How Many Things in a Minimalist Wardrobe?

If you want to have a minimalist wardrobe, you’re going to count your clothes and reduce the number to a minimum. How many items is “minimalist”? That really depends on you and why you are reducing your wardrobe in the first place.  Here are five concepts that have been tried and tested. Maybe one of them will work for you.

Shirt On Your Back

Your wardrobe is only what you are wearing. This is the ultimate minimalist closet – there is no closet. It’s not for everyone! It can cause trouble, anguish, or embarrassment if you lose or damage something, want to do your laundry, etc. On the other hand, there is no packing required and you’ll make friends by borrowing things from time to time.

Wear & A Spare

Two of any item at most. This is a good choice for extreme light travellers and people who stick to the same sort of activities most of the time. Easy to pack and there’s slack for when your clothes are dirty, lost, or damaged.

Days of the Week

Plan for a week of wear without washing – seven pairs of socks and underwear and an equal or smaller number of tops and bottoms. This is good place to start for anyone testing out the idea of a minimalist wardrobe for the first time. It can be a big reduction, but it isn’t completely dramatic or difficult.

Arbitrary Count

Pick a number, any number, then stick to that. It can be very creative to work within a restriction. Project 333 uses a set limit, as does the 40 hanger movement. But you can pick your own number and set your own rules.

Fit to Space

It seems almost ridiculous to say this to someone considering or already living a minimalist wardrobe, but no matter what system you choose, be sure your clothing fits in your closet, dresser, and/or suitcase. This is a key consideration if you are one-bagging or travelling, but even at home, make sure your clothes fit in your closet & drawers with some breathing room.

Here are some other things to consider:

Laundry Cycle: How often are you willing or able to do your laundry? If you can frequently wash, then you can have a smaller number of clothes. If you only access a laundry facilities monthly, then you probably need more clothes – though airing and hand washing will see you through some of the in-between time.

Lifestyle(s): If you are constantly in the same milieu, you can probably wear one style all the time. Work at home? You’ll pass muster 95% of the time in t-shirts and jeans (or whatever clothes you love). Work in an office? You might need suits and shirts for 9-to-5 time, then switch to t-shirt and jeans outside the office.

As my personal example, I travel to places where my “home clothes” are not culturally appropriate, so I have a set of “away clothes”, too, and also a set of performance costumes.  I try to keep each of these sets of clothes to under 30 pieces. That allows for a few days between laundering cycles and also packs into a small bag.

How many things are in your minimalist wardrobe?

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