This is part of my Swift Decluttering For Clothes.

One reader asked:

Stewie— what’s in your wardrobe? How minimalist are you with clothes?

Great question!

Over the years, I’ve cut my wardrobe way down. It used to contain all sorts of stuff that didn’t fit and that I’d never wear again. But these days, it’s much smaller. It has a bunch of essentials and a small set of random things I don’t wear.

My list of essentials:

  • For everyday wear: 10 pairs of white socks, 10 pairs of underwear, 10 undershirts, 7 button-down short sleeve shirts, 4 pairs of jeans, 1 black belt, 1 pair of sneakers, and 1 flat cap
  • For spring/fall: 7 button-down long sleeve shirts, 1 jacket, and 1 hoodie
  • For winter: 3 long-sleeve shirts, 1 winter coat, 1 warm jacket, 1 scarf, 1 knit hat, 1 pair of gloves, thermal underwear, and 1 pair of snow pants
  • For summer: 1 broad-brimmed hat
  • For dressing up: 1 dress shirt, 2 ties, 1 navy blazer, 1 pair of slacks, 1 black belt, 2 pairs of black socks, and 1 pair of black dress shoes

Miscellaneous items I don’t wear:

  • 5 T-shirts with sentimental value
  • 4 ball caps
  • 3 button-down shirts that don’t quite fit (Someday they will!!)
  • 3 knit hats (How did I get so many?)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 hoodies
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 pair of cargo pants
  • 1 pair of old sneakers

Now, my career as a software developer doesn’t have any clothing requirements beyond “No naked Zoom calls.” I never need to dress up for work and rarely vary what I wear. In addition, I don’t participate in many outdoorsy hobbies requiring specialized clothing.

But that’s just me. Your needs may be wildly different. For example, my father-in-law wore a suit to work every day for 40 years. (He even wore stained dress shirts while gardening!) And my snowboarding friends own way more winterwear than I do.

As you declutter your closet, figure out what works best for you. Start with your list of essentials and build your way up from there. Then, look into capsule wardrobes. They will greatly simplify your closet and your life.

More Decluttering Questions:

I need a plan

Dealing with guilt

Which clothes to keep

Selling clothes