A hundred years ago, even 30 tops would have seemed an extravagance few could afford and fewer could probably fit in those non-existent clothes closets. But now we Americans, at least according to the less is more Europeans, are swimming in a sea of mediocre at best clothing.
Imagine for a moment you cull the absolute best 30 tops from all the closets, drawers, laundry baskets, and to be folded piles of laundry all around your house and you toss anything that isn't in the top 30. Now, each day, you will be wearing your "best" stuff and need not fear running into your boss, old boyfriend, new client, or new friend from your yoga class looking schleppy. You'll be dressed your best each and every day.
Now let's take it a step further. Let's say that old group of 100 tops was bought new for about $20 each. That is $2000 in clothing, most of which will not wear well, stay stylish for long, or be worth more than $1.00 at a garage sale within a year or less.
If instead, you were starting from scratch (which you won't have to if you're like most over clothed Americans) and buying only 30 tops for the whole year. That same $2000 will buy 30 tops around $66 each. J Crew has good quality clothing and you could currently buy a "featherweight cashmere short-sleeve sweater" on sale for $59.99 (Reg. $148).
This is a FAR better option than buying 3 cheaply made $20 tops. The cashmere will stay in style and last likely four or more years at an annual cost of $15 or less. If you repeat this thinking with all your clothing, buying good quality clothing on sale, you will soon build an impressive, high quality wardrobe for less or no more than you spend now and will up your style quotient exponentially.
By frugal millionairess from Wisconsin
Wow, really? I don't even think I have 30 tops!
I have one question. If I were to get rid of all of my not so nice tops what would I wear to cook, clean, garden etc? I'm sloppy when I do these things and I don't want to wear anything good.
I suppose that once you achieve a manageable collection of tops (blouses, t-shirts, sweatshirts) that you actually wear a good plan would be to cull one each time that you bring home a new (or used) one in order to avoid stockpiling them again.
Thirty sounds like a lot of tops, but for some people it may not be enough. Some of us in colder climates layer our clothing and want to have enough tops to do this without wearing the same thing over and over again. I know that I have quite a few not-so-good items that I either wear singly to work (or lounge) around the house or layered under better tops, sweaters or sweatshirts. Some people need more dress clothes than others due to the need to dress professionally for work, and may need two separate wardrobes.
My very limited closet and drawer space is a problem that I am facing since moving to a smaller house. Sweaters and sweatshirts take up a lot of space, so the challenge is to decide just how many to keep and where to keep them, separating the dressier ones from the everyday good ones from the grubby or well-worn ones that I wear when I clean or work outside in cool weather. After that it will be a matter of eliminating one for every new one that I bring home.
I think that most of us here like being thrifty as well as fashionable and are reluctant to discard wearable clothing that we enjoy owning based upon a plan to limit ourselves to a particular number of tops when we did not choose that number. We each need to decide the number that works for us, based upon our lifestyle and needs, and then cull the excess, particularly those items that we always seem to pass over when selecting a top to wear.
I do appreciate the intent of this thought-provoking tip and do not mean for my comment to be critical. I am just trying to be a bit more flexible and realistic when it comes to planning a manageable wardrobe. Curbing our excesses can be such a challenge!
Thanks for all the helpful comments. I want to stress that though I posted this as an ideal, it is still only that to me as I have far more than this. But I am always disappointed when I run around in something schleppy thinking, "I'm not doing anything important today," and inevitably I get a last minute invite to something or run into someone I would like to have looked nicer to see.
GREAT point made about resale or consignment shops. At least 75 percent of my wardrobe comes from these and there are great bargains to be had. And as mentioned, TJ Maxx has some great deals, as long as you're getting something you think would be among your absolute top favorites and not just something that's inexpensive but doesn't really do you justice.
And of course each person must come to their own number. For me 30 daytime nice tops should be plenty, but it would not include exercise tops or a few old tee-shirts for gardening.
Maybe the more important goal I myself am striving for is to use my nicest things each day, because there seems to be a sort of looping effect.
On the day I put on black sweat pants and an old gap long sleeved tee, with just the tiniest bit of yellow paint on the sleeve, I'm not apt to do anything with my hair, no lipstick, no real "pride in my appearence" so to speak. But on the days I put on a cashmere sweater (mine from a thrift store) with nice khakis, I'm likely to spend 10 minutes on my hair and put on a bit of makeup and a spritz of perfume for good measure, and for me (every person is different) the day simply goes better.
There is no small irony in the fact I'm typing to you in said black sweatpants, and black tee, with bed head hair and not a stitch of makeup. I just came home from the dogpark and am waiting for my older son's bus to arrive. And hoping for no last minute invites from my dear hubby, "Do you want to meet downtown for dinner tonight?"'-)
Put your clothes together on Sunday afternoon for the whole week. I iron and hang everything together. I put outfit, jewelry and underwear on the hanger with socks/hose and shoes directly underneath.
This saves about 30 minutes every morning with trying to get out the door to work. Try it your life will be a little less stress. I have been doing this for over 30 years and have many followers. Just be sure and check the weather every Sunday.
By DaTeach from Pensacola, FL
I do something similar as I hate deciding what to wear everyday for work. I use a free or cheap 99 cent calendar and plan ahead what I will wear all week. I write each thing down on the calendar, obviously on the day I will wear it. What is good is that when you are stuck on what to wear, I look back and I see some outfits that I haven't worn in a few weeks. I like it because it is quick, easy and mindless!
I love your idea. I have been ironing my clothes for the week on Sunday. It helps getting ready in the morning.
I usually clean my closet and chest of drawers out about twice a year. I take out all the things I can no longer wear and older things. I have a yard sale with these things plus other odds and ends collected around the house that are no longer wanted.
After the yard sale, I carry all of the things left over to Helping Hands (a local charity). They use some of it for victims of fire, tornadoes, and the homeless and needy, the rest goes in their store for sale to the public. It helps out Helping Hands, and it lets me get rid of unwanted clothing and things.
By Paula from Kosciusko, MS
Good idea Paula. I take things there often myself. They help so many people who really need it.
I enjoy wearing my separates in various combinations. Often when I've put together an outfit I really enjoy, I can't remember the top, bottom, jewelry, shoes, belt, hair accessories, etc. that made the whole ensemble a hit.
Does anybody have any ideas on what to do with clothes that you have worn, but feel like you could wear them again before washing? These items always get flung over a chair in my household.
I don't really want to hang them back up or put them back in the drawers, but I'm not sure of a good place to put them so things still look tidy. Any suggestions?
By StellBell from WA
I think it best that clothes are hung up somewhere other than the closet in order to air. I have a hook on the outside of my closet door and I hand mine there. Personally I wouldn't hang them back in the closet. It won't hurt but they need to air out.
I use one of those standing coat racks. It works wonderfully for that!
I hang my clothes on a hanger inside out and hang it by the window to air out. Then I know for sure it has one more use before it goes down the laundry chute.
I don't have a very large wardrobe, so I keep it simple. I carefully smooth and fold re-wearable items and put them on top of my laundry hamper. I never thought about hanging them in front of a window or anything, but I'll think about that.
How do I organize my clothes if I don't have any dressers? I have a huge room with nothing but a TV stand and a TV. I also have a radio which is sitting on the floor. I have a big closet that's already full of clothes on hangers and clothes also on the top racks in the closet. How can I organize my room in a cute way? I wish ThriftyFun could give my room a makeover.
By candypoo88 from Jackonville, FL
With a little craft work, you can make a useful solution. Get many sturdy cardboard boxes which are all the same size (tip: go to walmart after midnight, and they will gladly give you good boxes that they don't need). Close them from one side, and seal it shut, then rip off all the lids from the other side, so u have boxes that are open, and lidless.
now. for the craft part. place the boxes sideways, so that the open part is facing you. place them next to each other, in rows of 4 or 5, and then place the next set of boxes over it, a little off center, so that the weight is supported with the "beams" from the lower boxes. glue them together. keep on putting more boxes on top, in the same fashion up to 4 or 5 levels. You will have a cubby-hole storage structure. You can store your things in these, heavy things at the bottom and lighter things as you go to the upper levels.
If you paint the entire structure with spray paint, in and out, it will look nice and elegant, too. When we were newly married, this is one of the things we did to store our clothes and other things.
A Google search shows that there is a Freecycle group in Jacksonville. You should join the online group and simply ask for a dresser. If you have no luck the first time, wait a week or two and ask again. People are getting rid of a lot of stuff with spring cleaning and feel good about finding a new home for their things with someone who can use it. Good Luck.
I'd also support the FreeCycle suggestion. FreeCycle.org will list links to groups in your area.
I started out giving away things I couldn't use anymore, then asked for something I needed. If you can do that, all the better. Remember, though, FreeCycle's rules specify you have to be able to pick up anything you request, so be prepared to do that. Also be prepared for stiff competition and imperfect or "fixer-upper" items.
Another inexpensive option for getting a dresser is garage sales, thrift stores, etc. Our local Catholic HS had their annual Klutter Kloset sale just when I needed a new dresser one year. I couldn't afford their sticker price, so made a reasonable offer (half the sticker price) and the dresser was mine!
Buy those colored cubes that they put toys in. They look like milk crates. Stack them up in an interesting way.
My family (husband, myself, 4 year old son and a 10 year old daughter) moved into a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with my mother to save money for a house. However, I need ideas on how to organize our shoes and clothes using only two closets and minimal space.