How much clothing is too much for adults?

November 1, 2021

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?

It says that 80% of the time you wear 20% of your clothes.

It's true! This means that it's probably safe to let go of the other 80% of the things that you're not wearing anyway!

We've put together a guide (and printable chart) to help you declutter your wardrobe without worrying about whether or not you have too many (or too few) clothes.

how much clothing adults

How much clothing do you actually need as an adult?

The answer is a lot less than you think!

Consider going away on vacation and only taking a suitcase of clothing (and belongings in general). You are able to live for several days or weeks with just the contents of that suitcase.

So why do you need that much more at home?

The Factors That Dictate How Many Clothes You Need


If you're living somewhere with 4 distinct seasons, you may need to have a few more articles of clothing in your closet to accommodate the changes.

Laundry Frequency

For our chart later in this post, we're assuming you're doing laundry once per week. With that in mind, you essentially only need a week's worth of clothing that you wash and re-wear the following week.

If you've been able to wrap your head around building a capsule wardrobe, this concept will seem a lot less crazy - and scary!

Don't worry if you're not there yet. Putting this little idea into your mind will still help you when you're decluttering your clothes closets.


If you have to dress a certain way for your job, that's definitely going to add a few extra clothing items into the mix. Adding in versatile garments that can be mixed and matched is going to be key to keeping these to a minimum.


Are you physically active? Hit the gym? Love to go hiking? Have a thing for fancy dinners out?

All of these factors will influence the amount of clothing you need in your closet as an adult.

Benefits of Living with Fewer Clothes as an Adult

1. More Use & More Value for Money

When you have fewer clothes, you actually wear the clothes that you own. That helps you get more value out of the money you spent on that article of clothing.

2. Easier to Know What You Own

When you actually know the pieces you have in your closet, you are more likely to find and wear said pieces (which helps get you more value for your money, etc.). You'll be less likely to go out and buy a duplicate of something you already own and just can't find.

3. Less Decision Overwhelm

Do you ever open your closet doors and simply can't decide what to wear? That's probably because you have too much choice - yes, that's a thing!

4. Less Clutter Stress

Don't let your closet cause you grief every single day.

5. Save Money

When you only buy what you truly need, and stop buying things that rarely get used and worn, you save money!

6. Less Waste

You waste less money by keeping fewer clothes, and you also contribute less to the waste that affects our planet. Clothing waste is filling up our landfills and affecting our environment on a massive scale.

The "How much clothing do you need?" Printable Table

Wondering how many clothes you should have in your wardrobe?

Use this table as a guide to decide how much clothing you really need as an adult. (Check out this table that helps you know how much clothing kids really need and get the entire family sorted.)

It goes without saying that you should adapt this chart to fit your own needs, your climate, your work environment, etc.

Just remember, less is more!

We've categorized our table according to 3 levels: Minimalist, Moderate, and Plenty.

Please note that even the Plenty category probably contains a lot fewer items than what you probably have in your closet right now.

Going for the larger option on this table is going to help you make a big difference when decluttering your closet.

Click to download this printable

Where do you fall on the chart?

About the author 

Sarah Mueller

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A Brain-Friendly Tutorial to Clearing Your Clutter

The free tutorial is for you if:

  • Your clutter feels overwhelming
  • You have 1 or more rooms that need significant work
  • You've been trying to declutter for 6 months or longer