lives in them and spits up on them, but a 10 year old only needs three or four pairs.
Here are a few guidelines to help you get started. Like I said, feel free to adjust this to best fit your family. Hopefully by following these guidelines you will be able to cut back on your clothes budget and get more use out of what you do have.
Toddlers and Pre-schoolers
9-10 everyday outfits
3-4 dressy church outfits
3-4 casual dressy outfits
2 pairs play shoes
1 pair dress shoes
1 pair casual nice shoes (optional)
(including teen boys, if your teens complain about the clothes, make them responsible for them, including paying for the extras that they want.)
3-4 pairs of jeans or school pants
7-9 school shirts
1-2 pairs dress pants
3-4 dress shirts
1-2 casual dressy outfits
1 pair school shoes
1 pair causal shoes or 1 pair of shoes for dirty work
1 pair dress shoes
Women (stay at home)
5-7 everyday comfortable attractive outfits (NO SWEATS, I REPEAT, NO SWEATS!)
1 outfit for dirty work such as painting
4-5 casual dressy outfits (depending on your social life)
4-5 dressy church outfits
2 pairs of comfortable shoes (one for painting and one for wearing everyday)
2-3 pairs casual dressy shoes like loafers
4 pairs dressy shoes for church (black, navy, white and tan pumps or flats)
Adjust shoes for your wardrobe
Women (who work outside the house)
7-9 work/dressy outfits
5-7 casual outfits
2-3 outfits for relaxing at home
3-4 pair work shoes (depends on your work. Only 2 if you wear tennis shoes or the like to work)
3 pairs casual shoes
For everyone, you need:
1 winter coat
1 dress coat
1-2 pairs boots, short and long
Remember, these are just the bare bones of a wardrobe. Add or subtract according to your needs. The main thing is to be ruthless. Most women wear only 20% of the clothes 80% of the time. Get rid of everything else!
You can get most kids clothes at garage sales for a fraction of the new price. Be picky and only buy the few things you love. By spending one morning going to garage sales, I found all the clothes I needed for my 3 year old son. We usually get enough clothing as Christmas gifts, but this year he didn’t get everything that he needed. I spent three hours and $5 on everything from shirts to shoes. I got 10 shirts, 5 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of shoes and 4 pairs of pajamas. I saved myself $225. That is $75 an hour I “earned” by going to garage sales or 24 hours (3 days) less my husband would have had to work to buy the clothes.
Sheets – 2 sets per bed. You can get by with one set if you wash and put it back on the bed the same day.
2 towels and washcloths per family member
5-6 hand towels
4-5 towels for guests
10-12 dish rags
10-12 dish towels
10-12 kitchen hand towels
Shoe box of small rags
Small box of large rags
Stack of old towels for large emergencies like the toilet overflowing
These are minimum suggestions. Adjust according to your needs.
Laundry and Children
I am probably the only mom who would not allow my children to put their clothes away until they were older. Why? Because, by the time I had carefully washed, beautifully folded and ironed everything, I didn’t want it to be dumped, wadded, smashed and mooshed between the laundry room and my children’s bedrooms. It’s amazing what a husband and child can do to a clean pile of laundry!
Even though I say that, children do need to be taught how to do laundry from beginning to end. From the age of four or five I would have the kids help me fold wash rags and underwear. Once they succeeded in those things, we would moved on to other things.
As soon as they were tall enough, I had them help put clothes in the washer, then move them to the dryer to fluff and finally take them out of the dryer. Young children seem to love doing this, so let them.
By the time they are old enough to start cooking simple things on the stove, they are old enough to start ironing with supervision — Boys, too.
Once kids reach high school, they should be able to take care of their own clothes from start to finish. Until I had them very well trained, I didn’t expect them to do the laundry alone. This wasn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed visiting and learning about their day while we folded clothes together or while I was ironing.
Jill and Tawra
For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt and learn more about how to keep more of your money.