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LIVING,  SIMPLE LIVING

Living a Life of Less | Clothing

Okay, this might honestly be one of my favorite topics in this series.

First of all, do you have any idea how many articles of clothing you own?

I did not say wear, I said own.

Let’s not count socks and underwear, let’s not even count accessories (tights, belts, hats, scarves, etc) for now. Let’s not count your workout clothes, pajamas or that set of old jeans you have for those odd times you might be painting or even your jackets. I’m talking about your everyday attire: shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, leggings . . . that stuff. If you were to guess, how many articles of that kind of clothing would you say that you own?

Think about it. Grab a scrap piece of paper or a sticky note and write down your estimate.

Did you write it down?

If you did (I hope you did!) I challenge you to take some time today and see how close or far off your estimate is. Look through your closet and count, don’t forget the items that might be dirty and in your laundry hamper or clean and sitting in the dryer, and those winter clothes you have tucked away, oh, and don’t forget the ones you are wearing.

For the sake of transparency I’ll share  my numbers with you:
tanks/shirts/sweaters: 28
pants/leggings/shorts/skirts: 16
dresses: 5
total articles of clothing: 49

Forty-nine items. And that is after I have been purging for the better part of this year. And yet, I went through those items and counted nine that I haven’t worn in the last two months (not including my winter clothes), so why do I even have them?

How about you, out of all the clothes you’ve counted up, how many would you say you haven’t worn in the last two months (let’s leave out the winter items for that count). And if you haven’t worn them, is it really necessary to keep them?

Honestly, I don’t think there is one magic number of articles of clothing that everyone should own. I live in Saskatchewan where there is snow on the ground for six months of the year, as a result I wear a lot of layers, I don’t think the number of articles of clothing I own now would be the same if I moved to southern California (on second thought, maybe they would be, a person definitely gets sweatier there so I suppose you’d have to wash your clothes more than here).

If you were to be honest with yourself, could you come up with a number of clothes that would work well for you?

Some people have put numbers on it, over at Unfancy, a blog I’ve been following for a few months, Caroline limits that number to 30 items (just counting the items for that season). Out of my 49 items, 8 of them were only winter attire so I currently have 41 for this season, and I just said that there are 9 of them I don’t wear, bringing me down to 32 items for this season, so I think 30 sounds like a completely reasonable number.

This is not the first time I’ve purged my closet in the last few years, it’s not only about letting go of clothes, but we also need to make sure we don’t just simply replace all the items we got rid of, then we completely miss the point!

I love the idea behind The 40 Hanger Closet, though in this instance, maybe a 30 hanger closet, if you want to purchase a new item you have to make room for it by getting rid of another.

My plan is to have my closet at 30 items by the time fall/winter hits (not counting the few items that I have that are only summer items). One thing that really helps is the fact that I am currently on a spending freeze, and plan on staying away from purchasing any clothes all June, July and August.

How do you keep your closet from getting overloaded?
Could you work off of 30 clothing items for a season?
Would you be willing to try?

Other posts on living with less:
FOOD | SPENDING | POSSESSIONS | POSSESSIONS | MEDIA | STRESS & COMMITMENTS | WASTE
you can also check out some inspiration and the entire series here.

CHRISTINA @ ROUTE BLISS

Hello, I’m Christina of Route Bliss. By day I write reports for a living while I simultaneously plan blog post ideas, daydream about my next trip, and wish I could edit all the photos I’ve taken and haven’t gotten around to yet. While I’ve been blogging for over a decade now, Route Bliss itself has only been around since the Summer of 2013. RB (as I’ve dubbed it) is where I share my love of travel and photography as well as what I’m learning on my journey to healthier living (adapted recipes as well as running and fitness tips and grumblings!).

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You’ll find a little bit of everything on All My Love for All My Days, but more than anything else, we are about sharing love and loving the journey.  The journey can be difficult, but it’s also a gift…a gift from God.

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29 Comments

  • Rachel Cox

    Love this chantel. I am working so hard at creating a capsule wardrobe, even though most of my friends and husband don’t get it at all…and it kicked my tail. I had no idea how much I had, and after purging over half my closet I am still sitting on about 60+ items and having such a hard time cutting…I want to simplify sooo badly though. So thanks for the encouragement, and getting the purpose behind all this! 🙂

  • Gina Alyse

    Cleaning out my closet has been on a definite must-do list for my summer. I don’t think I would be able to count all my clothes I own–at least not today! But, you’re right, I tend to wear certain things more than others and that means I end up with a lot of clothes that I don’t use. Choices can be overwhelming and I love this idea of simplifying this part of our lives. Thanks for sharing, Chantel! xo, gina

    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing

      That’s just it! I went through my clothes today and was able to pull out three of the nine I said I never wear. I still find myself struggling to get rid of the other six, “just in case”, I find it’s better for me to do it slowly than to get rid of stuff and regret it. I’m sure I’ll get rid of those other items yet it will just take some time.

  • Ursula

    I do need to purge my closet. I haven’t counted the items, but that would be a great starting point and then separating them by season. Like you, I need layers for the winter months, but realistically, I have pieces I haven’t worn in years. I love the idea of living with less, I think if I didn’t have half the stuff I currently have. I wouldn’t miss it and hopefully I’d be less caught up in “wants” and more focused on “needs”. 🙂

  • In Due Time

    I have 100’s – I still have clothes from high school – it’s so silly, but I always feel like ‘I might wear it’ again!!! I need to just get rid of stuff!

  • Jenny Fish

    I’m impressed – I’m definitely in the 100’s – and I just went through my closet and purged after moving. I’m definitely planning on using Unfancy’s sheets to better plan my wardrobe.

    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing

      Yes, I love how she has it so organized! I find as I’ve been reducing items I’m starting to realize things about myself that I never knew, like the fact that I love wearing (comfortable) dresses, that’s crazy to think about since this time last year I think I owned two, neither of which I wore more than absolutely necessary. I hope you get the motivation to purge!

  • Amy

    i think i’m in the 100s too.
    i hang on to t-shirts like no bodies business.
    i’m also in the proces of dropping lbs so i’ve definitely made a stack of “this doesn’t fit anymore” and that has to be well over 25 items. i’m not one to go out and buy expensive clothing (over $22 for a shirt? good luck) which means i have a lot less quality pieces.
    (also i live in the south, where lets see today it’s 94 with 100% humidity which means if icould i would change at least twice haha but i won’t)…we definitely sweat a lot here.

    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing

      Haha, I hear you. If something is over $20 I had better absolutely love it. But I’m really noticing the items that I have paid more for are definitely lasting longer. It will take me some time to change my mind set on how I shop.

  • Shannon Kennedy

    This is something I’ve definitely been thinking about. I’ve been working on minimizing and I started with my closet, but I still have way too many clothes. I actually pulled everything out of all my drawers and my closet, putting back only what I know I will still wear with the hangers facing the wrong way. I figure that after a couple months I can look to see what’s still facing the wrong way and re-evaluate what I keep and what I donate.

  • Caitlin

    Good for you for counting all the clothes + making a plan to get it down in size. That’s so awesome!

    I purge my closet every other month. If there’s something I haven’t worn in the past 2 months, or it doesn’t fit anymore, I give it away to the needy. This is good + bad because I rarely have money to replace the clothes, so sometimes I’m down to 15-20 items of clothing, making it hard to have a rotation for the work week. I still dream of the day when I literally just have 7 outfits for 7 days, when I can work from home. This series is giving me so much inspiration to constantly live with a life of less.

  • Lorraine Yeung

    Oh my, so willing to try, so little time to actually do the purge. (I would be so embarrassed to actually count the number of skirts things that I don’t even wear any more)
    I’m pretty sure I live in the same 10 articles of clothing in a week…. I guess I just need to make it happen!

  • Jess Elyse

    I love the challenge of this post! This is something that I’ve actually been thinking about more lately. Right now I have a bag of clothes sitting in my room ready to be donated. My closet is FULL of clothes and have a plastic set of drawers that is also full. Yet, even though I have all of those options, I constantly go and grab the same outfits over and over. I constantly grab the same t-shirts. I like the idea of just have 30 or 40. I can’t imagine what the final total in my closet would be…but this is a challenge that I really want to try and take. 🙂

    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing

      I think the key is doing the cleaning out in stages. If you went in today and decided to get down to 30 it would be awful. Do a first round of things you know you can get rid of, the easy stuff. Then after a week or so do another round, and on and on until it gets hard. There were some things I really didn’t want to get rid of but I knew I wasn’t going to wear them so I had to part with them. Actually, I still have a few items like that (those ones that I keep hoping I’ll loose enough weight to wear comfortably), but if it doesn’t happen I’m hoping to be able to let go of them by the end of the summer.

  • Larissa Cook

    Right after I asked on IG if you are selling those boards, I decided to check your IG profile to see and saw that you had a blog! I had no idea because I guess I never pay attention to anything.

    Anyway, HI. I love it here. I mean, LOVE-love. So I’m sticking around for good and probably going to blow up your comments for a minute while I read everything. =]

    But first, this. THIS. Yes. A million times yes. I have been struggling so much with myself lately, just this constant need that I think I have to buy. more. stuff.

    I don’t have very many clothes because I am constantly donating things. I get sick of it and it’s gone. I tend to buy something that I love, wear it until I’m sick of it and then it’s gone. I’ve started to really try to only purchase classics that aren’t going to be out of style next year or that I will easily get sick of (lots of patterns, etc) just so that I can keep something in my closet for more than a month.

    But the point is how quickly I donate something and then turn around and buy something else. I’ve really been conscious about this lately and trying to work on not coveting everything I see.

    I would love to try the # hanger challenge! That sounds oddly fun. I tried to give up spending for Lent but then I ended up going to Cali and needed some warm weather clothes as opposed to MT because I feel you about the winter. And it seems like if I put myself on a freeze then everything cute comes out all at once and I know it’s the devil working in there to attack me in my weak points but it’s definitely something I NEED to try again.

    I love this living less series so much. All of it is so good and so useful.

    • Chantel -A Harvest of Blessing

      Thanks so much for stopping by Larissa!! Sorry I haven’t had a chance to answer your question on IG yet, it’s been a CRAZY week. I am selling them, but just locally due to their large size.

      Where in MT do you live? I love connecting with people that live so close to Saskatchewan!

      I’m glad you are liking this series (and my blog). It’s a great start to the 30-40 hanger closet if you don’t keep many clothes to begin with. The real trick will just be to stop the spending. I’ve now decided that I will not go to clothing stores just to see/shop around. I plan on not buying any clothes unless I have a) seen a specific piece on their website that I want to try on and will purchase only if I love it and b) it’s something that’s specifically on my list (like right now I’d like a new pair of black dress pants that fit properly). It wasn’t until I spent some time thinking about my shopping habits that I realized how bad they were. I would buy a bunch of cheap clothes because they were cheap and okay items but things that are only okay in the store quickly become misshapen after a wear and a wash. It’s definitely going to take awhile to retrain myself in this that’s for sure!