Wardrobe 1-1-1

Last week I was overwhelmed with laundry. Then it dawned on me that I wouldn’t have so much if we didn’t have so many clothes. Last year, our clothes filled two 6-foot bars in the closet. After a big purge over the summer, they all fit on one. I thought I had successfully minimized my wardrobe. But then I got rid of these…

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I’ve been holding onto most of the discarded items for years because… that was expensive!… that was a gift!… I got that in Costa Rica!… I might wear it someday! I got rid of things that didn’t fit right, things I hadn’t worn in ages, things I didn’t even actually like, and things I had too many of, like socks and pajama pants. I discovered that I really like ten of my short sleeve shirts, so I tried to organize everything into groups of ten. It’s not truly minimal or a typical capsule wardrobe with a fancy color scheme, and I’m definitely not too fashion-forward, but I’ve found my own personal bare minimum: a 111-piece wardrobe encompassing all occasions and seasons from head to toe.

My “Wardrobe 1-1-1” includes:

10 sleeveless shirts
10 short sleeve shirts
10 long sleeve shirts
10 undershirts (tank tops)
10 sweaters
10 “unders and overs” (6 pairs of underwear, 2 bras, 1 jacket, 1 rain coat)
10 “top ‘n’ bottom” pieces (5 pairs of socks, 2 beanies, 2 scarves, 1 hat)
10 “show a little leg” pieces (4 pairs of cut-off shorts, 3 dresses, 3 skirts)
10 “cover a little leg” pieces (3 pairs of leggings, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of pajama pants, 1 pair of snow pants, and 1 pair of leg warmers)
10 accessories (2 around-the-house T-shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 1 pair of swim shorts, 1 bikini, 1 pair of fingerless gloves, 1 belt, 1 pair of workout shorts, 1 sports bra, and -ahem!- 1 negligee)
10 pairs of shoes (everyday boots, rain boots, Ugg boots, black leather flats, brown leather flats, flip flops, sneakers, platforms, cowgirl boots, and my wedding shoes)

Plus a pair of tattered sneakers (just in case), for a grand total of 111!

My clothes take up 1/3 of the space they used to, I don’t have to dig around in my drawers, and I like (and wear) everything I own. Here are my 111 items (excluding my rain coat and snow pants)…

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And just in case…


I probably don’t need ten options in all of these categories, but this way if something winds up irreparable, lost, or no longer loved, I don’t necessarily have to replace it. If I want to, I can turn to my “secret store” before considering a purchase. It’s a basket under the bathroom sink where I stashed an extra bra, sports bra, sleeveless shirt, short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, dress, pair of socks, pair of pajama pants, and 2 under tanks.

This year I only bought a hat, flip flops, a pair of jeans, and a tank top. I’m not going to buy anything else for a long time, and I love it! Less space occupied, less time doing laundry, less time deciding what to wear, and no time (or money) spent shopping. I’m free-e-e-e!

When it’s finally time for something new (and my “secret store” won’t fit the bill) there will be many things to consider. From here on out, if I add a new item, I’ll find another home for an old one, always remaining at 111. And if I want to bend the rules someday… my wedding shoes aren’t technically part of my wardrobe, considering I only wear them on our anniversary for a picture, and since we’ve only been to the snow twice since our 5-year-old was born, I don’t think the snow pants are either. I guess I could add a couple of extras in the future and still call it 111!

So what’s your number? Could you reduce your wardrobe to ten items per category? If your wardrobe is already smaller than mine, I’m impressed, and a little jealous! For more inspiration, visit Becoming Minimalist, Slow Your Home, or Treading My Own Path.

The husband and kids are next… Happy minimizing!

7 thoughts on “Wardrobe 1-1-1

  1. Inge October 26, 2015 / 10:26 pm

    Good work. I’m just at the start with getting rid of unneeded stuff. I like your 111 approach!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lauren October 27, 2015 / 12:51 am

    I like your idea of one thing in, one thing out. I’m going to try that once I get a chance to take inventory of my closet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lindsay (treadingmyownpath) October 27, 2015 / 8:42 am

    I’ve got another tip for you… once you’ve downsized and got rid of things – get rid of the hangers! We just donated about 30 hangers via Gumtree at the weekend. Feels almost better than getting rid of the actual clothes! Plus even less temptation to get new things! ; )


  4. emeraldfootprint October 28, 2015 / 11:28 am

    I just realised that I never counted the number of clothes I actually kept in my wardrobe. Seeing how little space 111 items seems to take I suspect I have more than that but I’m excited to check!


  5. Lou October 29, 2015 / 10:56 pm

    Very inspiring. My closet is my dreaded place where my self-esteem goes south. I have purged it out several times. I am just boggled at how it builds it over and over………….I went through my shoes today and I would toss more than 75% of them. So, keep blogging, it is helping many do the same.


    • Near-O Waste October 29, 2015 / 11:17 pm

      Awesome, Lou! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 Best of luck with your shoes… Etc.!


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