If you’re wondering, how many clothes do I need, this easy clothing list and organizing ideas will help you reduce clutter and reduce stress! If you keep a reasonable number of clothes you can do less laundry, have less of a mess and have a lot less stress in your life!
Too Many Clothes? How Many Clothes Do You Really Need?
One thing that costs many families a lot of extra money and causes lots of stress is having too many clothes, but many people never ask, how many clothes do I need? Besides the cost of buying more clothes than you need, storing clothes, caring for them and trying not to constantly trip over them can be overwhelming.
When you have more clothes than you need, it takes longer to find something to wear because you have so many options. The laundry seems more daunting because you are more likely to wait until there is a huge pile to get to it. Storage spaces can easily fill up and if you are like many people, it is hard to ever sort through everything you have.
Save yourself time and trouble – Make sure your wardrobe fits your needs!
How Many Clothes Do I Need?
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. This is a general guideline and you may need to modify it depending on your own circumstances. When my granddaughter was born she had a stomach valve problem and we had to deal with non-stop throwing up. She needed 3-4 times as many sleepers as a normal baby and more burp rags than usual. Additionally, my daughter and I had to change our own clothes more frequently during this time so we had to adjust the clothes list to the circumstance.
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 of clothes back into 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. Children easily become frustrated trying to put their clothes away into drawers that are already full of clothing they have outgrown. Sometimes when this happens, they get in trouble for not putting everything away properly. Don’t make it too hard on your kids. 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.
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. As 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 their own clothes, 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 casual shoes or 1 pair of shoes for dirty work
1 pair dress shoes
Women (stay at home)
5-7 everyday comfortable attractive outfits
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 every day)
2-3 pairs of casual dressy shoes like loafers
4 pairs of 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 pairs of work shoes (depends on your work. Only 2 if you wear tennis shoes or similar shoes to work)
3 pairs of casual shoes
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Without knowing a man’s weekly work schedule and exact type of work this list will have to be a little general. This is mostly based on only doing laundry once a week. If you wash the laundry more often, you can cut back on this list.
If you work in an office with air conditioning you will need:
2-3 pairs of “casual” dress pants like Dockers
5 button down “casual” dress shirts
2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of grunge jeans
1 pair of sweat pants
2 pairs of shorts
1 pair of really nice dress pants
1 pair each tennis shoes, casual dress shoes and dress shoes.
Most men used to have 1 black suit but so many things are casual now that you might be able to get by without one. Once again, that depends on your lifestyle.
If you need to dress in a suit and tie for work, you will need:
2 neutral colored suits
4-5 dress shirts
Make sure you can mix and match the ties and shirts and that they can go with both suits because you can get more variety that way.
If you wear jeans to work, you can get by with 1-2 pairs of “casual” dress pants and 3-4 pairs of jeans.
Of course, this is a general list to get you started and you can add take away where you need to. Men generally need more tops than women because – well how do I say this delicately?? Men tend to sweat and get their shirts dirtier than women. There’s an old joke about why this is true and also why men get ring around the collar more. It’s because God made Eve from Adam’s rib and He made Adam from dirt. : ) : )
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Everyone needs these items if you have any kind of winter:
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! It is just clutter that takes up too much storage space and causes too much stress!
You can get most children’s 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 receive enough clothing as Christmas gifts, but this year he didn’t get everything that he needed. I spent three hours and $5 buying 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 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 — This is just as important for 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