I Own 28 Items of Clothing (and Only Wear 9 Regularly)


As you know, over the past year, I’ve dramatically downsized my belongings and now live with just 25% of what I once owned. Sometimes, I look around my home and still feel like there’s more I could get rid of; like the big pot I only use once every few months or the beaten up copy of The Alchemist I read every year. I choose to keep them, because I do use those items on occasion, so they still serve a purpose. But when my eye catches something I haven’t used in a while, I’m pretty quick to donate it.

One area of my home where I’ve had no problem removing items from is my bedroom – specifically, my closet and dresser drawers. When I started this journey, my wardrobe was the first thing I tackled, and I ended up donating 4 black garbage bags full of clothing items, shoes and accessories. Since then, I’ve continually gotten rid of more and more pieces, and have dwindled my wardrobe down to just 28 items of clothing. Would it surprise you to know I only wear 9 things each week?

Let me preface this by saying that I never write about fashion because it doesn’t interest me. I don’t know what’s trendy or in-season or really how to piece together an “outfit” at all. I’ve never cared, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I’m from the West Coast of Canada where it is perfectly acceptable to live in jeans and flannel, and that’s what I do. I take care of my clothes and replace them when I need to, but that’s about the extent of my interest in/knowledge about clothing.

And this isn’t new for me – I’ve always been this way. When I was in high school, I was either in jeans and a hoodie or tearaways and basketball jerseys. When I worked for the government, I wore black or grey pants with 1 of 4 sweaters I owned. I’ve always cycled through a very tiny wardrobe… How I was ever able to fill 4 black garbage bags with clothes, shoes and accessories is still beyond me, except that most of what I got rid of was stuff I’d worn years ago – some of it as far back as 2005.

When I started seeing news articles and blog posts about how successful people have a signature look or only wear one outfit repeatedly, my first thought wasn’t that it was shocking; it was, “sweet, I already do that”. On most days, my “signature look” or “uniform” is a pair of skinny jeans, a flannel shirt, Blundstone boots and my rain jacket; that’s it – that’s me. In the spring, I swap the boots for TOMS. And then, of course, I switch outfits and dress appropriately when I go for a hike.

I don’t do this to save time or money, remove decision fatigue or any of that – though those are all great reasons to own tiny wardrobes or capsule wardrobes, which I can say I do enjoy the benefits of – I just do it because I’ve always done it that way. The only difference between my wardrobe two years ago and my wardrobe today is that I’ve removed all the clutter that took up drawer/closet space, and now only own what I actually wear on a regular basis – and it fits into one three-drawer dresser. Take a look:


In Drawer #1, I keep:

  • (1) pair of jeans
  • (2) pairs of khaki capris
  • (1) skirt
  • (3) dresses
  • (1) sports bra
  • (2) pairs of workout pants/capris


In Drawer #2, I have:

  • (5) tank tops
  • (4) t-shirts
  • (2) casual tops
  • (4) sweaters
  • (3) missing items: 2 flannel shirts (hanging to dry + wearing 1 when I took the pic) and 1 hoodie


I won’t show you what’s inside Drawer #3, but it includes another 34 items that I wouldn’t necessarily consider “clothing”, in that they are namely socks, bras and underwear.

And finally, I own a few accessories that are weather-dependent:

  • (3) pairs of shoes (flats, runners, TOMS)
  • (3) pairs of boots (ankle, rain, hiking)
  • (4) jackets (denim, rain, winter, snow)
  • (2) hats/toques
  • (1) scarf

Altogether, I technically own 75 things I could wear on my body, 28 of which are tops + bottoms. But every week, I wear the same 9 items of clothing in a few variations:

  1. Workout pants or capris (1-2) / T-shirt (3) / Hoodie (4) or jacket (5) – to go hiking
  2. Jeans (6) / Tank top (7) / Flannel (8-9)
  3. Jeans / Tank top or t-shirt / Hoodie

…and if you’re wondering what people say when you wear the same thing every day, the answer is: nothing. Maybe they think I’m crazy or talk about me behind my back, but I highly doubt it – because it’s just clothing. And remember, I take care of the items I own and replace them when I need to. I also have no problem spending $40-$100 on something, if I know it will last (a lesson learned after wearing through many fast fashion items in a month or less).

So, that’s it: my teeny tiny wardrobe. I wish I could offer advice on how to own fewer clothes or create a capsule wardrobe, but my friends have said it all, so I will leave you with their posts now. I just thought I’d offer a peek at mine. :)

What does your wardrobe look like these days? Do you have a signature look?

  • This is my goal in the future! I love the idea of simplifying my wardrobe down to a handful of well-made pieces that I can wear for at least a few years. For example, a pair of black skinny jeans + comfortable button down shirt + boots. I don’t care about fashion, either. And cutting back would mean one less decision every day.

  • My boyfriend is a lot like you. He literally owns one pair of jeans. Last week he ripped the crotch and I sewed it back up for him so he can keep on trucking in that one pair of pants for a bit longer.

    I actually own 3 pairs of jeans. But I literally wear one pair 90% of the time. I feel like I have paired down my wardrobe pretty well and I wear everything in it, though I am no where near 28 items! My one issue it workout clothes…especially since I run outdoors 4 days a week which means a lot of various layers. And then I have a whole separate wardrobe for running outside in summer! I am not willing to do laundry daily, so I have a few items in various colours to get me through the week :)

    • Haha! I tried that last year, Casey! My one pair ripped in the inner thigh, I patched it and they lasted for 1 more week… but then I had no choice but to replace them. Tell him to get ready to go shopping. ;) And that makes sense re: all your outdoor/workout gear! I know I’ll be buying proper hiking stuff this summer, when I’m healed up and the shopping ban is over.

  • Though I’ve significantly reduced my wardrobe, I still feel I have too many shoes and shirts. I plan to revisit my closet this summer after I’ve had another couple of seasons to purge stuff because my typical outfit 3/4 seasons is jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt and flats.

    • I’ll be curious to know how many pairs of shoes you get rid of later, Claudia! I know they were the easiest thing for me to get rid of, because I truly only wear a few styles based on the weather. One problem I have right now is I literally own zero pairs of sandals. My last pair was trashed by the end of last summer (had them for at least 5+ years) so I’ll need to replace them this year!

      • I am like you in that I wear Blundstone’s and then Birks or Mephistos. TOMs are too flat for my arch. But I bought those Blundstone’s 20 yrs ago and got them resoled twice, so i will spend good money on shoes. And then one pair runners, one pair hikers, flip flops for the pool. I have a pair of dressy Mary janes, but i only wear them for grad once a year. I am a Uni instructor and i am lucky that I can wear dark jeans or black pants, t-shirt, grandpa/Kurt Cobain cardigan and it’s all good. But as a fellow West Coaster, we’re lucky that way. Casual attire is allowed at work.

  • Hi Cait,
    What’s your opinion on TOMS? I have heard they are very comfortable and am tempted to buy one. But a lot of people complain they are bad quality and very easily get torn. I am hesitate to invest $50 for a pair of shoes will only last me a couple of months. Do you like your TOMS and how long you had them? Thanks.

    • I’m obviously not Cait, but thought I’d throw in some unsolicited advice about TOMS. I just got rid of a pair that I owned for about a year and I will never buy another pair. They break down SO quickly and have zero support. I didn’t wear mine all that often but found that just spending the day standing and walking in them made my feet hurt. I have owned (and still own) slip-on Vans for years and I’ll never stray from them again! They are about the same price and I just threw out a pair that I had owned for almost 15 years because I wore them so much for so long. Just my opinion :)

    • I just bought a pair of cream crocheted Toms, I have high arches and have never-ever found any flats that I can wear longer then an hour because of the pain…They are SO worth it…I bought a used pair for $15, they were worn 3 times by the seller and looked new…I love them! I have bought 2 new pair since…and this all went down this month…lol

    • Also thought I’d step in with my opinion- I have several pairs of Toms and wear them from March- September each year.
      I walk to and from work (30mins each way) and have no issues with them breaking down or being uncomfortable.
      I always pack them for vacations, exploring cities and Disneyworld, my fitbit tells me I was managing 16000- 20000 steps a day and no problems what so ever.
      If you can try them on somewhere , they are often cheaper on amazon.

    • Lots of mixed opinions on TOMS! I will say, I typically need to buy 1 pair/year – but that’s normal for most shoes, if you’re putting some serious miles on them. I’ve been wearing TOMS for probably… 5+ years now? And I’ll keep wearing them. They are great for casual wear and travel.

  • I love the idea of accessorizing with tattoos. Can you go into that a bit – what are they and can you see them when you’re wearing jeans and a flannel? (I’ve always wanted a tattoo and the idea that I could get one instead of picking out jewelry every day is really compelling).

    • Well, I don’t necessarily love all of my tattoos, haha… I got them all when I was 18-21. I’m starting to think more seriously about getting some new ones, as soon as this year… we’ll see if I can commit to new ideas. ;) But to answer your question, yes, you can see the ones on my wrist and arm (near the inside of my elbow).

  • In the last year, I’ve gotten rid of any clothing item I don’t wear and I’ve kept my waredrobe to only black and white items. I wear either a black or white T-shirt (with a cami-underneath) and jeans everyday or I’m in a black suit / black dress pants with a cardigan for work.

    I have a few pairs of shorts, a swimsuit and the necessary bras, underwear and socks, winter and fall coats and that’s about it.

    I love my simplified waredrobe. It may seem boring to some that it’s just black and white, but I like it and that’s all that matters!

  • I have paired down my wardrobe and my kids wardrobes too and I love it! Usually I wear the same sweatshirt/hoodie and jeans for the whole week, and then wash it on Saturday. Obviously I change undies and socks everyday. Unless I am doing strenuous activity or get dirty I don’t see why I have to wear new clothes every day. No one ever says anything. I can put my 2 little kids clothes and mine and my husbands clothes in one load in the washer on Saturday morning. Life is sweet when you don’t have to spend everyday doing laundry or doing 5 loads on the weekend.

    • Sounds like we are the same person, Rachael! I also only do laundry once/week (or even once every 10 days). :)

  • I did KonMari and whittled down my wardrobe quite a bit, but I’ve realized that there’s always more I can do. I can’t wear jeans to work, and pants in general are a big issue for me, as I have only one pair that 1) fits and 2) I like. I’ve held on to the other pairs to have something else to wear during the week, but golly, in a year (when our debt is hopefully paid off, fingers crossed!), I look forward to finding some high quality pants that fit and are versatile, whether they’re from a consignment store or some fancy store!

    I appreciate this post, because I needed the reminder that people don’t really notice clothes or care whether you wear the same thing week after week, as long as it’s clean and neat.

    • Totally get you with the pants Ms. Mintly! I keep hanging onto two pairs of jeans that look great but feel completely uncomfortable. I have a pelvis issues that make jeans and other tight pants unbearable to wear – and yet I still don’t want to let go of them because “everyone needs a pair of jeans” and I have lots of shorter tops that go with jeans. Finding pants that are not in the tight category is certainly a challenge! I wish I didn’t care about fashion – but I do. I love dresses and skirts with high waisted tights or leggings the best (I am pretty much the opposite of you Cait! haha). An ideal small wardrobe would involve skirts/dresses/tunics to wear at work, sweatpants and a couple of t-shirts to wear when I come home, and my workout clothes. Since my husband and I are still on our paying off debt journey, I justify holding onto clothes because I spent good money on them, but truth is, I am not wearing them. I bought clothes for an ideal self that I dreamed up while surfing Pinterest – and I can’t wear half of them because they are uncomfortable. When spring comes, I am going to be honest with myself and get rid of what I didn’t wear this winter. When I pay off my debt, I look forward to creating a capsule wardrobe that’s based on ME, comfort, and reality. Then I will hopefully be able to let go of the fantasy and guilt that I have all tied up in clothes. Thanks for letting us into your closet Cait!

      • Marie Kondo says thank those expensive clothes for helping you realize who you really are then let them go so someone else can appreciate them.

    • I feel the same way about pants! Because of this I have about 7-8 dresses I rotate for work every day. In the morning, take the dress on the left, anfter work put it back in the closet on the right. So easy and takes 5 minutes to get dressed in the mornings. Other than that I have 1 pair of jeans I like and the rest are sweat/yoga pants – they always fit :)

    • It’s true! I guess I noticed one guy who wore the same outfit for literally years… but it was YEARS. I cycle my tops, replace things when they wear out, etc. And really, it goes back to the fact that it’s not worth caring what other people think. If you feel good, that’s what matters. (Definitely look for pants that fit properly, when you can afford to! Everyone deserves that.)

    • I am laughing aloud, because as I was reading one of the comments above I had the thought – “yeah, but what do you do if you don’t like the feel of pants?” ha! Nine mos. of the year I spend most weekdays in a tunic length top [4] and black leggings [2]. The other 3 mos. of the year I’m in loose shorts or skirts.
      I have never liked the feel of pants. Leggings? Yes. Shorts? Yes. Pants? No. I’ve been very inspired by Cait and another blog and am trying an experiment of wearing 10 articles of clothing for 2 months. 3 weeks in and its going well. My husband grew up wearing a uniform to school [khaki pants, blue button down, navy blazer and a tie]. He has used that basic structure all his life, and despite all the hype for fashion, I’m starting to think I can be just as minimal with the basics and use scarves/accessories for variance. Cait you are such a breath of fresh air, girl!

      • Emilie, I would love to know where you find tunic-length tops and leggings that you love. I wear my chinos probably four days a week and am ready for a change for the next school year. My biggest challenge is I’m not young (at least in years!) and I don’t want to dress like one of my high school students. But I do want to look and feel good. Thanks!

    • Oh I love KonMari, too-=) Though I had been doing this, I love the way she talked about folding clothes, and I changed so many things.

  • Wow. I would save a ton if I felt I could go this route, but I find a lot of joy in fashion. I’m not, like, super fashionable, I just… like it. I try to keep my wardrobe way down, by wearing the same nine things every week sounds almost impossible for me. Color me impressed!

    • Hey, there’s nothing wrong with liking fashion! I’m sure I could look better, if I did, haha. It’s just not a priority for me/my budget. :)

  • I love this article! I’ve been trying to minimize my closet little by little over the past year, and it has felt great. So much less time is spent thinking about what to wear! Instead of having clothes that I never wear…I actually wear the clothes I like! (what a thought!) Definitely want to keep moving in this direction. I’ve also started to put more emphasis on the quality of clothing vs the quantity.

    • That’s so important, Julie! When the shopping ban is over, I know I’m going to buy some proper hiking gear, etc. and I’m definitely not going to cheap out. If I can find stuff on sale, great! But I’m not going to buy cheap stuff just for the sake of saving money – I want it to last a long time.

  • Im the same. Have never been into clothes and wear a uniform for work, so dont own much in the way of clothing at all. My husband ( before a large clear out) owned over 100 t-shirts not so long ago!!!!!! I really couldnt see the point, hes now down to less than half of that. He still has 3/4 of the wardrobe and drawer space in our house. Great post. Thanks for helping me realise Im not ‘abnormal’ for not owing lots and lots of clothes. :o)

    • Haha, I think all my exes were the same… owned 100+ t-shirts, or just tops in general. They say that guys are collectors – and that’s a stereotype I’ve decided to agree with (for the most part lol). Anyway, you’re definitely not abnormal!

      • Hubby is the same. He takes like 7/8 of the space in the closet and the drawers, has 100+ shirts, pants, t-shirts, ties, etc… and tells me he needs more!!

  • I know it doesn’t bother me when other people wear the same thing every day, but it bothers me to do it. I have more than 75 clothing items. I am currently not adding items. I am also slowly getting rid of the items I don’t wear. I am happy with what I have. My plan is only to replace when I need to.
    I have been thinking a lot about clothes since listening to your podcast on minimalism. I was thinking of the packing party. In Canada, or at least my part, near Ottawa, you would need to keep your seasonal boxes to open in the correct season. If I packed up all my clothes now, in 3 weeks I would need an entire new spring/summer wardrobe. I may not wear them everyday but I need my shorts etc. half the year! If I did it in the summer, I would get rid of all the cozy sweaters, coats and boots that helped me survive the past weekend of record cold weather!

    • That’s why Project 333 works for many people. You choose 33 items to wear for the next 3 months then pack away the ones for other seasons. You’ll find your basics tend to stay through all the season but some items change to suit variable weather conditions.

  • I did a bit of a clothing declutter in December, and I definitely got rid of a lot of items, but I have trouble getting rid of more because I have a lot of special purpose clothes that I keep for those occasions that come up every couple months… special sports events, work functions, etc. Do you have any special purpose clothing? Or are they all included in that count?

    • Hmm… nope? Not unless they are hiding somewhere! Hehe. Everything I have is in that dresser. I don’t even hang anything in my closet anymore!)

  • Since I own about 4 long sleeves and two pair of jeans, one could say I’ve a signature look. :-)
    Although I need to restock my shirts and dresses for the summer, bc I only own 2 and they’re quite old. :-)

  • So how often do you do laundry? I have a pretty minimal wardrobe it I do have 2 kids, a dog and I run 6 days a week. Wearing the same thing several days in a row does not usually cut it for me because it is dirty. :)

    • I do laundry once/week or so. I rarely wash my jeans, so it’s mostly to clean my workout clothes + tops.

  • Finally!! Someone who sees clothing the same way I do!! LOL
    Although I do have more clothing items than you, I’m sure I don’t wear all if them. I have 2 pairs of winter boots, a winter coat, and a two piece suit because we go snowmobiling in the winter. I have two pairs of sneakers, one of which is for on my treadmill. I wear a Canada Post shirt to work every weekday and blue khaki pants. The rest of the time I wear jeans and a T-shirt. And I love my flannel pjs!! Where do you buy your khakis? I find it hard to find navy blue khakis for work.

    • The khakis were from the Gap! I bought them 3 years ago and they still look almost exactly the same. I think they come out with similar looks every spring, so keep your eye out!

  • Tnx for sharing Im working on mine…. I do not heve jackets for winter ot spring but I do have bathing suites beach dresses lots of shorts etc etc…….

  • That is the dream. I, unfortunately, work in a very conservative office. I literally have two separate identities expressed in my wardrobe–my work self and just…myself. In fact, I’ve migrated several work-only outfits to the office and left them there.

    If I had a choice, I would be a t-shirt and jeans girl most of the time. Or, I’d just live my life in athleisure.

  • It’s so funny to me because for a long time before I got married everyone would tease me about my clothes cause they were all identical. My sunglasses my jeans my tshirts everything I wore was identical and even when I replaced it you couldn’t tell cause I would buy the same thing. My wife literally threw away a bunch of my clothes and bought new stuff so I would have no choice but to wear what she wanted which I thought was kinda funny since now I still wear the same thing I have two pairs of jeans and 6 tshirts I wear everyday.

  • When we first married, I lived in jeans…one or two pair…flannel shirts in winter, halters or T’s in summer, hiking boots, one pair of tennies, one pair of sandals. My wardrobe looked like yours looks now. As long as I was “out on the farm” and not in a lot of social situations, that served me well. It was when I had to start circulating…leading groups, church, substitute teaching, doing “business” for my husband, etc. that my wardrobe began to expand. Generally, it stayed basic Navy, Khaki and white as we couldn’t afford much variety. Eventually, I came to realize that minimalism was due more to poverty than desire. I like fashion and change and variety. I like to dress to suit my different personalities that crop up and throw people off. Alas, I just try to keep a healthy balance, be clean and neat and not sweat whether this week my closet has 100 items and next week only ten.

    • Hey, change is good! I feel like my “look” slightly changes every year… but then I wear that look for a whole year, haha. (Ok, I suck at this.) Anyway, keep doing what works for you, Lizzie! :)

  • I’m also not into fashion and love the idea of a uniform as put forth by Steve Jobs and Mark Zukerman. I have 3 pairs black yoga pants and 2 pairs of jeans but I mostly wear the yoga pants. I have 6 black, long-sleeve, shawl-collared t-shirts and 3 black, short-sleeve, sweetheart neckline t-shirts (I’ll buy 3 more when summer comes.), and 3 hoodies and a denim shirt-jacket. When I feel a need for a change I pick a scarf from my collection. Usually I am wearing wool slippers or Crocs, but I also have clogs with orthopedic inserts for when my ankles are acting up and a pair of black strappy sandals for wearing with my “funeral” outfit I haven’t actually had to wear yet. It feels odd that I have more scarves than shirts but that variety is what makes the rest possible, I think, even though I seldom wear the scarves.

    • I hadn’t really thought that accessories like a scarf might help outfits look different! Maybe because it’s not cold enough to need one for very long… but sounds like a good system, Linda!

  • I have been wearing yoga/running tights every day for the past six weeks (along with, you know, some sort of clothing item on the top half of my body as well). I reeeeeally wish I could just wear them every day for the rest of my life. Also TOMS every day would be great. Except maybe not in the snow.

    I like that you’re not into fashion and you’re okay with that. I was never particularly into fashion either, but I’ve spent a lot of time since adolescence trying to figure it out and be more into it — and buying a lot of cheap, poorly made pieces of clothing in the process. :/

  • Thank you for sharing your closet with us :) Sometimes I wish I could do this, and have often felt pressure to do so when I read blogs or books on minimalism or simple living. Most of my life has been downsized, but I had to make peace with the fact that when it comes to my wardrobe, I really don’t want to. It’s large, but I like everything in it, and everything fits and is flattering. I enjoy a lot of different styles, can wear (and like) almost every color of the rainbow, and feel happy with having a number of choices on any given day…so my closet reflects this. I know some people have such a closet and still say, “I have nothing to wear!” but I’m usually saying, “Wow, I’m lucky to have so many great choices!”

    • Hey, that’s also a good position to be in, Mina! I think the choice part is just something I don’t want to deal with. I’ve never had a large wardrobe, and have always gravitated to the same couple of outfits (no matter what age I was). I can’t really imagine opening a closet and trying to pick out what I want to wear that day. But if you love choice, that’s different! Enjoy them :)

    • You are a rock star and I am so glad I found this blog. I can so relate to Mina! I feel exactly the same way! My closet is like a rainbow bursting with colors and I love it. I never feel like I have nothing to wear and putting together outfits from my closet is fun and a huge creative outlet for me. I have come a long way and now appreciate and enjoy what I have, after years of excessive spending and accumulating. I purged, donated and sold quite a bit. I am emphasizing quality over quantity now and I truly enjoy wearing all the clothes I have. I expect that I will purge a bit more, but I probably will probably not pare down quite this far. When I get dressed every day I feel like an artist ready to paint a blank canvas. Recognizing that about my personality has really brought a sense of balance to my journey to gaining control over my finances. I’m older and have been at this for a while and I think one reason I have fallen off the wagon in the past is that I tried to follow hard and strict rules and beat up on myself when those rules became unsustainable and I didn’t accomplish what I set out to achieve. I think balance and knowing oneself is a huge key to long term, sustainable success.

  • So fascinating to see inside your drawers! I still have way too many clothes inside my closet, and know I am overdue for a big purge, but the majority of what I truly wear is what I wear when traveling for work. And that has evolved down to a very small capsule wardrobe. It happened because I used to spend so much time trying to figure out what to wear on each trip, for each day, and packing every week was unnecessarily stressful. So now my travel wardrobe has evolved down to two pairs of pants (one a pair of glorified yoga pants and one that’s more business appropriate), a reversible dress, two blouses, a cardigan, and a blazer only when necessary. Plus I usually travel in knee-high boots and keep folding ballet flats in my bag, which is what I wear to most meetings. Now packing takes under five minutes, I am not schlepping around a heavy bag (my backpack weighs under 15 lbs with laptop and cord and water bottle), and life is much better. I really do think that my work travel has taught me the joys of minimalism! :-)

    • Oh, I 100% agree that travelling has taught me how little clothing I need to survive. My entire wardrobe could fit into one suitcase – and the stuff I wear weekly could obviously fit into carry-on, haha. It’s a beautiful thing, my friend!

  • Challenge accepted!

    I too could careless about clothing, and frankly almost started wearing black jeans and a white blouse after the uniform for a woman story came out last year. But, alas, I still have way too much stuff.

    I actually have an embarrassing confession. I cleaned out my closet last year and have a huge duffle bag full of donation clothes that are still sitting in my closet. The closet place to donate clothing is over 2 miles away (walking being the only way to get there other than calling for an Uber) so the thought of lugging this huge bag for those 2 miles and spending the time to do it on a weekend has resulted in it just sitting there, taking up space, being unused by people that may need it. Apathy and laziness at its best.

    • I actually did start doing the black pants and white blouse thing after that article came out, and Cait’s totally right – no one cares at all, lol. If anything, the only people who care are the ones who are thinking of doing the exact same thing! (If you’re still thinking about it, it’s quite seriously the best call I’ve ever made.)

    • That’s not SO embarrassing – but I can promise you’ll feel better when it’s gone! Could you pack it in something smaller and do a couple trips? Make a workout out of it? haha

  • Omg I love the quote about tattoos! That is awesome! I’ve really pared down my wardrobe and honestly most people don’t even notice how often I rotate outfits!

    • Nope, they sure don’t! My sister’s boyfriend recently joked about it (called me a cartoon, which I think is awesome) but it only made me laugh. :)

  • I’m curious, how often you do laundry? Not that I’m implying you smell :P but I saw that you own two pairs of workout capris, and since workout clothes are the ones that really can’t be worn more than once between washes, that got me wondering. Personally, I own 5 pairs of workout capris and I do my laundry about once a week, give or take. I *try* to work out 4x/week (truthfully, that hasn’t happened in the dreary winter, but I stick with it the other three seasons!) so I wind up with a “buffer” pair in case laundry day gets pushed back a few days.

    • I do laundry once/week or so! And I wear workout pants 2-3 times before washing them – it’s never been an issue! As soon as I get home from a workout, though, I take them off and hang them to “dry” so to speak. Definitely helps!

  • Because I house sit, and I travel, I have learned as well . I have two pair of black pants, five long sleeve t’s, two jackets, 1 dress and one casual. A few other items, underwear, scarves and earrings.

  • Thank you for the post! It was a great reminder for me to keep cutting back what I have (about 65 pieces of non-exercise clothing right now) and see just how little I can live with. Perfect timing for me as spring is setting in down here in California : )

    • I bet it’s lovely there in the spring, Mandy! Remember it’s ok to keep everything you wear. It’s not a numbers game. Just let go of what you don’t. :)

  • Great post! I need to reduce my wardrobe as I don’t wear even half of what I own. Looking at your clothing drawers actually relaxed me! Proof that I need something similar in my life.

    • Wow, that’s a cool reaction to hear about, Bianca! I’ve been wondering if it means I need a smaller dresser, haha. But I kinda like the empty space in those drawers. :)

  • I did a major #projectpurge last summer and got rid of an entire dresser worth of clothes. I’m feeling inspired to downsize more! Thanks for sharing!

  • It’s so funny – I was just having a crisis of confidence with my ability to stop shopping and reduce my wardrobe (I’ve just removed 50 items, but I’m really struggling to say goodbye to more, of which there are many), so I came over to your blog for some reminders of the peace of living with less, and this post was here! Thanks for sharing more of your every day, I really love these kind of posts :)

    • Oh wow! Great timing, indeed, Emily. Good luck trying to let go of those items :) if it helps, keep them in a bag in a closet for 30 days. If you haven’t pulled out a single item, you definitely don’t need them.

  • I did this in a big way: got rid of everything I didn’t love. It was easy, because nothing fits right now so I can be more objective. Plus, the wardrobe I have right now is teeny tiny. So it’ll be a good swap.

  • Good on you! I’ve also never been fashion concious and cut down a lot while traveling. Currently the majority of my clothes fit in a 2 draws of a bedside table…1 is t-shirts and shorts, the other socks and underwear. I have 2 pairs of jeans and 4 dresses a hoodie and cardigans in a wardrobe, and a shopping bag with a few long sleeve tops in for when winter comes…people get way too carried away with clothes, it just gets expensive and takes up space! Having less stiff generally means when I’m bored of something, it’s probably time to throw it out and replace it anyway! :)

    • Yes, exactly! I wear things until I totally wear them out and then replace them. It’s the simplest way to think about clothing, if you ask me!

  • Admirable! Thank you for sharing this. While I don’t have a lot of stuff, unlike most of the folks who posted here, I actually like clothes and enjoy expressing myself via choosing outfits. (I work in a creative field and I have always been this way.) But I only keep items I wear regularly and don’t spend a lot of my clothing–I bought most of my stuff thrifted or super discounted. Even though I haven’t officially declared a no-spend or no-new-clothes resolution, it’s happening naturally; I am truly having fun “remixing” my clothing to create new outfits for free. Right now on my blog, I showed a 30x3o remix challenge from last fall–shakes one out of the habit of putting clothes together the same way each day (LOL, if you did it, you would have to change the challenge to something like “15×15” since your wardrobe is uber minimal). And I’m doing another one this April. I think it all boils down to figuring out what brings you joy.

    • Yep! And you sound like my friend Jen. She has the most eclectic wardrobe, but makes some of it, trades some of it and buys from local designers. She loves it, and always looks great!

  • I rotate through the same 4 wool sweaters all winter. Like you said, nobody seems to notice or care. I do have a lot more clothes than that, though. Some of it I could stand to get rid of, but I also keep things for different purposes like our four-season climate, professional clothes, camping/outdoors clothes (just old stuff I save for this), a few “date night” options, and a few dresses for all the weddings we attend. I wish I could find a way to streamline some of these categories but I’ve yet to figure that out.

    • I think the fact that you only have a few options for each of those occasions is as streamlined as it will probably get! I have two dresses I can wear to dates, weddings, etc. (Not that I’d wear a dress on a date, because I hate them, haha.) Really, it sounds like you have everything covered!

  • You’re right, no one cares. I wore the exact same navy blue dress all summer for work and no one noticed. I’ve even had people compliment me two days in a row to say the dress looks nice. Goes to show….it doesn’t matter. My wardrobe has decreased in size significantly but could still be tweaked. My job wouldn’t allow for jeans and flannel unfortunately.

  • I really love the idea of a capsule wardrobe. I’m always impressed when I see others do it. I have two kids under two so I thought after a few years of constant growing and shrinking from pregnancy, I’d try it out for myself. I tried really hard to be thoughtful about what I purchased and keep a limited wardrobe, but I just felt really restricted all the time. I haven’t felt this way about minimalism in other parts of my life so I was surprised. I actually just spent the last two weeks doing some serious shopping (not something I do very often) and it feels good to have options again. I’m not sure if it’s the stage of life I’m in (being a mom of an infant and toddler sometimes requires many outfit changes in a day), but I just didn’t feel it worked for me. Like I said, I’m jealous and impressed of others who make it work. But if it doesn’t work for someone, then I think that’s ok too. It’s definitely a trend at the moment so I spent way too much time feeling badly I couldn’t make it work. I think the goal should just be to do what works for you and allows you to focus on the other priorities in your life. For me right now, that means a larger wardrobe.

    • I think becoming a mom and exiting the nursing stage I was reborn a bit as a woman. I got a real bra fitting and starting wearing clothes that really fit me and made me feel happy. For me becoming a mother making important decisions for someone other than me increased my self-confidence and part of that was how I presented myself.
      I am larger than I was before so I tossed much of my old wardrobe and filled up my closet with freecycle clothes that fit. Last year I went through and reversed all the hangers so now I can see what I am truly wearing throughout the year (when I wash something I wore, the hanger is put “right”) and the rest is automatically out. I have little emotional investment in these clothes, free or goodwill purchases, kept only because they fit, so it is easier for me to say out it goes, and stick to it.
      I have about 7 shirts I wear to work (telecommute means only 2 days in the office a week) and while I don’t hear comments about wearing the same thing, anything new often gets a comment, so maybe it is noticed, I’ve wondered about that.

    • I am obviously not a mom, as you both know, but my friends who have kids all said their bodies changed dramatically after… so I think it’s totally fair that you want/need some new clothes. You should feel GOOD in what you wear – that, I certainly believe. It’s not a numbers game! Whatever amount of clothing you need is what you need. :)

  • Love your ability to write so honestly. I too wear just a few items, yet my closet is stuffed. Slowly I’ve been culling down my wardrobe, only keeping things I love and that are “timeless” but I might need to step it up a notch!

    • I would challenge you to put a bunch of stuff in a bag for 30-60 days and see if you ever reach for it! If you don’t, donate it. Maybe just start with 5-10 items and go from there. It’s something I STILL practice, even with this tiny wardrobe.

  • I own considerably more clothing than you do, but given that fashion has always been an interest of mine, I feel like that’s to be expected. I have two Rubbermaid bins that have been temporarily filled and removed from my closet as my belly doesn’t allow me to wear those items for the time being. I’d estimate my maternity wardrobe is approximately the same size as your current wardrobe, and as long as I keep up on laundry it’s quite workable. I wouldn’t say I have a signature look for the time being.

  • I’m about right there with you :) I haven’t counted lately but at last count it was 30, if we’re talking tops, bottoms and dresses. Big wardrobes are just too much work!

  • Still getting over the shock and awe at the title of this post. Wow. This is all going to require a few rereads as I could use the inspiration to pare down a bit. Clothing for me is more of a creative and expressive process so I wouldn’t ever comfortably reduce down to 28 items. But I definitely can cut down on what I have now. Thanks Cait for the inspiration

  • This is absolutely amazing! I couldn’t even ballpark the number of clothing pieces I have. I did make quite a bit of progress donating things but still have a long way to go!

  • I think this is the post I’ve been waiting for! I’ve read about capsule wardrobes and thought about doing it myself but wasn’t quite convinced, there were a lot of “what ifs.” But if I’m being totally honest about it, I don’t wear all that much, and out of the things I DO wear, not many of them are enjoyed. If I took out the things I really enjoyed, I’d actually have to purchase a few things to fill up for a week! It’s time to purge again and be super honest this time. So glad Joshua Becker shared this out on Twitter!

    P. S. I’m also a fellow 1-pair-of-jeans type! :)

  • I love this post. I recently sold a bunch of clothes, though I didn’t pare down my wardrobe nearly this much. I’m impressed, and a little jealous!

  • LOL I’ve never thought of myself as having a lot of clothes, but compared to you I do! I have seven long sleeve tops, seven short sleeved tops, and seven tank tops….which ones and how many layers I’m wearing depends on the temperature.

    Right now I need a tank top, then a long sleeved top, then a cardigan to get through the day. The short-sleeved shirts are just for the summer. Really only the tank tops and cardigans are in use year round!

    You’ve got me eyeing them up though… maybe I could get rid of a few more…. ;)

    • ETA: I did manage to get rid of six more things! I’d replaced them, but had automatically kept the old ones as backup in a box. I’m not sure how I thought a t-shirt could malfunction and leave me to have to wear the old one with the hole in it… LOL Thanks for the nudge to re-evaluate!

  • Great post! I have too much stuff in my wardrobe STILL and I’ve been downsizing it since 2009! I AM a shopper and hoarder to a degree but your post really resonates and I am going to use your guidelines to sort out the clothing items I really want to keep and I am going to get rid of the rest. Thanks so much :)

  • Thanks for sharing Cait.

    I also have a small wardrobe, but accidentally so. I wouldn’t mind having more clothes, but I just haven’t seen anything I liked enough to buy. I think this year might be difficult – I’m expecting multiple wardrobe malfunctions and I still haven’t seen anything I like!

  • My day job doesn’t require a uniform, but I do have a capsule wardrobe that feels like a uniform since I only wear it for work. The environment is a bit odd and can be unpredictable, so I need to be prepared for just about anything to happen. Because of this, it would be silly to wear anything too nice, too expensive or too precious. I end up looking nice and professional, but I can also kick ass like Sidney Bristow if the situation calls for it. I have different clothes of my off-duty weekends and events.

    Going from corporate suits and dresses to this has been a freeing experience. I love my tiny and inexpensive wardrobe and there’s no pressure to look like a million bucks. My only accessory these days is red lipstick.


  • I just took two big bags of stuff to Goodwill, and sold some others on Thred Up. My goal is to not replace any of it. I have a dress-up job, but I should be able to rein it in some. My problem is dry-cleaner accessability. I HAVE to have 5 suits/dresses each week. But due to working 14-hour days at this time of year I can only get to the dry cleaner on Saturdays (if then). Ergo, it’s two weeks of suits and dresses. My casual wear is much more manageable.

  • I’ve come to realize that I need to buy items that can be worn casually or dressed up for work (ie. white blouses with skirts or jeans, etc.) in order to cut down on the clutter.

  • Great post Cait!
    I have a question…what do you do to take care of your lady requirements…ehem…not sure if you’re posted about this before (sorry I didn’t check prior to commenting) but – what about waxing? And manicures/pedicures? What do you recommend for women who NEED it? I’ve tried doing manicures on my own but I have the worst cuticles and it just looks horrible! Also, regular polish starts to peel after like 5 days so it looks trashy, which means…Shellac is in…hope this doesn’t sound high maintenance. I’ve had times when I paid $90 for just waxing (tip and tax in) and of course it’s painful especially after trying to be frugal, but I have to wax, shaving just doesn’t work (and I can’t say why on here), but I am sure some women will understand.
    What’s your advice on this? I wish we never had any body hair except our heads and eyebrows/lashes!

  • I have more “in case I lose weight” clothes that I have clothes that actually fit me AND that I enjoy wearing…. it’s sad. Being a size 18 right now (up from a size 10 six years ago…) and not shopping new (I go to thrift stores), it’s not that easy to find good looking clothes in my size. So I tend to buy what fits and is in decent shape, but I don’t really have a “style”. I’m not sure how many items I have, maybe 5 pairs of pants and 10-15 shirts. I’m always hoping to get down to a size 10-12, it would be much more comfortable and easier/cheaper (plus-size clothes are ridiculously expensive!) to shop for.

    • After writing this, I went to my closet to take a look and discarded anything that is not fitting well or not in good condition and I am left with
      – 2 pairs of pants (1 black, 1 beige)
      – 2 pairs of black yoga pants also fitted for work
      – 2 tops only fitted for dates
      – 2 shirts only fitted for cold weather (so not for work, as I work in light clothes)
      – 5 tops fitted for work
      (+ underwears, bras, socks, pj, exercise clothes)
      And of all those clothes, none that I love. It’s pretty depressing… Time to go shopping somewhere else than thrift stores I think!

  • I have so many clothes, but it’s the same likely culprits I wear every week to work, without fail. Next on my list is sorting through my closet and chucking everything I’ve not worn in 6 months (except seasonal clothing, obviously).

  • It is great to hear so many are on the journey of decluttering the clothes. I have always had a hard time fitting into clothes but I realized after reading this article I just like a few things. I have always been this way. I was caught up in getting different things for work, for church, for weekends, and fancy occasions, because that is what you have to do. Over the past few years I have been downsizing and I realize nobody care what I have one, specially for church and for work, and I wear the same fancy dress to all special occasions. I can’t wait until I retire to get rid of half of my 75 piece wardrobe. I sure wish I would have figured this out in my 20s and not in my 50s.

    • I feel the same Pattie – we are just reinventing ourselves in our 50s!!! I just choose NOT to think about all the money I might have saved over the years; that’s done and over with, right? But, going forward, I choose to live life rather than be caught up in the outside influences. I bet you can weed out quite a bit of your wardrobe before you retire. I have had the awesome compliment this year of a 16 yo student telling me she wants to dress like me when she “grows up.” Since I wear either khaki or olive drab chinos + tshirt/sweater/long-sleeve shirt every day, I consider that quite a compliment. :)

  • Great post. In July 2015 I donated 8 garbage bags that was just my closet. 1 was just shoes(almost 50 pairs) that I had just been holding onto (for years)but I was super honest with myself and kept only ones I would wear. I need to purge more and I’m slowly working on it as I know once it’s gone it brings much better stuff into your life!
    Not sure why I didn’t do it sooner. I guess I wasn’t ready!
    Now my rule is
    1) do I love it?
    2) do I need it?
    3) am I going to use it?
    I use that with everything and has stop with serious stress shopping!

  • I am loving your posts about decluttering and keeping only the things we need and use. I was inspired by two of them to get up and do some decluttering at my own home. So far, I have cleaned out my guest room, which was mainly full of outgrown clothes, toys, and bedding from my son’s room. That inspired me to go up into my attic and clear out a lot of clothes I didn’t need there. And I also went and cleaned out my closet and got rid of a bag of trash and one bag of clothes I didn’t wear. I’m not much of a clothes shopper, but I did finally invest in some clothes that I like last year, and I felt pretty confident getting rid of things that didn’t fit. It feels good to only see things that I will actually use!

  • I’ve always lived in tropical countries so whenever I travel to cooler climates where I can wear the same clothes throughout the day or repeat a top (without it smelling funky) is such a novelty. It’s cooling down a bit now so I can repeat some clothes if I only wear them 8-9 hours inside the office. I’m trying to downsize my closet though. I still want enough clothing to wear for a week or so before I wash them – I feel guilty when I’m only washing a small load and using lots of water. I’ve donated most of the clothes that I hardly wear because I bought them on a whim, fit badly because I bought online, or clothes that were given to me but weren’t me at all.

  • A+ for cataloguing your wardrobe. I haven’t catalogued anything like that since I had beanie babies where I meticulously recorded the name, the date, and the recorded value at the time (which is now $0). It feels so good to make lists and to record things like that!
    I recently just donated ALOT of clothes and it felt so so good. You are totally right that most people only wear a few things from their wardrobe. I can wear jeans at my new job and think that getting rid of my dress pants will significantly help me pair down my wardrobe. Thanks for the inspiration to catalogue!

  • I’m in the process of doing this now and partially going off your list as we have similar tastes.

    I’ve already given away bags and boxes of clothes and I’ve also I’ve I tend to wear the same outfits every week depending on the weather. I don’t miss any of the items I’ve gotten rid of ☺

Comments are closed.